My dog is a better salesman than you.

My wheaten terrier, Bailey, is a better salesperson than you. 

Well, maybe not you specifically, but she’s definitely more effective than virtually every salesperson I’ve come across. Each day she’s underneath my desk, listening to me deal with clients and try to win new ones; I’d like to think she is learning from me, but she’s already a better salesperson than I am!

71 different salespeople have been peers or reports over the years. Some have been really good, and others could only be described with adjectives that are not appropriate for a business networking website. But even the best ones could stand to learn a lot from Bailey.

She makes cold calls.
Bailey is a particularly gregarious dog. Once Bailey can catch a persons attention, she immediately engages them. When a stranger enters our office, Bailey is the first one up to greet them. Bailey loves attention, and she knows that the only way to get what she wants is to march right up to someone and introduce herself. Most of the time Bailey’s ignored, but it never discourages her. She keeps walking right up to everyone she meets without hesitation. 

She’s enthusiastic, and always smiling.
If you’ve ever met a wheaten terrier, you know their tails are the strongest muscles in their body (that’s probably not true, but it could be, since Bailey’s tail is constantly wagging). She always has a goofy smile plastered on her face to go with that forever moving tail. Because Bailey is consistently happy, people want to engage with her. She draws them in, and makes them more relaxed and receptive to her pitch.

She’s clear in what she wants.
Yes, my dog pitches. And she pitches hard. One of her favorite things to do is to go get a toy and lay it in my lap (which means she wants to play). When I ignore her, she’ll pick it up and drop it back in my lap again. These behaviors transfer to any need: attention (a poke with her paw in my shin), food (nudging her bowl) or going out (sitting next to the door and staring at me). Bailey doesn’t believe in run of the mill, aimless whining and complaining. When she wants something, she makes it very clear. She asks for the sale.

She’s incredibly persistent.
Everything I’ve read tells me not to encourage this kind of behavior in a dog, so I don’t. I’ll continue to bang out e-mails or cold calls while she tells me what she wants, and then deal with it later after she stops. But she does her best to outlast me! She spent 30 minutes earlier today tapping my leg and dropping toys in my lap. I was determined not to break (and I didn’t!), but I’ll be damned if she didn’t achieve what any salesperson wants: I thought about her more than the work I was doing that entire 30 minutes.

She doesn’t settle.
Every salesperson is guilty, at some point, of taking a lesser deal than they should just to get the sale done. This concept is heresy to Bailey. When she is determined to get my attention, I’ll seek to distract her by encouraging her to check out sounds outside, or with a little pat in hopes that she’ll go lay down. When she’s decided that she wants something, though, there’s no substitute. She’ll persist: not to the point that she gets anything, but to the point where she gets what she wants.

She knows when to back off.
This is an underrated skill in a salesperson, but Bailey has it mastered. After 30 minutes of being ignored, Bailey knew it was time to give me a break. Instead of ignoring me and losing her opportunity, she laid down next to me, in the corner of my eye. She was totally unobtrusive for two hours; I was reminded of her presence, and never forgot about her. Her decision to switch from an aggressive, active sales approach to a more passive one closed the deal for her. I took lunch a few minutes early and she got some time outside with me.

She says thank you.
That powerful tail comes in handy here, as well. A few minutes of playtime with Bailey is rewarded by a wagging tail, some dog kisses, and the genuine happiness of a creature who’s thrilled to be with you. No matter how good her sale is, there’s no treat big enough that makes her forget to say thank you.

A final point: you feel good about doing business with her. Bailey’s fun to be around, and despite her persistence, I don’t find her annoying. Because I enjoy our time together so much, and feel good about giving her what she wants, she continues to asks for things and I continue to give them. It’s that perfect state that every salesperson seeks to achieve with their clients, and she has it.

So am I ready to put her in charge of sales for Woden? Not quite. Her phone demeanor still leaves a little to be desired, and the penmanship on her contracts is atrocious. But as a model for how salespeople ought to conduct themselves to be effective: she’s got that figured out just fine.