Tonight, I relearned the importance of that often-overused phrase, “Dress for Success.” I had put a set of aluminum rims on for a reasonable price. Within 30 minutes, two emails appeared from a single individual that was interested in purchasing them. We spoke over the phone and he asked if we could meet this evening for him to look at the wheels. In spite of the winter weather, I acquiesced and we set a place and time.

Anyone that knows me understands one very deep-rooted personal characteristic that I have…I hate the cold. I hate everything about it. I will, at all costs, avoid being cold whenever possible. However, being I have a wedding to save up for and two Jeeps that need to be fixed, I double layered pants, quadruple layered shirts, put on my heaviest jacket, gloves and hat and loaded the rims in the back of the little pick-up.

We met as planned. He was a nice enough fella. Big and affable. He poured over the wheels looking for imperfections and finding nothing major, made mention of the cold and the fact that he had just bought some hot cocoa to take home to fight off the chill. He queried if I would consider taking less than my asking price…normally I do like a good bout of haggling, but it was cold, bitter cold…so I pushed off the urge and retorted that I thought I had posted a fair price and that is what I would accept. Then I waited.

It is well known a law of sales that after a “closing” statement, the next person who talks usually loses the negotiation. I continued to wait. As the tense silence ticked on, the dress for success rule occurred to me. I was in the cold, but I did not feel cold. I was dressed for bear and glad of it…but the potential buyer was not. He wore a single pair of jeans and a light, and I mean light, jacket. After 30 seconds or so, I saw a shiver, then another, albeit more violent. Before the third could hit he looked me square in the eyes, smiled broadly, exclaimed that he saw no good reason to freeze our butts off and promptly handed me the cash totaling my original price.

In closing, the advice I offer is this, “Always dress for success…even if it means donning a camouflaged jacket.”

Copyright 2010 Kevin O’Neill