Perhaps the biggest obstacle to using sales as a path to redemption is that redemption, in turn, increases your sales. Pessy told his disciples that, once he got physically and mentally and emotionally stronger, he became such a great salesman that “my boss bought me this cool-ass Breitling that cost ten thousand dollars”—he held up his watch again. “I wear it all the time to remind myself that the real wealth is health.”
When Sam Taggart was selling Kay on solar, he instantly sized her up as a lamb, using the BOLT system, which sorts people into bulls, owls, lambs, and tigers. A bull’s force must be met with equal power; as the pest-control salesman Parker Langeveld puts it, you “stand your ground and redirect, and then mount the back of the bull while he’s disoriented.” Owls study product specs and buy reluctantly, if at all. Owls, Taggart told me, “are usually Jews, or Asian dudes. My first two years knocking, if an Indian opened the door I’d say, ‘Wrong house.’ ” Lambs want to be told what to do. And with tigers you chitchat and reassure them that they’re getting the latest tech. Bulls drive a black Dodge Charger, owls a Toyota that gets great gas mileage, and lambs whatever the salesman wanted off the lot. Tigers leave their garage door open so everyone can admire their red BMW.
As I considered my own place in this taxonomy, I realized that I’m an owl. I want to know every detail. I also realized that my self-image as a savvy, unpersuadable New Yorker was dead wrong. All a salesman has to do is listen to my concerns and I’ll start giving serious thought to buying his tropical-fish subscription or backhoe. I’m susceptible even as I’m being shown how the trick is done. In one D2DU video, a solar salesman named Pistol Pete Winston pitches Taggart, demonstrating how to bulldoze the “one-legger”—the solo homeowner who won’t make a decision without his spouse. After Winston sets a follow-up appointment with a forced-choice question (Is Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning better for you?), he insures the spouse’s attendance: “As much as this is about helping you save money and increase the value of your home, if you qualify, it’s also about sharing with you what the community is doing to help the environment, and they just ask that both of you be here for that.”
A grin spreads across Taggart’s face: “So you make it about the community.”