Effective communication skills are a valuable set of tools to have. Being able to interact with others in a way that produces a desired outcome can produce a win-win scenario for everyone we come into contact with. This could mean de-escalating a tense situation, promoting teamwork, or as I found out, selling a camper.

Selling the camper

My wife and I like to camp with friends in our free time. A while back we bought a new camper to replace an older and much heavier one. We placed an ad in the paper to sell the old camper and received a response the next day. When the couple came by to see it, the old camper was sitting in the driveway right next to the new one. I know that oftentimes buyers will haggle over price but I didn’t want to compromise too much because I felt we were offering it at a pretty fair price to begin with. I remember thinking that having both campers taking up my whole driveway was not going to help my bargaining power if the buyer did choose to try negotiating a lower price.

Meeting BOB

The guy asked me if there was anything wrong with the camper and why we were getting rid of it. I explained that it was just too heavy for my vehicle to tow so I bought a newer and lighter model. He responded, “That wouldn’t be a problem for BOB”, as he looked admiringly at the huge pickup truck he came in.

About this time my wife started telling the couple a bit more about the camper but I noticed the guy was still looking back at his truck so I said to him, “BOB, why BOB?”. He told me it stands for “Big Ol Boy”.

I don’t know much about sales but for some reason I thought of LEAPS. I listened to him talk about BOB and figured if he admired his truck so much that he named it, that is where the conversation should stay until he was ready to move on. I asked him a few other details about the truck and he happily informed me. Then I paraphrased his earlier statement by saying, “Yeah, you shouldn’t have any problem pulling it with that truck”. The great news is when we did finally get back to discussing the camper he ended up buying it without even mentioning the price.

Mike Delvaux
Verbal Defense and Influence Consultant