Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Art of Selling and the Lost Art of Reading

The Art of Selling and the Lost Art of Reading

by rick olivares

While driving the car one day, Danny Generoso’s young daughter popped him a question. “Pa, why is the stop light colored red?”

The question caught him off guard. Generoso wracked his brain for a plausible story that he could use for an answer. “Ah, anak, red is the color of blood and when people see blood that means they must be careful.”

His daughter let loose an “ahh” then kept quiet. Privately, the dad was kicking himself for not knowing the answer.

Generoso is a salesman for Filway Marketing selling Time Life educational books. He’s surprised that he’s been at it for so long – 15 years to be exact --and has become very good at it. Yet it has been every much a learning experience for him as well.

When he first informed his family that he was going to be a salesman for Filway, he never heard the end of it from his parents. “Think of your family! Ano ang ipapakain mo sa kanila?” they would constantly say.

It got to the point where he had to chose to tell them that he was instead doing something else so the talk would stop. When his first paycheck came in, he brought the whole family for dinner at Kamayan. When everyone had their fill, only then did he tell them the truth that their dinner was courtesy of his paycheck from selling those dreaded and maligned Time Life books. No one ever said anything derogatory about his profession again. And Generoso had more than the last say.

He asked for referrals.

People can smell a salesman a mile away -- the semi-formal attire looking very uncomfortable under the tropical sun and a spiel where that he wants to get over with as soon as he can and hopefully, close the sale. They are regarded as smooth talkers out to take your hard-earned bucks.

More often than not, their entreaties are met with rejections. Some say that they’d rather get their child a laptop computer. Once, Generoso was even chased away and bitten by a dog. “Hazards of the job,” he smiles at the memory.

One parent dismissed Generoso by saying that not only did he not read as a child but he also failed to finish school and yet, he was successful. He was so sure that his son would be the same.

That might be true but times have most certainly changed and the world is a much more competitive place. And despite all the advances in technology, it has not compensated for the values learned from proper reading and

Chito Tagaysay, President of Filway Mktg. tells of a bookfair in Germany one year when the internet exploded in the stratosphere and the exhibitors were few. There was a fear that increased usage of the internet as a means of sharing information or reading material was killing of actual hard copies of books. A few years later, the exhibitors mushroomed once more. It turned out that the early reports of the death of the paperback were greatly exaggerated.

Ask him or Jacq Narciso, a colleague of his, and both unequivocally say that they are best able to do their jobs when they have the utmost belief in their product and are most sincere in their dealing with parents.

“We not only believe in our product but we use it with our own children,” clarifies Narciso who has been with Filway Marketing. “Nakikita ng tao kung talagang sincere ka. Every time we go to parents we always impart the value of reading; it’s importance and how it develops creativity and imagination.”

Generoso added: “We also tell the parents that it is important to read to their children because it’s a time for bonding. Soon after that they will no longer have to do that for the child on his own will have picked up the habit.”

It’s more than selling books, it’s selling the future and whole being of a child through a set of books tailor-fit for their age level. Many parents believe that a lot of learning and research can be done through the computer.

One parent of an Ateneo Grade School student purchased a set of books and months later bumped into Generoso and gleefully informed him about the startling changes in his son. He had become more confident and well read that he would show off what he learned such as creating electricity through an apple and copper wire that surprised relatives. Even in school, the son’s teachers would commend him on his much comprehension. “Sana noon pa kita nakilala para yung panganay ko nabilan ko rin ng mga libro.”

“To me that is the best compliment I can get because of the belief in my product and how it helps,” beamed a proud Generoso.

The Ahon Foundation, of which Tagaysay is also the President, has provided these educational books in Marikina City and they were all pleased to know that at a certain time every day, all students in public schools make time for book reading.

Even Filway’s own sales people like Generoso have taken to reading their own books.

Once while reading through them, Generoso was surprised to read a topic on the colors of traffic lights. It was a revealing moment and he remembered that conversation with his daughter all those long years ago.

He quickly met up with his daughter now all grown up and asked, “You remember the time when you asked me about why the stop light is colored red?”

The daughter nodded and even reenacted how her father had delivered his answer much to his amusement. He learned that the color “red” is one of the primary colors of light that is the longest wavelength discernible by the human eye hence it’s being the color for the stop sign.”

“I guess the learning here is that these books aren’t just for kids but parents like you and me.”

For more information about the AHON Foundation and career opportunities at Filway Marketing, please go to and Filway’s website.

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