In the Game of Life, are you Greg the Fish Guy?

Do you remember playing The Game of Life as a kid? The classic board game is still going strong, with newly updated careers and life events. Times have changed, though. Now you can be sued for $100,000.

But can you guess the least desirable career card in the game deck? If you guessed salesperson, you’re right on the money.

Yes, even in The Game Life, kids fear being dealt the “sales guy” card.

I’ve observed that in today’s market, people will instinctively do anything to avoid speaking with an actual salesperson – and for good reason. They’re tired of aggressive selling tactics and a general lack of product knowledge.

Customers are smart, well-prepared and tired of having their time wasted. In the minds of many customers today, salespeople are redundant.

I’ve got a funny story about a particular salesperson I want to share. When speaking with a friend last week, I was reminded that relationships with customers don’t have to be this way.

In an effort to cook healthier meals for her family, my friend decided to cook more fish. She did her research, chose her recipes, and went shopping. At her first stop, they didn’t sell fresh fish (and this is Seattle, go figure). Next, she headed to a higher end store, where the staff couldn’t answer her questions. She was pretty floored and summed it up like this:

“Is it too much to ask for the staff at a pricey store to actually know what they’re talking about?”

I couldn’t help but agree. You see, my friend told me she was ready to buy – she wasn’t just kicking the tires. She left empty-handed.

Her third and final stop was at a local chain store, where she met Greg the Fish Guy.

From behind the fresh fish counter, Greg answered all her questions – even helping her to compare one fish to another to facilitate future purchases. She left happy, with about $50 of fish. When Greg’s advice proved to be excellent, she continued to seek out his advice. She described the experience like this:

“I used to avoid making eye contact with store staff, so it’s ironic that I now make a weekly trip to seek out the advice of one particular employee.”

You’ll notice a trend here: Greg was a helpful resource for his customer. He wasn’t pushy. His advice was reliable. He solved a problem.

While selling fish may not sound sophisticated, Greg accomplished what many salespeople fail to do; he built a relationship with a customer by being a good resource. In doing so, he won my friend’s weekly grocery business for the store.

So next time, whether you call yourself an account representative, client support specialist or sales engineer, be like Greg the Fish Guy. Solve a problem. Build a relationship. Become a resource. Add value.


In my upcoming series of posts, I’ll dig deeper into how industries are changing, triggering the need for a new model of customer engagement and support. Whether you’ve adopted Kurryer or use another program, check back in for more about how to reframe your relationship with customers.