Food and Life, Food and Selling, you can't have either with-out the other. If you want to know how the lessons from all thing's food can inspire you to simply and easily turn a prospect into a customer, and a customer to a loyalist, and ultimately create memorable customer experiences – read on!
From an early age, I've loved both cooking and selling. They don't sound like they belong together, but for me these two passions have always been intertwined. My grandmother tells the story that I started my culinary career by pointing to the pots on the stove and demanding to be lifted up to see what was inside them. I was two years old at the time. When I was six, I won my first sales contest selling Christmas cards. Already, I was hooked on both cooking and selling. Growing up, I alternated career paths between selling things – newspapers, light bulbs, candy bars – and cooking things.
Of my two competing interests, I had focused on a career in cooking first, but then one day, I made a shift back to selling. I was talking to a salesperson from John Sexton & Company. Sexton had a history and reputation as impressive as Johnny Bench's. They were purveyors of fine foods, teas and coffee, beginning in 1883, and they had grown to be the leader in their field. Not long afterward, I left the kitchen to join John Sexton & Company (which later became US Foods) to pursue a career in selling the most important product in the world: food.
Immediately, I discovered that the perfectionism I learned in the kitchen was equally important in sales. As a chef, when you are in the weeds on a busy Saturday night with tickets all over the board, you get in a mental zone and rely on your instincts and repetition of preparation to get you through it all. Every plate has to be perfect and every day needs to be better than the one before. Constant improvement has to be a chef's mantra; otherwise, he goes stale and collapses under the pressure of the kitchen. In sales, you are constantly striving to get better, too—not only to work harder every day—but to work smarter every day. A sales call or prospect meeting needs to be a mosaic of creativity, simplicity, determination, repetition, and perfection.
I was inspired to write this book because my entire life I have been in one field or the other, cooking or selling, and I have learned that their recipes for high accomplishment are similar. Everything for both is always in motion, serv-ing, prospecting, pitching, cooking, challenging, and creating. Food and sales are both about creating memorable experiences for the customer. Chefs and salespeople have much in common. They are both in the hospitality business. They both should be passionate, energetic, creative, competitive. To be successful, they both should love people.
Both food and selling embody my personal philosophy—"I love to serve." I am also inquisitive, which drives me to give folks a simple, fresh, different, and unique approach. I like to use experience, resources, and lessons learned from people to take old favorites and make them new, different, hip and eggcellent. (I should explain that my friends—and I hope I will be able to count you among them—call me Eggman, as in short for Eggerding. Variations have evolved over the decades such as "eggcellent" and "eggstra." You may run into some of these in the coming pages.) This is my declaration and inspiration—a rallying cry for us sales professionals and foodies at heart across the country.
Ultimately, this is more than a sales book. It is a proclamation on how the techniques of selling can be enlivened and enriched with a fresh point of view borrowed from the world of the professional kitchen.