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Selling Furniture & Mattresses – 7 Lessons I Learned While Climbing Mountains With My 5 Year Old

What does climbing mountains have to do with success in selling? Depending on your perspective – perhaps nothing. As I was hiking with my five year old daughter, I was struck by the similarities between her experience hiking and our experiences as we travel down the road in our sales careers.

1 Lost- There were times on our hike when I went too fast and Christiana would call out for me. She was reassured when she heard my voice. There will be times in our sales career when we are lost and need help. It’s a good idea to have a mentor who is an expert that you can call. Sometimes your supervisor can be a great resource.

2 The Path- My advice to Christiana was to follow the path. When it is your first time up a mountain it is usually “safer” to follow the tried and true path that others have traveled before you. If you venture off you can always return because you know it will take you back to where you were headed. It is good to look for alternate paths but you always have the safety of the paths blazed before you. As you become more experienced you can venture off the path to create new ones. My friend Gerry Morris blazed a new path for many of us when it comes to sales training for the retail mattress industry. He also taught us that we must try new things as we grow older to realize our full potential. We can always learn from others.

3 Guide- If you have a guide with you on your ascent chances are you will make fewer mistakes. As long as the guide is credible and experienced. Luckily for Christiana I had traveled this path many times before. Your guides might be found in books, cds, videos, magazines like Sleep Savvy, and seminars. Your sales teammates and your store’s management are guides that you should consult with on a daily basis. You should also use your manufacturer’s reps as guides.

4 One Step- Christiana had to focus on one step at a time when she was tired. My advice to her was to slow down but keep moving. Just put one foot in front of the other. There will be times in your sales career when you are tired. I believe the same advice would be prudent. Slow down if you must but keep your momentum going by putting one foot in front of the other. Focus on the task at hand.

5 Rest- I encouraged Christiana to keep moving until she reached the top. I knew the top was less than a mile away and I knew she could do it. There are times when we must stop and rest. Taking vacations when needed is a key to performing at your best, but they are not as important as proper sleep, exercise, and nutrition. If you can’t take a regular vacation, find time to take a mini three to four day trip to get away.

6 The View- As we traveled up the mountain I told Christiana about the lake on top of the mountain. Every time she wanted to stop I reminded her about the view from the top. What is your view? Is there a goal that motivates you? Use your goals to motivate yourself past any obstacles. Goals are highly personal and need to be yours and yours alone. If you want to read more about goals just click here

7 Have Fun- Christiana had fun all the way up the mountain. At times it was a full time job to keep her on the path.  I knew this before but Christiana taught it to me again, Have Fun! We spend most of our time on the journey. It would be a tragedy if we didn’t enjoy the trip. Getting to know your customers and letting them get to know you can be great fun and will contribute significantly to your success! The best salespeople I have met in my thirty year career have fun with their customers and their teammates.

Action Step- What did I miss? Please share your wisdom with us! Your feedback is critical to this blog’s success. Please post your comments and questions. I answer them all. Thank you to Gerry Morris, Brian Pancost, and Chris Taylor for their help in writing this article. Please visit and Like us! Our Facebook page has the latest breaking news in the industry as well as product information, inspiring videos, motivational quotes, and selling tips!

Please email me any ideas for articles that you want me to write. Have you written an article on sales, goal setting, or time management? I’ll be glad to publish them in my ezine and on my website! Please email them to me at

Wishing You Success,


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Comments (14)

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  1. Marina Klima says:

    Selling is in fact like climbing, you are right, Pete.
    We all feel like a five-year-old from time to time. Great advice and tips. Thank you.

  2. Jonathan DiPrinzio says:

    The first step. Take action. Here is a quote from Jim Rohn that is much better than anything I could write.

    “Engaging in genuine discipline requires that you develop the ability to take action. You don’t need to be hasty if it isn’t required, but you don’t want to lose much time either. Here’s the time to act: when the idea is hot and the emotion is strong.”

    Then follow a path.

    Great article. Well done Pete.

  3. Alan Barnett says:

    Great artcile. We are always learning. There is an old saying; “when you are green you grow, when you are ripe, you rot”.

  4. Bill Russell says:

    Great article Pete. I love personal stories that provide lessons. Also glad to see you’re still working while on vacation buddy ;>)

    I love the way kids always keep things simple. We adults often make our paths much more complicated than they need to be. Think like a kid sometimes!

    See you soon.


    • Pete says:

      Thanks Bill! I really wasn’t working. This article just popped into my head! It wasn’t work at all. I am looking forward to seeing you and my teammates at Crossfit on Friday. I missed you guys this past week!

  5. Ira Fishman says:

    Great story Pete. Breaking the climb down to each step along the way, allows you to enjoy & learn from the journey. Getting back to basics is usually what brings you back from veering too far off course.

    Ira Fishman

  6. Mel Opp says:

    I enjoyed the article. I agree that we need to take 1 step at a time, mostly we need to have fun in what we do. Makes the customer also enjoy the process.

  7. Rick says:

    Another great article, you always seem to have a way to get me focused on the basics again. It’s funny how so many things in our everday regular life, relate back to selling if we will just pay attention and learn !

    • Pete says:

      Thanks Rick! I appreciate your comments. It means a lot coming from you with a background in both retail and wholesale sales in the furniture and mattress industry.

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