Strange Re-Tales: Beware The Trusted Advisor


When you work in sales you encounter a wide variety of personalities. That’s doubly so when you work in retail and deal with the public all day.

Pivotal to being successful in sales is to identify the approach that works best with a specific person to secure their agreement, and “make the sale,” as they say.

It’s not uncommon to deal with group of people, and have to identify who the buyers are, and who the “influencers” or “trusted advisors” are.

Often, securing the agreement of the trusted advisor is initially more important than winning over the buyers.

The advisor may not be the one making the purchase, but they can definitely keep it from happening.

With consumer electronics, the buyer may go shopping with a tech-savvy friend or family member that they trust to help them make a good decision.

Win-over-the-influencer: That’s is self-evident to anyone who’s been around the block in this business.

But do you do when the influencer, the “trusted advisor” is completely, and utterly wrong?

There was one instance I recall, years ago when I still worked in retail where someone came in looking to buy a TV.

And they brought their trusted advisor with them. I don’t now recall the relationship between them, whether it was a family member or not.

What makes this encounter memorable is that the trusted advisor had recently completed an “Audio/Video Essentials” course at the Faculty of Extension.

I had never before encountered such a thing. From my experience Extension courses covered topics like wine tasting and beginner massage therapy.


What became readily apparent was that the course material the trusted advisor had paid for and committed to heart was seriously dated.

It’s as if the instructor hadn’t updated their course notes since 1996.

And, even worse, the trusted advisor was unaware of how wrong they were, and was adamant that they had all the answers.

“Component video?” she declared to the buyer, “You don’t want that, because it’s three RCA jacks, see?”

I was aghast.

“What you want is S-video.” She continued “that’s the connection that will give you the best picture.”

I could not believe what I was hearing.

S-video. S. Video. Let that sink in.

I’ll be honest; I did not make the sale that day.

I tried, I really did, to gently circle the buyer and their trusted advisor back to the early 21st Century, but the buyer trusted the judgement of the person they brought with them more than me, some TV salesman.

You can’t win them all.


Sometimes a facepalm is all you have left.