The First Rule of Selling: How StorageMart Led an Industry out of Recession


Tron Jordheim is one of those entrepreneurs who are always making something out of nothing. He started his first business in the sixth grade with a roll of paper towels and a can of window cleaner, and has been at it ever since.

In college he took an interest in protection dog training, creating a business model that put him through school. He then helped New York City start its police K-9 unit, and ran man-dog security patrols for Pan Am airlines at JFK airport.

Tron later went to work as a cold-call salesperson for the Great Bear Bottled Water Company in New York City. They gave him the Upper West Side of Manhattan, which was the worst-performing territory in New York. It wasn’t long before it was one of the best-performing territories, and he was being sent out to work in other markets as a trainer and sales-blitz leader.

After moving to Missouri, Tron helped to grow a Culligan Bottled Water franchise from 1,200 customers to 6,800. It became the Culligan Bottled Water franchise with the highest per capita penetration of bottled water accounts of any in the nine-hundred-plus dealers in the Culligan network. After training and consulting, salespeople stopped selling and started “Troning” to get more customers. His booklet, Setting Coolers, and his work in the field are two of the reasons many people use water five gallons at a time.

Next came an opportunity to grow the PhoneSmart business from the drawing board. Tron not only grew the rollover sales support end of the business but also launched a successful secret shopping/quality assurance business unit and an Internet-led distribution unit.

When PhoneSmart’s parent company, StorageMart, saw that it needed to become a master of self-storage marketing, Tron was selected to lead the way. Tron continues to be sought after as a public speaker, sales trainer, and consultant.

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Months before the recession began, Tron Jordheim knew something was wrong. StorageMart’s sales were down during the busiest season of the year. Conversion rates for rental inquiries had decreased—and a lot of those inquiries came from people facing foreclosure or eviction.

Unlike so many businesses, StorageMart survived the crash . . . and thrived. What happened? StorageMart developed a sales culture that enabled it to sell to more people, keep its current customers longer, and generate more revenue per customer. In The First Rule of Selling, Tron Jordheim shares the secrets of a good sales culture:

  • Recruiting people with skill and initiative
  • Providing your sales staff with the resources they need
  • Making good use of scripts
  • Getting inside your customers’ minds
  • . . .  and much more!

If you love a good business story, you need to read this book. The First Rule of Selling will work for you too.


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