Above: The old machine – still going strong provided you kick it now and then.
17 years ago, having bought Dinning House which has a huge garden, I told a friend who sold agricultural machinery, Roddy at Robertson’s of Tain in Easter Ross that I was struggling to cut the grass with a modern, rather flimsy mower. “I have the very machine for you,” he said: a superb second hand National Allen with multiple indestructible cylinder blades. I warn you that I must be one of the hardest people to sell anything to. Roddy retired a number of years ago but he taught me a few things regarding salesmanship in this one transaction! He could also teach the cockiest of the salesmen I have ever known a thing or two! Here are some of his answers to my doubting, awkward, downright cheeky and sometimes skeptical questions!
Q How old is it?
A Please don’t worry, People in America leave these machines in their wills. (It is now pushing 40 years old!) It has electronic ignition so at least it did not come out of the Ark!
Q How would you transport it nearly 200 miles to Stirling? (trying to put him off)
A I have a van passing and will even take the old machine as a trade in.
Q How do you deal with the cuttings? (There is no grass collection system)
A The mower mulches the cuttings as it operates and they feed the lawn very effectively. Having such a wide cut breadth the job is finished in no time so you can sit back and have a beer while admiring your work!
Q Will it go up steep slopes?
A Better than a 4×4! They use one at Dunrobin Castle where the ground falls away very sharply. He omitted to tell me that, due to the sturdy construction, having it land on top of you is an unpleasant experience! Perfection of course is not possible in this world!
Q How do I get it through the narrow gate to the Orchard?
A “A fellow of your ingenuity will not be stuck!” (Pure flattery… it always works)
How could I possibly avoid buying this machine? Purchase was duly made and it has given sterling service for many years. Conviction in selling as well as dealing with objections is, as any salesman will tell you, the key to a transaction. A bit of humour can help too, Roddy had me doubled with laughter.
Since my brain tumour and terminal illness, no longer allowed to cut the grass my son Murdo Jnr (in photograph) has taken on that privleaged duty with the elderly but effective machine. I have been deeply moved by the practical help from both family and friends at this difficult time. In particular my wife Margaret has done so much to make things easier…loved her anyway but love her even more!
Something really serious to sell
Having sold cars all my life , how quickly they go out of date and are scrapped and even the trusty old mower this spring has needed a bit of both gentle and rough cajoling to keep going. My mind goes to the fact that in a very serious sense each believer in Jesus is a sales person of the ultimate message which is the gospel. Jesus has told us to go into all the world with the best news ever, death has been defeated! …He is risen …we are his ambassadors. What a task he has given us. ARE YOU A GOOD AMBASSADOR? … AM I? … Have we truly grasped the fact that in the gospel we have the very best news this world has ever heard? We need to keep reminding ourselves that there is no pass mark. Jesus has done it all…showed us how to live, died for our sins… and even walked out of the tomb itself demonstrating his absolute power over death. Even better, as a wee book called the “shorter catechism” puts it, he is FREELY OFFERED IN THE GOSPEL.
Make this your best Easter ever by trusting in Jesus.