I’ve been selling all my life: The good hustle… and the bad!

I’ve been selling all my life: The good hustle… and the bad!



I grew up in a family-owned retail business. We sold electric shavers and other small appliances.

My mom put me to work early…and I was good at it. She taught me to listen to customers, be honest and sell them the right product.

Whether it was the $49.95 entry level model…or the $199.00 top of the line.

Hustle has always been a part of my life. Embracing the good kind of Hustle…and the bad!

The Good Kind Of Hustle: Work hard…be prepared…cover a lot of ground…be productive!

The Bad Kind Of Hustle: Taking advantage of customers, all for a deal. Making a few extra bucks at the customer’s expense.

The good kind of hustle is an easy concept. It is a marathon. Long term vision. Work hard, treat the customers well, build loyal customers for life.

So, let’s talk about the bad kind of hustle. It’s easier. Upsell. Make extra $$ at your client’s expense. Sell them something they clearly don’t need. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the upsell. After all, the customer can say know. But when it broaches taking advantage of the customer…you lose!

Working a hustle is a sure-fire way to lead a life of short-term customers. Sure, you get the deal closed. But you lose a customer. You do gain something however. You gain an enemy, who will do their best to talk to their business friends about how you treated them. How you scammed them. How you took advantage of them.

No one wants to be scammed or taken advantage of. When this happens to a person, they feel foolish, dirty, embarrassed and angry. The hustle is short sighted.

I was in radio advertising sales for 26 years. I remember once, a long-term client of mine called me up to ask me if a “deal” offered to them by another, larger radio station would be a good fit. They asked me to look at the offer. I was flattered and told them I’d take a peek.

I could not believe what I saw. It was priced for small businesses. A monthly advertising fee a family-owned business could afford. But it offered junk exposure. It was not designed to work. It was designed for that radio station’s sales team to hit the road and sell as many of them as possible. What would have happened was: No response. A failure. Small businesses have small ad budgets. This would have eaten up their entire ad budget, and at the end of the run…they would have been left with nothing. I shared this with my client. I did not tell them to buy it, or walk away. But what I did say, was that if it was me…knowing what I know…the answer would be a flat “no”!

I was always taught to sell customers the right thing. To provide them something of value that would benefit them. To create customers for life. Even if they bought the smaller priced product or service.

Don’t be tempted with hustling customers. It is the easy path. The dark side.

However, hustling to serve your clients appropriately, and serve them for life…is the marathon path…not the spring. It takes more work, but it is the right thing to do.

And in the long run…it is the most fruitful for everyone involved!

  • Make it easy for people to do and keep doing business with you!
  • Look up…and surprise someone!


Spencer Rubin is a sales/marketing expert and a passionate advocate for the success of small, local business owners. To sign up for Spencer’s weekly Catalyst Newsletter, contact 971-732-4745.

“Don’t give up, don’t EVER give up” ~Coach Jim Valvano