How Raccoons Helped Me Become a Better Salesperson

Raccoons are problem solvers.

I found this out recently in a battle over cat food I had left outside in a sealed container. As my visiting raccoons continued to open the container, escalated attempts by me to prevent their access embarrassingly failed. All of my contrived and designed efforts such as bungee cords, ropes, weights, tape, and even chains were not able to stop them from gaining access to the cat food treasure.

I did a little more research on these neighborhood nuisances, and I learned what expert problem solvers they are. Researchers in lab studies observed their expert problem-solving abilities and witnessed that they are quite dexterous with their forepaws. Raccoons put their paws to work when they creatively devise new solutions to a battery of common animal cognition tests. Some of these experiments were previously only used with primates and birds. Raccoons were successful in more instances and worked together.

Watching these raccoons in video after video, I saw all the attributes that employers insist they want from their sales teams. Key problem-solving skills like analysis, research, creativity, communication, dependability and persistence are the way of the raccoon. I know that watching my raccoons continue to win the battle for the cat food was all the motivation I needed.

I am now convinced I need to be a raccoon salesperson.

1. Raccoons are extremely adaptable — it is amazing to watch as they can be thrown into any situation and find a way to get that savory prize. No matter the conditions, environment or circumstances, they adapt and pursue.

2. Raccoons take their time — I could see how they paused first to analyze the problem, identify the severity, and then just push forward with several alternative solutions. They don’t rush into it, but instead were thoughtful and persistent

3. Raccoons have an agile mindset — they are not rigid with structure, planning, and process. They have an open mind (unless they perceive a threat from a predator) and are pretty much accepting to all ideas and solutions.

4. Raccoons lean on teammates without ego — apparently the basis for their teamwork success is a clear understanding of the goal. They are “all in” with determination and unity towards that goal.

5. Raccoons do their homework — what they put into something is what they get back. They make every attempt count and are thoughtful. Collectively, they use that knowledge to build on toward ultimate success.

Lastly, I have been considering how much effort I put into solving my customers pain. I know that understanding my customers challenges are the basis for building trust. I have been challenged to really do a good job with this. I always seem to rush into talking more about my products, benefits and features. Seems to me that if I took the raccoon’s approach to figure out their problems, I would have more success. I can establish some leverage by following the ways of the raccoon in my approach and that advantage can lead to more success.

Keep your eyes open for my 2021 book release “The Way of The Raccoon — modern selling success and techniques.” Not kidding folks!




Writing about life mixed with technology and psychology is my passion

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Mary Slagle

Mary Slagle

Writing about life mixed with technology and psychology is my passion

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