I’m Deb Brown Maher, president of Deb Brown Sales and author of Sell Like Jesus, and I want to tell you a story. It was 1965, summertime, and I’ll never forget the feeling…
My mom had bought me one of those little metal looms and different colored cloth loops so I could weave them into potholders. I made lots of them, but one kitchen can only use so many. So I decided to sell them around my neighborhood for 25 cents each. At the first door I knocked on, Mrs. Stevens bought three! I was thrilled. With 75 cents in my pocket I went to the next house and the next, and in a short time, I’d sold all but two of my inventory! I had enough money to buy more loops and put some money in my savings account. I was hooked on sales, and I was fearless!
Fifteen years later, armed with a college degree that had little practical value, I landed a sales job. That first week brought a rude awakening. Some people wouldn’t even talk to me. Others ended the conversation with “I’ll get back to you”—but they never did. My fearlessness vanished, replaced with a deepening awareness that I was being unfairly associated with the pushy used-car salesmen that everyone hates!
And so, I re-calibrated. I took a professional sales course and realized certain principles being taught really resonated with my faith. As a follower of Christ, I wanted to please God in all I did, so using any form of manipulation to get a sale was not an option. I knew God had gifted me to be good at sales, and that I could help people through the things I was selling. As I put the principles that were true to my faith into practice, people began to see me as a collaborator in their success, not a huckster. They trusted me.
I also started reading the Bible through a new lens, examining how Jesus communicated with all different types of people in the process of presenting His message (the “product” he was selling). Jesus attracted people. They felt good around Him. He targeted His message to each one. I reasoned that if I could apply the strategies that made Him successful, I could sell in a way that drew people to me, benefited them, and would allow me to make my living in sales — which I’ve done for more than 30 years now.
My search to improve never stops. I am a lifelong learner, and I believe in ongoing growth through cycles of study, implementation, evaluation, and adjustments. Along the way I discovered that other business owners, freelancers, home-based business people, and sales executives also struggle to overcome the negative sales stigma that I felt. But “sales” is not inherently evil. Just like any other profession, the “bad apples” leave a black mark on the profession that hurts us all.
In 1992, I began to train and coach others in successful, ethical sales strategies that bring positive outcomes for both buyer and seller. And in 2019, I incorporated those proven principles and strategies into my book, Sell Like Jesus. Applying the communication methods used by Jesus opens the doors to reap the benefits of the spiritual law of the harvest: Everyone reaps what they sow. In sales, as in life, when we do the right things for the right reasons, we get right results.
My career is proof that when we seek to serve others as Jesus did—when we “sell like Jesus”—we create sustainable partnerships that bring success and joy.
Where I earned my stripes (in addition to selling looped potholders):
Sales4You (1993-1998) — Sole Proprietor working with companies such as:
AMP Incorporated, short-term group training to improve sales methods
Hershey Foods, customer service training to ensure renewal business
AT&T/Lucent Technologies/Avaya—took Harrisburg B2B sales ranking from #61 (out of 62) to #1 in 18 months
PestPatrol (2001-2004) — VP of Sales, grew tech start-up sales to $8M in first 3 years (bought by CA, Inc.)
Computer Associates, Inc. (CA, Inc. 2004-2006) — Product Champion, grew global sales to $21M+ in one year.
Deb Brown Sales (2008 to present) — Sole Proprietor working with various businesses, small, medium and large, to improve sales and profit margins
What I do for fun and personal fulfillment:
Paint, primarily in acrylics and watercolors—work sold through Art & Soul Gallery, Camp Hill, PA and online at Worshipful Art
Speak (and sometimes paint)—at national and international conferences
Volunteer at church—praying for those seeking mental, physical or emotional healing
Practice my fluent Spanish—written and spoken
Garden—organic vegetables for personal consumption and to share with friends
Spend time with my husband Charles
Dote on my Ragdoll cat, Queen Sheba