This morning I received a call from one of the most inept salespeople I have ever had the pleasure of hearing from. The call ended with his securing an appointment to present to us in person.
How did that happen?
Stammering, uncertain, rambling, this man appeared clearly out of his element. I soon learned that he was. His college-student son had created a purportedly new online service. This man, intelligent but not in the least sense a salesperson, was doing his dadly best to help get it off the ground. So there he was, naively calling ad agencies, about which he knew nothing, and without a clue as to how to organize and present his thoughts.
As he groped his way, I felt … compassion. I began asking questions designed to help him get to the point. I asked clarifying questions. Each time he wandered from the path, I guided him back. I listened closely to ferret out what the devil he was trying to get across.
When I saw a glimmer of relevance in what was for sale, I connected him with my associate Joe, who handles online media purchasing. Joe’s experience with him mirrored mine. So did his reaction. He found himself exercising patience and trying help the poor guy through his discomfort.
Were I to receive daily calls from equally bumbling, would-be salespeople, the need to get some work done around here would demand dispatching them as nicely but as fast as possible. But as a solo act, this utterly humble, unassuming dad was a refreshing change from too-glib salespeople at the other extreme of the spectrum who try to snow their way in.