This writing piece today is supposed to avoid all adverbs. I’m sure I added a few. 🙂 I think I ONLY talk in “adverb”.
She talked. We listened. There was not much to agree on. The decision was made. We all must comply. “Don’t make friends. Just sell the product. In the end. We’ll be your friends. You’ll make money.”It was not a friendly proposition. Only a boss getting her way. One day, I’ll be in her shoes. One day, I’ll show her a better way.
We forget, customer service is what makes or breaks a business. Without “people skills” we lose clients. All humans, every race, color, have a few things in common. The main one: We crave relationship.
“You will get to the heart of the issue immediately. They want what we have. It doesn’t matter if we have interfered in their hectic life. It doesn’t matter if they are not interested. We will tell them they need us. They only need to hear it. If they hang up. Call again.” She talked as if she could laugh in the face of rejection. Over and over and over again. “They will not only thank you for it when they’ve bought our product. They will bow at your feet for being their savior.” Way to go. Make us think we’ll get any praise out of this.
A Salesman also hates salesmen. That number flashes across the caller ID, the eyes roll and we hope they don’t leave a message. After years of rejection it makes you think it’s time for a career change. What if you leave right before the big sale? So you continue. Years go by. You’ve made one friend. The old woman you call every July. She’s a sucker for the newest vacuum and buys every time. She won’t be around for long and the shallow friendship you supposedly have will be over.
Another conference. Another Day.
“Ladies and Gentlemen,” The sweet Dick-Van-Dyke look-a-like talks into the microphone. “You have been trained to sell. And if not to sell, then to….” He paused for effect. “Sell.” A minor chuckle floated across the room. “I am a millionaire today.” The audience knew that already. Thanks for rubbing it in. “Not because I’m a salesman.” Oh? He has a side job? “What you ask? You all know me. I’m the CEO. Of course I’m a salesman.” He breathed heavily. “And my success did not come from any of you. We all know we have lost sales in the last several years.” He stifled a moan. “Instead of telling you what I am. Let me tell you what I am not.” The room looked tense. Wondering if this old man knew that he was talking to his employees. “I am not a pusher. I am persistent. I am not a salesmen. I am a friend. I am not an annoyance. I am a necessity.” The list went on. People jotting notes.
The next day I sit at the desk. My eyes cannot focus. I can only think about the perspective of those I am going to call today. I will get one voice out of the hundred I call. The phone never rings. I call out. Over and Over and Over again.
Then a thought. I pick up the phone and dial. “Mrs. Jones?” A sweet voice answers. “I’m calling on behalf of the-best-vacuum-in-the-world.” I keep my mind believing she’s listening. “I wanted to see how your vacuum is holding up. Do we need to come check on it?” Silence. But I didn’t hear a click? “Well, this is nice.” the voice is elderly. “You know, it’s been running rough lately. I think I need a new one. Can you send one over immediately?” I’m stunned. I finish the call and sit back in my chair.
This was a change. I stand up and raise my fist in the air for all to see. “Ya-hoo!”
Then the phone rings.