I’ve been in Sales my entire career. When you add up the years I spent as a kid going door-to-door to cut lawns I’ve in effect sold for more than 30 years. In that time there have been only a handful of occasions when I have been truly astounded, in a positive way, by a sales professional doing their job. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been on thousands of sales calls in that time and have seen some incredible selling skills, influencing, and relationship development happen before my eyes. But this week I experienced not just an awe-inspiring sales encounter but one that carried with it an incredible lesson of the human spirit and will to succeed.
Like most of the country this week, Philadelphia, where I live, was trapped in a deep freeze. We were well below zero for 2 days this past week and for the rest of the time we were single digits to teens. Simply said, it was cold. The kind of cold that inhibits motor skills if outside for more than a few minutes. The kind of cold that rattles your brain and activates the fight or flight emotion within humans to find warmth…shelter. The kind of cold that many sales professionals would use as an excuse for not going on calls. Many but not all.
My doorbell range at 7:30 pm Thursday evening. I walked to the front door thinking it was one of my kid’s friends. I turned on the front porch light, looked out the window and to my surprise saw a lady standing on my front doorsteps with a bright red Comcast coat and employee ID hanging around her neck. She had an armful of materials which she held with her gloved hands and wore an incredibly huge smile. I opened the door…a bit leery if not completely skeptical truth be told…to a warm and heartfelt greeting from this lady. Within the first 20 seconds she told me who she was, her company, and managed to get in names of two of my neighbors she just “signed up” for Comcast’s new Triple Play program. And while it was below 20 degrees outside she exuded a warmth and passion for what she was doing which in her words was all about “putting money back in my pocket”.
I’m not blogging about this to share details on her sales skills which by the way were excellent. No. Instead I am blogging about this to prove the power of the human spirit to overcome most any obstacle we can face and persevere. She had goals and she loved people, and most of all she enjoyed “putting money back into her customers pockets.” She had a level of authenticity that I find doesn’t always exist in today’s sales professional. She was real, she was knowledgeable and most of all she was honest. How do I know that? Because one of the products she was selling wasn’t the right fit for us and she told us so. She didn’t try to force a sale by masking the problems or shortfalls of that specific service relative to the service I currently use.
Her ability to build trust and rapport rivaled some of the best pros I’ve worked with over 30 years including those selling into the C-Suites of Fortune 100 companies. Pure determination coupled with an intense focus on her specific goals and a mastery of listening and customer assessment skills makes Marie one of the most impressive human beings, and yes sales person, I have ever encountered.
So when it’s too cold out, or too hot. Whether you’re too tired or just not in the mood, think of Marie. Push yourself, drive yourself and get moving. Get out the door and engage your human interaction skills.