Before a presentation, I typically like to pace around quietly and keep to myself.
While I was outside getting into my speaker zone
, (yes, we do that,) I ran into an interesting individual.
I was alone in the hallway except for a man who was also pacing around a bit, and he didn’t look very happy. I was curious, so I struck up a conversation. I asked him how he was doing, and that’s all it took to get him going.
“How am I doing, you ask? I’m miserable. In about five minutes I’ve got to go into that room, sit for an hour, and listen to some jerk talk to me about selling! Can you believe it?”
Before I could tell him who I was, or even speak, he just kept going. “I wouldn’t be here if my manager wasn’t making me attend this fiasco. I’ve never liked salespeople, and now I’ve got to sit and listen to someone who actually teaches salespeople. What a colossal waste of time!” At that point, an announcement interrupted her diatribe, and we entered the room to listen to the speaker… me.
No, I did not single this man out and confront him in front of 500 people in that hotel ballroom. Please, I’m a professional. However, I always speak with a wireless microphone so I was able to move around the room. For some reason, I not only wandered to exactly where this man was sitting, but I also delivered about 55 minutes of my 60-minute keynote about a foot and a half from his ear.
Late that night, on a red-eye back to the East Coast, I found myself drifting back to that moment in the hallway. It bothered me to know that this man did not really understand that those who sell are a vital part of society, and he was, by no means, alone in his misconception.
The tray table came down, the laptop opened up, and the words began to fly as I began to craft my rebuttal. To this day, I’m not exactly sure what I created. It’s not exactly a story, and it’s not exactly a poem. That’s why I’ve always called it my “Sto-Em.”
Who Am I?
A “Sto-Em” by Rob Jolles
I prevent financial tragedies every time I get you to finally believe that your retirement and children’s education are more important than a seven-day cruise.
I save lives every time I get you to stop putting off “what if” and purchase an item that protects you and your loved ones.
I assist you each time I am able to get you to look past your decisions of the moment, and instead look at the “big picture” of your decisions in the future.
I’m the person in the store. You felt put off by all my questions but wound up with a solution that not only saved your business that day, but also saved your job a year later as my product expanded along with your business.
I’m the person who changed your mind about skimping on a business expenditure that was later responsible for bringing you your biggest customer.
I looked you in the eye and asked you some disturbing questions. It upset you, but your anger toward me saved your life and the life of others on a road you would have been too drunk to drive on.
I put up with the stereotypical fallacies that have portrayed me in a less than positive light; in actuality, I was the only one who provided for the future of your family when an early death might have meant devastating and dramatic changes in your loved ones’ worlds.
I could have taken no for an answer, and sometimes I wish I had. I could not because I had seen the personal tragedy of procrastination.
I have empathy for your fear of change because I have similar fears. The fear of the unknown often outweighs the pain of the present. My job is to move you past these fears and get you to take action in an ethical manner.
I may not be apparent to all, but I exist in everyone’s soul.
Who am I? I am a salesperson.
And proud of it.
Related: The Forgotten Step In Closing