When I was ten years old or so, I signed up for a door to door sales job for kids. I would visit every house in the neighborhood and offer to sell greeting cards. I won some pretty interesting prizes in the process along with some money for toys and candy and learned a lot about sales as well, mostly from friendly neighbors who didn’t want to buy any cards but offer much free advice.
It wasn’t offered, but one of the best pieces of advice that a salesperson should ever have is that threatening a person with blowing up their house is the worst way to get a sale.
The story goes like this — a homeowner got a call from a telemarketer with a traditional scam marketing call, saying that he had won money and needed to do some things in order to claim it. The homeowner, sensing the scam, told the telemarketer that he wasn’t interested and hung up the phone. The telemarketer, not being particularly good with rejection, called him back and told him that there was a bomb in his home and that he would detonate it if he did not comply.
The good news is that there was never a bomb in the man’s house. The bad news is that now police are baffled as to how they will find the crooked telemarketer who was so desperate for a sale that he threatened to kill someone.
As a salesman, I knew that rejection was part of the job. When someone answered the door and told me that they weren’t interested in buying cards, I didn’t slink home and give up. Rather, I straightened my back and went on to the next home, and then the home after that — determined to make some sales that day. I always did.
I don’t know if it is the still struggling economy or a sense of entitlement that many people have, but I really hope that the man that made the crooked phone call gets caught and set up with a long prison sentence because he needs to be crystal clear that being a lousy salesperson does not mean that you should also be a criminal.