Avoid This Costly Business Mistake

Orange shopping bag with white text reading "costly business mistakes"

I recently received a call from a person who asked if he could meet with me in order to introduce himself and a line of products he was representing. He promised they would forever revolutionize the way I, and the rest of the world, conduct our businesses.

I almost always agree to these requests for two reasons: firstly, I know how challenging it can be, as a salesperson, to fill each day with the appointments and secondly, I always enjoy watching salespeople in action.

“David” arranged to meet me the following Tuesday at 11AM and arrived, promptly, at 11:35, offered no explanation for his tardiness, sat down in my office, took a deep breath and didn’t stop talking for the next 25 minutes.

The topic? Himself.

During his monologue I learned all about his past wondrous achievements, the sales records he had broken, the sales teams he had recruited, trained and led to excellence, how highly regarded he was in his industry and how I was going to absolutely love what he was going to show me (assuming he ever got around to doing so).

They (you know, them – the experts) tell us that no topic is as fascinating and riveting as ourselves and that many of us sincerely believe that everyone is as fascinated with that topic as we are.

Clearly David was a disciple of this line of thinking.

When he finally ran out of examples exemplifying his own magnificence, he immediately launched into a carefully rehearsed script detailing (in terminally boring detail) every feature of his must-have product, not a single one of which had any appeal to me.

At no point did he ask a single question about what I may need, nor did he elicit my thoughts or opinions.

And when he was finished – this was my favorite part – he pulled out what appeared to be an order form, and proceeded to fill it in.

He seemed (or feigned) surprised when I asked him what he was doing and then pointed out I had absolutely no interest in buying his product.

And he got angry when I told him why.

He interrupted me to point out that being late is not a big deal and that I shouldn’t be so sensitive to tardiness. After all, he is a very busy man and lots of people are demanding his attention.

And then he explained to me that my business would probably be a lot further ahead were I not so close minded.

As he left, his parting shot (my second favorite part of the entire meeting) was to tell me that he would give me some time to think about my decision and that he would call me in two weeks and give me an opportunity to reconsider and meet with him again.

If, in telling me of all his great sales accomplishments, his intention was to establish credibility, he failed miserably. I have had the great honor of meeting many people who have accomplished much and, if there is one trait they have in common, it is to rarely, if ever, talk about themselves.

David did call back. And when I told him I had no interest whatsoever in any further discussion, he politely asked me to send him a copy of my client list so that he could share his plentiful successes with them.

He clearly has a football-field size blind spot at to his affect on others.

It is said that everyone brings great value to this planet even if only to serve as being a very good example of a very bad example.

If this be true, David is indeed a superstar.

And a brilliant role-model.

Till we read again.

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