Too Bad it’s Thanksgiving. (I’m Not Proud of This One)
Back in the early days of building my original Proforma distributorship, I had an appointment with the owner of a furniture store chain. I was on time. He was not. After waiting for half an hour, I asked the receptionist if the owner knew I was there. She informed me that he was filming a television commercial and he should be done soon.
Finally, after waiting for a little over an hour, he arrived in the waiting area. No apology. No explanation. He was just rude and arrogant.
He started asking me who I was and what I wanted. Whenever I tried to answer his questions, he would interrupt me saying more rude and arrogant things. The final straw was when he said something along the lines of, “I don’t have time to waste on you.”
Wow. I waited over an hour for him and he was just being rude, rude and more rude with me.
So I stood up from my chair, looked him square in his eyes and told him, “It’s too bad it’s Thanksgiving!”
He looked curiously at me and asked what I meant.
I said, “It’s too bad it’s Thanksgiving because it’s hard to eat turkey with no teeth.”
There was a seemingly long period of silence.
Then he looked at me and said, “You know, I have been very rude with you and I’m sorry.” He asked what I sold and I reminded him. He walked me into the corporate offices, took me directly to the buyer and told her to buy all the company’s marketing materials from me. That company ended up buying everything from me for more than 10 years until he sold his company.
We never talked about the incident again, but whenever he saw me in their offices he always took time to say hello and exchange niceties. I’m not proud that I lost my temper that day. I was fully prepared to walk out with nothing to show for my time.
The bottom line: Though it’s never okay to lose our temper in a sales setting, we do need to have boundaries that we will not let people cross. Sometimes good things can happen when we set and keep our boundaries in selling situations.