For 6 months, I did cold calling for a customer loyalty software company. At the time, I thought learning how to talk on the phone with strangers was a skill that would catapult my career in sales and put me on track to make the money I have been wanting to make for quite sometime.
The learning curve was steep often dealing with the stresses of people saying No to you over and over again and you would have to find some way to call them tomorrow and ask for an appointment to show them how you can make them more money.
I got frustrated a couple times (who am I kidding? I got frustrated every day!) with people saying No to me on a daily basis. I would have to go for a walk multiple times around the office or I would leave the building just to get some fresh air. One time I came back from a walk, pulled my manager to the side and asked if this is really how a sales career are.
“Yeah man. That’s just the way it is. You get punched in the face everyday. People tell you to go fuck yourself. People tell you that you don’t know shit and somehow you have to move past that, keep smiling and dialing.”
Of course, my genetics do not allow me to accept answers like “that’s just the way it is” so I kept looking for other ways to make a career in sales better for my sanity.
I keep pushing on until one day, I got on the phone with a woman named Jane who owned a Stromboli business in Eastern Pennsylvania. I read the first part of our cold calling script, she seemed engaged and instantly, I felt like that all my research into making sales better was starting to pay off. I felt more confident and decided to dive in a little more about her customers. It went something like this.
“Jane, do you have a lot of return customers?”
“Of course I do. I make the best Stromboli in all of Eastern Pennsylvania. Why wouldn’t people come back?”
“Well, do you know how many?”
“Not really but I know it’s a good amount.”
“Would you know if they weren’t coming back to see you?
“They always come back, Mike. My Stromboli is the best.”
“Well, wouldn’t you want more customers so you can have two locations? Maybe you could hire more people to serve your Stromboli.”
There was a short pause on the phone and usually when there is silence in sales call, the chances are they are thinking about what you said and a little scared that maybe they don’t know as much about their customer’s behavior as they think they do. According to the script, Jane should’ve set an appointment with me because she realized she had a customer retention problem.
Jane didn’t respond like the script said she would.
“Mike, I don’t want more customers. I love the ones I have already and it’s enough for me.”
Jane hung up on me.
I felt awful and it wasn’t because I didn’t get the appointment or she hung up on me (After while, when you get hung up on 70 our of 100 dials a day, you realize it’s not personal.) I felt awful because for the first time in my life, I was playing the fear monger, the dream crusher, the guy telling Jane the Stromboli woman who loved her business, loved the people that came to her store that what she had wasn’t enough for her and she needed more.
She didn’t need more. She didn’t want more. She was happy with what she had right now.
It’s not about more or want, rather what we love and have