What's your daily practice of courage?
Mr. Taylor looked around his office with pride. He had worked hard to become successful. Today would be memorable. He was speaking in a Zoom forum about his company. With luck he might even get a new client.
As he wrapped up his presentation, Mr. Taylor looked at the faces of the Zoom attendees. “If you are interested in additional information or have questions you’d like answered, put them in the chat window and I’ll get back with you as quickly as possible.”
To his surprise, seven messages appeared in the chat. He copied the information as the meeting finished. Seven new clients in one meeting! Today he had made company history. Landing seven clients in one fell swoop had never happened before. His expectations were more than met.
He decided he needed to commemorate the event with something unique. He browsed online and decided on a silver belt buckle that he could have engraved. He thought for a bit longer and chose the phrase “Seven in one meeting.”
He shared his experience with the rest of the staff. His office rival Ms. Giant laughed and challenged him to a race to close the oldest lead in their pipeline. That lead had been there for two years. Reminding himself of his victory “Seven closed in one meeting”, Mr. Taylor agreed.
Three days later, Mr. Taylor had a meeting scheduled with the owner of the company named in the bet.
As he sat in the waiting room, Ms. Giant walked past with the receptionist beside her. As they walked by, Ms. Giant turned to Mr. Taylor. “Don’t waste your time, they aren’t interested. You’ve lost. Admit it.”
Mr. Taylor smiled and waited calmly as the receptionist showed his competition out the front door.
“She’s right, you know.” The receptionist smiled at Mr. Taylor. He smiled back and answered calmly, “We’ll see how this turns out. Could you please let them know I’m here?”
The receptionist smiled back and shook her head. “I’ll let them know. How are you able to be so calm?”
Mr. Taylor touched his new belt buckle. “Once you’ve closed seven deals in one meeting, nothing seems as difficult.”
Her face reflecting her awe, the receptionist led the way to the meeting room. The room was full of the company’s corporate officers. They scowled as he walked in and introduced himself.
“You should save yourself some time and leave as you co-worker just did.” The CEO growled. Mr. Taylor brushed his new buckle. The CEO noticed and read the inscription. Maybe, they should listen to Mr. Taylor for a little while. Perhaps they could gain and idea of how he managed such an unusual feat.
“Your time is valuable. I don’t want to waste it.” Mr. Taylor began. “Before I go, would you please tell me what you thought of Ms. Giant’s presentation?”
The CEO glared at Mr. Taylor. “The presentation was poorly presented and full of inuendo about how wonderful she was. There were very few facts. She never bothered to learn about us and what our company needed.”
Mr. Taylor nodded sympathetically. “Would you allow me fifteen minutes to at least answer your questions?”
The CEO nodded. When the time ran out, Mr. Taylor was asked to continue. He walked out with a large order.
The next day, Ms. Giant asked Mr. Taylor how his meeting went. When she found out about the sale, she loudly claimed he had cheated and demanded a better test. Mr. Taylor touched his buckle and agreed.
Ms. Giant spent that evening selecting the next target. This time she went into the deals in the “Lost” files. She selected the toughest one she could find. She presented it the next morning and Mr. Taylor once again touched his buckle and agreed.
It took a week, but finally he had a meeting with the CEO of the target client. He arrived fifteen minutes early for the meeting. When the receptionist offered him a beverage he smiled and said no thank you. She then led him to the conference room where the CEO and his staff were waiting.
“Why are you here?” the CEO demanded. “We’ve told your company no more than once.”
Mr. Taylor touched his silver buckle and reminded himself this was much easier than seven at once. As Mr. Taylor responded to his question, the CEO’s eyes landed on the engraving of the buckle. His eyebrows rose in speculation.
“Actually, I’m here to ask a question that was never answered in our earlier meetings.” Mr. Taylor began.
The CEO decided that anyone who could close seven in one meeting was someone to at least hear out. “What is it you came to find out?” he asked.“I came to find out why you decided against us.” Mr. Taylor asked, brushing his fingers over his buckle again. He figured he had nothing to lose and perhaps he would find something that would help him in the future. When he walked out two hours later, Mr. Taylor had another sale.
Mr. Taylor returned to his office feeling confident. Ms. Giant finally gave in and asked for his help. Mr. Taylor was promoted and now is the head of business development for his company.
This story really illustrates one of my favorite mantras:
I learn to risk and sell not by becoming fearless, but by the daily practice of courage.
What I love about these words is the emphasis on courage and the not on fearlessness.
Fear is a great motivator as well as a great gut check. Just because you are afraid doesn’t mean you are going to fail.
Audeo, Attendo, Ascendo!
Robynne & Mr. Taylor