I have been enjoying a new hobby. It isn’t the passion that I seek — I still await that endeavor that will give meaning to my life — but this hobby is an entertaining distraction from all of that and great extra credit for a salesman.
What I’m doing is talking to strangers. That’s it. And if you start on this hobby yourself, you’ll quickly find that a lot of people don’t expect strangers to talk to them. So I’ll give you some tips.
The first and simplest tip is starting out safe and slow. Carry on pointless conversations with the carry out boy at the grocery store, for example. It can go like this:
“Boy, not long ago I left a bag of groceries in the car for a day!”
Usually you might get a mumbled reply, something like “Oh, that’s too bad.” And that’s all you need. “Yep, left the whole darned bag right here in the back seat! Do you hear about that happening often?”
Don’t wait for a reply.”Let’s see. Today I have three bags. I’m going to remember that when I get home. One, two, three. Don’t want to leave one behind! So, do you do things like that? Forget things? Maybe I’m just getting older, huh? What do you think?”
Fugue it from here. See what happens. Usually you don’t get much of an answer and the kid will scurry off, but you’re just practicing with this sort of conversation anyway. It gets much more interesting when you get more daring. Same set up…groceries…you’re in the aisles and an attractive young girl comes by — maybe 20, 25 years your junior — ready?
“Hey, hi. How are you?” Blank stare. “I was talking with you last night.” Usually you get a quick and definite “No.” Continue: “Sure, at [name a bar nearby]. I lost your number…wait, wasn’t that you?”
“Ah, that must explain why you’re not blushing. I’m sorry.”
Or at the gas station: “Guess how many miles I have on these tires?” No one knows so you can make up any number to keep the conversation going. “163,000 and still rolling!” Which, in my case, is a true fact. (I like to talk about my tires.) “How many miles do you suppose you have on yours there?”
In all cases the conversation can go anywhere or no where. That’s half the fun. I mentioned that this is good training for a salesman because…well…the same thing is true in sales. A conversation — even a deal — can go anywhere or no where. Getting comfortable with that fact his half the battle. And in sales, as long as the conversation is still going, you still have at least half a chance to make something happen.
So go out and talk to people. There aren’t enough crazy people of the normal kind out there anymore. We have too many dangerous crazies (Republicans, for example) ruining things. Add some fun to life.
NOTE: I am still have some WordPress issues. The link to the story associated with the picture above his here.