I was engaged in a form of sales triage today, checking in with various problem accounts left to rot by other people in my office. I don’t really have in the skin in the game on these other than my time so they can be good fun. I’m essentially verifying whether these accounts were handled well, trying to discern if we have really lost a customer or if we might be able to continue working with them.
Generally I like to show up unannounced. It is simply more efficient. I do keep things professional and I only call on accounts that I feel really should be doing business with us, but there is no time to waste. I trust my gut. If I get that queasy this-is-going-to-take-more-than-it’s-worth feeling, I don’t fight on. I rattle off a quote and wait for the answer, which usually comes quickly and in the negative. Ok then! I say, and off I go. The perplexed look when I — a salesman — show myself the door often makes the visit worthwhile.
But frequently you meet the guy who wants to talk and might just need a little extra TLC. Maybe he needs a slightly different proposal. Or perhaps some reassurance. There are a lot of business owners like this out there and they’re worth the extra time…as long as it doesn’t get ridiculous. Once again, on sales triage, time is key. In and out. You can’t save people from themselves. (God, don’t we know that’s true!) I like to look at my watch when I pull the “What do you think?” on them. “I’ve got to get going.”
Pretending I am Siegfried Farnon is a great way make all of this work better. If you don’t know who Siegfried Farnon is, I must ask you to see All Creatures Great and Small, Season 1, now. It is worth it and you’ll know who Siegfried Farnon is. You’ll also understand my hats and pocket squares.
I actually closed a deal or two this way today. The people who signed will be better off because of it. I do my job well.
And I drive well. So let’s get to the best part of the day. Driving.
I found myself in Princeton, MN, which is way in the hell out of town. Having my list of calls complete, I thought I
would drive home using the dead reckoning method. I got my bearings, looked southeast toward the city, and picked a road.
The back roads drive from Princeton to the suburban wastes is a nice one. The corn, when I could find it, stood tall, dry, and rattled loudly in the wind. I took an ear or two home for the city mice and squirrels. I will throw it out back later tonight. Unfortunately I didn’t have a lot of time for stops. I detest traffic and it was getting late. Hitting the wastes anytime after 3:00 is an unforgiving nightmare.
I did find a little gem that turned out to be underwhelming when I turned around to visit. The gem is called Spencer Brookand located — as best as I can tell — in western Isanti County. From the highway it looked fantastic, but it is little more than an old school house and a church. Quite charming, though, and I am happy I stopped. It is an old settlement with a school that dates to the pre-Civil War days.
I took a few pictures, listened to more corn, and hit the road. I would write about all the hornets, the charming pond, and the very, very old and gnarly oaks, but I don’t want to bore you with those details.
Back on the highway, I passed old rotting farmhouses I wanted to photograph and another old school or two, but time was short. And, yes, I know, this post is mostly filler anyway. I will write more about love and loss, booze and pasta, politics and economics another time. I might even pen a limerick or two. Until I do, scroll down through this blog and find something better to read. Then share it with your friends and family.
I will — without shame — help by providing a few links below…
- Watching the Olympics: Pt 2, The Official 2012 Logo (alittletourinyellow.wordpress.com)
- Bob Mould and Better Things To Do (alittletourinyellow.wordpress.com)
- Wasting Moments that Might Not Even be Mine (alittletourinyellow.wordpress.com)
- Has My Love For Paper Gone Too Far? (alittletourinyellow.wordpress.com)
- Writing Other Things (alittletourinyellow.wordpress.com)