Heartless

Sitting across from a prospect I always weighed the value of the sale against the career gain. If I get this deal then... I was relentless with objection handling. I would poke and prod trying to uncover even the smallest doubts you had. And if you didn't sign, I would come back a week for two later and we'd dance this dance again. Relentlessly asking questions, pointing out benefits, resolving quandaries.

Each time I would go I would forecast the win in the morning meeting. Today I have a closing meeting with xyz company and they have a proposal fro abc product that will close for n tens or hundreds of thousands. I'd put my manhood on the table at that morning meeting, see, mine are bigger, then head out to conquer the world, one office equipment deal at a time. Bad ass copier gunslinger.

It was all about me. True, maybe I was not the best cold caller, hated tele-prospecting and never got excited with reports. But give me a chance to close business, then I am in my element. Because it became all about me. About me making money, being the hero, growing my reputation even if it was in my own mind. I had created an image of who I was and I was going to live up to it however that came about.  I would get the deal no matter what, understanding that as often as not, I also was the technology implementer, so I made sure not to exceed my capabilities at that end with extravagant promises. I believed in demonstrable truth as the best weapon. Because I could catch my competition in fibs all the time. They said what? Well let ME show you how thats just not possible. 

My team both loved and hated me. I put money in their jeans, but took the credit when we won and if we came home empty handed laid the blame off on them. 

The office became as much a battle field as the prospecting arena. Little whispers here and there, from me or about me. We called ourselves a team but we all just competed against ourselves. To the point a colleague reprinted a proposal to an existing client of mine and faxed it to the competition so I could be taken down a notch or two. I would be buying you a drink and thinking how I could figuratively stab you all at the same time. Our boss did his best to foster the right environment to become a true team, unfortunately I wanted to be captain not to help you but to help myself. And that is recipe for bad karma.

If I helped you, you owed me. And I would point that out when it suited me. Whats in it for me. If I am not making money then I am gaining credibility. Sure I'll take one for the team. Remember the last time I did that... 

There is a saying, 'This would be a great business if it wasn't for the customers.' I'm sure it is used in many industries. Certainly I've heard it uttered a few times in the office equipment world. Once or twice I've said it! Customers are an important means to and end. Its them and us on different sides of the field. I would only go to a client if I could solve a problem that no one else could or move a deal to close. A friendly visit was a waste of time. I serviced the same customers for years and didn't know names of their wives, kids dogs or assistants in the office. And I didn't really care. Well thats not true because I cared very deeply, but about me.

In the end, it was very lonely, stressful and not really successful. And then my heart gave out... literally.

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