this week’s post and next I am taking a bit of a departure from my normal
approach to writing and instead going to use a very real story. It is not a
pleasant story, rather one that involves the divorce of a couple, based in part
on two very different approaches to sales. This is the story of James &
Melissa: Part 1.
James and Melissa were married fifteen
years ago. James, at the time, was launching his own business as a general
contractor. He’d been relatively successful in his family’s construction
business in a variety of roles from laborer to project manager. But, James was
bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, and decided to branch out on his own.
Melissa, having already tasted a bit of
success in her own residential real estate sales career, decided to continue
her studies and expand her real estate license to include commercial. While
James was starting his business she was very supportive, especially from a
financial standpoint, so he could fill the roles of business owner, sales, and
Over the years Melissa went from tasting
a bit of success to becoming incredibly well known, well liked, and respected
as an expert in her market. She’s become a real force in the world of real
estate sales. Much of her success hinges on her professionalism and
relationship building skills. She is a true ‘A’ level sales person. I admire
her for her accomplishments and her sales style. She puts her client’s needs
before her own. And, I believe she’s been successful because she will never cut
a corner in her sales process.
On the other hand, James has not been as
successful as he once hoped, and this is based largely upon his sales
techniques, which ultimately have led to the demise of his marriage. That’s
right, his skills (or lack thereof) in sales have had a direct impact on his
personal relationship with his wife and many others.
You see no matter where James is or the
context of a conversation, he has to always be right. Many a joke has been made
about someone being the smartest person in the room, well James is that person.
He cannot be wrong, ever. And, unfortunately in business, this has led to poor
working relationships with his clients, client disappointment on the outcomes
of projects, and even being fired by client’s mid-project. Instead of listening
and learning from each client experience, James must be right and the client
must be wrong.
As I’ve written about for a long time,
sales is a life choice, especially for an ‘A’ level sales person. And, more
importantly, as a business owner you need to become an ‘A’ level sales person.
This has not been the case for James. I believe that deep down he’s not a bad
guy. He has his moments of likability. He and Melissa have two kids, a nice
home, and good friends and family. But, there have always been the whispers
behind their backs about his attitude, which on both a personal and
professional level go straight to how he treats people. One moment of
likability cannot outweigh the ten instances of being a jerk.
For a while Melissa was very hush-hush
about her desire to divorce James. As the saying goes, “you never really know
what goes on behind closed doors”. Once
Melissa began to open up with others about her reasons for leaving her
marriage, to me something stood out, and that was the direct correlation of
James’ personal life and his career as a sales person.
Next week I will expand upon this story
and share my belief on why James and Melissa are divorcing. It is my hope that
through Part 2 of this story that you, as a career ‘A’ level sales person, will
learn from someone else’s life altering mistakes so that your own career will
continue in the right direction. Remember this – sales is a life choice
inasmuch as it is a career choice – and your sales career will impact many
others besides yourself. Until next week…