Saturday Morning Sales

Kevin Latchford


The Story of James & Melissa: Part 1 - October 31, 2015

For 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 project manager.


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…

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