In 2008, Sales broke my heart. I took it out dancing and wined and dined it, and it effectively kicked me to the curb. My whole life, I was drawn to selling, and manager after manager told me that I need to calm down, focus, embrace the traditional, tried and true Selling Steps and Stages (networking, initial contact, first meeting, price introduction, logging all activities in a CRM system, negotiation, contract, closing, follow-up.) All I wanted to do was jump up and down, meet people, have thought-provoking, interesting conversations with them, sell them a quality product that they actually needed, and walk away.
I was told that this was not Sales.
From the start, I could always engage people – at the risk of sounding arrogant (which I do from time to time) I’ll say that it’s my gift. That said, I am (ahem) not particularly talented at some of the other (very important) parts of the sales process, like drawing up contracts. I have a tendency to ramble – can you tell?
Early in my career, I would pound through call after call after call, get several initial meetings lined up, go in and sell my heart out with success, and then falter at the contract piece, fizzle at price negotiation and end up handing MY client off to someone else who was more skilled at the latter part of the process. I never documented anything and my numbers were consistently low, even though the first 25% of the process (and what seemed to be the hardest part for everyone else) I was knocking out of the park. Sales was kicking my proverbial behind.
As anyone in an unrewarding relationship can tell you, there is only so long you can put up with this give-but-not-get ratio.
Meanwhile, I had become a father, and encountered all of the responsibility that comes with such a momentous life change. As passionate as I had always been about Sales, I now had a daughter to not only feed but dote upon, and I wanted to do that as effectively as I could. My Sales Manager at the time was, shall we say, a less than a gentleman. He chain smoked cigars in the office. At review time, he had a habit of walking through the cubicles and simply pointing at each of us and saying “You can stay” or “You, get out.” A real gentleman. To his credit, however, he took me into his office and sat me down, and with all the compassion he could muster, suggested that I try an alternate career path. So, I had a long talk with Sales and after some tears and a bottle of Pinot Grigio, we decided to go our separate ways.
I expressed a passing interest in Massage (another way to connect with people) and took it to a few movies. Massage and I got along well, and although the passion and electricity I felt for Sales was absent, it seemed more consistent, more accountable and ultimately more viable as a long term career option. As always, if I was going to get involved in something, that meant going at it 1000%. This translated into leaving my little girl temporarily, relocating to Thailand and attending intensive instruction courses to perfect my technique with the goal of eventually opening a private practice back in Holland. Massage and I took a trip together, got much more intertwined, and made a commitment.
I returned to my daughter and to Holland with my new fiance, Massage, and we began to build a life together. Massage and I lined up private clients, scouted a location for a clinic, the whole works. All this time, I was getting random calls here and there from folks in my previous (sales) life asking me for tips on how to become great at the part I had been great at – the Cold Call. They remembered that I was talented at knocking down doors and as the economy had slowed down, their skills in the second and third pieces of the sales process were not paying the rent – contract negotiation had become less important and they were faltering. I was happy to help out, as long as it didn’t interfere with my shiatsu, and conducted several very informal mini training sessions about what to say and what not to say, how to really connect with potential clients rather than sell to them, how to be genuine, and what that really meant.
The night before I was about to sign the lease on my massage studio, an old friend gave me a call to check in on me and my daughter and life in general. I’m pretty sure that everyone has this kind of friend – he and I know each other from way back; we had a lot in common when we were kids although not so much any more, and while we speak rarely, there is no beating around the bush – ever. I brought him up to speed on my new endeavor, which was by then not so new, and he called me an idiot. Just like that – he is not a man to mince words. It was pretty unnerving, considering I was putting as much of my heart and soul into massage as I could, hoping it would transform me into the Accountable Suburban Father I needed to be, rather than the Passionate Yet Inconsistent Salesperson I was formerly.
My friend, bless his heart, accused me of selling out.
This seemed ironic, considering I had LEFT Sales. He said, quite unceremoniously, that I sounded like a man beaten up, a man who had given up, a man who was going through the motions and was lying to myself. He pointed out that while I was doing the “right” things, I was describing them passionlessly, in a way he had never heard me talk about an adventure before. He said that it was like I was engaged to the “safe”, pasty faced, pinstripe- wearing woman for the wrong reasons, and I should be marrying the risky, motorcycle riding girl who makes me feel alive, even though it may mean that she stomps on my heart later.
He said it was worth it.
I never signed that lease. After my friend finished berating me, I looked into the face of what made me happy, broke it off with Massage, and began writing The Cold Call Bible. That night. The Cold Call Company and I have been together ever since, not only providing for both me and my daughter, but lighting the fire within me that deserves – that needs – to be lit.
It turns out that Cold Calling is the tattooed, risky broad that I married. We are very happy.
Daniel Francès, author of The Cold Call Bible and experienced Cold Calling Trainer, was born with sales running through his veins. While other boys daydreamed of becoming firemen or famous soccer players, Daniel knew instinctively from the age of seven that he aspired to sell. Beginning his career in New York, he became first acquainted with the phenomenon of cold calling, and was intrigued and inspired. He immediately internalized this form of marketing as second nature. After studying, fine tuning and practicing his craft, Daniel became a master of the Cold Call. In 2010, obsessed with training others to master the Cold Call, he established The Cold Call Company dedicated to the art of cold calling. He now custom designs and delivers corporate cold calling training programs and is an adviser on how to gain new business using cold calling.
Daniel can be reached by;
PHONE: EU +31 20 77 42 836
CORPORATE WEBSITE: http://www.thecoldcallcompany.
BOOK SITE: http://thecoldcallbible.