Posted 06-01-2004 at 09:19:35
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The MountainWings message "You Will Meet Them Too" reminded me
of an experience I had back in 1977.
I was faced with making a total career change, going from a
straight-salary job as an accountant working in an air-
conditioned office to a straight-commission job making cold
calls on businesses selling security alarm devices.
Making cold calls ~ in person, not on the phone ~ is one of the
scariest kinds of work most people can imagine! It was
definitely a leap of faith, added to by the fact that it was
May, and the brutal heat and humidity of an Oklahoma summer was
Before starting this job, I was sent to Dallas for a couple of
days of sales training. We were taught to walk in the door of
everything that even looked like a business and ask for the
owner. It was explained that only by making lots of calls and
presentations could we make the law of averages work in our
favor, find those relatively few people who were ready to buy,
make our sales, and be successful. That's all part of basic
sales skills and techniques, and there was a lot of memorizing
and practicing scripts, learning to overcome objections, close
the sale, etc. That's standard sales "stuff" that every
salesperson has learned.
Then the instructor said something that I have thought of
and repeated many times since, and which I will present here in
a hopefully repeatable version:
"As you make sales calls, you will encounter an average of two
'Revolving 09s' every day. You need to look forward to meeting
these people and be glad when you meet them because it means
you're that much closer to meeting the people who will buy your
product. You have to get by these people and not let them ruin
your day or affect your attitude.”
What is a 'Revolving 09' you may ask? Well, a psychological
study was done that rated people on a scale of 1 thru 9 on how
well they got along with other people. A 01 could get along
with absolutely anybody. A 09 couldn't get along with his own
"And," the instructor continued, "I've added the word
'Revolving' to indicate that whichever way you turn them,
they're a perfect rear end!"
I DID meet a number of those people over the following months
and years, but I always recalled that story and realized that,
indeed, I had to deal with those calls, protect my attitude, and
just go on to the next call. Their negativism or hostility was
something that I had to shake off just like the proverbial water
off a duck's back. Most of the time, I did and I ended up
doing pretty well with that career. It led to starting my own
burglar alarm business a couple of years later, which I ran for
many years, and from which I still draw a significant residual
I would like to add two additional thoughts:
First, often those people ARE hurting, and we may not know why.
It's easy to think their hostility is directed at us, when it's
I very clearly remember a fellow I called on one day in his
automotive body shop. At first he seemed very much like one of
those "Revolving 09s," but it also seemed like there was
something really troubling him. Although it was none of my
business, I asked, and he said that he had just found out that
his young grandson had grabbed a defective electrical cord and
been killed! It wasn't really me who was causing his
apparently hostile reaction. He was just lost in grief and
couldn't deal with trying to talk with anyone at that time. I
called on him another time, and although he didn't purchase my
product, we had a pleasant conversation.
Second, what we were taught in that sales training was basically
your Choice #2 ~ Ignore Them. Our job was to sell, not to try
to change their attitude, and there were a lot more places to
call on, so we were taught to just leave.
That's fine in that type of sales work, but obviously it IS far
better when we can do Choice #3 ~ Return Love for Hate,
particularly in personal or business situations where we have
ongoing contact with those people. However, even in a casual or
one-time contact, we do have the choice to pray for them. We
may not know what's bugging them or why they're acting that way,
but God does, and He can fix it. We are commanded to "Pray
without ceasing," and it only takes a moment to say a quick
prayer for that person, ask God to bless them and deal with
whatever in their life needs dealing with.
Is that a good practice?
Do I always do that?
No, nowhere close.
Should we all do that,
and would the world be a better place if we did?
~A MountainWings Original by Skip Houston,
Hot Springs National Park, AR~
“You Will Meet Them Too”
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