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The Fourth Way

Story - Expanding To Fill My Territory by Michael Boulger

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Expanding To Fill My Territory by Michael Boulger

I do sales.

When seeing one of my clients (a retail store) he told me about a near sale we could have had together if we had kept a certain product.   I informed him we still sold the product, just not through dealers.  I told him I would cut him in on a commission if I got the sale. It was a HUGE amount of product that was needed.  As much as a month's worth of sales for our whole company (3 sales people). 

I called the lead and he took my email address to pass on to the specific project's new manager.  That project manager then went on our website and sent us an email, that same day, through our general information email address.   The lead went to our Commercial Manager (I am the Retail Sales Manager) as it was a commercial project.  I came back to the office that day to find samples waiting at the front door to go out by courier to this same company for which I had received the lead.  I hunted down the Commercial Manager!

We talked a bit and he would not give up the lead.  I appealed to the manager and he said to work it out between us.  So, the other manager and myself agreed to talk the next day.

Through a night of thinking I made the decision that I was willing to split the order 50/50.  I could see his point.  However, I still felt it was unfair as my customer had found the lead and passed it to me.

The next day, as I walked to work, I used a technique called "Pre-Paving".  (Lynn Grabhorn, "Excuse Me Your Life is Waiting")  I imagined everything going smooth and the two of us actually feeling friendly towards one another afterwards.  At that point I did not care whether we split it or not.

During the meeting I explained my point and then he explained his.  He became angry at one point and spoke loudly for a couple of minutes. I felt feelings of defensiveness during this time.  The mind began creating rebuttals. I noticed then feelings of hopelessness and anger.  I could see us having a big argument.  Goodbye to my pre-paved outcome.  "Oh yes!  My pre-paved outcome!" I thought.  Quickly, I took my focus off the arguments the mind was building and the agitation the body was feeling, and I placed my focus on breathing deeply and diaphragmatically.  I began to feel peaceful.  Near the end of his speech he said something and I found I had a clear response to that something.  I understood why the lead was totally mine.  I spoke this fact to him.  He stopped speaking and looked at me.  He said something like "This is fucking ridiculous!" and stomped out of the room. 

We didn't talk for the entire day.  I did extend to him at the end of the day to see what was going on for him.  He would not talk at that moment.  But 5 minutes later, as he was about to leave, he came over to me.  He put his hand on my shoulder and said "I can't believe I'm about to say this."   "I was wrong," he said, "The lead is totally yours."  I was floored!  

This was a dollars and cents lesson ($2000 in commission paid out to the original client of mine and double that to me) that the most important thing in any moment is state maintenance – keep your emotional state calm and your mental state focussed on the outcome you want. Arguments and rebuttals beget more of the same!

Michael Boulger