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Sunday, July 30, 2006

The #1 Rule of a Salesman

For a free-spirited person as myself, I have held the conviction that for the most part conferences and conventions, and these sort of things, are mostly ample amounts of time to sit and doodle. Every now and then an eccentric founder or motivator, from admist the dull speeches and plain faces, gets up with pink courdoroys or purple hair, and will divert my attention from playful daydreams so that I may be able to come away with a point or two in catchy phrases.
However, last weekend, I attended this meeting in Nashville on this healthy chocolate product. The very founders of this company flew in from Nevada. I actually shook hands with the founder and inventor, a lady who was a diabetic who decided to combine the antioxidants in dark chocolate with the antioxidants in the acai berry found in the Amazon rainforests, which gave birth to Xocai products. All this modern talk on the importance of antioxidants has much to do with the modern world's fear of cancer. Cancer is caused by free radicals inside ourselves. An antioxidant kills these free radicals, therefore anything with a high percentage of antioxidants is extremely effective in fighting off cancer...and many other physical ailments. What science is just finding out is that dark chocolate has the highest content of antioxidants of any food, which makes true dark cacao extraordinarily healthy as well as marketable.

Well, the conference poured this information into us and we sat, listened, and soaked in everything. I rode up to this meeting from Alabama with my dad and this friend of his whose name is, no joke, Bill Sales...and he is a master salesman. My dad's not too shabby either. But Bill has the natural affinity of the salesman...he likes to talk, and talk, and talk. He keeps his hair combed back and resembles an older version of Elvis. So we all ride to the hotel in Nashville, and there we met my friend, Rob Scott. Rob drove from Atlanta and he has this professionalism that I fail to possess. Where Rob is anxiously taking notes; I'm sitting beside him wondering when they're going to pass around the free samples again. On Saturday, Rob was the only one at the entire conference wearing a tie; I wore blue jeans and a wrinkled up T-shirt.

The motivation that is propelled from these conferences is amazing. In the course of a couple of hours, commitments are made, plans are constructed, courage is revived, and zeal is unleashed. Rob couldn't keep still in his chair; he couldn't wait to get out to the first individual who crossed his path...he was going to sell some serious chocolate. This enthusiasm came into play as we were riding down in the elevator with the pizza delivery man, when conversation was conducted, by Rob, and a vague interest was perpetuated by the pizza man. Formalities these days are to such niceties that you can never tell the difference between interests. Interests in opportunities; interests in only be nice; or as in this case, as you shall see, interests in something else. The Dominos man answered us that he wouldn't mind hearing our salespitch. So the enthusiast, Rob, gave him his room number. The Dominos man replied with a thank you and then walked away excited.

Well, the meeting ensued and as soon as the doors were reopened, Rob and I had a plan. We were both starving and desiring to advertise our chocolate, designed to order a pizza and have our aforementioned pizza guy deliver it. The phone rang in Rob's room and it was none other than the pizza guy off work and desiring to hear the spill. At the same time that Rob's on the phone, the cogs began turning and I realized that perhaps inviting the pizza guy up was a big mistake. It never escaped our notice the pizza delivery man was on the pervasive effeminate side, strictly speaking, he was outright gay...there was no mistaking that. But his extreme openness was, well, too open. As soon as Rob had told him he should come over and had hung up the phone, I exclaimed, "Rob, do you realize what you've just done? This gay pizza man is being led on; he wouldn't come over just for chocolate."
Rob had already slapped his forehead and said, "I know. He just mentioned to me on the phone that he gives good massages."
A good deal of laughter, dread, and chaos swarmed about the room. A panicky question erupted, "What shall we do?" The course decided upon was to get either my dad or the irrepressible, Bill Sales, in the room with us. I couldn't help but laugh at all four of us crowded in this hotel room, with this homosexual pizza guy coming up in the hope of goodness knows what, carrying with him his masseuse table and oils possibly.
We both ran downstairs to the lobby to announce to any help possible our strange plight. I approached my father, and proceeded to tell him our entire predicament. My dad laughed and said that he was sorry we were on our own on this one. And then he gave us the #1 rule of the salesman, always meet the gay guy in the lobby not the hotel room. So we apprehended him in the lobby and got all 5 generations of the chocolate company to pitch him the product. He revealed to us that he sells cosmetics the same way and, after a little while, he walked away I think disappointed in what we perhaps didn't have to sell.


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