Before entering the sales profession, I intuitively sold myself as one who would do well being a computer operator for a known aerospace company. The irony of this is in those days television shows pictured the old-fashioned tape drives as such that I thought those to be the computer. I knew little while having the motivation to learn.
Although Bruce, the manager in charge, did not want me near his department, I became friendly with his assistant manager, Joe. Asking questions and sharing examples of my dedication to learning, Joe hired me. Bruce was upset I was officially in his employ. Meanwhile, I made friends with all of the programmers. Although of a different personality type, they appreciated my attention to their projects and the prompt follow-through.
Mainframe computers were frequently in need of adjustments. I kept a keen eye on the gentleman in charge of fixing the Xerox computer and the lengths he went to bring it back to life. Extreme pressure was always on him because of the work dependent upon the proper functioning of the machinery. One day the stress became too much, so he made plans for an extended vacation.
You can guess what happened while the man was away! The mainframe computer came to a grinding halt. Employees were horrified as their projects were already behind the deadline. Tech support quickly arrived, but the man could not bring the computer back up to functioning well. He finally turned the equipment off to say he will have to get a more experienced representative to return and fix it.
At that point, I walked over to Joe to whisper a surprising message in his ear. My message was that I knew how to fix the problem. Only being familiar with my lack of technical know-how, Joe burst out into hysterical laughter while managing to say, ‘don’t be ridiculous.’ I countered with, ‘what do you have to lose?’
The laughter stopped while Joe instructed, I wait until he speaks with Bruce to gain permission. Bruce did not want me near the computer. But Joe repeated my words and included that the projects in question were way behind schedule. If I wasn’t able to fix the computer, there was still nothing to lose. Permission was granted.
Many people gathered around to watch me attempt to fix the mainframe computer. I did what I had witnessed many times over. All of the levers on the machine were down in shut-off mode. Beginning with the left gear, I raised every other one as high as they would go. Within seconds, the computer turned on!
Returning from vacation, and hearing about the incident, the tech person exclaimed that I was attempting to take his job away from him. Bruce went further to blame the project delays on me, although they were in process for a year, and I was in his employ for only a few months. Not too long after, I found a better place of employment.
Sales Lessons Learned On The Job:
- Make friends with everyone no matter their position as everyone has decision-making capability.
- Listen carefully to what is and is not being said; ask questions for clarification for better decisions ahead.
- Take the power of observation to heart and apply it to all of your endeavors.
- Delete judgment while carefully considering the input of everyone
- Diversity provides a broader solution for business issues
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