As high-tech was taking off in Silicon Valley, a friend introduced me to the CEO of one such company. It was with great excitement that I accepted the sales job. I was the sole salesperson and was given the opportunity to drive business single-handedly. It was a treat to be working with brilliant people. The combination of all the above had me excited to get to work on Monday mornings.
Being new to any job requires some adjustment. One Monday morning, I was the first person to arrive at the office aside from two IT people. I greeted them by asking how they enjoyed their weekend. Within minutes, the Vice President read me the riot act. I was told never to interrupt those people again. And, I was only to speak to them if they were to initiate a conversation. Otherwise, I would be fired.
Stunned, I quietly walked back to my cubicle to reach out to the advertising executives of Fortune 500 companies. It was always a treat to connect with my contacts as the conversations were genuine and insightful. And they were excited to learn about our advertising service about to be publicly announced. Prospects steadily lined up in the queue to be among the first to buy.
But, there was a noticeable in-house dilemma. The person in charge of getting the service ready for usage was never anywhere to be found. Status updates were minimal at best. It was the era of people working in individual cubicles. Each time I attempted to walk across the office to his desk, Richard was gone.
Strategically thinking, I decided to walk around the cubicles in the opposite direction. Richard never heard me coming. I caught him at his desk. Reading body language and facial expressions, my suspicion was confirmed. As we spoke, Richard never once raised his head to look me in the eye. Instead, he stared at his desk with his head hung low, and mumbled his answers to my questions.
Admitting that problems existed with the software, Richard could not give me a date for finalizing the software. He also indicated teamwork was non-existent and the executives could care less. His underlying message was,
‘Get the money first, and then we’ll have funds to put the software in place.’
My sales boundary is to put sales on a higher plane.
Integrity comes first to earn a loyal returning and referring clientele. Without proper treatment of customers, one’s personal brand will become tarnished, and then sales will never occur. There was no doubt what needed to be done.
That evening I wrote my resignation letter. Before officially resigning, an extra step was taken. I phoned each prospect to convey the following: “After we end the call, I will quit my job. I suggest you take five minutes to consider why this may be the case.” A grateful ‘thank you’ was heard.
After all of the calls were made, I promptly handed the H.R. assistant a copy of my resignation letter. The second copy went to my Sales Manager. Upon reading, he was doubled over with laughter!
A few minutes later, the administrative assistant said it was paramount I meet with the H.R. Director at once. Arriving at John’s office, I saw that his face was beet red and steam was almost rising out of his head. Attempting to control himself, he said, “Had you not resigned, I would have fired you for handing me a letter like this!”
My Resignation Confession:
During the era, I watched every single episode of Seinfeld. Toward the end, George Costanza, a friend of Jerry’s, attempted to sell the entire storyline to a TV news show. When asked what the show would be about, he replied with great satisfaction, “It’s a show about nothing!”
My resignation letter stated that the job mirrored the Seinfeld show. Not only did it prove to be unethical, but it proved to be,
“A Job About Nothing!”
Leaving the premises, I walked out with a big smile knowing that I keep sound sales boundaries, and did right by my clientele.
For added insight read the Smooth Sale Blog, “How Do You Intend to Lead?” http://www.smoothsale.net/how-do-you-intend-to-lead/
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