As in every sophisticated endeavor, in the world of sales it sure helps if you have the aptitude and character with which to begin an outstanding career.
“Character” is the operant word here. The Encarta Dictionary defines character as “the set of qualities that make somebody distinctive, especially somebody’s quality of mind and feeling.” In plain words, we understand a person’s character to be that combination of qualities, beliefs, tendencies and attitudes that builds his/her behavior.
It’s a combination of characteristics that define who the person is. The stories and teaching concepts I write about are to coach you on what to do to make your sales career and personal lives more successful. Also, to help you see the tremendous potential you have and how to use it to achieve the goals you are so worthy of receiving. While countless books and articles have addressed “what successful salespeople do”, few have described “who successful salespeople are.”
I don’t claim to have the last word on this, but from one person’s perspective, here is an observation of the essential character trait of a successful person. In fact, it’s so important that I thought I’d spend my time telling you this story.
After 21 years of marriage, this sweet and caring wife asked her husband to take another woman out to dinner and a movie. She said “I love you, but I know this other woman loves you and would love to spend some time with you.”
The other woman that his wife wanted him to visit was his MOTHER, who had been a widow for 19 years, but the demands of his work and three children had made it only possible to visit her occasionally. That night he called to invite her to go out for dinner and a movie. “What’s wrong, are you well?” she asked.
His mother is the type of woman who suspects that a late night call or a surprise invitation is a sign of bad news. “I thought that it would be pleasant to spend some time with you.” he replied. “Just the two of us.” She thought about it for a moment, and then said “I would like that very much.”
That Friday after work, as he drove over to pick her up he was a bit nervous. When he arrived at her house, he noticed that she, too, seemed to be nervous about the date. She waited in the door with her coat on. She had curled her hair and was wearing the dress that she had worn to celebrate her last wedding anniversary. She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an angel’s. “I told my friends that I was going to go out with my son, and they were impressed” she said, as she got into the car. “They can’t wait to hear about our meeting.”
They went to a restaurant that, although not elegant, was very nice and cozy. His mother took his arm as if she were the First Lady. After they sat down, he needed to read the menu to her because she couldn’t read the small print. Halfway through the entrees, he lifted his eyes and saw Mom sitting there staring at him. A nostalgic smile was on her lips. “It was I who used to have to read the menu when you were small” she said. “Then it’s time that you relax and let me return the favor” he responded. During the dinner, they had a delightful conversation – nothing extraordinary but catching up on recent events of each other’s life. They talked so much that they missed the movie. As they arrived at her house later, she said “I’ll go out with you again, but only if you let me invite you.” He agreed.
“How was your dinner date?” asked his wife when he got home. “Very nice. Much more so than I could have imagined” he answered.
A few days later, his mother died of a massive heart attack. It happened so suddenly that he didn’t have a chance to do anything for her. Sometime later, he received an envelope with a copy of a restaurant receipt from the same place he and his mother had dined. An attached note said “I paid this bill in advance. I wasn’t sure that I could be there, but nevertheless, I paid for two plates – one for you and the other for your lovely wife. You will never know what that night meant for me… and words cannot describe how much I love you, son.”
At that moment, he understood the importance of saying as often as possible “I LOVE YOU” and to give our loved ones the time that they are entitled to. Nothing in life is more important than your family and close friends. Give them the time they deserve, because these things cannot be put off until “some other time.”
You see, as I started this article, the most important characteristic you can possess is that of sharing your love and showing concern for those who make an impact on your life. And that’s done by simple acts of kindness every day. For years I’ve said “Catch people (wife, children, associates, you get the picture) doing things right… and then tell them.” Everyone loves to be told something nice about themselves. Don’t you? You are all a terrific group of people who have built a fabulous company. That’s like you! Keep up the good work and make it a habit of telling others how much they mean to you and how they’ve made a difference in your life. Talk about character building. Yes Tina, Love has a lot to do with it.
Remember, it’s in your hands.