Tuesday, November 23, 2010

****Competition Isn't Always the Answer****

Let me start off by saying that there is a place for competition. I think when it comes to sports and contests and arena's where competition is healthy, I say give it your all.
But my story today is about how our competitive nature has gotten out of hand, off the track, and entered into our everyday lives.

Being in Sales longer than I care to remember,only because it makes me realize just how old this body is getting, I have always excelled and done extremely well. My Dad use to say I could sell rice to China, meaning, whether it was Advertising, Life Insurance, Office Supplies, Fire Extinguishers, Weight Loss Programs, or High End Fashion, I was always at the top.

Oddly enough, I was always extremely honest, always helpful to my fellow Sales Associates, and never felt the need not to lend a hand, or give help when I thought it could aid others in achieving more success.

I think when we are good listeners and observers the spirit finds it easier to communicate with us and through us, allowing supernatural things happen. I can't tell you how many times as a sales manager my superiors would say, you care to much about your staff, I actually overheard a Regional Manager once say to a co-manager " Don't bother to get to know your sales staff their just a means to an end."  I thought I was going to swallow flies, my mouth dropped open so wide.

We are all people, all here for the same reasons, all wanting the same things: be healthy, be happy, and most importantly be loved. It is this philosophy in which I have tried and continually strive to live my life.

When I worked in Phones sales it was like being on the floor of the New York stock exchange. People were so cut throat, so under-handed, that I wasn't really sure if I could stay in that environment. But, I was young and thought I could change the world, so I decided I would see where it went, and boy did it take off.

If you've never seen a Telemarketing Office before, just picture a huge tank of Purana's frantically searching for food.
 Even so, daily I would help someone with their script, or show them how to talk more like a neighbor then a sales person, and again my boss would say, " you know you're cutting your own throat and income by helping your "Competition." It's all in the numbers, the more dials , the more chance of making a sale.

 So in my eyes, regardless, we all had our own list and if we all did well than the company would do well, and just maybe, in turn we would all benefit.
I always believed in being a team player if the team wins, we all win, but in sales I was repeatedly told, not so much.

I was already doing fairly well, as we were given  call lists that the company bought, the yellow and white pages, and if you did well, you were given the call - ins from clients looking for your service.

Our service, was the sales and servicing of Fire extinguishers and Fire hoses, you know, the ones that are in every building and hotel, that we all just assumed were part of the design; nope, someone had to sell it to them, and that would be me.

On this one particular morning, I was drinking my coffee and reading the newspaper before the 9am whistle went off, when I noticed an article that said a Manhattan Management company loses millions in fire due to water damage.

 I quickly closed the paper, looked around the room and began to pray for it to be nine o'clock. A lot of the guys read the paper every morning, thank goodness it was mostly the sports pages that caught their interest.

If I weren't there and had this not happened to me, I would never believe the next few lines I am about to tell you, but I always say, "when you pay it forward it truly comes back."

Now the name of the company I worked for was called Manhattan Fire, (even though we were based in Queens,) So nine o'clock comes and I pick up the phone, dial the company listed in the article and I asked for the owner by name, (there were three last names in the Management Company title, and I just picked one) the young woman asked me who was calling, and I replied "Manhattan fire."

To my amazement I was put right through and I got the owner in seconds, just so you know, that never happens, in fact, getting past the gate keeper, as we like to call them in the biz, is one of the hardest parts of the job. Back to the amazing turn of events.

I go through my whole explanation about how if he had put in fire extinguishers on every floor, several feet apart, he would not be in the position he was in. Though Hoses are mandatory and necessary, they could have contained it sooner, preventing the fire from spreading so quickly, hence the need for the hoses. He listened to what I had to say, and said he would call me back later the day as he had a lot to deal with.

The long and the short of it is; He called back and told me he had thirty seven office buildings he managed in Manhattan and another fifteen in Westchester County, I closed a half million dollar deal over the phone, broke a company record for a company that was in business for 23 years, and the best part of this story;

Because of this deal, the company began paying for our health insurance, and started a management company division that included me and three other top salesman in the company.

What I am getting at is when you do the right thing it comes back, maybe not always to you, but to someone you love whose next in line, because if everyone pays it forward, then everyone gets paid.

We've gotten caught up in the stuff that doesn't matter. Keeping up with the Jone's is out of control. Bigger boat, more cars. larger house, second house, third house; none of the things we can take with us. Leaving an empire only happens to a few, and I am sure that the originator built it on sweat, hard work, and their word.

If we leave "things" behind, they eventually lose value and power; however, if we leave our word behind, then we leave a legacy of truth and honor, and on that, we can build anything... God Bless, and maybe this week, instead of us trying to out do our co-worker, maybe we can lend a helping hand instead. Patricia VanDenburg©


  1. I too used to work in sales, but newspaper sales and luckily never had to do cold calling as I dealt with ad. agencies mostly.
    What a deal! Well done you- most impressed and I hope you also got a huge pay rise out of it.

  2. Hi Lorraine Actually that was a straight commissioned job, I got one rate for all the new sold and one rate for all the service sold, so I did quite well, for a long time, that one sale enabled me to buy a Co-Op at the age of 24. I know what you mean, I was also in advertising sales, in yellow pages for 5 years and though most of it is preset appointments there was still cold calling involved. You were fortunate.