“Sweetie, do you want another coca-cola?” my Ma-maw asks me,
“It sure is a hot day for April so I guess I better have a glass of ice water because I have to rustle up some elevator sales this afternoon and Coke tends to make me a little high strung-fidgety, and I can’t sell anything to anyone if I don’t seem calm, you know how folks can be Ma-Maw, they’ll think I’m trying to rip them off, or up to no good, or giving them the shifty eye, or something”, I tell my Ma-Maw as I grab a bottle of Dasani water from her fridge.
“How’s the elevator business going Michele? Do you still like selling elevators? Are you still building houses? You know your grandfather, Guy would have been so proud of you Michele.” my Ma-Maw says as she settles back into her “US made” 2005, QVC private labeled lift-chair.
My Ma-Maw is a wonderful eighty-six years old and although her knees, hip, I suspect her shoulders and neck, and everywhere else on her body with a joint or rubber band connection is either in pain or in need of a cortisone lubrication shot, my Ma-Maw is sharp as a tack otherwise and her memory has never faded (unlike my other grandmother Nonnie who could do cartwheels across her art decor bar in her 1952 Appalachian Trail cabin, but whose mind started to stray a few years before she died).
In fact, my Ma-Maw reminds me that day I forgot to return her call from two weeks ago when I put her on hold and took a business call, then came back to her good phone ear and abruptly told her, “I love you Ma-Maw but this is a business call and I gotta take this, I’ll call you back tomorrow!”, I say as I quickly hit flash on my trusty new I-phone 3G.
Oooh the “Guilt from generational disappointment” has to be one of the most impressive boundary fences for most folks who walk the line of subversiveness, yet this electric fence can also be the most difficult to make peace with; lest I forget to remind you why I truly believe my Chinese Drywall experience though horribly difficult, both financially and personally, happened because I had lost all sense of business perspective by the Spring of 2010.
“Honey, come over here and rub your poor Ma-maw’s feet.”, she says and continues after a deep sigh. “Michele you can’t imagine the pain that radiates from your Ma-Maws poor ole feet”, She says as she begins the “art of the close”.
Now for years I knew I got my ability to close deals from the Peterson side of my genetic make-up but it wasn’t until this hot April day in 2010 that I realized I had gotten it directly from my father’s mother, my Ma-Maw.
“Ooh Ma-Maw are you sure you want me to rub them? I mean I’m not the best massager around, (suggesting Deanna, one of my Pickel cousins, is a much better foot massager than me) and I might hurt your foot or something?” I say back to her with a great deal of trepidation and lack of desire.
“Oooh your poor ole Ma-Maw just can’t reach down there anymore and here honey, put some of this cream I got off the QVC the other day, its suppose to have heat penetrating menthol in it. Valerie, on the QVC, says her grandmother uses it and she couldn’t hardly stand up before she started using it on her feet. And now Michele, Valerie says her grandmother doesn’t even need cortisone shots anymore. Valerie also says a lot of massage folks like to use it while they massage people’s feet. Michele, have you ever had a massage before?” my Ma-Maw asks me, as she quickly figures out the more angled approach of “the close”; always bring the sale back around to the person your selling too. Whether vanity or remorse most folks just can’t stay away from their own story, because let’s face it, everyone has one.
Never in a million years will you stand a chance with a sales person who can turn the tides on you and bring the sale back to some sense of personal nostalgia.
I’ve never figured out why most sales people can’t figure this out. “Shut up and listen”, is a constant dialogue with my brain as I approach a home elevator prospect. Ask the person about them and their issues, find out what the prospect’s “true story” is, because usually its not about just buying something from you, usually it’s about feeding a desire or need within themselves.