One afternoon, I walked into our local pet store, accompanied by my kids for some puppy viewing. There was an irresistible looking dog with stubby legs, a smashed face, and ears like a bat! It was a French Bulldog, or as experienced canine owners call them, a “Frenchie.” The sales person heard a great deal of enthusiasm from the kids and suggested we get acquainted with the puppy in the visiting area. Bad idea… The cuddly pup, and our family were instantly bonded, and I thought for certain that we would be adding to our pack. That was until the salesperson quoted the price. This dog cost more per pound than a Kobe Steak!
Due to our sticker shock, we would have to allow another willing family to take out a home equity loan to pony up for this pooch. I explained to the young lady that our family had typically rescued dogs that needed a second chance. We love the underdogs! She listened carefully and asked, “May I contact you if another dog comes along that might fit your family needs?” I admired her positive attitude and gave her my contact information. Over the next several weeks, the pet store girl called and emailed me consistently. I thought to myself, “A young guy would have no chance trying to break up with this girl like this!” Inevitably, like the game Battleship, one of her sales missives hit the target, “Mr. Crawford, today we received a French Bulldog that would be perfect for your family, and it is available at a greatly reduced cost!” I love a bargain, but I was naturally curious why the cost of pup per pound went from Kobe Steak to Spam.
She explained that this very special dog was handicapped; therefore, it perfectly fit our underdog criteria. She said the dog’s disability was being born with an inverted tail, which could present a variety of health issues down the road, hence the lower price…
Two thoughts crossed my mind. Where did the tail go? And what kind of handicap did she think I had? Of course, I was a bit jealous of the dog. Heck, I go to the gym every day hoping to develop an inverted tail, how did that pup get so lucky?! I told her that as much as we loved this dog, we were still over our canine quota. Undaunted, she then asked if I could recommend an alternative owner for the dog. I happily referred her to a friend, and she was able to make a successful sale. The tailless Bulldog finally found a loving home!
In my presentations to sales professionals, I often use this story to illustrate the invaluable trait of persistence. It is easy to become discouraged when you strive to achieve your objective and it doesn’t work out the first, or even the second time around. This determined young lady did not give up. Not even close. She stayed focused, asked good questions, and made key adjustments along the way. Even though I never became her customer, she gained my respect, was personable, professional and refused to throw in the towel. What I have found about persistent people is while they may have a good reason to quit, they always find a better reason to keep going!
What would happen in your organization if everybody redefined what was possible?