Archive for October 2012

You are very lucky to be reading this update, but not as lucky as I am to be writing it. Let me explain…

Last week I attended a lunch time networking meeting – always a great place to meet new folks, mingle and get on their sales radar. At the end of the meeting I headed out of the hotel to the car park. I was thinking of the phone calls I needed to make whilst en route to a client meeting and practising the conversations in my head.

As I headed down the drive from the hotel to the car park I noticed a large black and grey coach with tinted windows parked across much of the car park entrance. The coach looked more abandoned than parked and a small gaggle of people were chatting and milling around at the front of the coach. The coach and crowd combined were in direct line with where I needed to get to, to get my car. And I was a busy self-employed sales executive, in a hurry.

Still focusing on those phone calls, I started making my way through the folks with an ‘excuse me’ and ‘can I get through to my car please?’ but progress to my car slowed. Then there was one (very large) chap with his back to me, trainers, tracksuit and a hoodie, shuffling around. My first ‘excuse me’ had no effect and so I patted him on the back (well he was quite tall, and I’m not, so it was really just above his waste) with another exasperated ‘can I get to my car please? ‘.

At this point the man in the hoodie and tracksuit turned around and glared at me.  I looked into his eyes and my brain had that ‘I know that face’ recognition moment, but I couldn’t quite place the name. He said nothing but half raised a clenched fist and it was at this point I realised who was in front of me: former heavy weight world champion Mike Tyson! I mumbled  another (but in a slightly more feeble voice) ‘can I get to my car please?’ and pointed to where I was trying to get to. Looking back, I like to think that Mike threw me a half-smile as he seemed to move back and make way for me without moving his feet at all. I quickly walked past, got to my car and let myself in.

As I started the car engine I had another look over at the coach and scene before me. Only now did I read “Team Tyson” on the side of the coach and on the track suits worn by his attending staff. The coach had to stop where it had as it was way too big to fit anywhere else and was the closest spot to the hotel for Mike (as I now like to call him) and his entourage to check in.

Perhaps this story helps to remind us that – occasionally – we need to stop focusing on the detail, lift our heads up and have a good look around at what else is going on. Understanding the relationship between content (detail) and context (environment) is an important one in the sales process as it helps us to make better decisions. Sometimes these decisions may be life-threatening!

So, Mike if you’re reading this, let’s call that first encounter a draw, eh? If you fancy a rematch let me know, pick any hotel car park… and I’ll see if I can fit you into my busy schedule.