Whenever I do a workshop or a keynote (link for video clip of following discussion )for group that is about selling, I almost always talk about one of the 9 Keys To Successful Selling - the key of persistence. And I generally make my point by asking the audience a question and having the following dialog:
How many of you here today have a dog? Have you ever had a dog? Know someone with a dog? Good, that covers everyone. You ( I pick someone from the audience), what kind of dog do you have? Is it big or small? How long have you had it? Is it an active dog or one that just lays around the house waiting for something to happen?
We have a dog in our house; her name is Coco. She is a shih tzu poodle and she's been with us a long time. When we first brought her home, she was brown like cocoa; however, within a year, she turned grey. We thought about changing her name but we didn't think we should change her name to Grey or Grace or anything like that, so we kept the name Coco.
Now, when the doorbell rings at your house, what does your dog do? You, Sir, what does your dog do? And you, Ma'am, how about your dog?...Right! It starts barking. And where does the dog go?... Yes, straight to the door! Does the dog just slowly kind of make its way to the door? Noooo! It runs to the door, body gyrating, tail wagging, maybe jumping up and down a little. You make your way to the door, while the dog is looking at you with a look that says, "What are you waiting for? There's someone out there!" (During this conversation I'm prone to run around on the stage, wagging my tail acting, or attempt to act,like a dog.) So, you finally open the door...and what? (I very deliberately put in a long pause and look expectantly out over the audience) I finally ask..."Is it ever for the dog?" (The crowds laughs with understanding)
At a very young age, when someone would ring the door bell, Coco learned to start barking and run to the door. No matter what time of day or night, when the doorbell rang, Coco would bark, and run to the door. It could be just minutes apart, days apart or weeks apart. It didn't matter. And now, if that doorbell rings, Coco is still running to the door just like she did the first time and the last time. She waits there impatiently, looking at me expectantly with a look that says, "C'mon! Hurry up and open the door; maybe this time it's for me!"
But, it never is. It is never for Coco. Not once has the neighbor dog come over to visit with Coco. (More laughter) [Click here to watch the video]
Mark Trinkle works with our company and has for several years now. He has a beautiful daughter, Madison. Occassionally, Coco is at the office. One day, Madison came with her dad to the office and Coco was there. She asked Mark what Coco was doing at the office and Mark told her that she runs around the office. When Madison and Mark got home, Madison announced to her mom (Kim) that she met Coco and Coco runs the office.
The story about Coco and the doorbell is a story of persistence and mental attitude. An attitude that is critical for those in prospecting and sales. It's an attitude of "maybe this time", even after all the rejection you have faced. After all the years that Coco ran to the door thinking "maybe this time", she never gave up.
About 6 months ago, Coco, the sales dog who ran the office, was diagnosed with lymphoma. We provided Coco with medication to slow down the progress of the disease, and over the last several weeks, we also gave her some pain meds to ease her discomfort. Over that time period, her runs to the door ceased. Along with poor vision, poor hearing and ailing body, she was more prone to just sit at the top of the stairs and quietly observe the comings and goings of everyone.
Truly, I don't think she gave up. I think, if she were able, she would have preferred to run to the door and greet whoever was there. Because over the years, she learned that even if it wasn't for her, she still wanted to greet the visitors just the same. Because over the years, our visitors - The water guy, the window cleaning people, the lawn people, the nurses that care for Anthony, Alex's school chums, Steven (our nephew), Jeni (my sister-in-law and our CMO), Mark, Madison, Walt, Chris, Whitey, Jim, Don, Rick, Rich, Tom, Doc, TMackey, UPS, Fedex, USPS, Girl Scouts selling cookies, Jim and Betsy, Traci, Pam and an endless number of other people - all became prospects and, eventually, clients of Coco. They loved her, and she loved them. She greeted them, they petted her, talked to her and, sometimes, if they knew where the snacks were, they provided her with a treat.
Years ago, when I was a kid back home in Hammonton, NJ, I lived on a farm. My dad, Ray, was the foreman on the 400-acre blueberry and peach farm. Dad raised hunting dogs. Exclusively rabbit hunting dogs. His all-time favorite was Tootsie. She was a "low to the ground", long-earred, black, tan and white beagle. She was pregnant and, unfortunately, died giving birth to her puppies. My dad took her to the vet, and the vet told my dad that there wasn't anything he could do. His best and most humane option was to put her to sleep. My dad was tough as nails. Never saw him cry until that day. As a young, cocky teenager, I didn't get it. "Come on, dad, it's just a dog."
Now, I understand. Yesterday, we had to put Coco to sleep. Life just got too tough for her. Our vet told us the day would come, and we would know it when we did. I got up yesterday and started the usual routine of starting the coffee, turning off the alam system, and looking for Coco so I could let her outside. Unlike most mornings, she didn't follow me out of the bedroom. I had to go and find her. I found her under the kitchen table and she wasn't moving. I went over to pet her. She woke up and struggled to stand. I picked her up and brought her to her water bowl where she drank like she was never going to drink fresh water again. I carried her outside where she attempted to "do her business", without success. Then she just stood there and didn't... couldn't, move. I picked her up and brought back in to her place on her dog bed in front of the fireplace. When I put her down, she just fell over, no longer able to stand. I knew the day had come.
Our daughter, Alex, came down from UD (University of Dayton). She, Linda and I went with Coco to the vet. We held her, we cried, we said our goodbyes and thanked her for all the wonderful love and fun she gave us. I told her she would be in heaven (all dogs go to heaven) and she would once again chase rabbits and birds and, once again, run to answer the door.
Friends, thank you for indulging me today as I share my...no, our loss. Just part of the grieving proces, I think. But, I also wanted to leave you with the Coco the Sales Dog story. It has entertained people for years in all my keynote presentations, and I hope it entertained you here today.