Archive for June, 2010

The Sales call where I stepped in s_ _ t and came out smelling like roses—

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Lesson learned: The power of focusing outward, versus inward.

On Friday I met a co-worker to go on a new business call. On our two-hour drive, we had plenty of time for her to update me on what she knew already of the client. I had done my research on line so was prepared with the questions I needed to ask, and with information I knew they wanted from me.

The building was elegant with a fountain and crystal chandelier as you walked in the door.  I was dressed in a suit and pumps (I did skip the stockings…it was an awfully hot day!) and excited about the opportunity. After we signed in, I asked to use the ladies room. The client walked me to the door of a one room unisex bathroom and told me where to meet them. I thanked him and opened the door of the bathroom and stepped into the dark……..

I felt water go into my right shoe just as I turned on the light. Yes, there was water, lots of it. And it wasn’t just ordinary water…it was water that was at one time in the toilet with other things…the remnants of which were floating all around my foot.  It was very squishy…

I gasped and stepped back out into the hallway and closed the bathroom door. I stood there hyperventilating. My rationale self started to come back around. “I can handle this,” I said to myself.  After all, I have kids, dogs and cats.” “I’ve swam in lakes with lots of unknown things in the water.”

One thing was for sure.  I wasn’t going to go into the meeting with my “foot” that way! I needed another bathroom. I waited about a minute, as I wanted to make sure the “eeeeee-uuuuuuuu!!!!” expression was off my face. I walked, with one foot going “squish” as I stepped on it, to the client’s office and said I needed another bathroom- that one had a little water problem.

I took off my shoe and put it under hot water. I took soap and washed the leather outside and inside the shoe. I put my foot up on the sink (hard to do with a skirt on) and washed my foot with soap and the hottest water I could stand! I dried everything as best I could.

I made a conscious decision during my “wash” time that this incident was not going to “come with me” into the sales call.

The call went really well, and I am confident it will lead to business. I know that would not have been the case if I had not given myself a few moments to release the situational stress before the call.

So, Lessons Learned:

  1. Sales calls only work well if we are focused on what is going on with the client, not with us.
  2. Facial expressions can give us away, way before our words do. Be cognizant of the messages we are giving with our body and our voice.
  3. A minute or so of time to refocus after a stressful (& in this case down-right disgusting!) experience helps us separate the two events so the problem doesn’t impact both situations.

And you’re wondering if my shoes survived the submerging and rigorous washing? Yes, they did—no worse for the experience actually. My first thought was to throw them away but hey, maybe these will always be my lucky shoes-my reminder that you can step in it and still come out smelling like roses.