The Sensational Salesman: A Second Chance Story: Providing a Simple Path to Improving Your Relationships, Career, and Life194
The Sensational Salesman: A Second Chance Story: Providing a Simple Path to Improving Your Relationships, Career, and Life194
Lots of books claim they will change your life, but they rarely give you a map to follow. If you have been searching for answers about how to improve your current situation, look no further. The Sensational Salesman serves as a must-have manual for achieving success in business and life. The insights in this story are rarely taught in formal education settings or the workplace, but they are fundamental to achieving lifelong happiness and fulfillment. This is the inspiring parable of Thomas Frickle, a young salesman whose life quickly unravels, only to be put back on course thanks to the help of mentors who teach him crucial lessons. It is entertaining and easy to follow. With lessons on topics such as relationships, communication, and goal setting, this story will provide you with a step-by-step blueprint for how to achieve the personal and professional success you desire and deserve. Even the most educated mind will be enlightened by the way the key building blocks needed for success in all aspects of your life are presented here. Each chapter reveals a new lesson, building on the previous one and utilizing real world examples that you can begin applying immediately. This is a timeless story and a valuable book for young and old alike.
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The Sensational Salesman
A Second Chance Story: Providing a Simple Path to Improving Your Relationships, Career, and Life
By Duane Cummings
Balboa PressCopyright © 2015 Duane Cummings
All rights reserved.
All this was new to me. Life takes us by surprise and orders us to move towards the unknown—even when we don't want to and we think we don't need to.
A Day Like No Other
It was just before 9:00 a.m. on Thursday and Thomas Frickle was in the parking lot of Discount Golf, waiting for the doors to open. He was there to pick up a dozen golf balls and take a few swings in their new state-of-the-art simulator. After that he was meeting three guys for a round at his favorite course. The trip was thirty miles out of the way, but since the company he worked for, Harvey, McGill & Harper, provided him a car and gas to use, he didn't think twice about making the journey. In fact, if anyone at work asked where he was this morning, he had the perfect answer. Right down the street from the golf shop were the offices of National Contractors Inc., a potential customer his company had been targeting. Every previous salesperson had tried getting in the door, but no one had succeeded. Thomas thought, If someone asks why I wasn't available this morning, I'll say I went by their offices again. It'll show I'm being persistent and trying to get the account open. He smiled at his own ingenuity.
Thomas had organized the golf outing to help celebrate what was going to be the biggest week of his life. The following night he was proposing to his girlfriend, Sandy Hill. He and Sandy had dated for three years. She was twenty-six and had taught fifth grade since receiving her degree in education two years earlier. Thomas was twenty-seven and put himself through college after his parents kicked him out of the house. Initially he struggled on his own, but he finally finished a business degree and then bounced around between a dozen sales jobs before landing in his current position. The following Tuesday would mark his one-year anniversary with the company. Sandy and Thomas's relationship had been pretty rocky in the beginning, mainly due to his irresponsible decisions and actions. Then things leveled out and seemed to be headed in the right direction with the stability of this job and the recent purchase of a new house.
Unfortunately, some of his recent decisions—today's golf outing, recently skipping work to tend to his new house, canceling two appointments the previous day to purchase the engagement ring—were not of the quality that had helped him create the life he was living and proud of. He and Sandy had been shopping many times and he knew which ring she had her heart set on. To pay for the ring, Thomas spent the remainder of his savings and most of the money in his checking account—and he used the only credit card he had left that wasn't already maxed out. He had also spent a ton of money to furnish the house. Now, with a nice place to live and a beautiful ring, Thomas felt as though he had set the stage for a long, happy marriage.
Thomas arrived at the golf course to find his buddies unloading their bags. They went to the clubhouse to check in and Thomas happily announced he would pick up the tab for everyone. He paid with the company credit card, figuring he'd turn it in on his expense account. Thomas thought if he told people he took the managers of the Bohemian Construction Company out to play golf, they'd believe him. Bohemian was a large, longtime customer of Harvey, McGill & Harper, and though he was assigned to the account and getting credit for their sales, they usually preferred to deal with Mr. Harvey directly. With his receipt in hand, he headed out of the pro shop with the happy group.
As the four stood waiting at the first tee, Thomas did what any respectable golfer would: he turned his cell phone off and placed it in his golf bag. Then he pulled out the ring to show everyone. The guys were stunned at the size of the stone and all agreed he had made a good choice. He tucked it in his bag and stepped up to hit away.
After the round, the friends all went their separate ways. Before leaving the course, Thomas checked his voice mail. There was only one message, from Mr. Harvey. "I have some good news and I want to share it with you. Not to worry, we can discuss it tomorrow after our meeting. Have a nice evening." There was always a Friday morning meeting that usually lasted about three hours; every department was represented. The sales updates were typically done at the end, but perhaps Thomas would get to hear Mr. Harvey's news before then.
The next day, Thomas sat in the meeting daydreaming about his pending engagement until it was his turn to report. He briefly went over his top accounts and gave the usual update, filled with fluff. To cover his tracks for the week, since he had been dealing with a lot of personal business on company time, he fibbed and said he had stopped in at the offices of National Contractors and tried to make headway with the President, Mr. Donald. Thomas said, "Mr. Donald blew me off as usual, but I'll keep trying." He also added, "And yesterday, I took the managers from Bohemian out to play golf. They are getting ready to place a large order and I'm told we're on the short list to supply it."
The room looked surprised. Mr. McGill raised his eyebrows with interest. Thomas had been hoping for something to go his way, since his sales had been flat for the first six months after arriving at the company, and the last five months they had taken a bit of a downturn. He would regularly justify the situation by reminding himself that it wasn't as though the other salesmen were setting any records either—it's a tough market out there. Marcus Wiley had been sitting next to Thomas during the meeting and was now smiling from ear to ear. It was out of character, since Fridays normally brought a frown to his face. He hated long meetings and preferred being out in the field. Marcus had always been jealous of Thomas for being given the Bohemian account. In fact, the entire office viewed the assignment of that account as a form of charity, and everyone believed it was income that Thomas didn't really earn.
Immediately after Thomas finished his report, Mr. Harvey nodded to his partners and spoke up. "Please excuse us for a few minutes, I'd like to take a quick break. We'll be back to conclude the meeting in fifteen minutes" Mr. Harvey, Mr. McGill, and Mr. Harper headed down the hall to Mr. Harvey's office. The rest of the group retreated to the break room to devour doughnuts that had been dropped off by a vendor.
A few minutes later, the receptionist, Ms. Lee, entered and pointed to Thomas. "Your presence is requested in Mr. Harvey's office."
While heading down the hall Thomas smiled to himself and thought, I've been here a year and it looks like I'm finally going to get that raise. This must be what the phone message Mr. Harvey left me was about.
As he entered the office, Thomas noticed Mr. Jones, the Human Resources manager, sitting in the corner. He thought, It makes sense. He's here to go over my pay raise.
Mr. McGill said, "Go ahead and sit down, Thomas. So, you made some progress yesterday?"
Thomas replied, "I think so. I believe it's only a matter of time before National Contractors gets on board with us, and I'm hoping to land that Bohemian Construction order."
The other gentlemen looked at each other. Mr. Harvey stepped forward. "Thomas, I think deep down you are a good young man, but unfortunately it seems you've decided to make some poor choices."
Thomas was visibly shaken. A look of bewilderment crossed his face. This doesn't sound like the start of a conversation about my one-year pay raise, he thought.
Mr. McGill stood and moved toward Thomas. "We find it fairly hard to believe you spoke to Mr. Donald yesterday, or played golf with any of the managers from Bohemian."
Thomas tried to collect himself. "And why is that?" he asked innocently.
"Because they were all here in our offices finalizing the details of a joint venture. Just after lunch we got a call from Mr. Donald about a project they wanted to perform, but they needed the expertise of the Bohemian guys. Mr. Harvey put together an emergency meeting here at our offices with everyone whom you claimed to have seen or spent time with recently in attendance. When asked, they all admitted they hadn't seen you in weeks."
Mr. Harvey chimed in, "I called your cell phone to try to get you involved before they all arrived here, but I couldn't reach you." The silence that followed was deafening.
Mr. Jones stood and spoke. "It's unfortunate, but this will be your last day with us. You know very well it is against our company policy to lie, and that's exactly what you did. Come with me, and I will help you gather your things. We'll need your company phone, your laptop, and the keys to your vehicle. We have arranged for a taxi to take you home. I think you will find we're being more than generous by giving you two weeks' severance along with any unpaid vacation or sick days you have accrued." He motioned for Thomas to rise and follow him. As Thomas stepped to the door, he looked back to find the three gentlemen shaking their heads in disappointment.
Thomas's trip home in the taxi was a blur. Full of shame, he never once looked the driver in the eyes. He pushed his front door open, dropped his stuff, and went straight to the bathroom to throw up.
He lay on the tile floor, paralyzed with fear. Thoughts whirled through his head. What will happen to my house? What will I use for transportation? How will I pay for the furniture? What about my credit cards? And that ring, how in the world can I quickly find another job where I could make enough money to finish paying for that huge ring? I just got fired and everyone's going to know it.
Thomas had recently called Sandy's father asking permission to marry her, and that conversation kept ringing in his head. Then he made reservations for tonight at the most exclusive restaurant in the city. With the engagement looming, he stood up, stared in the mirror, and addressed himself. "You brought this on yourself. You got so far off track from the way you were raised. You're reaping what you sowed."
He washed his face in the basin, thinking, Pull yourself together and make sure things go perfectly tonight. Do what you have to do and don't ruin this evening. You can fix everything later. You've been through tough times before and came out okay. You can do this. With a new look of confidence, he went to take a shower and prepare for what he had anticipated being the most important night of his life.
Thomas had a couple of hours before he was supposed to meet Sandy. She was going straight from school to get her nails done with a friend who was in on the plan. The accomplice was going to get Sandy to the restaurant and then disappear. They had planned a "special girls' adventure." Of course, when you propose, you do all you can to keep it a surprise. But Thomas was pretty sure Sandy knew something was up. Too many things had given away the fact that tonight might be a setup. He thought she had overheard him on the phone confirming the dinner reservations, and he also suspected that Sandy's mother had accidentally let the cat out of the bag.
Luckily, since the company took his cell phone, Thomas still had a home phone. He called Mark, one of the guys he had played golf with the day before, and asked him for a ride. He would probably have to call a cab to get Sandy home that night, but he could use "having a drink" as an excuse. If someone gets nosy, Thomas thought, I'll just say the company car is in the shop and break the news about getting fired at a better time.
Mark picked him up and dropped him off at the restaurant just in time to bump into Sandy at the door. Her friend was supposedly going to park the car, but true to the plan, she drove out of sight.
Sandy laughed when she saw Thomas. "I had a feeling something was up." They entered the restaurant and the maître d' quickly seated them. Thomas ordered a bottle of wine.
As he and Sandy sipped their wine, he heard a familiar voice. "Good to see you Mario," he heard Mr. Harvey say. He was seated at a table with Marcus Wiley and gentlemen from both Bohemian Construction and National Contractors. Marcus noticed the couple and gave Thomas a thumbs-up as he put his arm around Mr. Donald. Thomas tried to contain his embarrassment and anger as he focused his attention on his beautiful bride-to-be.
Marcus was noticeably giddy and kept winking and nodding. After a few minutes, he rose and approached the couple, relishing the opportunity to embarrass Thomas in front of his girl. It was in his nature to kick someone while they were down, and he saw a huge opportunity. Marcus introduced himself to Sandy, then quickly turned to Thomas and said loudly, "It's a pity you were let go today, sport. Probably should be a little more truthful at your next place of employment." He turned his attention to Sandy, who looked astonished. "Oh, I'm sorry, I thought you would have heard already." Then he walked confidently backed to his table with a devilish grin.
Thomas wanted to get up and slug Marcus, but that would only have made matters worse. Besides, Sandy had begun to cry. She stared at Thomas.
"I can explain—"
Sandy put her hand up and snapped, "Just stop! Honesty, that's all I asked of you. We promised each other no secrets and no lies."
"What do you want me to say? I was trying not to hurt you."
She blurted, "So you lied?"
His heart sank. "Yes, I lost my job and had to get a ride here—they took the company car." He leaned forward, pleading with her. "I'll figure out something, I always do."
Sandy's lips were quivering and she was trying to hold herself together. She shook her head. "I truly thought you had changed."
Thomas knew there would be no engagement now. Sandy didn't say another word. She rose from the table and walked out of the restaurant, never looking back. He wanted to chase after her, but he thought it would make things worse.
Shattered, he finally stood, left some money on the table, and slipped out of the room quietly. He lingered in the doorway for a minute, trying to determine his next move. He lived thirty minutes away, had no car, no cell phone, and it was pouring rain. He pushed the door open, defeated, and walked out into the rain. He thought about taking a cab, but he figured he needed to save every dime. In a feeble attempt to stay dry, he pulled his jacket over his head and started down the deserted sidewalk.
After walking about a block, Thomas was startled when someone honked behind him. He looked back just in time to be doused by a passing vehicle plowing through a puddle. Thomas cleared the water from his face and saw a shiny black Range Rover pull to the curb and screech to a halt ahead of him. The brake lights illuminated the tag, which read SNSATNL. A man got out of the SUV, popped open an umbrella, and ran toward Thomas. He was of medium height and had short hair.
The man said, "I am truly sorry. I tried to swerve, but almost hit another car." The man used the umbrella to shelter Thomas from the rain, but he was already soaked. "Look, I really am sorry."
Thomas tried to shake off some of the water. "It's okay. As weird as it may sound, I probably had it coming."
The man gave Thomas a puzzled look. "Can I drop you somewhere—anywhere?" He opened the door and motioned for Thomas to get into the vehicle. "It's the least I can do." He motioned again and looked to the sky. "C'mon, get in. I won't take no for an answer."
Thomas took a long look at the man, and then stepped into the SUV and the man shut the door. He quickly went around the vehicle, closed his umbrella, and climbed in behind the wheel. "So, where to?"
"Just up a couple of blocks, please. I think there's a bus stop there."
The man shook his head. "No bus tonight. Not after the super soaking I gave you. Let me drop you off at home, if that's where you're headed."
Thomas wiped his face with his sleeve. "Thanks for the offer, but I can take the bus. I live a long way away."
"Why don't you let me decide if it's a long way," the man retorted.
Thomas sighed. "I live out in Cheshire Heights—you know where that is?"
The man beamed. "You bet, I have to go right by there. My house is on the lake. So, it's no trouble at all and you'll be home and dry before you know it." He reached for his cell phone and dialed a number. "Hello, beautiful. Yeah, it's coming down hard here too. Just wanted to let you know I'm going to be a bit late. No, no problems." He smiled at Thomas. "Just helping someone out. I'll call you when I get close. Love you too." He shut the phone off.
Excerpted from The Sensational Salesman by Duane Cummings. Copyright © 2015 Duane Cummings. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
ContentsChapter 1: A Day Like No Other, 1,
Chapter 2: A Foundation Built on Honesty and Integrity, 12,
Chapter 3: Values and Beliefs—What Do You Stand For?, 26,
Chapter 4: Communication—What Are You Really Saying?, 41,
Chapter 5: Relationships Are the Breath of Life, 53,
Chapter 6: Common Courtesy Isn't So Common Anymore, 64,
Chapter 7: Please Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover, 72,
Chapter 8: Your Attitude Is Everything, 81,
Chapter 9: What's Your Purpose in Life?, 94,
Chapter 10: 1,440 Minutes Make Up a Day, 101,
Chapter 11: Dream Big—I Triple Dog Dare You!, 110,
Chapter 12: Goal Setting—Take It One Step at a Time, 121,
Chapter 13: If You Want a Better Answer, Ask a Better Question, 130,
Chapter 14: Branding Isn't Just for Cattle, 142,
Chapter 15: You Are the Business Card, 156,
Chapter 16: Leaving a Legacy of Giving and Serving Others, 177,