A culture of abuse. Part IV
This guy was different, and I had to meet him. I scheduled a 1x1 with him through his secretary. Weeks passed and I went into his office. I started talking about how long it had taken me to get into the company and he responded by cutting me off. He wrongly anticipated that I had come in there to complain.
He started telling me that it was ridiculously hard and the company needed to change. Basically, it was bullshit. I waited for him to stop talking and then I continued my story. I told him that I was bored, and it was true.
He looked at me. I told him that sales was challenging but overall it wasn’t intellectually stimulating. I said it in a conversational way. He liked it. He warned me against telling someone who worked directly above me, and then the conversation started to flow. In the middle of it he gets a call from his boss, and he talks business with him for a minute.
Then his boss asks him to transfer the call and he puts him on hold. He looks at me and goes: “How do you transfer people on these phones.” I go: “I have no idea. We use different phones on the sales floor.” At this point, he gets back on the line and says: “hey I can’t transfer you right now cause we’re having issues with the phones.”
It wouldn’t be the first time that I’d see people 3 or 4 levels above me lie to their managers. The VP gets off the phone and moves around his desk to say a few more words. His energy was fantastic. He tells me to look out for good things and I take the cue that our meeting is coming to a close. I didn’t know it at the time, but he was the best example of a leader that I would see for the next twenty plus years.
Back on the phones, I had a new manager and we were being encouraged to use FUD as a sales tool. For the uninitiated, FUD stands for fear, uncertainty and doubt. Basically, it worked like this. Let’s say I’m talking to a customer and steering them towards a more expensive product and the customer doesn’t want it.
They want the cheaper product they found in a magazine, and they refuse to budge. I can insert FUD. The way to do this is to talk about the cheaper product. The customer is surprised you’re no longer pushing the expensive product. Then you tell them something like: “The product (they like) is on a short leadtime however you’ve heard that there may be some leadtime issues.” Then you tell them: “Of course I can’t guarantee that it’s going on a long leadtime….that’s just what I’ve heard.”
Now I’ve inserted “uncertainty” into the conversation (it was my favorite of the three to use). Invariably, the customer starts asking about the more expensive product. One of the things I liked about using uncertainty is that the “doubt” is created by the person you’re talking to; you don’t have to manufacture it…they do it for you.
I didn’t have any qualms about using FUD as a sales tool because my manager told me to do it. Basically, I couldn’t get in trouble for it and it worked. I also enjoyed the fact that the only thing that mattered was the number.
**This is the fourth installment of a ten part series. You can hit the follow button to receive updates when they are made.