Pay-off: a chuckle, and some useful sales lessons

Investment: <4 minutes

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A short story this week about how I met Thor. And how it was one of the funnier moments in my life.

Oh, and this post has plenty to learn from around selling or reaching out to prospective clients in the right way — so read between every line!

I’m off to Australia soon. But right now, I’m in a cosy cafe in England on one of the coldest days of the year. Naturally, my mind keeps drifting off to the sun, beaches, palm trees and….the time I met Thor…

I was on a beach in Australia with a friend from the UK. A particularly white skinned (he reflected the sun), physically challenged friend (by his beach body, he clearly worked long hours at a desk — the sort of person who, even when he wasn’t drowning, looked like he was, or looked like he was probably about to be.)

And on this occasion, he did happen to start drowning.

We got caught in a rip in the sea. He got sucked out a few metres closer to New Zealand than one feels comfortable, and I luckily got my feet on a raised sandbank so was able to reduce my display of panic, and just enjoy watching his safely from my own sandbank.

But before you think I’m too insensitive, something else made it ‘okay’ for seeing a funny side to this situation; I realised that there was a Thor-like blonde haired, huge muscled-up bronze skinned Aussie standing on the beach watching my friend drift out and making preparations to rescue him.

I realised that Thor was calmly aware of the situation — he’d been watching for a while — he knew what to expect from thin, snowflake white ‘poms’ in his sea. We were in his territory. He was the expert. He knew the ‘trigger signals’ that tend to lead to situations where his services may be required. And as he observed, he was clearly thinking about reaching out to offer some help. He slowly put his fins/flippers on his feet preparing to embark on a rescue mission.

And, once I felt my friend was safe, I began to find this situation rather amusing. The physical contrast between Thor and my friend, the difference in the level of competence on display, and the emerging embarrassment of the situation was enjoyable to observe. Or maybe I was just laughing hysterically because I was no longer drowning. Hard to tell.

But, Thor was respectful of my mate’s embarrassment. He didn’t do a theatrical ‘Baywatch’ style rescue. That would’ve drawn attention. He paddled up to my friend quietly, and checked in carefully with a “G’day…you ok mate?

My friend sort of responded with, “yeah……… no actually.” (Preserve the ego first, then admit the truth. Ever heard prospective clients respond the same?)

And so Thor offered to respectfully tow my friend in back to shore. He said, “no worries, mate, it’s easy to get caught up in rips like this when you’re not used to it..I’ve got fins on which makes it much easier so shall I get hold of you and tow you in?”

Not a bad way to ‘reach out’ to offer help whilst preserving some dignity. Good work, Thor. You’ve done this before, haven’t you?

And he put his tree trunk bicep around my friend’s wimpy body, and then my favourite part of the story happened. My friend’s body just went limp. Apart from his sweet smile. As he gave himself up to Thor to tow him to safety.

That will always be one of the funniest things I ever saw.

Obviously, I told my friend that I don’t think anyone else on the beach saw. (Aside of the 2000 tourists.)

And if you’re wondering how I got back in safely against the rip, I think my amusement from what I had seen created enough energy for me to swim sideways out of the rip and get to safer water.

The lesson?

There’s a few. But what saved my friend and created the most value here, was that Thor was observing what was going on. He paid attention. He knew the environment. He knew the typical dangers. He knew that non-locals near a rip could spell trouble. He saw it all happening and knew when and how to put out his hand.

Not a bad way for you to get more engagement from your prospective clients. Are you watching them enough? Do you pick up on the signals that could lead to them becoming ‘stuck’? Or do you just blindly shout out “anyone drowning?” like a lot of people do when selling? Thor doesn’t do that.

Might be worth pausing to consider who’s out there caught in a rip who you could save? And what would confirm to you their status?

The tools are out there to help you. And your prospective clients either drowning or about to drown will be glad you made the effort and grateful to you for reaching out.

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