About Me

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I am a full-time mama with a passion for writing and talking to fascinating people. I live in a one horse town with a Cowboy and my son. Thank Lord for cyberspace! I lived a colourful life in Sydney for a number of years. Working in advertising and journalism for FPC and the Sydney Morning Herald. During my time in Sydney I competed in a Dragon Boat race, choreographed a dragshow, used the Share Accomodation advertisements as a way to meet men and was told by Noiseworks frontrunner Jon Stevens that I was a bitch! Then came the decision to move back to country for 3 months to help out my Father with newspaper business while he was having treatment. Convinced I was a city girl I was caught by surprise when I fell in love with a farmer (and no, he didn't want a wife... still doesn't it seems!) convinced him that we needed to see the world, popped off to Vietnam to teach english in Saigon - before realising that the "food" in Nam didn't agree with me... turned out to be Monte - my son who is now with the Cowboy and I back in country NSW! I am in a wonderful stage of my life where I am focusing on the things that really make me tick. Including writing these chronicles.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Cold Call that Changed Things - Part One

(the relevance of this odd pair of pics will make sense later...)

Sometimes a chance meeting with someone can start a life-long friendship.
One of my most unexpected experience with this came about back in my days of selling advertising in Sydney.
A cold call to a high end furniture company changed a lot of things in my life both professionally and personally.
Little did I know the day I made this cold call, I was about to meet a man who became not only my biggest advertising client,
but strangely, a bit of a Guardian Angel.

This is part one of the story.

It was early in the naughties. I was a determined sales person, still young and naive.
At work we seemed to spend our days flicking through competitors magazines to source potential advertisers.
My boss was always at me to ring this particular furniture company.
Advertisements seemed to grace every publication known to man, except ours.
So, I did as I had to and made the dreaded cold call.
"Good Afternoon" A posh sounding Englishmen answered.
"Oh Good afternoon," I said boldly trying to over-compensate for my nervousness.
It didn't matter how many years I did telesales - the cold call was never easy.
"Could I speak to the person in charge of your advertising please?"
"What have you got?" he replied bluntly, and scarily.
"Oh umm... I'm calling from the Wentworth Courier and um... I just wondered if you would be interested in advertising we have..."
Long conversation short - on the line was a man by the name of Frank the managing director of what seemed to me to be a very posh furniture company.
It wasn't like my usual cold call where I was either shafted by the gatekeeper and asked to leave a message or call back, nor was I fobbed off with "just send me some info" it was as though this man was testing my sales skills.
"Why should we spend $100,000 with you?" he asked.
" Oh, " I said, having been caught completely off guard by the enormity of the figure thrown at me
"Oh there are many many reasons" I replied eagerly, my brain running riot trying to come up with a succinct answer to this question.
I thought I heard a laugh on the other end.
The conversation went on like that, the Englishmen challenging me at every turn and usually laughing with my off-the-cuff obviously unrehearsed sales spiels.
I certainly was not one of those sales people who rang with a script in front of them.
I was more an 'improv' type and I was ad-libbing for dear life here, I could smell a potential sale!
I remember hanging up the phone and telling my colleagues about the bloke that I had just spoken to.
"My God, that was the most challenging sales call I have ever made!
"He really tested me - but I reckon I can get him" I said.
And so began the emails.
Frank asked me to email him some reasons why he should spend his money with us.
He really drilled me and threw in cheeky comments wherever possible.
I showed him that I could match his wit and boldly kept throwing facts and figures at him determined to win his business.
He would argue.
I would argue.
He would taunt me with talk of big spending...
I kept at him.
Then he started barking when I rang totally throwing me off-guard
"Pardon?" I said
"You know what you remind me of" he said
"What?" I asked, not sure I wanted to know the answer
" A Staffordshire terrier - once they have a bone they won't let it go"
And so it began - from that moment on, whenever I rang, I was addressed as "Staffie" - not the biggest compliment I had ever been paid.
But instead I ran with it.
I put together my first ever sales presentation with facts and figures and all the bells and whistles.
Although fairly new to the advertising sales game - I knew this bloke just wanted to be convinced.
So, with the theme of DOGS I put together a PowerPoint presentation: Staffie's Guide to Why you should Advertise with us.
The presentation was overflowing with bad dog jokes.
"You'd be barking mad not to advertise in the Wentworth Courier"
"Our competitors are doing it Ruff Ruff Ruff compared to us"...
Frank travelled from the Southern Highlands to Sydney for this sales pitch.
I was completely anxious and nervous about it. Completely maybe an understatement. So, so nervous.
While having a ball putting together this non-traditional sales pitch, little did I know this intimidating and powerful man was not only about to win me my largest sale, but also become the mentor I didn't realise I needed.
I will never forget when we first met in person he exclaimed
"Oh! You are not a Staffie! You are a greyhound!"
and so began the presentation seamlessly continuing the myriad of dog breeds and jokes as metaphors for why he would reach his target audience with our publications.
The 'poodles' from the Eastern Suburbs and so forth.
He was impressed!
I am certain my boss thought I was completely mad (she came along because I was so nervous!)
But when he signed up there and then committing to a massive spend with our company it was the most fabulous moment of my career.
He sang my praises to my boss.
Suddenly all the grilling and testing he had put me through had been worth it.
This stranger from the South had done more than make me look good to my boss. He had challenged my capabilities and given me a sense of confidence that I had been seriously lacking. Looking back this was a pivotal moment in my life...
But.............. this is just the beginning of the story.....

For part two go here

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic story thus far - looking forward to part two...


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