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Shoo fly – A lesson for salesmen


A tiny fly flew in my ear.


I pray such a traumatic experience never happens to you. The buzzing; the odd sensation that a socially-awkward, toaster salesman mistook your ear drum for your front door; the amplification of every devious movement. I have considered adding ear muffs to my wardrobe to avoid such a horrific occurrence.

After a day of incessant droning and failed attempts to excavate the scoundrel, the fly found a clue and flew the opposite direction of my fatigued drum. The elation that ensued rivaled that of a full release from the Bastille. My life was back. The relief from such an insipid annoyance was euphoric.

Following the ordeal I recognized the feeling of relief. Upon further pondering I realized it was the same feeling of relief after escaping a pesky salesman (also known as a telemarketer; also known as a blood thirsty pirate). If you are a victim, then you know the feeling of which I write. You struggle to treat the telemarketer as a human but seek to withdraw by any means necessary. You really want to shout a flurry of expletives and hang up the phone, but your self control and fear of the unknown restrain you. Finally, after 15 explanations, 76 excuses (thereby exhausting his/her flowchart), and a courageous attempt at a stern reply you are free. No more fighting. No more guilt. No more pressure. Just freedom. A call from a genuine person now sounds like the melodious swooning of Andrea Bocelli. If you are a normal salesman, then learn from this experience. Pressure, guilt, fear, and the like are awful sales tactics and result in bitter posts by web marketing guys. Be genuine. Don’t try to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. Selling is easy if the person has a need you can fill! True selling results in friendships in addition to revenue.

If you find yourself trapped (on the phone) by a ruthless salesman here are some tips:

  • Pull a Jerry Seinfeld and ask, “Now is not a good time. Can I have your home number to call you back later?” To which they will reply, “No, we don’t give out our home numbers.” Then ask, “Why? Because you don’t want people calling you at home?” After they respond “Yes”, just say, “Well now you know how I feel!” Click.
  • Act as if they are an old college friend named Jorge playing a joke on you. Continue to say, “No really, Jorge, I know it’s you man. Just drop the charade and tell me how many beers you drank before breakfast today.”
  • When someone tried to sell me, as a website guy, a new website I replied, “I can take this one of two ways. Glass half empty; you are basically trampling all over my work that I slave over for 40 hours a week and saying it is steaming pile unfit to exist on the Internet without a complete overhaul by a hotshot like yourself. Glass half full; you didn’t look at the website and assumed we’ve done a great job. We could just use some outside support to enhance our beautiful site and alleviate some of the workload.” So far, they always go with glass half full and I end up trying to sell them my services. Then they make an excuse and hang up.
  • Pull a Jim Florentine and pretend to write *everything* down that the telemarketer says. Hilarity ensues. Frustration develops. Freedom follows.

Tell me, have your experienced entrapment by an insistent telemarketer? Do you have a story of a good salesman? To preserve my self-pity, I am going to assume you have not had a fly in your ear.

One Comment

  1. Joseph Squicciarini

    I have not had a fly in my ear, but I have had several haircuts (in a row, I’m ashamed to say) during which the intrepid barber managed to blow a freshly cut piece of hair into my ear, which came to rest lying against my eardrum. WHAT IS THAT THUNDER??? I feel your pain… and relief.

    I recently had a man call my direct line with a blocked caller-ID. He explained that he was calling regarding the problems with my Windows computer and wanted to connect to it and resolve the issue.

    Poor fellow didn’t realize two things: first, I fix computer problems for a living, and second, I work from a Mac. Realizing this was a scam, I asked him if he could hold on while I got the State Attorney General on a conference call with us.


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