Donald the management consultant arrived late to a public sales seminar I was conducting.
The rest of the participants arrived early for their 8.45am registration and had been chatting amongst each other. He apologised for being late and then rushed in and sat down. His body language was stiff and noticeably anxious. Although now behind schedule, for Don’s benefit, I asked everyone to again quickly introduce themselves and describe what business they were in. All were happy to oblige.
A couple of minutes into the introductions I sensed Don’s energy. He seemed disengaged and uninterested in the stories the others were sharing. I continued into the morning break paying extra attention to him but not at the detriment of anyone else. As soon as the other participants left the room for the break, he approached me and explained the seminar was not what he had expected.
Don had white-grey hair and the lines on his face told me he was in the twilight of his career. He looked stressed and his desperation was obvious. He thought the content was about generating more leads. I explained this was not advertised – the session is about the ‘sales fundamentals’ – things that are easy to do but easier to forget. He responded, “No thanks, I’m really busy, I just need more leads.” His comment didn’t make sense to me, yet hearing the resolve in his voice, I explained that’s not our content for today and offered a refund. With half a foot out the door, he promptly agreed, but pretended he didn’t care about the money.