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True Disasters of a Salesman

Baggage disaster #1

I've been in Cologne, Germany and I'm travelling for a meeting to Manchester, England. It's the last flight of the day. When we arrive, I wait at the carousel while all the other passengers pick up their baggage. After 25 minutes I'm there on my own watching a lonely bag go round and round. But my one hasn't shown. When I ask the staff, they just go into auto handling-lost-baggage mode. 'Fill out the form and call us in the morning'. 'But what am I going to do without my things, I've got an important meeting tomorrow?'

Next day I feel embarrassed standing in front of my audience wearing jeans and a t-shirt, they are all in business suits. Amazingly when I tell them why I'm dressed like this, a couple of them say, 'Yes, it happened to me recently too. Don't worry about it.'

Baggage disaster #2

I'm flying down to Birmingham, pick up my things from baggage claim and get a taxi to the hotel. In my room I go to take out a change of clothes and weirdly they are all the wrong size. Slowly I grasp that although this looks like my bag, it is an identical one belonging to someone else. There is a business card in it and I make a phone call. 'I've got your bag'. 'You can't have, It's in the back of my car'. 'No it isn't, that's my bag'. WHAT!

I had travelled in casual clothes, none of this other guy's stuff fits me. I don't even have my own toiletries. So I go out to try and buy some, but It's too late, everywhere is closed. I can't even brush my teeth. I hatch a plan, but It's so disgusting that I shelve it initially. In the end I go for it. I take this other guy's toothbrush, put it in the electric kettle and boil it for 10 minutes. Now I'm going to brush my teeth with it and risk infectious disease in the process.

Still alive in the morning, I borrow an ancient and tacky looking tie from the hotel clerk and go and do my meeting. The other guy with an identical bag stuffs mine into a large cardboard box and mails it back to me I do the same for him.

Air travel Snafu #3

The job has been in Dayton, Ohio. It involved spending 10 nights in a Holiday Inn there. By the time the event is finished I have a large hotel bill to settle. I go to use my credit card and It's declined, my other one doesn't work either. I can't think of any way to pay the bill. Sheepishly I call my client and explain that I have a problem and ask if she could pay me in cash. The loss of face is killing me. But she graciously agrees to help me. Then I am able to pay the hotel.

Now I head to the airport, I have a short flight to Detroit and then I'm on another one to the UK. That's the plan, but when I go to check-in at Dayton, I can't find my ticket. Thinking about it, I suspect that I have binned it accidentally when tidying up paperwork in the hotel room.

Never mind, I'll get the airline to issue another one, I think. Uh oh, when I ask they give me the look normally kept for use on the village simpleton and say, 'If you want to be on that flight you need to buy another ticket'. That's $200 for a half hour flight. Reluctantly I part with the money and leave.

If you enjoyed this article, take a look at my book.

How to Motivate Sales People manual


And if another challenge facing your business is recruiting an effective salesperson, see also:


How to Hire a Really Good Technical Sales Engineer



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