A Witty Water Cooler Sales Story

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Angry customerMost of us work so hard and are so serious about our profession, that I thought, every once in a while, I’ll take a short break from the norm, and expose a bit of the lighter side of our business.  Watch for a few short Water Cooler Stories every now and then, beginning with this one.

Handling the Abusive Prospect
If you have been in the world of professional sales for any length of time, then you have probably run into the impossible, insulting, horrible prospect.

I am talking about the prospect that is abusive, unreasonable and simply impossible to deal with. The famed motivational speaker and sales trainer, Zig Zigglar used to say that there are only about six or eight really, bad, horrible, terrible prospects in the whole world. That’s all, just six or eight. But they move around a lot, so you are bound to run into one of them every once in a while. Here is a story I heard from and sales person and how he handled just such a prospect.

A Water Cooler Disclaimer
Before I share this story, I want to make it clear that I do not agree, disagree or sanction anything that happened in this incident in anyway. Nor am I giving advice on how to handle such situations. This is simply a story I heard and thought you might find amusing.

Incoming Cold Call
The sales person answered the incoming call, only to find one of those six or eight prospects on the line. The prospect immediately demanded a price for a combination of products and services that was impossible for the sales person to quote.

The sales person patiently tried repeatedly to explain and get more information, but the prospect would not listen and began with the abusive, foul language. After what must have seemed like hours, the call ended like this…

“Look! I told you what I want! Just give me the price for the one XYZ tool, right now!”

Sales Person
“As I said, Mr Abusive, they are not sold in that way, so I cannot…”

“I said I want a price now! Answer me!”

Sales Person
“Ok…Moby Dick.”


Sales Person
“I said, Moby Dick. You know, the novel? It’s the last book I read.”

“SO!! WHAT THE %^^#&*!!!bleep87! bleep* DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING?!”

Sales Person
“Well, nothing really. But I simply cannot answer the question you are asking me. So to be polite, I thought I would answer a DIFFERENT question instead, like what is my favourite book, answer, Moby Dick.”


Happy Selling!


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Originally published: 14 June, 2012