“Whatever you are, be a good one.” – Abraham Lincoln
“Whatever your life’s work is, do it well.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart.” – Colossians 3:23
The “whatever you” quotes have been serving the perfectionists in us very well. However, the curious part of my mind has always been wondering – what if I take this wisdom and do the complete opposite, and try to be as bad as possible in what I do?
Fortunately, rejection therapy gave me the opportunity in doing just that. At SXSW, I tried to be the worst promotion salesman possible. Would people reject my pitch?
I had a plan, and it worked, but only briefly. During my third encounter, the person wanted the product/service no matter how bad I was. Once it happened, my mentality switched. My desire to be successful took over, and there was no turning back. I started trying to promote and sell.
Also, since I was as honest as possible in explaining that I didn’t know much about the product, it might have helped my pitch. In the world of everyone trying to assure everyone and sugarcoat everything, a little honesty could be refreshing, if not effective.
Learning: 1. Sometimes no matter how bad the sales person is, the prospect might really need the product/service. This ought to give those in sales some hope.
2. Be honest in our pitches. There is the famous example of Avis’ using “We are #2 but we try harder” as a campaign motto. Its honesty help to build the long-term trust between the company and its customers.