As she approached the main intersection in a New England town center, she saw a motorcyclist coming from the other direction, signaling to make a left turn across the intersection. As the traffic light turned red, she stopped, two cars back from the light; he started his turn. Suddenly, a car from the crossing street roared through the intersection, hitting the motorcyclist broadside, completely leveling him. The “roaring car” then backed up and drove away.
Sternly ordering her children to “stay here,” she was out of the car in a second. Reaching the injured motorcyclist, she stabilized his body and braced his head and neck, ignoring the blood streaming from his face onto her clothes, quietly applying what she’d learned in 30 years of emergency room nursing. When the EMTs arrived, she quietly briefed them, then slipped silently through the gathered crowd back to her car, wiped his blood from her hands, and drove the kids home. (And, yes, she called the town police later to give her report.)
Her immediate intervention gave the injured rider a chance to survive; it seems unbelievable because it is so unlike our overscheduled, task focused, “gee, I’m too busy, I don’t want to get involved if there’s nothing in it for me” culture. Two cars removed from the traffic light, she could have just backed up, turned around, and driven on without the aggravation – “Hey, I didn’t see anything.”
Sales people, maybe more than others, are over-scheduled, task focused, and ‘what’s in it for me?” Particularly this year; it’s been a tough sales year for many. We are trained to back up, turn around, and drive on if someone isn’t a good prospect – time is money. Yet, in our travels, we meet individuals, business owners, and managers who, like the motorcyclist in the intersection, have been blind sided by roaring events they can’t predict and are suffering serious consequences. Maybe their sales have plummeted due to the recession. Maybe their company has been acquired. Maybe they’ve made financial mistakes. Perhaps they’ve just lost a major customer or they’ve been ripped off by a desperate employee.
Realizing they aren’t good prospects for us, we could back up, turn around, and drive on. Or, we could take a deep breath and jump in to help – listening, sharing whatever expertise or network contacts we can, based on our years of experience. ‘Though there’s little or nothing in it for us, it could be a gift that goes beyond words to give them a chance.