A Little More Zip (Issue 581)

In which we are reminded to bring something new and tantalizing on our sales calls to engage our clients.

The (very welcome) rain did nothing to dampen late afternoon spirits as guests at Jan and Lynn’s annual open house crowded inside filling open space, nooks, and crannies with enthusiastic conversation.

Although we arrived about half way through the open house, I could see almost every inch of their extended dining room table supported food: right-out-of-the-oven richly gooey mac and cheese, fresh from stove top chicken wings – Jan was just serving them up when we came through the door, three types of wrap sandwiches, tortilla chips and salsa, kaleidoscopically colored summer fruit salad, some sort of supercharged coleslaw, potato chips and onion dip, and more.

I’ll admit it: I was HUNGRY. I had missed lunch, ‘though I had noshed a bit through the afternoon. After greeting two long-time friends and catching up with them for a bit, I headed to the table to grab some goodies.

The fruit salad looked good – “okay, I’ll have that for dessert,” but I was looking for something with a bit more oomph to it. The chicken wings were out – not my food plan. Similarly the coleslaw, the onion dip, the potato chips, and the first wrap  I picked up – bacon lettuce and tomato, looked yummy, bacon is not on my food plan either, so I passed it to my wife who LOVES bacon. I picked up a second wrap, discovering that it looked like pulled pork with avocado and some other vegetable-looking bits. YUMMY! So, I put it on my plate and turned around to rejoin the conversation with my friends … and then I saw them.

At the far end of the table. Spread on a platter. The raw vegetables! Broccoli, sliced carrots, green pepper slices, celery. Sitting there, by themselves, unadorned.

Now, I am not completely vegetarian. I eat, probably, one serving of meat per week.  Beans, grains, fresh fruit, and fresh vegetables are the heart of my diet. But I looked at those vegetables and thought, ” I should eat those vegetables rather than the pulled pork sandwich, but the sandwich looks and smells great – I can’t wait to try the avocado with pulled pork – and those vegetables just look lonely and boring.”

So what are we doing on our sales calls? Are we showing up with platters of plain raw vegetables, stuff that would be good for our clients but is boring, or are we showing up with something (anything) that has a little more zip to it? Something new? Some new flavor, idea, or perspective to which our clients or prospects are pulled? Are we showing up just to check in or cover familiar ground – think: carrying the tray of raw vegetables from person to person at the party – or do we have some juicy, engaging reason to meet?   Mmmmmmm… think about THIS!

After paying brief respects to the vegetables, I turned away, leaving them to their own devices or to someone with a little more discipline than I. The pulled pork with avocado was FABULOUS! I went back for seconds.

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