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Mental Floss

I received an interesting message on my voicemail from a client the other day:

“Hey Keith, this is Leonard Foley. Listen, I know that you’re supposed to come out to my house on Friday to talk about insurance. Unfortunately, my son is mentally ill, and he does NOT want you coming here. In fact, the only way that I could calm him down was to promise him that you won’t be coming. So I’m afraid that I’m going to have to cancel our appointment. Alright, thanks, Keith. Bye.”

I couldn’t tell him this, of course, but if his son is mentally ill, we would probably get along really well. First of all, I would’ve showed up to their house wearing my Coney Island Polar Bear Club shirt, the first indication that I’m mentally unstable. Then, before I even close the front door behind me, I would’ve pointed to an empty corner of the room and said, “I’m not even coming in until that son of a bitch leaves!” I would’ve then “followed” the invisible man with my eyes, until he left the house, and then I would’ve slammed the door and shouted, “DON’T COME BACK EITHER!!!” By then, I’m confident that we would’ve established a great level of rapport, but just to be safe, I would say to him, “Look. I’m not here to talk to your father about life insurance. I’m here to talk to you about the various similarities between prune juice, south Jersey, and the box of dental floss in Pat Sajack’s bathroom cabinet.” And just to prove that I was serious about not talking about life insurance, I would’ve pulled all of the insurance applications out of my briefcase…and then I would’ve eaten them. Oh wait…was that a knock on the door? Yes it was! How appropriate! The Too Much Fun Club has arrived! And they’re all dressed like vikings! What are you stupid, Keith? Your client’s son didn’t even want you to show up! You showed up anyway, and you were actually able to establish rapport with him. Why then, would you push your luck and invite more people to his house, especially the other five members of The Too Much Fun Club, a group who may very well be the five most annoying people on the planet? Well, Impatient Reader, if you would give me a chance to explain, I would tell you that these drunken, viking-clad “warriors” would walk into the house, quietly sit cross-legged on the floor, and then they would all start to play pattycake without even acknowledging our presence. If they do that, it would give my client’s son and I an opportunity to build even more rapport, for I can “pretend” to be having the same “delusion.” “Holy shit, Client’s Son! Do you see those vikings in the corner playing pattycake?!” “You see them too? I knew it! I knew I wasn’t mentally ill!” As for my client, I don’t think that he’ll interfere with this “delusion” because I’m expecting that he’ll still be stone cold silent after seeing me eat a bunch of insurance applications. Anyway, getting back to my conversation with his son, I’ll say to him, “I’ll tell you what. I’m going to go into the other room with your father and explain to him that you’re not crazy. It’s about time that someone finally steps up to the plate for you…oh, and don’t worry about the vikings in the corner. They seem harmless. I would then go into the other room, shut the door, pull out the one insurance application that I had hidden underneath my shirt, and sell my client a policy.

A good salesman knows how to overcome any objection.

cc: Crazy Town

July 28, 2005

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