Billy Goat Gruff
Being a salesperson in the western counties of Washington DC has its benefits. Fewer stop lights, less traffic, not as many people and the beautiful Virginia piedmont in which to spend my days. I am able to fulfill my lust for birdwatching by simply being with clients. Eat your heart out Rex!

While driving through Loudoun County, admiring fields of freshly cut hay, I spied a picture that one would expect to see in a painting. One of those pastoral canvases filled with farm animals loafing and grazing on lush green grass with a backdrop of puffy white clouds evoking myriad shapes caressed by a Montana blue sky. I thought what a beautiful day to be alive and how lucky I was to be here. Another mile passed when something caught my eye. “What the heck was that?” I slowed and made a “U” turn.

It’s easy to make a “U” turn out here. All you need to watch for are tractors and snapping turtles.

As I slowed and pulled off into the ditch, I could here a mournful “bleating” and “baahing”. There he was, in what seemed to be an embarrassing and compromising situation. Mr. Billy Goat. This bearded old coot had gotten his head through an American fence, just as would a fish in a gill net. American fence is constructed of heavy gauge metal wire made into eight-inch squares, just large enough to get this goat’s head through but would catch his horns while attempting retreat. Have you ever looked into a goat’s eye? They have the coldest, blankest look nature ever handed out and he looked at me as if to say, “well dah.” I guess he thought the grass was a little greener.

I thought to myself, I better help this guy before he starves to death but first looked to see if anyone was watching. To make a long story short, I thought about the ANSI standards and tried to remember something about this from our safety meetings. This accident would be hard to explain and could easily put me in a situation more compromising than even Mr. Goat could understand. I grabbed his horns and it must have looked every bit as good as the World Wrestling Federation. We tussled, pulled, cussed, rolled and bleated together. What must have been going through this poor goat’s walnut sized brain. “Who was this nut on the other side of the fence?” Fifteen minutes later I had freed my opponent. I was exhausted but proud and Mr.Goat, no doubt bewildered. As I brushed myself off, we looked at each other, I lectured for a moment and headed for the car. My goal in life is to do one good thing for someone every day and today was a success. I had saved a goat’s life. Good for me, I am a good person. I got in the car, turned to pay my respects and my heart sank. Unbelievably, Mr. Walnut Brain had, you guessed it, pushed his head right back through the fence and was stuck, again!

I thought about a repeat performance but not for long, this could have gone on all day making this moron today’s only client. Try explaining that to your District Manager! As I drove off, that goat was all I could think about. Something made me stop. There must be a moral to this story and there is. One that we as a sales team continually discuss. It has to do with questions. Before you give your client what you think they need, remember to ask them what they would like to have. Many times we have a cure for our clients pain before knowing exactly what that pain may be. Remember PAR? Probe, Align, and Raise. Work together with your client, be a team, ask questions, questions and more questions.

Last time I was in Loudoun County, the fence was empty. Good luck Mr. Goat.

Copyright 2005 by Peter Deahl. All rights reserved.
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