Recently I came within a moment of telling a customer that could spend $100,000 with me to go fly a kite.
This particular person, let’s call her a placeholder because she certainly is not fulfilling the role of a health and safety professional, despite her title and what she has hanging on the wall behind her desk.
The conversation started out with the standard “how are things” small talk and then got interesting. The great news was that the company has just surpassed 1500 days without a lost-time injury. Wonderful, a great safety program, great leadership or maybe it was just luck because from there the story got hard to listen to.
She told me that she has no idea how to explain it. She knows that the training their employees have is less than adequate. They do it in-house because, “it costs so much to hire a professional”. The PPE the employees use is purchased, by the employee, from an annual allowance they are given. “I see some of them wearing respirators with no exhalation valves”, she chocked out and goes on to say she hasn’t had anyone fit tested since “forever”.
Let me right now say that I don’t sell this company their health and safety products. In fact I have yet to sell this company anything. This was a cold call. How I managed to be dumped on with this, can I call it a situation, is beyond me. I guess I was just in the right place at the wrong time.
Twenty-five minutes into the cold call and I am trying to figure out how to back out of the room, get my Purell and vanish from the parking lot. “Golly Batman this is strange stuff!” was playing in my head.
How does a company get to celebrate this kind of, dare I call it abuse? It is luck. No other explanation is possible. How does a graduate of a recognized university become trapped in a position where she would risk jail time for a corporation worth millions? And why didn’t I trot into the manager’s office to offer my opinion of their 1500 days?
I don’t have the answers but I do know this. I will probably remember this conversation for a long, long time. As well I can probably say, with great accuracy, that there are many other health and safety records riding on this same thin ice.
I did leave but not before saying that I hoped she would be able to find a new employer before she got to much further into the dark pit that was consuming her. I’ve got to wonder if this women is close to having a case for stress leave. Is this a potential case of PTSD?
Needless to say I have no plans to return to this potential customer any time soon. Perhaps I will though, at some point, sign myself up for sensitivity training.
I am certainly not a super hero like Batman but I could perhaps be a stand-in for the Riddler. I finish this rant with .… When is a salesperson more like a psychiatrist than a solution provider? Don’t answer “Everyday”. How could I go to work tomorrow if that were true?