I walked into a new client’s store today literally at the stroke of 11. He owns a clock shop and all the bells and sounds went off as I approached him to introduce myself.
He ushered me to his office to get the paperwork completed and after asking a rather innocuous question, “What brought you from Romania to Atlanta?”, I sat and spoke no words for 30 minutes. After the first fifteen minutes of his non-stop storytelling, I heard the chimes of the clocks. Shocked he’d talked for so long without even seeking a peep in return from me, you can imagine how much more shocked I was when the bells tolled again at 11:30. I was ready to a. get down to business, and b. utter a single syllable. It’s tough to be silent for 30 minutes straight, particularly when someone is speaking about serious topics like Americanism, politics, and religion.
Finally, a customer arrived and cut his monologue short.
Upon his return I was able to change the direction of our meeting and get him down to business. After several attempts on his part to get side-tracked with strange questions about the process, we were finished! I began to ready myself to leave, thanking him for his business. One foot out the door, with another customer at the counter, he begins to say, “Please come by again soon! Let me take you to lunch. Just let me know when you’ll be around again.” I graciously smiled, said thank you, and said I rarely make it out his way, but would take him up on it at that time. It’s true that I never am in the area, and more true that I rarely take time for a formal lunch, but strangest was how our interaction resulted in his interest in sitting with me again for an elongated period. I think it comes down to the fact that people enjoy being listened to, and perhaps he was just looking for a captive ear. (Let me add, he’s in his late 60s, so this was not a date proposition.)
Whatever it was, it was certainly not my average sales call, but hey- that’s what makes each day interesting!