The Seeker

Recently, I learned about a legendary salesman the Sales Guru. They say he could sell snow to penguins in Antarctica. They say his genius stems from his charm as a crackerjack storyteller. He is a master at building meaningful and lasting relationships. He’s also known to mentor others.

I decided if he is that good I need to find him and find a way to learn from him.

Eventually, I located him in Boston. Week after week I called, emailed, snail- mailed, even FedExed my request for a meeting. My middle name is Persistence.

Finally, I scored an appointment with the Sales Guru for 7:30 this morning.

* * * *

I have no idea what he’s like. Or even what he looks like. All I heard is that he’s a charming, no-nonsense straight-shooter. What do I say? What do I ask?

Helen, his pleasant matronly secretary, ushers me into a light-filled, elegant yet simple and tastefully decorated office. There is no clutter. Contemporary paintings in muted pastel tones dominate the room. An exquisite hand-crafted oak desk stands out.

What strikes me is the lack of technology. There is no computer visible or the typical clutter of chargers for smart phones and laptops.  Not even a laptop.

I have no idea what to expect. All I know is he consistently closes major deals. … He’s successful in just about all industries.

On the hour, this old guy enters the room. He’s dressed in black slacks and a black turtleneck. This really sets off his wild white hair. His face is full and unlined. He moves with the ease and strength of a much younger man. I ask myself, “Is this character the Sales Guru?”

He sits down in his fancy chrome trimmed Aeron chair. A powerful, resonant voice booms out, “The only reason I agreed to a meeting is because of your persistence. What are your expectations?”

To my surprise, I respond timidly. I can’t grasp what is going on for me because the last thing I am is timid. “I want to become a master at the art of sales.”

He fixes his poker-face gaze on me and is silent for what seems like an eternity. I can’t read him. I can’t tell if he is offended, amused or angry.

The Sales Guru breaks the silence. “So you came looking for a solution on how to be the best. Are you familiar with the old story of the Royal Archer who travels a kingdom seeking complete mastery in archery? He too was seeking perfection and a competitive edge.”

This is hardly the response I expected. I am puzzled. What does archery have to do with sales? I summon my strength to eke out a soft “no.”

* * * *

…The Sales Guru finishes the story and asks, “Do you understand?”

* * * *


“What personal assets do you have that separate you from your competition in your highly commoditized marketplace? What mojo do you command besides your arsenal of digital tools? What training have you done on how to effectively communicate and emotionally connect with a prospect?”

* * * *

The Sales Guru sits silently breathing deeply. He stares straight at me. The longer he sits without speaking or moving the tenser I become.  Scattered thoughts swirl around in my head: Will he help me? What am I doing here? What is it I need to learn? All he has told me is a story about an archer seeking perfection.

I try again, “Will you mentor me?”

Finally, he moves without speaking. Opens his desk drawer. Removes a pad of lined paper and a wooden yellow pencil and proceeds to write. The sound of a pencil scratching against the paper is out of place in this contemporary office. He stands up and pushes the paper across the desk and says. “If you are serious about conquering the wind….”

With that, he strides out of the room. No goodbye. No handshake. He leaves me sitting there with a piece of paper in my hand.

I stare at dust motes floating in the shaft of sunlight streaming through the window. That warm light is a stark contrast to the Sales Guru’s cold exit.

Finally, I read the paper:
Cory Stuart
21 Beacon Street
One hour from now.

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Copyright© June 2010 by Larry Blumsack