Turtle king

It’s a dark afternoon.  It’s freezing outside, and I can’t seem to sell anything.  Times like this, my mind goes back to sunnier days, when I was the turtle-catching king of the world.

At age 12, Robroy was incredibly lucky.  We had our own private pond in the back yard, and it was stocked with turtles.  My younger brother Jim and I used to chase them on hot summer days in our canoe.  As we came close, they slipped off the log and vanished into the murky gold, but that never stopped us.  The trick was to scoop about 3 feet ahead of where you thought they were going.  By the time you got your net under water, they would swim right into it.  If your timing was right.  If your aim was true.

One summer day after church, rather than go inside with the rest of the family, my dad and I walked around back to take a look at the pond, as we often did.  Now, my dad was a salesman — still is — and he could talk.  So I’m standing on the bank, listening to him explain an idea he was wrestling with, gazing at the water, when all of a sudden I see a shadow rise from below.  It was about 4 feet off shore.  A turtle pierced the surface with his snout.

Without a moment’s hesitation, I leaped.  He turned and angled for the bottom.  But my timing was perfect.  My aim was true.  I crashed onto the water with my hands clutching down onto him.

Too easy!  Skimming along the muck with him swimming in my hands, I was laughing inside.  I decided to stay down as long as I could, just to make a bigger impression on my dad.  When I could hold my breath no longer, I burst to the surface, raising the turtle in both hands.  Dad’s eyes were round as two robin’s eggs.

“You nut!” he shouted.  “I don’t believe it!”

“He put up a — hulluva — fight!” I gasped.

Dad grabbed my elbow and helped me out of the water and up the bank, laughing and clapping me on the back.  “Wait till your mother and brother see this!” he said.  “Cynthia!  Jim!  Get out here!”

As he dragged me squishing in my church clothes toward the house with the turtle swimming in my hands, I felt wet and muddy and very, very satisfied.

♥  ♥  ♥

Back then, I knew the value of training.  Anticipating.  Recognizing the opportunity.  Of diving in, giving it your all and landing the deal.  And most importantly, I knew the value of communicating, sharing success and being joyful.

And that means I can do it.  Of course I can do it!  It’s really just a matter of doing it again.

I reach out and grab the phone.

Wait til Dad hears about this one.

(read the sequel)

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13 Responses to “Turtle king”

  1. Beth says:

    Scout-

    You had to know I’d click through when you called me by my tribal name. Can’t resist.

    Three feet ahead to catch the wily turtle … kinda like the trick to breaking the board. Cosby said, and I have to believe it’s true after watching so many martial arts belt tests: You gotta think two feet past it. If you stop at the board, you’ll never get through. But if you envision your hand or foot two feet past the board, it’s suddenly there.

    Is that the trick to sales? Gotta envision what’s going to happen after the commitment stage? Start getting the customer to see himself after he’s already bought in? Hmmmm… we might just be onto something here.

    • Robroy says:

      Beth, excellent points. Yes, I think we are onto something! But let’s be very careful not to accidentally karate chop the customer.

  2. EJ Gorey says:

    It is interesting that you reflected back to when you were a kid. The thing about being a kid, is that your confidence is always high. You knew you could grab the turtle (in my case crawfish)…and if you missed…you didn’t really care, you tried again, what did it matter? You knew you would eventually succeed, and there was no pressure.

    As adults our confidence waivers, as their are fewer turtles to grab, and the capture is more important than ever. We have homes and cars to pay for, kids to feed, and it all adds to the pressure of closing the deal.

    Interestingly, desperation and little confidence are sensed immediately by any prospect, and their level of trust wanes, which makes the close that much more difficult. (If not impossible.)

    Reflecting on a time when turtle catching was fun, you were confident and care-free is a great way to settle into the right mind-set to sell a deal.

    • Robroy says:

      That’s right, EJ. We owe it to the customer to stay tuned to the opportunities ahead, and not be pressured by the fear of failure. I appreciate your thorough and thoughtful response.

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