This one is an old story, had to search deep in the archives for it, and even though it’s not exactly a selling situation, it is a great example of just how important it is to 1) be prepared, and 2) ask the right questions.

It seems that the wet-behind-the-ears reporter was on his first assignment covering the 1995 Grand Prix of Cleveland with his sights set on an interview with Paul Newman. After hours of hanging around the star’s tent for an interview, he finally had his chance. “Mr. Newman, what do you think of Cleveland?” squeaked the rookie as they walked along the tarmac. The salad-dressing king paused, focused his famous eyes at the newbie and replied, “Son, you’ll have to do better than that. I was born in Shaker Heights.” (a suburb of Cleveland)

The reporter still has the audiotape, which contains his pleading last words, “But… Mr. Newman, please give me another chance. It’s my first day.”

The sales lesson: When it comes to developing new business or keeping what you have, your time in front of key people is precious – and short.

How can you make the most of it?

Photo by classic film scans


John Kypriotakis is the President of Lysis International,
a Tampa based Sales and Management consulting firm,
specializing in B2B Sales, Management and Leadership.

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