When You Gonna Call Your Mummy?

I sat next to a table in a café recently where a Sales interview was underway.

It was a chastening experience.

Carbon emissions seemed central to their product.

Whether that be in corporate credit trading or consumer greenery was beyond my earshot.

What I did hear though was an example of what happens when ego runs amok in a sales operation.

Hubris soon comes calling.

The candidate was verbally battered by two interrogators.

The junior of the pair boasted how they were “best friends”. The senior ‘taught him all he knows’. And he would similarly guide the new recruit.

The stated key to success was unequivocal;


The hopeful was further told;

“You will get 75, 76 Nos.

What you gonna do then, call your Mummy?”

It was painful listening.

Then they lathered on a typically dazzling earning potential. Astronomical sums for an early twentysomething to be fed. Followed by the job role ladder. Equally mesmeric for sure.

Cold call boiler rooms. It’s a thankless task.

Yet the bravado of those in early who made it through that hardest rung is no doubt severely stifling the true potential of their outfit.

I thought about what Martin Seligman would make of the trumpeting of ‘aggression’.

(Studies coming out of his book on ‘learned optimism‘ famously show optimism as the over-riding sales success factor, with those possessing such making significantly higher sales. I’ve also blogged on his ‘happiness‘ beliefs before.)

You also think on the perennial social media deepisms around persistence. ‘Famous’ quotes ranging from philanthropists to presidents to pioneers summon this as what sets winners apart. Watered-down rebranded aggression or a moral replacement antithesis for it?

Then there’s the real killer metric. Not calls. Not even Nos. But conversations.

Overhearing all got progressively more painful.

I even chuckled to myself at how the prospective employee was press-ganged into revealing how confident he was of success and what he’d spend £10k of commission on. Slightly cringing that I actually spouted similar stuff back in the late 90s.

If your recruiting sounds anything like these carbon boys, you seriously need to unfossil your fuel.

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