I was not particularly interested in the field of sales and marketing. Yet, I found myself in my first full time job -- in sales, with the impressive and misleading designation of 'Consultant - Internet Services' in a small marketing company. It was my first sales 'call' (The word Consultant at that stage, i think was a gimmick but one that worked like a charm). The company / gentleman I was to call on was a kind of one-man show and located somewhere off Cenotaph road in Chennai.
Things against me:
1. I did not know THAT much about the Internet services I was selling.
2. It was my first sales call alone so i was a bit nervous.
3. I was prone to a chronic cough that came on suddenly in irritant spells and would not go away when you wanted it to no matter what -- water, fresh air, you name it.
So, i reach the address and survey the building apprehensively because not a soul was about. Then I learn that the 'company' was situated above the man's house, right on top of the building - 3rd floor or so. So I started to climb. Slowly, because we all know how embarrassing it is to arrive at any interview or appointment panting like a dog and with a stitch in your side...you know, first impressions and all that!
Climbing past the first floor, I heard some pattering of feet behind me and turned around to see this big dog, a retriever-cross, who even LOOKED cross, or should I say a dog that looked 'no-nonsense'. Being a dog lover you would think I was thrilled to see him. But I was NOT. This dog was eerily quiet and watchful. I was nervous and I knew the dog could smell it. I started panicking. But it was a one-way, spiral staircase and there was still not a soul in sight. Screaming out meant I WANTED a dog bite. So I uncertainly continued to climb, keeping a watchful eye over my shoulder on this stern fellow who kept following me at the same distance but the control he exercised was more unnerving than anything else. On and on I went until suddenly, I just came upon a door. I then understood what the term 'standing between the DEVIL and the DEEP SEA actually meant!
I let the Devil out of my thoughts and knocked on the Deep Sea's door. The 'come in' was so prompt I pushed the door and stumbled into the room wheezing and panic stricken. So much for 1st impressions! Why put a step at a doorway. Annoying habit some builders have I tell you!! The man (just some years older than I was)looked surprised but before he could exhibit his hiding of any amusment at my ungainly entrance, the coughing bout came on...and how. It was HIS turn to panic -- what if this crazy sales woman died of a coughing fit in his office?He offered me water at once which I wheezed, coughed at and waved away. Finally when the damn bout left me, I started to blubber about my company and its products. Turned out, he was better informed than I was and was not going to buy anything, so i gave it up quickly as a lost cause. My mind was on how to descend that what i call Rapunzel staircase (it may as well not have been there for all the steep and spirally design, HMPH) without encountering the dog again. I asked him that and he assured me that the dog was friendly.
Needless to say, my flight down the stairs was quick and painless unlike the damage to my ego!!