08 Apr 2014

I’m having pigeon problems. Not Pidgin problems, I’m talking actual birds here. What’s worse there seems to be a consensus among my friends that I shouldn’t just shoot them, so I’m stuck resorting to more benign tactics. Thing is, I don’t speak pigeon and - after the last week - I’m of the position that pigeons don’t respond to reason. Here’s how it went down … 

Google provided me with a list of things pigeons don’t like. After review, and many years as a bird owner myself, I decided “sticky feet” was the best opening strategy. Off to the Walgreens I went where I purchased a giant tub of knock-off vaseline. I got home, gloved up, cleaned and lubricated the railing. While I basked in the glow of my cleverness, giggling and rubbing my hands together, waiting for my first avian victim to land, I realized that - in the near term - I was more likely to catch a friend’s forearm than a bird. As the night waned on, and the sun went down, I forgot all about the vaseline and went to bed. The next morning I woke up to cooing. COOING. Confused, I worked the this foreign sound into my dream for probably a half hour before rising to find a pissed off pigeon doing the gooey foot dance on my balcony. I chased him away and after 48 hours of no further pigeons, I declared victory.

I spoke too soon.The pigeons took the time to contemplate alternate landing paths, bypassing the top railing and roosting directly next to the meerkats. ::sigh:: Time for more vaseline! So I glove up and bolt outside with spray bleach in one hand and paper towels in the other.  Meanwhile, Shale’s sitting at the counter working. Little did I know the pigeon I shooed away wasn’t alone. Another beast of a bird comes flying out of from the milk crates under my rig. I squeal like a bitch, startle the bird, which then flew inside my house. There was a pigeon INSIDE MY HOUSE! Shale doesn’t do shit. I, still squealing, bolt back inside to try to box it out and prevent any advancing. It hit the window pretty hard (which I briefly cheered until realizing it didn’t die and was still in my house) before finding its way out. Now it was really on! I exhausted the tub o'petroleum jelly, topped it off with a large bag of chili powder, and chastised Shale for not drawing down on the intruder.

The next day I, again, awoke to cooing, a sound I now believe to be a pigeon’s pity plea because since I shooed the bird away, neither have returned, and if they do come back I’m seriously going to shoot them; first with rubber bands, then pellets, then nets made of rubber bands covered with WD40. With my contingency plans baked, I started to think about how unreasonable the birds were being by not taking the incredibly clear hints I had smeared out for them and how often we find ourselves in a similar situation.

As sales engineers, especially those whose E’s outsize their S’s, we speak a different language than our prospects. Very few clients carry a pocket geek-to-English dictionary. Instead they sit quietly, probably cooing on the inside, and wait for us to leave before seeking a solution easier to swallow. So short of tranqing the prospect and spraying them with enough backstory that they finally understand what you’re selling, how do we effectively communicate with all those liberal arts majors? ;-) It might be time for a KISS.

So this week, find common ground. Take an inverse-pigeon approach: keep it simple, figure out what your prospect likes, and anchor to it. When you can tie your actions, your product’s features, and your company’s value to their desires your roost will become too appealing to pass up.

Rate this item
(0 votes)
Last modified on Thursday, 08 January 2015 20:03
Erin Wilson

I find great amusement in everyday absurdities and am constantly surprised by how my bar-ventures, my travels, and even my food-qusitions relate to the shenanigans that is software sales. I am grateful for the opportunity to leverage the Sapient Salesman as an outlet to share with you my follies, and I hope you can enjoy the schadenfreude.

Website: ebullienterin.com/

Erin Wilson is the author and publisher of the Sapient Salesman

A "sapient salesman"?

 A sapient salesman is tasked with being a psychologist, technologist, empathist, humorist, conversationalist, and a dozen other “ists” in the course of practicing their salescraft. Most people can’t wear that many hats, and these tidbits are designed to minimize your millinery mandates. Read more

The Book

Look for The Sapient Salesman: Spinning Life into Lessons, One Tale at a Time on Amazon.com later this year!

Stay in Touch

You can find me ...

Not Enough. Want to stay informed? Follow me now...