The Salesman

Recently I met with a salesman.  Usually such conversations fall to Honeydo, but he and I forgot about the appointment.  As I came home from a walk, a man with a clipboard was in my yard.  If I could have hidden in the bushes I would have.  Alas, he saw me.

He was there to provide an estimate on repairs.  We walked around the house discussing the details that needed tending to.  I pointed out some things.  He pointed out others.

I don’t know what your experience has been with salesmen, but mine have not been positive.  I tend to lump them in a group of aggressive, fast talking folk who do not like to take no or even maybe for an answer.  They want a signature before they leave and I want them to leave yesterday.

Honeydo told me where he used to work they fired the salesmen each year who sold the lowest 10%.  Salesmen have quotas to meet and deadlines to make which probably contributes to their aggressiveness in closing the deal. Their typical personality does not endear them to me.

By now we have had the work done and are pleased with the result.  It is the type of situation I usually forget. But that has not been the case.

This salesman was different.

As he pointed out problems, I could see he was knowledgeable about his product and the services his company offered.  His responses indicated he heard what I was asking.  If what I wanted was not in his framework he let me know.  He gave me the information I needed to make an informed decision, but did not try to push me into accepting his services.  He recognized the decision was mine to make.  No arm-twisting was involved.

His attitude made all the difference.  With humility I do not frequently see, he made his presentation.  He expressed his expertise, but recognized I might want or need others to do the work.  He presented the facts and allowed us to make the decision.

His company does a narrow line of work. If I could use them for other handyman jobs I would.  Finding someone who is more interested in my need than his is rare.

In my spiritual direction program we are taught not to share what God is doing in our lives, but to give witness to the relationship we are growing with Him.  When this difference was explained I thought it was just a matter of semantics, but now I think there is a stronger distinction between sharing and witnessing.  I can share information with you, but when I give witness I am expressing more than information.  I am expressing my personal experience.   I am telling what God is doing in my life and allowing you the space and grace to take it from there.

I believe this salesman was giving witness to what his company could and could not do.  What we would do with these details was up to Honeydo and I.  There was no push to sign up.  Instead there was an invitation to consider what we had heard and make an informed decision.

I have been thinking about what I am giving witness to.