Life is ten percent what you experience and ninety percent how you respond to it.
—Dorothy M. Neddermeyer
Sam Scharaga stared into the trashcan next to his prospect's desk. Stunned. What had been a routine sales call on a fleet manager, to discuss damaged windshields on fleet vehicles, had turned ugly in a split second.
The fleet manager already had a relationship with another glass company and, even though Sam had made a good case for his company, the prospect was unmoved. Sam thanked him for his time, left his business card “just in case things changed,” and prepared to leave. He also handed the fleet manager a few logoed sticky note pads.
“Most people like getting our note pads,” explains Sam's son Bob, now the CEO of All Star Glass, which has grown to 31 locations in California, Nevada, and Texas. “But this guy grabs the pads from my dad's hand and slams them into the trash can.”
Bob recalls, “This was back when we had one store and my dad was hustling just to keep the lights on. He was working 24/7. The business was his passion.
“My dad had a hell of a temper, but he just looks at the guy and says, ‘I admire your loyalty. I wish all my customers were as loyal as you. Those guys are lucky to have you as a customer.’
“The fleet manager didn't know what to say. By keeping his cool my dad caught him completely off guard. The guy ended up apologizing, and we eventually earned his business. Instead of losing his temper, my dad kept his cool, and turned the situation ...