Friend or Foe?

By Joanne Miller


Two male co-workers in a conversation at work.  One of the men was promoted over the other, who was in line for the promotion.  Honesty gives way to cooperation.


Mike Ė upbeat, outgoing salesman manager
Jerry Ė discouraged salesman


(Scene:  Office)

Mike:  Hey, Jerry.  Howís it going today?  Beautiful day, isnít it?

Jerry:  Yeah, I guess.

Mike:  Something wrong, Jerry?

Jerry:  Nah, nothingís wrong.

Mike:  Hey, buddy, I donít want to pry, but if I can help in any way I will.

Jerry:  Sure.  Thanks.

Mike:  Iím serious.  Iím not just saying that.

Jerry:  What if I told you that youíre the problem?

Mike:  What do you mean?

Jerry: I mean that before the radio station hired you I was their #1 salesman.  Every month I led in sales volume, and I was in line for the promotion that you just got last week.

Mike: Wait a minute, Jerry...

Jerry: No, Mike, you asked, so now you can just hear me out.

Mike: OK.

Jerry: This morning I walk in here and Mr. Parker tells me my biggest account, Big M Markets, is pulling its advertisements and going to WBKW.  So now Iím wondering just how long Iím going to be around here.

Mike: And you think itís my fault?

Jerry: I didnít have this problem when you werenít here.  I donít know, maybe Iím just not cut out to be a salesman.  Maybe I donít have what it takes.

Mike: You know, Jerry, you could be right.

Jerry: Thanks a lot, Mike.  I didnít know you were the type to kick a guy when heís down.  (Starts to leave)

Mike: Wait a second, Jerry.  I heard you out, now you hear me out.

Jerry: Is that an order, ďBossĒ?

 Mike: No, itís a request.

Jerry: (Jerry sits down again)  OK.  What have you got to say?

Mike: When I first came here, 18 months ago, this station was really struggling just to stay on the air.  True?

Jerry: (Warily) True.

Mike: Since then we have more than doubled our income.  True?

Jerry: True.

Mike: Iím going to be totally honest with you, Jerry.  When I first started here I really admired you.  You had a confidence and an enthusiasm that marked you as a top achiever.  Since then, though, you have gone steadily down hill.

Jerry: (Starts to get angry again) Hey, I donít needÖ

Mike: Let me finish.  You didnít go down hill because of me; you went down hill because of you.  You started comparing yourself to me, and you felt that you didnít quite measure up because you werenít selling as much as I was.  Be honest, isnít that true?

Jerry: (Very defensive) I guess it could be.

Mike: The truth is, Jerry, you are every bit as good a salesman as I am, maybe even better.

Jerry: Yeah, sure.  (Not believing it)

Mike: Itís true.  Where you started to go wrong was comparing yourself to me.  There are people out there who wonít give me the time of day, yet theyíll be very happy to listen to you, and vice versa.  We can each reach a different clientele.

Jerry: So how come Iím not reaching them like you are?

Mike: Because you donít believe you can anymore.

Jerry: Youíve got that right.

Mike: But you can, Jerry.  All you have to do is get the focus off of you and back onto our clients and their needs.  Meet their needs and theyíll be begging to buy from you.

Jerry: What do you mean?  Give me an example.

Mike: Fine.  Letís take Big M Markets.  Why do you think theyíre pulling out?

Jerry: Probably because they can reach a bigger market with WBKW.

Mike: Thatís true, but they wonít reach our listeners.

Jerry: True.

Mike: Our most recent survey shows that our listeners are mostly 45 and over.

Jerry: YesÖ so?

Mike: It just so happens that Big M did a market survey recently.  Know what they found?

Jerry: No.

Mike: They found that 67% of their weekly shoppers are 50 years old and older.  Thatís the reason they want to go with WBKW.  They want to begin to attract younger buyers.  Thatís a good marketing strategy, donít you think?

Jerry: Sure, but what about their current shoppers.

Mike: Exactly.  By pulling their advertising with us they are taking a risk with a loyal consumer base.

Jerry: They sure are.

Mike: What could we do that would help them to reach both age groups?

Jerry: Well, we could cut the length of their commercials.  Give them 30 second spots, instead of 60 second.

Mike: Thatís a great idea.

Jerry: Sure.  It would cut their costs in half with us, yet they would still be reaching their biggest customer audience.  We could also come up with a new catchy commercial that they could play on the air as well as in their stores.

Mike: I think theyíd probably go for that.

Mike: Iíll tell you what, letís put together some ideas for a new advertising campaign and go see them tomorrow.

Jerry: Iíll go give them a call.

Mike: I already called, but donít worry, this is your account not mine.

Jerry: So you were planning on helping me before I lit into you.

Mike: Jerry, this is a win-win situation.  For you, because you get to be a great salesman again.  For me, because you make me look good in my position.  For Big M, because we help them to keep their customers.
Jerry: Thanks, Mike.  Youíre right, I have had a lousy attitude, but thatís all changing as of this very minute.

Mike: Friends? (Offers to shake hands)

Jerry: Friends. (Shakes hands with Mike)

Lights out.
Copyright John & Joanne Miller, all rights reserved.
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