shoes-1561578Years ago, I heard a quote that had an incredible impact on me.

“We judge ourselves by our intentions and we judge others by their actions.” I learned this quote from a class that I had with Howard Fine, and the quote came from Rabbi Telushkin.  What does that quote mean, and how does it relate to direct sales?

Well simply, we all like to think that we meant well when we attempt to do something, even if it’s not perceived that way by others.  Maybe we leaned over to help someone to pick something up, and in the process knocked someone aside.  Maybe we finished someones sentence because it appeared they were stuck looking for a word, but we ruined a point they were trying to make by pausing as they were speaking.  We feel justified in what we tried to accomplish, because our heart was in the right place.

How many times have we been on the other side of this equation?  Someone knocked into you or cut you off when you were talking.  Maybe you knocked on a door and someone was extremely rude or upset.  You have no clue what led to that action, so just assuming that they’re a rude person or a clumsy oaf isn’t necessarily the fairest of reactions.

I remember back in 1992, my first summer selling books, door to door, for the Southwestern Company.  I’d knocked on a door, and man came to the door, walked out, and held the door behind him.  I went into my normal approach, and he cut me off saying,

“Hey, I appreciate what you’re doing, and how hard this job must be, but this is a really bad time.”

As I’d been taught, I went into my 2nd approach, “Oh, I guess you haven’t heard about me yet?  Like I said, my name is Dan, and I’m a college student from California…”

He stopped me again, “Listen…  My wife and I are sitting down right now, discussing if we’re going to get a divorce or not…  I don’t mean to be rude, but I don’t have time for this right now.”

That gentleman (and yes, he was definitely a gentleman), didn’t have to be patient with me.  Frankly, it would’ve been very justifiable by some if he’d been downright rude.  But how many times have you had a “rude” prospect, and just assumed that’s the way they are?  Maybe that your job just creates people like this at the door.  Take into consideration that maybe they just have been dealing with a screaming baby.  Maybe they just had a pot of milk boil over on the stove.  Maybe they’ve just been contemplating divorce with their spouse.  Give your prospects the benefit of the doubt.  Always expect a smiling face and an open door, but don’t take it personally if you get something different.

Remember, “we judge ourselves by our intentions and we judge others by their actions.” Today, try to judge others by their good intentions, and be aware of how your actions might be interpreted. You’ll be amazed by how many more open doors you’ll find.