When I was in 8th grade I got a job working for a small company that was a reseller of electronic drilling and measuring equipment. I was just the office boy… mostly doing paperwork, shipping, and occasional data-entry.

It was high-tech stuff for the 1980s. The CEO was a big believer in the “never take no for an answer” philosophy. Sometimes he’d go to a client and refuse to leave the office until he got a “yes”. “You don’t need any new drill presses? What about calipers? What about high-resolution measuring machines? How do you know that drill press is working if you aren’t measuring the results?”

One day a junior salesperson came back from a ride-along and was shaking in his boots. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “It was so embarrassing! They nearly kicked us out of the office. The boss just wouldn’t leave! Finally they agreed to buy a package of paper for the printer that attaches to the computer that controls the drill press. It was humiliating. A damn box of paper!”

At that point the boss walked in and bragged about how he wouldn’t take no for an answer and … what a victory! I made the sale!

Everyone in the office was stunned.

It was that day that I decided that if I ever went into sales, my goal would be the opposite of that guy.