Bill Marshall stood at the tee on the 18th Hole. Not only had he had a decent day of business that should yield a boost in sales, he had also played the round of his life for 17 holes. There is a Cardinal rule in sales regarding Golf with clients. Always let them win. Fuck that was Bill’s answer to that. Despite his recent brushes with mediocrity, Bill was a winner at heart and firmly believed that there is no honor in laying down. He was ahead by 2 strokes and if his clients wanted to win then they were going to have to earn it. He knew people and he believed that his clients were not the types to respect laying down for the cause. They were also winners, by virtue of the success of their respective businesses. He lined up his shot and swung. He sliced it into the trees. That settles that, he thought. I didn’t fake losing, I legitimately fucked up this hole. He could live with that.
As they completed the 18th, they picked up their balls and headed to the bar. He had lost by one stroke. The Universe had settled that dilemma for him. No dishonor in that.
The cocktail lounge was full of chattering golfers. They had teed off late so it was no surprise to find cocktail hour in full swing. Bill ordered a round of drinks for the group. It was only his second drink of the day. His companions were several rounds ahead of him. Bill always imbibed carefully on company outings, there was no room for gaffes and embarrassing behavior while at work.
The day had really gone well. His three guests had enjoyed themselves and the hope of many hours of uninterrupted relationship building had come to fruition. One of his guests, Drew, was a regular customer who had been invited as a reward for his loyalty. The other two, Steve and John, were prospective clients with a lot of potential business. They seemed to like Bill and he was hopeful that their liking would convert to dollars and cents. Bill Marshall was a businessman first and foremost but in his heart of hearts he genuinely liked people. In sales, they buy you as well as your product and he believed that Steve and John were buying into him. As they sipped their drinks and made small talk with the other guests a young woman selling 50/50 tickets came around. Bill called her over and asked for 100 dollars in tickets.
“Big spender”, Drew chided.
“Hey, it’s company money, right?” His owner had given him 200 in petty cash for drinks and raffle tickets, he planned to use it.
“What will you do if you win?”, Steve inquired.
“Give it to the cause, of course”, Bill replied.
“I think I speak for all of us when I say Bullshit, Bill.”
“OK, it’s not like I’m going to win anyway.” Bill knew that he would donate it. He wasn’t on his dime for starters. And the tournament was being sponsored by one of his best customers. A local dealership owner whose passion was the Boys and Girls club of Holyoke. The owner only gave Bill some of his business, there was a lot more to be had, but he wasn’t there for that. He was there to support his client and his cause.
Dinnertime arrived and the 150 or so golfers filed into the dining room. As they ate, the host, Bill’s client grabbed the microphone and made his thank you’s and announcements. The event had been very successful and he expressed his gratitude. He then announced that he would do the drawing for the 50/50. The total take was 3000 dollars and the lucky winner would take 1500. He proceeded to announce the winning ticket, which happened to be in the hand of Bill Marshall. He was floored. He stood up and went to the podium to claim his prize. His client greeted him and announced Bill’s name and his company and acknowledged that they did business together. He then handed Bill the envelope of cash, to much applause and fanfare, and started to move on to other business. But Bill Marshall was still standing there. The host asked if there was something wrong.
“Yes”, Bill replied. “I’m here on the company dime to support a charity. So why am I leaving with an envelope of cash?” With that he handed the envelope back to the host. The room erupted. He glanced over at his table and his guests were smiling at him. He walked back to his table and sat down.
“You son of a bitch, you actually followed through,” Drew said. His other guests nodded in agreement.
Bill Marshall just smiled. Doing the right thing is easy, and it doesn’t matter who is watching.