I put the phone down and wondered how the hell I had gotten into this situation.
Next, I wondered how I was going to get out of it.
My friend Eduardo had just told me his trip to Cadiz was successful: he had found a buyer who would buy our six vintage sports cars immediately.
There was only one tiny problem: We didn’t have six vintage Ferrari’s to sell.
What we had was a connection in Holland, who was trusted and who could deliver six of the beauties to us in the South of Spain.
But, we had to buy them from him first, with upfront payment.
Otherwise, nothing would get sent, not even a gas cap. Whichever buyer we would find would have to send the cash first.
That was the deal my Dutch connection wanted, and I had discussed it with Eduardo.
He however had decided to ignore this crucial bit of information.
He had told the buyer that payment would take place when the trailer truck delivered the cars.
From the start, I never had much faith in it working, but Eduardo refused to see difficulties. As long as my connection could actually deliver, he could sell.
So off he went to Cadiz, because it must be said: he was an amazing salesman. If anyone was going to be able to find a buyer, build trust and close the sale, it was him.
The problem was that his strength – relentlessly refusing to back down – was also his weakness: He was unbelievably stubborn.
He was in fact so stubborn that he closed that sale with different terms, agreeing that the cars would be paid for upon arrival.
The call I had just had was some 30 minutes of him trying (unsuccessfully) to bully me, so that I would call Holland and pressure my connection in accepting changed terms.
Obviously I didn’t relent because I knew our contact would never let the cars go without money in the bank. And I didn’t blame him, in fact I had agreed that was how it should be done.
In retrospect, I should never have had as much faith in Eduardo as I did. It was clear from the start there would be trouble.
Not because he was a bad guy, but because if someone is that stubborn, and won’t listen, it shows from the start and will be a pain in the ass until the end.
Which it did and it was.
In this case, nothing too dramatic happened. I lost some money on international phone bills, and I had invested a little time. No big deal.
The upshot of the experience: I learned that being able to deliver is more important than the ability to sell.
It also taught me to be wary of people who use hard sales tactics, but that’s a story for a different day.
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