Colossians 3:5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.
One of the great blessings of our Christian faith is the way it transforms our lives. This impacts everything from how we live at home to how we do our jobs. By living wisely, we are able to create opportunities where they might not otherwise occur. One of the more memorable sales situations I had early in my career with Blue Cross gave me an important lesson in this regard.
While calling on companies on my prospect list, I encountered a hospital that was soliciting proposals for their employee benefit program. The hospital had recently gone through major changes and was struggling to survive. They were receiving proposals from a number of agents and carriers and after meeting with their new chief executive, I was given the opportunity to quote.
Later, when I presented our proposal to this executive, she had just received another proposal that she let me see. It was clearly better than ours. I knew what flexibility I had in my proposal and informed her that we could not match it. This one competitor’s offer and program were better than what we had to offer.
A bit later I received a phone call from her asking me to come by the hospital and meet with her. When we met she asked if I would be willing to review the various proposals that she had received and give her my recommendation – even though the carrier I represented was out of the running. Was this someone taking advantage of me? Or, was this an opportunity? Fortunately I recognized it as an opportunity for the long term. Every cancellation or lost sale has potential to be a future sale.
But in an important regard this was better than that. She had noted my attitude, professionalism and honesty in the times we met. She looked at me and told me, “I trust you.” Can you imagine a more wonderful compliment? This was an opportunity to serve her and strengthen this relationship with a potential future client. A couple years later they became my client.
There are times when we can do the right things, regardless of our motivations. But we have a faith that enables us to “be” the people God wants us to be. The more we walk in His ways, being wise in all our interactions, the more we are able to make the most of the opportunities He provides.