Friendship and Salesmanship

Food for Thought @ Ping

Spending time with Victoria is somewhat like listening to talk radio; she does most of the talking, but every so often, you can call in with your questions or opinions. She said she always finds someone to talk to. Even when she is alone at home, she can find someone on the phone. When I asked her what happens if she doesn’t talk for an hour, she had no answer. I guess she has never tested it.

She might be my only friend whose career is in sales. Most salespeople I’ve met hate their jobs, but she loves it. She even showed up to our dim sum wearing a Corcoran jacket. Hanging out with salespeople is generally not enjoyable for me because I have to second-guess their intent constantly, but no need for that with Victoria.

A typical salesperson is always trying to figure out what makes you tick. The idea is to align what you want with what they want. For this reason, they tend to be good listeners. Once they have you figured out, they feed what you want to hear. You would always feel good about yourself after talking to them. Over time, unbeknownst to you, this becomes addictive, and you are manipulated under their spell.

Victoria is all about her. I only hear about what she wants, what she likes, and why she thinks I’m wrong. I often feel annoyed after talking to her. For me, that is a key criterion for genuine friendship.

Another curious thing is that, when telling me about herself, she doesn’t bother censoring. It’s like looking at the laundry hanging outside the homes in Asia. People who incessantly talk about themselves are usually boring because they are trying to impress you by sugarcoating facts or with outright lies. Victoria has no filter. I’m not even sure what motivates her to talk about herself, but it’s certainly entertaining.

It’s a mystery how she is so successful as a realtor. Maybe it’s because talking about herself is more important than selling, which makes her clients feel safer. Perhaps Harvard Business School should do a case study on her. I would be curious to know how exactly it works.