Don was the very model of a salesman – the most thorough practitioner of positive thinking I have ever met. “Misery is optional,” he’d intone.
When someone did something really mean, Don never criticized, really. He’d ascribe it to attitude. He’d shake his head and say, “Some people just don’t want to be happy.”
Don wasn’t much into blaming, either. When he failed to make a sale, he sometimes apologized to the person who had turned him down: “I apologize for my failure to show you how this (product/service) would make your life so much better.” Or words to that effect.
He was a true believer. Once, when he was doing the rounds with a new salesman, it came up to noon . . . and the guy wanted to interrupt for lunch. Don was dumbfounded.
But the most important enduring memory I have of Don is about failure. He refused to believe in it. When someone turned Don down, however firmly, he never considered that the final word. In his mind, he just hadn’t succeeded yet. Had the rest of his life to get there.
This doesn’t mean he would hound and harass people until they gave in and bought or agreed, or did whatever it was Don was after. It meant he would keep his eye, and his mind, open for opportunities to offer new incentives to the prospect.