My CEO is a Gorilla

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He was the first gorilla I ever worked with. It was a real surprise. I don’t mean his skills surprised me. Seeing as he was appointed as a SDR (for those not in the industry, that means a Sales Development Representative), I guessed he had some background in sales and knew what he was doing. They must have interviewed him. I don’t know how they understood his answers. But, the real shock was that he was a … gorilla.

In sales, you’ve got to do your research, hit the phones, email back and forth as hard as you can, and you got to play your CRM like a violin. He did all that, and more. But, the thing was, he was a … gorilla.

I don’t mean he acted like a gorilla. Or that he had a gorilla-like expression. He actually was a gorilla: black button eyes, glowering, rubber face, massive chest, arms and weird hands, and shaggy matted hair everywhere. But, oh, the smell. Something I will never forget. It lingered in the office from one day to the next. Impossible to eradicate. The cleaner made a formal complaint, but no-one dared to back him up. When they saw his quota results, they were always going to root for the … gorilla.

Of course, there was always one delicate point that set the gorilla apart from the rest of us.

Sales teams are usually lots of fun. We see the crazy ups and downs of life as we work with our customers. There’s always an amazing story or two and lots of laughs. But, we are ordinary folks who stick with commonly accepted behaviors. Even so, after a week or two, we got used to the fact that our gorilla colleague was … naked. Our boss called it an “option.” But, there was more to this “option” than met the eye … so to speak.

Something great that the gorilla brought to us was MercurySays. He followed its advice rigorously as he pumped his prospects with excellent emails, getting them ready for the full formal proposal. He did it all day, every day. It worked brilliantly.

Of course, he was easier to understand when he emailed. Talking clearly was not his strongest suit so he avoided the phone.

But, it was when he turned up at his customer’s office with the contract to sign that things really hotted up.

Picture the scene with a senior purchasing office sitting at her desk when an 8-foot, naked, hairy gorilla rocks in clutching a contract growling: “Please sign here.” When he leaned forward and the smell hit, he achieved 99% success.

That last 1% refers to a customer who had a heart attack when the gorilla poked his head around her door. He was practicing his empathic smile. Not sure if it worked how he wanted it to. We persuaded him not to attend the funeral … just in case there was mass panic.

A year later, he was promoted to an administrative job at headquarters in New Jersey. Then, I heard he had been anointed as our next CEO.

I had no objections. I’ve never seen such amazing sales numbers like he got. On his first day as CEO, he sent us all an email. It focused on two of his pet issues. First, he said that we all must use MercurySays. That wasn’t a problem because my sales team already uses it. The second was a more delicate issue. He introduced the new staff dress code, which was fine, except for the last option. He announced that, when visiting clients or on zoom calls, it was okay to be naked … in fact, it was recommended.

Since then, I tried it once or twice. It didn’t play too well. (I can still hear the laughter.) But, I was told that old Lucy Maclean had taken the “option” near the end of last year’s Christmas Party. There have been no confirming posts on YouTube, but she did resign before New Year’s, so it seems she didn’t want to come back. Not even for one minute. We never saw her again. Maybe the “option” wasn’t for her.