My Story of Cold Calling with the Authentic Identity

Cold Calling with Authentic Identity

Reflecting on my journey as a cold calling salesman, I’ve come to realize that each interaction was more than a mere sales pitch. It was a window into the essence of another human being. 

My approach was grounded in a deep curiosity about the lives of my clients. I would listen intently, not just to their words, but to the subtle cues in their environment. I looked at the objects they surrounded themselves with. I listened for the underlying philosophies that shaped their perceptions. 

This attentiveness allowed me to connect on a level that transcended the transactional. It offered profound glimpses into the human psyche. Then eventually creating a system that reveals the Authentic Identity of anyone.

Here is the behind the scenes story of a cold calling philosopher.

Ever since my childhood, my dream was to become a teacher. However, my parents had a different vision for my future—they saw me as a lawyer. 

In 1974, I enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, taking philosophy as a pre-law major. What I anticipated to be a straightforward path toward a legal career soon transformed into an odyssey of intellectual enlightenment. 

I found myself deep in the realm of philosophical inquiry. My focus shifted dramatically from law to the intricate mysteries of existence. 

The profound thoughts of Sartre, Heidegger, Popper, Husserl, Cassirer, Langer, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche offered perspectives that shaped my understanding of human existence.

During those college years, I married and welcomed my first child into the world, necessitating a job with flexible hours. Door-to-door sales for a reputable home cleaning products company seemed like a viable solution.

I faced a barrage of rejections despite an initial surge of confidence and thorough sales training. This resulted in my termination.

Undeterred, I attended local sales seminars and workshops, gaining renewed enthusiasm and hope. However, each subsequent cold-call job ended similarly, with minimal sales success. Despite dedicating considerable effort and time to mastering sales strategies, I barely earned commissions and relied heavily on basic pay. 

The persistent belief that cold-call sales could harmoniously coexist with my academic pursuits drove me through seven different sales jobs. My determination yielded very little financial reward. 

After earning my degree in Philosophy, I spent a year in law school to appease my parents’ expectations. Yet I found myself growing increasingly disillusioned. Law failed to ignite the same passion that philosophy had stirred within me, leading to feelings of anger and resignation. 

I recognized the need for a drastic change after a year of unfulfilling law studies and repeated sales failures. I left behind both law school and the sales industry, embarking on an entrepreneurial venture by purchasing a delicatessen. 

Little did I know, my departure from sales was not as final as it seemed.

Cold Calling Continued

I sold the deli which was a financial success but a personal disaster as I was miserable with the work. Amidst unemployment, I was presented with what seemed like an “opportunity” that promised nothing but the prospect of failure. Necessity compelled me to re-enter the realm of sales.

Working in sales wasn’t my dream, and after being terminated from seven sales positions, I’d come to hate cold calling. But I was desperate to find success with a family to provide for. 

I expected to do better this time as failure was not an option. But what I didn’t expect was to create a framework for connecting to people’s true identities. After developing this framework which I call the Authentic System, I found success and contentment beyond what I imagined possible.

A New Form of Sales Is Born

Having failed seven times in sales before, I decided to forget everything I had learned in my training seminars. I dropped everything but “hello.” Instead, I drew on my knowledge of linguistics. I was a philosophy major in college, with an emphasis on linguistics, and I understood the complexities of language.

I wondered if the failure rate in door-to-door sales was so high (over ninety percent nationwide) because language is complex and it was not being taught to new sales trainees. Language was the only tool a sales representative had, yet it was basically being ignored in traditional sales training. I did not want to live the myth of the dying salesman.

So, I took to the streets and began experimenting with different theories of language and communication. I realized that communication involved verbal and nonverbal cues, environment, and word usage. 

Through several months of trial and error, I saw a model begin to form. When I communicated to someone’s true Self they wanted to buy from me. I had substituted sales training with what I had learned in linguistics, and it worked! To my astonishment, I also discovered deeper layers of human nature, including what motivates us.

Cold Calling Objects and Communication

I quickly learned that communication is so much more than the words we use. To truly understand someone’s core motivation and get to their innermost thoughts, we need to observe their environment. Specifically, we need to look at what they choose to surround themselves with. 

From this, it is possible to gain insight into who that person really is. What drives them forward and gives meaning in life? Through examining an individual’s chosen objects within work spaces or living areas, I could easily “read” these environments. I could tell whether the person was a potential customer or not, revealing far more than any conversation could ever do.

I saved so much time this way because I could tell right away whether or not to spend time trying to make a sale. And remember, if I was able to describe what I was selling in a way that conformed to the prospect’s true self, he or she always wanted to buy.

Authentic Identity Door-to-Door 

The next twenty years was spent doing door-to-door cold-call sales. The success using this system supported my wife and eventually two children, and exceeding all of my expectations.

I saw thousands of people in a wide variety of jobs: doctors, attorneys, beauticians, mechanics, die cutters, architects, pharmacists, shoe makers, machinists, optometrists, retail and wholesale clerks, and many more.

In a three month cycle I had a minimum of 1500 clients that I would see. There were constant changes with people being promoted and leaving the area, so I was always cold calling. 

What I learned was far more than just how to sell. I learned how to identify the Authentic Identity of people beneath their personalities.  

It was an evolution from existentialism to phenomenology. Then later culminated into the four Life Theme Archetypes of the collective unconscious of Carl Jung. 

The underlying process grew out of selling using the Continental view of symbolism. I focused on the objects around my prospects to discover their symbolic meaning through which my prospect identified. 

I then languaged what I was selling to match the meaning that I observed. In that way what I was selling became a member of the symbolic meaning the prospect had already chosen. 

For 20 years I tested this with several thousand people. 

Creating the Authentic Identity Assessment

When I retired, I devoted myself to researching what I had discovered. I developed the Authentic Identity Assessment (ALTA Assessment). This is a one-on-one assessment where I assess a person and discover their Authentic Identity. For many of those clients, that discovery changed their life on a monumentally positive level. 

I continue to research and write about the discoveries I had made regarding Authentic Identity, motivations, and archetypes at work. I also developed sales training and authored a book on sales and blogposts on more insight into selling.

My life’s journey had led me to a unique intersection of philosophy and practical application—what I later termed as “actionable philosophy.” I’ve created a framework that could help others uncover their true selves and fulfill their potential.

My career started as a desperate attempt to make ends meet through door-to-door sales. It evolved into a profound exploration of human nature. I was in a unique position with countless interactions and observations I made while cold calling and my background in philosophy. It equipped me with the knowledge to decipher the complex world of human identity. 

It was through the practice of sales that I had stumbled upon the keys to understand the Authentic Identity of individuals. A discovery that, I hope, will continue to offer deep insight and transformative power for many years to come.

About the author

CEO of Authentic Systems, Degree in Philosophy from University of California, Berkeley.
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