I waved good-bye, closed the door and paused to give a quick "Thank you" to the powers that be. I then turned and performed the Tammy version of the Michael Jackson, Thriller dance all the way back to the showroom. Upon arriving at the center of the room my dance changed as I began to sing, "I'm in the Money." I had just sold a 2 carat in a stunning diamond semi-mount for just under $15K.
It was late, so I tucked everything away, went home and shared the news. I spent most of the night dreaming about how I would spend the money. Breathing room, I thought. I will pay the mortgage ahead a month or two, pay off a large chunk of my loan, pay the utilities ahead, and replace the ultrasonic that requires you to talk very nicely to it while wiggling the power cord and tapping it on its side, before it decides to work.
I got to the office early because I not only had more clients to see, but now I had the added pleasure of paying bills. I set the cases, turned on the lights and sat down in my office. This time with great excitement I pulled out the binder I keep my coupons for my mortgage and other addresses and account numbers in. I arranged everything on my desk and turned to pick up the phone. I hit the speed dial button and promptly announced - "I sold it. You will not be getting your 2 carat back - you will be getting a check." After lavishing myself with a few more minutes of victory talk with my diamond wholesaler, I hung up and turned to my paperwork.
I very proudly wrote in my big sale (yes, I still do the old fashioned paper ledger, calculator and pencil thing). I grabbed the memo paper and wrote a check for the diamond. I grabbed the coupon book and tore out three coupons and wrote a check to cover 3 mortgage payments. I wrote a check for each of the utility companies for $500, and a nice big check for my business loan. After writing all the checks that would give me the much wanted breathing room, I picked up the calculator and began to find my balance.
Two minutes later there was NO balance to be found. My head was spinning around, swimming, and I was confused. Something was terribly wrong. I rechecked my figures, and rechecked them again. My balance was negative. How could this be? I started at the beginning - I bought the diamond at 38% back of Rapp (a fair value). I sold the diamond for $300. MORE than the internet diamond I was competing against, by telling them my services were worth that. I collected sales tax and moved it to the account to await payment to the government, I owned the semi-mount. HOW COULD I BE NEGATIVE?
The error that I had made was in my thinking. I danced around thinking that I had just made a $15K sale. I planned to pay off debt using that $15K. What I did not think about was that I DID NOT OWN THE DIAMOND. In the back of my mind I knew I had to pay for it - but it did not enter into my calculations as I devised the plan to find my breathing room. Suddenly the pride and excitement of making that $15K sale was gone and the reality of it only actually being a $3K+ sale sunk in. Needless to say I was not happy having to tear up all the checks and reduce the breathing room to a mere gasp.
Later that night when I drug myself home, my husband did not need to ask how I was. His bright smile turned to concern as he asked, "What happened?" My embarrassment did not help me form the words to tell him how stupid I had been - but I did eventually tell him. In his desperate attempt to cheer me up he said, "Well, guess what was in the news... This professional football player is filing for bankruptcy. He signed two years ago on an 18 million dollar contract that would pay out over 4 years. He bought a 12 million dollar house and all that goes with it. Apparently as he danced around his kitchen two years ago singing, ‘I'm in the Money' - 18 million to be exact - he did not realize that his agent would take 20% and the government would take about 38% percent." He continued, "Honey, at least you did not mail the checks."
As embarrassing as it is to admit I made such a stupid mistake; I have to think that others have made it as well. What I would like to believe, is that I set myself apart from others by learning a lesson from each of my mistakes. The lesson for me in this experience is that I will now think - NET. I acknowledge that it made me feel really good to boast about a $15K sale, however the NET of it was no better than the $8K sale I made, a week before, from my inventory. Thinking NET will never win me the award of "Salesperson of the Year," but it will keep me REAL and sticking closer to my budget. It will prevent me from overspending, and short changing my vendors.
I realize I could have pocketed the $15K and executed my plan to get breathing room. I could have held the diamond on a 30 or even 60 day memo - then told the vendor I sold it and asked for terms. I could have delayed paying him for about 6-8 months. I could have leveraged the, "without me selling your diamonds - where would you be?" attitude. Instead, I try to be real. The reality is... the vendor did me a favor. He loaned me a diamond that I needed in an effort to make a sale and to promote my business. I choose to repay that favor by paying him FIRST for that favor. It may be old fashioned, but I believe in fair and equitable business that flows BOTH directions. Not only do I offer fair and equitable business to my customers, I offer it to my vendors as well.
From now on I will think "net" and buy more inventory. Selling "memo" diamonds is great, but selling diamonds you own makes a HUGE difference in the bottom line.