The Death of A Salesman… I’m positive many know the play, but for those of us in the sales force, we live it. Sure, the money can be great (at times), but there is an onslaught of shit we have to trudge through to make it to the end of the month or quarter while dealing with the general public. Whether you’re a telemarketer, selling pharmaceutical equipment, working in retail, or slanging homes in the real-estate game, there are a few things we can all relate to.
The Art of Cold Calling
Ahhh the good ol’ fashioned cold call. Oh, how I love it. This is your chance to call a complete stranger and try to sell whatever product you’re trying to peddle in ten seconds before you hear some of the worst obscenities you’ve ever heard come out of the phone and the never elusive dial tone after they hang up. Sure, you may get the occasional sale from this, but odds are you’ll end up with a severe case of depression before you make bank cranking out cold calls. Don’t believe me? Just read some of the things this guy dealt with in just one week.
If I could say half of those things to the next person who sends me a Facebook message about a health supplement and get away with it, I would, but you never know when that snake oil distributor will make it up far enough up the pyramid and have enough cash to actually buy something. I mean, they literally just made so much cash in one weekend it’d be dumb not to join their team!
The Irate and Unreasonable Customer
This “gem” is probably the same person who spends their free time bashing restaurants (read McDonalds)… on yelp… in all caps… eating out alone. Thanks for the heads up that your dollar McChicken looked nothing like the one advertised, and I will certainly avoid that McDonalds, “AT ALL COSTS.” To this person, I’d like to let it be known I am not the one who designated the “we don’t take personal checks” policy (seriously besides for bills or birthday cards from your grandmother, who still writes these?) So as I sit here slowly dying inside, yelling loudly for my manager in a belittling tone will not change this. Also, I am not the loan officer who designated that you didn’t qualify for that loan after a bankruptcy and after all that child support, even with your pre-approval letter. Yes, I can get my manager, again, but yelling at either of us irately about how your credit is excellent (read below 550) will not change this. Thank you for verbally degrading me for 35 minutes and have a great day.
The Cristal Customer
This customer lives for the finer things in life. They pinched pennies all week to live the thirty-thousand millionaire life, and by god, they deserve the finer things even if they can’t afford it. They have the Cristal taste and PBR budget. The Harvard swag and Devry degree. The appetite for a 20 oz. Filet, but the finances for a ham sandwich (I happen to love PBR and ham sandwiches by the way). Here’s an example of the typical Cristal Customer transaction:
“Oh, why hello sir and madam. I have the chateau suite all ready for you along with the rare beluga caviar you requested. Yes, and I spared no expense laying out the 100 percent chinchilla comforter and 10,000 count 24K gold embroidered Egyptian cotton sheets for your stay. That will be $69,000 for both nights.”
*States how outrageous that is and they “won’t spend a penny over $700 for the entire trip”*
“Well sir and madam, may I suggest our affordably priced $650 weekend package that offers free Wi-Fi with your stay? No? Well, I’m sorry Sir and Madam, but I can’t offer the chateau for $650.”
*They begin yelling obscenities at me and demand a manager*
“I’m sorry, and yes, I can get my manager.”
Great, I’ve cleared my schedule and passed up lunch with my old fraternity buddy who’s in town to set up this appointment for you. When I called you last night to make sure we were still on, you said, “You bet! See ya at noon, Shibbs!” I now consider myself lucky I didn’t bet on it, as I sit here at your office and your secretary looks at me dumbfounded because you, “left for the day 35 minutes ago.” Thank you Mr. No-Show. I’m glad you can skip out on our appointment yet call me six times, leave three voicemails, and a text while I’m out on a run to get that vital information I could have given you then.
For most jobs in sales, you have a certain number of scheduled hours set. This doesn’t factor in that you’re always on the clock in a sales job. That is 100 percent true. You never know when you may have to hand out your card or when a client may call. I once had a guy call me at 9:30 on EASTER MORNING. I’m not sure if Jesus really cared, but I know that I was somewhat disgruntled as my one day that week to sleep in before consuming a glorious amount of ham was cut drastically short. Pile this on with the amount of times you have to come in on your scheduled day off, and time spent driving around to clients, it’s a miracle you still manage to have a life, let alone make time to ignore everything for an evening as you wear your finest Hawaiian shirt and go out to live the #MargLife
Don’t get me wrong — a career in sales can be an awesome at times, and you actually can meet some really great people networking. I’ve been invited to weddings, barbecues, and I’ve even gotten some pretty neat gifts from clients throughout the years (back country moonshine being my favorite). But some days when dealing with the general public, you deal with complete morons. Those days I die a little inside until I get home, put on some Blues Traveler, and dive headfirst into a blender of strawberry margs and forget about my troubles..
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