No one ever says when they are a kid “I want to be a professional sales person”, or when I grow up I am going into sales.
I could remember trying to break into this game, when I was a Marine Stationed at Camp Pendleton, California. As an enlisted member of the beloved Marine Corps, you don’t make a whole lot of money. During the times when I wasn’t operational I spent my time studying and trying to make extra money. I worked as a doorman in night clubs on the side. The pay wasn’t much but it was great to have a little spending money to throw around and the perks weren’t bad. (Lots of Ladies)
Anyhow, as always looking through the paper I could remember answering a classified that said “Make 6 Figures” Yes, one of those, and two days later in my best suit I showed up for an interview. Entering the building in Newport Beach and greeted by a man wearing an Armani Suit, a Rolex as we walked to his office all I could think is “Yes, this is my break”. As we entered the office it was plush, and out back I could see a Porsche and asked if that was his, as I handed him my resume. He responded with “Yes it is son, “you like it?” ”You could be driving one of those if you work hard enough”. He sat back in his leather chair and pondered over my resume, then moved forward in his chair crossed his fingers and said “Congrats you made it. I just stood their discombobulated because he didn’t ask me anything. He just stood up leaded over with his hand extended and said “See you next Saturday”. Now here is where the inexperience comes in because if I had of known better I would have asked what the job was.
Next Saturday I showed up and walked into a room where there must have been over 100 people in this room. People with shorts, ripped jeans, ball caps every definition of the word unprofessional existed in that room. I was approached by the man who asked me to come back and he said son you will be going with Henry today. “Henry, who’s Henry” I asked. As he raised his hand he shouted Henry come over here”… This short pimple faced kid with a ball cap and wife beater (Tank top) came over. Cigarette hanging out of his mouth, “Hey Boss what’s up”, Wow, I thought “How rude”. “Henry, I want you to take Andre here show him the ropes, he’ll be working with you today. I have always prided myself on keeping my appearance in tip top condition and already I didn’t like Henry. Henry was the ultimate definition of undisciplined, no sense of pride in his job or himself as a person. What kind of selling job allows a person to wear a ball cap, tank top and smoke like a chimney stack? ”Hi Henry, I’m Andre nice to meet you”. Henry looked up and said “Oh Yeah Bro, nice to meet you” as reluctant as I was to shake his hand, I did it anyway. “Hey Andre this way we are going to my car, we got outside and walked up to a Honda Civic, inside was a mess and barrage of McDonalds, In/Out Burger bags strewed throughout the car, and an ashtray over flowing with cigarette butts. “Sorry about the mess Bro” “Been working all kinds of crazy hours … no time to clean it” Cautiously entering the car there was a harrowing smell. I thought to myself what am I doing here? We exited and on to the freeway and at this point I didn’t care. “Hey Henry, what is it that we are doing today?” Henry was driving with his knee and trying to light a cigarette at 60 miles an hour on the 405 expressway. At this point I was starting to feel just a bit out of my comfort zone. Henry said with a muffle between puffs “We are going to New Port Beach” “Okay” I said “what are we selling”? He said “We are going to stand on the street corner and sell hats and ties” “What!” as I looked at him. “Yeah, bro we are going to sell those back there as he referenced to the back of the car. I turned and looked into the back of the car there were three boxes of hats and ties. Now, this is where my Marine instinct kicked in and said “Oh no we are not! “You turn this car around right now!” He looked over at me “I can’t do that Bro” There is that word again. “Henry you turn this car around right now!” With one yank of the steering wheel I pulled it to the left and it started us into the grass medium down and up the hill, back in the opposite direction. He slammed on the breaks and we were stopped up on the shoulder of the 405 freeway. “You’re Crazy Bro”, “Henry you take me back to the office right now!” I think he could tell I meant business because he didn’t even respond he just started driving.
For the sake of moral standing I will not go into what I did when I got back but if you could imagine, it wasn’t pretty. My first learning experience, about sales “Ask Questions, Lots of them”