I will take your power…and money
Over the last year I’ve had a million jobs.
OK. I lied. Bad Abbie.
I’ve only had a handful of jobs.
I’ve been an executive assistant, a pizza server, bakery assistant, cashier, and a minion of the devil (aka salesperson).
I’ve discussed the joys of all the jobs listed above except for the salesperson position.
I don’t know what the hell I was thinking when I took the job.
Abbie + sports t-shirts + other college doo-dads + sales quotas = definite failure
I knew about the store before I applied. Most of my friends thought it was a great store and a solid company.
Although I was severely overwhelmed by the array of red and blue, black and gold, arrowheads and KS imprints when I first walked into the store, I didn’t let the sport’s shock show on my face.
No, sir. I’m strong.
My interview went well enough.
The owner said I’d be working on the floor and using mild sales tactics to sell items to customers.
“We’re not into heavy selling,” said the owner.
The owner even asked me if I would like to do some of the stores marketing and online promotions.
“Hell, yes,” I thought.
I got the job on the spot. Wahoo!
Or so I thought…
On my first day of work, my boss asked me to watch a few DVDs. I sat down in the back, popped in the star laden disc, and watched in horror as the words “selling” and “success” floated across the screen.
“Oh, snicklefritz” I thought to myself.
Soon, a sleazy little salesman walked in front of an auditorium full of people. He explained how to play on people’s psychological needs and wants, and how to draw them in by being their friend.
“Start a conversation. It’ll get you in,” he said
I couldn’t help but think, “dude. That’s what every guy says to his buddy before he talks to a chick at the bar.”
After finishing the series of DVDs, I discovered that selling clothing is a lot like selling crack; clothing’s just more mainstream.
I tried to convince myself that I would be OK, and that I could develop my own sales tactics that didn’t involve being fake.
Oh, ho. Was I wrong.
From that day forward, my boss followed me around, asked me to perform mock sales with them, and asked me how many people I talked to during the day. The boss also checked everyone’s sales numbers constantly. Like, every hour. Seriously. I was doomed.
But, I kept on reminding myself that I was going to get to help the owner with their marketing efforts.
Yeah. That day never came. The owner never even discussed my marketing work after the interview, and never gave me office hours.
I decided I should quit when I overheard one of my colleagues complaining about how I left in the middle of a sale (translation: I was helping a woman find a shirt we didn’t have, and then tried to help her get directions to another store by asking a colleague to help me. When my colleague came over, the woman began to talk to her, so I walked off and let them be. I really didn’t think they needed me anymore. I was just trying to be polite).
Anyhow, I resigned. Politely.
So, word to folks trying to hire AWESOME salespeople who can sell SEll SELL:
In an interview, be honest about the kind of salesperson you want. Also, let the interviewee know about how important sales numbers are to you. If you don’t, you’re going to end up with the wrong person, and everyone will be miserable in the end.
I’m now very happy with my current combo of writing jobs and dog walking gigs. I’ve also got a few other projects that may happen in the next few months.
So, remember – anytime a salesperson asks you how the weather is, know that they are really trying to break into your mind and convince you to buy things. Don’t listen. In fact, wear ear plugs next time you shop. Seriously. Start a fashion trend.