how not to be a successful (or well liked) sales person

For starters, I feel like I should qualify myself as an expert on this topic based on the following experience:

Example 1: I worked in this pilot program at Best Buy for a couple of years where customers thought they were calling into these random stores in Michigan and Ohio, but their calls were actually being routed to a call center in Minnesota and it was my job to convince the people calling in that they should buy whatever it was they were asking about over the phone with me. Most people hated it. I couldn’t really blame them. I was, however, always the top one or two in getting people to buy that shit.I once had a lady call in around Christmas time to see if we had Josh Groban’s Christmas album in stock. Of course we did. And because some manager or director or someone was listening to one of my calls, I asked the lady if she knew Josh Groban and Barbra Streisand sang some duet together on some other random ass album and she wanted to buy that one, too. And that’s when I became a legend (at least in my own mind.) She loved Josh Groban. I just wanted to make sure she didn’t miss out on other things Josh Groban related.

Example 2: I worked for an educational software company for about 4.5 years, most of which was spent in trying to sell this software to schools during a time where so much of their funding was being taken away. Nothing really makes you feel much worse than calling the principal of a school and trying to talk them into buying software that cost tens of thousands of dollars when their teachers were spending their own money on pencils for the kids in their class. I sucked and I sucked hard at that job because it just wasn’t cool. So, I got fired. One of the best things that ever happened in my life and it was all because I wouldn’t put my morals aside to sell a bunch of… crap.

See? I’m a total sales pro.

Worst Example of a Sales Person I’ve Seen in the Last MANY Years: I have season tickets to a major sports team in the Twin Cities. This will be the third year that we’ve had them and, in that amount of time, also our third season ticket rep. Based on this guy’s ridiculous antics, I’m almost expecting a fourth one to come anytime soon.

I reached out via email to my sales rep because I wanted to find out what tickets would be available for my office to purchase for the season. He called me. I didn’t answer because I was at work, so he emailed me back. We were able to exchange a few emails, but I obviously need some levels of approval for spending that kind of money, so I hadn’t gotten back to him by the next day.

Within the span of 11 days, he called me five times. Okay, okay. I get it. Commission based. But then he took it a step too far. He very resourcefully dug up my work phone number and called me there. I didn’t answer it because I recognized the number since he’d been calling me every other day for the past nearly two weeks. Plus, hi, WORKING.

And then he took it a giant leap too far. Immediately after he hung up from my work phone, he called my cell phone from his PERSONAL CELL PHONE to get me to answer. At least that’s what I assumed before I answered it, but deep down, I didn’t really want that to be true. But it was.

I said, “Hello?” and he definitely didn’t expect me to answer based on his reply of, “Uhhhhh…” and then his introduction. He asked me his sales questions. I told him I didn’t know yet. We exchanged departing pleasantries, but I couldn’t let it go, you guys. I said, “Hey, Name That Rhymes with Snake, is this your personal cell phone?” He totally gave me this noise that I always use when I’m mocking someone who sounds like they’re talking out of their ass and it sounds something like, “Wuuullllllll…” If I would have been on an actual telephone, I would have slammed that receiver down so fast. Man, I miss those days.

I emailed him telling me never to call me at work again. He apologized via email and asked when he could call me again. And that’s when I realized it was like a REALLY OBSESSIVE BOYFRIEND/GIRLFRIEND. I wanted to write him back and tell him the only time I wanted him to call is if someone was in physical harm, but my wife told me that was too much.

But, c’mon, sales people. I get you have a job to make and some mouths to feed and I appreciate. What I don’t appreciate are these kind of shady antics. If you think this is the best way to go about business, I’ve got news for you, man.

 

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