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.

 

my name is bill laimbeer and i’m kind of a jerk

I was going to write a wedding post today, but then something else came up.

Amelia, Jenni, Matt and I went to the Lynx game last night. Amelia and I hadn’t been for a couple of weeks and Matt and Jenni were going for their first time. Groupon was our friend and I grabbed tickets for the four of us a while back. Seats were decent enough, game was awesome (if you’re a Lynx fan) and I got a megaphone! All in all, it was a pretty great game.

The Lynx handed the New York Liberty a 31 point loss. I figured it would be a blowout no matter who they were playing, because the Lynx were riding a three game losing streak and they were starting to get mad. It could have been the Miami Heat coming into Target Center last night and they would have probably gotten blown out of the water. The Liberty just happened to be a subpar team that got their ass handed to them.

I was reminded last night that Bill Laimbeer was the head coach of the Liberty. Fun Fact: Laimbeer coached the Detroit Shock for a few years before resigning so he could pursue a head coaching job in the NBA. Didn’t happen and assistant coach was the best he could do. He came back to the WNBA this year to coach the Liberty and did the best he could to pull over all of his old Shock players on the team, to perhaps think he was going to win another championship like he did back in the day.

And then Laimbeer spouts off after the game with this:

“I was a little disappointed when they left Maya Moore in the game to try and get player of the week again when the game was out of control. She should get hurt for that.”

Here’s the deal – Maya scored the first couple of baskets of the game and she was shooting lights out from behind the three-point line. She scored 28 points and, yes, played more than the rest of the starting five. But when you’re shallow on guards that can handle the ball and score, your first person off the bench is injured and you’ve got two forwards still nursing injuries, you might have to play your star a little extra.

Bill Laimbeer’s been an unnecessarily brutish crybaby since his days in the 80s. I don’t expect him to change now, but wish injury on any player is the most unprofessional, uncouth thing you can do as a head coach. His comments are completely uncalled for even if he was just upset because of a loss. His team is in next to last place in the Eastern Conference. Acting like a jerk isn’t going to improve that record. Maybe shutting up and actually coaching would.

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Bill Laimbeer ’bout to box with Will Perdue.

 

 

24 hours of being 35 (or: the drama with our wedding venue)

I slept for the first 5.5 hours of my 35th birthday, as one is wont to do from midnight until the time where the city snow plows start clearing the main street in front of your hours. That could only mean one thing – BIRTHDAY SNOWSTORM. I woke up, got ready for work, and realized a certain puppy and chewed the plastic nubbins off my work shoelaces – on BOTH shoes. She’s efficient if nothing else. And then I get to work and realize the Powerade Zero I brought is fruit punch and ew.

A little bit later, Amelia found out the lady that we’re working with at our wedding location had a bunch of anti-gay, Obama’s a foreigner, people on welfare get free iPhones shit on her Facebook. And that’s cool – you can have your own opinions. For instance, she also likes Michele Bachmann. I’d rather see which falls faster from the top of a mountain – a penny or Bachmann. And that’s okay. However, I’m also not in the business of trying to host Michele Bachmann’s wedding at a location that’s trying to really build up the amount of venues they have.

The internet was all like — EMAIL HER BOSS AND GET HER FIRED AND DEMAND A DISCOUNT AND  (figuratively) BURN HER AT THE STAKE and blah, blah, blah. And sure, that would have been an option. However, you attract more bees with honey, as my step-grandpa used to say. He was a plumber that spent several years in the Marines, so I’m sure he dealt with some real assholes. I figured he’s right.

And, yeah, it’s our wedding and, yeah, we shouldn’t have to educate an adult on equality just so we can get comfortable getting married. But in the words of the great Macklemore: “No law’s going to change us. We have to change us”.

I gave it a few hours. This wasn’t an opportunity to put someone on the spot or to get someone fired or to use someone’s ignorance against them. And my blood was seriously boiling.

I emailed the owner of our wedding venue  yesterday afternoon, stating very clearly that there was no need to discipline anyone, but more of an issue of creating awareness for your company and your brand. People tie a strong correlation between the image your employees present to the public and what your company is all about. Duh.

While we were at dinner celebrating the big 3-5, I got a phone call from the site coordinator whose Facebook. She was audibly upset and wanted to talk immediately. I obviously wasn’t available and told her I’d call her today.

I happened to check my email just after she called and the owner had responded back very quickly and was exactly what I needed to hear to feel more comfortable with continuing to host our location there. All was well and my confidence level in one of the biggest says of our lives happening at this location had been restored.

And then, this morning while I was in the middle of writing this very blog post, the coordinator wrote me back. She copied the owner and she copied Amelia and she was so extremely defensive. She was defending herself against accusations I’d never even made. She wanted to point out that she could have given our day away to someone else when the asked about it, but she didn’t. (Ooooh.) And my favorite – she also pointed out that her personal Facebook account reflects her personal beliefs and I’m trying to force people to have the same beliefs at me.

Now, hold it right there, Crabby Pants. I never said you were disrespectful. I emailed her boss because if my employees were publicly talking shit about specific group of customers that we service, I’d be absolutely horrified. I don’t care if she wants to be in favor of pooping in public. I was just asking for a little guarantee that the person in charge of coordinating the vendors, the food and overall location isn’t rude to my LGBTQ-supporting wedding goers or my non-white wedding goers that may or may not be “foreigners”. Not too much to ask for the chunk of change we’re dropping on this here thing, you know what I’m sayin’?

She also said in her email that she enjoys working with diverse groups of people and that’s what makes her job so fun. I totally believe that. I really do. And that’s what has me holding out hope for this whole situation.

I wrote her back – copying everyone in the world, since that’s what she thought she needed to do – and remained calm and professional, letting her know we’d moved on now that we’d gotten assurance that things would be handled professionally and without issue, we were solid and that we’d moved past this issue.

And I’m hoping that ties it all up in a nice little bow. Because if there’s no little bow when it comes time for our wedding, I will be the exact opposite of merry and bright.

I didn’t name any location or any person right now, because I’m giving things the benefit of the doubt. It’s my hope that this gets all cleared up and I can recommend this location to everyone, because seriously, you guys – it’s so super cool. 

waking up to fantastic voting news is better than any alarm

I woke up this morning to find out that two extremely discriminatory amendments that were on Minnesota’s ballot last night were shot down statewide. I knew I liked this state. I had to go to bed before the results and even before Obama’s speech, because I was fading fast and had to be at work early. I’m very proud of my adopted home state and I’m very proud of my country.

The last few weeks have really opened my eyes to the actual hatred people have towards Obama. Was I a fan of Romney? No, but I wasn’t going to move out of the country should he get elected and I certainly wasn’t going to group in all the people that voted for him and call them idiots or assholes. I’ve found out that multiple members of my extended family have deemed it okay to do that. Needless to say, I’m a few Facebook friends short lately and I’m okay with that. I don’t have anything against them for who they cast their vote for, but I will not be chastised in that manner for decisions I made.

I voted for Obama and I’m proud that I did. I’m proud of you for voting, whether it was for Obama or Romney or my left pinkie. You voted and that’s important. Do I disagree with people who voted “yes” on the state amendments that were on the ballots here? Yep, I do. Very strongly so. But I don’t hate you or think you’re a moron. I just wish I knew why you thought that way, so I could better understand things.

Let’s move forward. Let’s not call each other douchebags because we disagree. We get to do that. You guys probably hate my hair right now; I don’t hate you for that or think you’re less of a person. In fact, if you asked me today, I’d probably agree with you, too.