What’s in Your Wallet
Working in sales, you probably have me pegged as just another congealed skeezoid who broke suction and plop-dropped from the same liberally greased mold that birthed the door-to-door dish antenna dude whose signature pitch of never missing another UFC bout is punctuated by a sanity-defying scissor kick presented live on your front porch.
Let me make this perfectly clear: I do not have a mullet.
Sure — you may call me a salesperson, but that’s only because I sell things for a living…which pretty much defines a salesperson so let’s shelf that thought for a moment.
What’s important is that I definitely don’t meet the criteria of the stereotypical sales “lifer” even though I’ve been selling pretty much all my adult life.
Where the hell am I going with this?
Ah! How ‘bout this -
I am not my job.
I affirm I’m not nor will I ever be one of those notorious sellers who love their job for all the wrong reasons.
The ones you should avoid.
The ones that -
- quote Dan Pink, the Wolf of Wall Street and American Psycho
- hire a photographer to snap their LinkedIn pic
- gloat about blowing an entire commission check at the Apple store
- take week-long golf vacations away from their family because they earned it, dammit, and should be seriously appreciated for their unwavering commitment to the game since a respectable handicap directly translates to playing and making deals with clients which directly translates to income which directly translates to that trip to Disney where they can golf while the wife and kids do Epcot
- close deals at the gym while sprinting on a treadmill, shouting into a Bluetooth headset clearly not engineered to read the voice of the soft-spoken
- love business travel, hotels, sports bars and racking up dem reward points
- own a to-do list which includes -
pick up dry cleaning
I’ve worked with some real slimers. Cutthroats who drink and tell dirty jokes at 8AM.
They sport a thousand dollar wristwatch they have no clue how to work but wear anyway because they saw an actor wearing it on the cover of a magazine.
It didn’t matter what they sold. In fact, they considered product knowledge a detriment. Something only schlubs invest in.
They’d develop their own sales track based on what they’d glean off a one-sided marketing flyer, filling in gaps with generous doses of real impressive sounding misinformation.
And they’d sell a lot.
They’d make their bonus.
They’d buy a lot of stuff and tell you all about it.
They’d tell you all about their earnings from last quarter even as you’d plead for them not to. (“C’mon, go ahead — just take a guess!”)
Money was their everything. Insatiable greed was their driver.
I knew early in my selling career I would never make it big.
I didn’t have that essential killer instinct.
Maybe it’s because I was loved as a child. My parents really screwed me with that.
All I know is that in the do-or-die moment when a real sales-shark’s eyes go black and they disconnect their integrity inhibitors, I’m usually listening to my conscience who I’ll find huddled in a corner petting a piece of fabric.
In those toxic environments from my past, morals were not marketable.
I was miserable for a long time.
I eventually decided to do the only thing I could to continue in the profession while attempting to impose a much needed embargo on stomach acid:
I sought a company that would allow me to live with myself as a salesperson.
Was it even possible?
I just had to lower my earning expectations by two-thirds.
So now I sell books to schools. Kinda neat, right?
The company I’m with brings in donuts, celebrates birthdays and does volunteer stuff.
But make no mistake: We are still salespeople.
The company will keep us competitive by setting quotas, broadcasting our numbers and running annual sales contests.
I think this year’s top performers from each department win a trip to Cabo which I believe is near Tallahassee.
The company also recognizes employees in non-sales roles, like warehouse staff, who work a helluva lot harder than me.
And as much as I hate when salespeople toot their horns when they close a deal, I can live with it here.
Take for example my cubicle neighbor, Ill Bill, who calls in sick every Tuesday and most Fridays and runs a commercial-grade humidifier and air purifier at his desk.
Bill will play money music every time he makes a sale.
It’s not as obnoxious as it is — well — embarrassing.
When I hear the music and Bill getting all jiggy, I know what it must feel like to be one of his kids when friends visit and he greets them in boxer shorts.
And before you go thinking I’m some office fuddy duddy, let me tell you something: Bill’s not the only music enthusiast in the place.
I’ve been known to raise the roof.
It’s been more than two years since I switched to the scooter lane on the sales super-highway.
I used to make fun of this place, but I’m done with that.
I consider myself blessed to be surrounded by people who work ethically and genuinely care about what they do.
I wouldn’t call it a thrilling gig, but I face new challenges that keeps things interesting.
For instance, with my salary, I need to be pretty resourceful in how I spend money. Every penny counts.
I hunt for values. I negotiate.
But hey — that’s not too hard for someone like me.
I am, after all, a salesperson.