Wednesday, July 13 – Thursday, July 14

Red Bull gives you wings … and pretty decent commissions, too


I’ve never really gotten the point of Red Bull.  All the “gives you wings” stuff sounds like just so much advertising hype.  Hype or not, one of the first things I noticed when I started working at JKL Sales was that many of the other salespeople consume vast amounts of the stuff.  It would be an exaggeration to say that everyone has a can of Red Bull during the morning meetings (in the (in)famous chairless meeting room), but only a slight exaggeration.  Certainly I was never going to succumb to the hype.

For reasons I still can’t quite explain, after leaving Wednesday’s meeting on my way to the day’s worksite, I decided to stop at a nearby 7-11 and get some Red Bull.  Couldn’t hurt, right?  I ended up getting a 16-ounce can.  It didn’t taste half bad, at least not the sugar-free version which I decided to get on account of all the calories in the regular stuff.  How did it work?  I definitely felt a short-lived but fairly intense rush, which may have been at least partly psychosomatic, though clearly not entirely so.  What is clear, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is that I had an excellent day in sales terms, the first time in my month at JKL Sales in which I qualified for a daily “top producer” designation.  Did the Red Bull have anything to do with my success?  There’s no way to know for sure, though I’d like to think so.  What may be relevant in this context is that Thursday was an excellent day too … and yes, I had more Red Bull.

Published in: on July 16, 2011 at 3:27 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, July 11 – Tuesday, July 12

Better to miss by a mile than by an inch

Neither day was particularly successful in sales terms.  Or in driving terms, as both days I had to deal with heavy Expressway traffic getting into the office.  Monday was especially frustrating, as I had four almost sales, in other words sales that looked like sure things but fell through at the last minute for reasons beyond my control.  One of them might still go through next week, I have to call the customer on Monday and see if I can get things going, but based on my experience in the insurance industry I know full well that trying to get people on the telephone in this age of voice mail is next to impossible.  Granted, the customer himself asked me to call, so maybe  there’s a slim chance I’ll actually get him on the telephone.  We’ll see.  Tuesday was similarly unsuccessful, but in a strange way it was less frustrating because this time I didn’t get remotely close with anything.  This is the essential point of working in sales: sometimes things go well, and sometimes, no matter what you do, they don’t.

Published in: on July 15, 2011 at 2:40 am  Leave a Comment  

Satuday, July 9 – Sunday, July 10

Saturday turned out to be a reasonably good day in work terms.  I put in about three hours’ of work, which is plenty for a Saturday, but did pretty well.  Not that I made a fortune in commissions, but every bit helps.  I had been planning to go to the gym later on Saturday, but other things intervened and I couldn’t go.  Not a good thing, as it’s not like I get all sorts of opportunities to go these days.  Sunday was a decent enough bench press session: 6 x 135, 6 x 185, 6 x 205, 6 x 225, 3 x 5 x 225, 10 x 185.

Published in: on July 15, 2011 at 2:33 am  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, July 7 – Friday, July 8

Now that’s a nice incentive

Two reasonably decent days, though I had been hoping for a bit more.  On Thursday, I was with another, more experienced salesman, and after a good start things at our work location became rather quiet.  I also was encountering more than my usual share of rude customers.  After some discussion we decided to flip a coin to see if we’d stay at the present location or try our luck at a new one a few miles away.  There are about ten possible locations for us in Suffolk County, although two others were in use today by other salespeople.  It turned out that the coin flip said “new location.”  We had some misgivings, as changing locations in the middle of the day usually isn’t a good idea, but things didn’t look too promising where we were.  It should come as no surprise that the new location did not turn out well at all, as there just weren’t many potential customers.  Of course I don’t know if things would have been more lively at the old location.  On Friday, I worked by myself at another location and had some relatively modest results.

One of the things I wish were different about JKL Sales is the way that everyone has to report to the office every day at 9:00 for about 90 minutes’ of meetings and training sessions before being able to go to our work locations and start making sales.  One day of meetings per week should be enough, two tops.  What I found out from the experienced salesman on Thursday is that the company owner is offering us an incentive: if my particular sales campaign (one of three in the office) produces a particular number of sales in a week, we’ll be excused from the meetings and can go directly to our work locations at 11:00 or noon.  Our counterparts in Nassau County have a similar deal.  Now, getting to this sales level will not be easy, especially given our small staff, but it’s something to keep in mind.

Published in: on July 11, 2011 at 1:37 am  Leave a Comment  

Tuesday, July 5 – Wednesday, July 6

Refining the approach

With the holiday weekend in the rear view mirror I put in two long workdays.  Tuesday didn’t go too well in sales terms, but Wednesday was better.  This may be because I worked solo on Tuesday but spent Wednesday working as a team with a more experienced sales representative.  Interestingly enough, I did better than he did, even though he has much more experience.  One thing about sales – and it doesn’t really matter what you’re selling or the context in which you’re acting – is that some days are much better than others even though there are no obvious reasons for the differences.  It’s one of those things that just happens.  One benefit of working with a more experienced person is that I was able to refine my approach to would-be customers.  He spent about an hour observing my approaches and then gave me a detailed critique.  Something I have to work on is being a bit more casual and conversational in my approach.  The things I say are fine, it’s just that the ways I deliver them aren’t optimal.  This should come with time.

Published in: on July 8, 2011 at 3:41 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, July 2 – Monday, July 4

The holiday weekend notwithstanding I did a few hours of work on Saturday morning, though without much luck.  I was in a location where I’d never previously been, in fact no one else in the office had been there in weeks, and to my dismay a curiously high percentage of the potential customers I encountered had less-than-pleasant attitudes.  What I don’t know is whether this was attributable to the location or the fact that it was a holiday weekend.  Some people may not appreciate dealing with salespeople at such a time.  Or, more likely, it was just happenstance that I encountered these ‘tudes.

Later on Saturday I had a decent enough back session.  Hammer Strength MTS high row: 4 x 8 x 100/100.  Hammer Strength MTS front pulldown: 4 x 8 x 100/100.  Life Fitness lower back extension: 4 x 10 x 225.  Sunday was devoted to bench presses: 6 x 135, 6 x 185, 6 x 205, 4 x 6 x 225, 6 x 205, 8 x 185.  On Monday, the gym was open only until noon, which is too early for me to even think about exercise.  But we did have a small but pleasant cookout later in the day.

Published in: on July 6, 2011 at 3:50 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday, July 1

A nice start to a new month

July definitely got off to a good start with a very nice performance in sales terms.  I was with another salesman, but for the most part we worked separately.  We had been concerned that the upcoming holiday weekend might not leave people in much of a buying mood, but that didn’t prove to be the case.  One particularly good thing is that I found out that our working hours might be somewhat more reasonable in a week or two.  I had mentioned in yesterday’s entry that our Nassau County counterparts put up superb sales numbers.  What’s especially remarkable is that they do so working at least two fewer hours per day than we do in Suffolk.  With their less-exhausting schedule they’re able to work more intensely and accomplish more.  Next week management may consider changing our hours to conform more closely with the Nassau schedule.  I certainly hope so.

Published in: on July 4, 2011 at 5:21 am  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday, June 29/Thursday, June 30

Decent day, training day

Wednesday turned out to be a decent enough day after all.  After having done poorly on Monday and Tuesday I was quite worried that my slump would continue for a third day.  Fortunately, that didn’t happen, as following a relatively slow start things got better in the afternoon.  I was at a location where I hadn’t been previously, maybe that was the reason for my decent performance.  Or, much more likely, I just kept speaking to as many potential customers as possible.  “Sales is a numbers game” is a very, very old cliche, in fact I believe it was first written in cuneiform on clay tablets, but it actually is true.

I found out via text on Wednesday evening that Thursday would be a training day.  After meeting at the office in mid-morning, the other people working on my sales campaign carpooled (I didn’t have to drive, yay) into Nassau County for a group training session with that office.  The Nassau people put up excellent numbers, considerably better than those of us out in the wilds of Suffolk County, and management figured that we might be able to learn from them.  One thing I found out is that the Nassau office’s conference room is just as chair-less as ours.  In any event, after a nearly 3-hour session that included both sales and product training, we went back to our office and I then followed a Nassau salesman around for a few hours.  It was an opportunity to see him in action and hopefully pick up on his success.  Note that I wasn’t being singled out, the other people from my office also followed Nassau salesmen at other locations.  With a couple of minor exceptions, the Nassau salesman I followed didn’t do anything different than what we do.  Yet he consistently puts up superb numbers.  It may well be that Nassau’s more urbanized population is more receptive to the particular products and/or services that we sell.

Published in: on July 3, 2011 at 4:31 am  Leave a Comment