Thursday, November 24 – Friday, November 25

What’s all the Black Friday hype?

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  Okay, not the favorite, that honor belongs to Groundhog Day, but I appreciate the fact that it has remained blessedly non-commercial.  Plus, it’s just about the only day you can pig out without guilt.

Now, Black Friday is of course the very opposite of a non-commercial day.  It’s instead the day millions of people are duty-bound to stampede into stores and humiliate themselves fighting over sale merchandise like starving hyenas fighting over a rotting impala carcass.  It was just another work day for me, spent at a nearby location.  It was busy, even though it’s not the sort of location normally associated with Black Friday shopping mania.  I had at best a mediocre day notwithstanding the heavy flow of potential customers.  Most of the people I encountered seemed too rushed and/or distracted to display much interest in what I had to offer.  Not surprising, really.

Published in: on November 29, 2011 at 4:27 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, November 21 – Wednesday, November 23

Better than I expected.

I didn’t hold out much hope for this week.  With Thanksgiving fast approaching, peoples’ minds are on things other than the products and/or services I sell.  You have the big feasts on Thanksgiving itself, and then Black Friday’s kickoff of the Christmas shopping season.  Granted, Black Friday is a wee bit overhyped, in fact the busiest shopping day of the year is generally the last Saturday before Christmas, but nonetheless I was concerned that my sales would suffer.  While I can’t give any details, you’ve obviously figured out by now that what I sell is nothing that people would give as gifts.

Yet my concerns were largely unfounded.  Monday turned out to be a reasonably decent day even though the morning’s trip to the weekly meeting in Nassau County – along with some surprisingly heavy expressway traffic – meant that I didn’t get “to the field” until almost three hours later than usual. Tuesday began slow, but things picked up later in the day and I did okay.  Wednesday was the laggard of the three, which made sense because I had another late start and it was of course Thanksgiving Eve.  Still, I was reasonably pleased.

Published in: on November 26, 2011 at 12:15 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, November 19 – Sunday, November 20

A lousy weekend – poor sales performance on Saturday, no motivation whatsoever to go to the gym either day.  Ugh.

Published in: on November 24, 2011 at 3:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, November 17 – Friday, November 18

Seasonal business

Both days were reasonably good if not outstanding.  I was concerned that the approaching holiday season might adversely affect the market for the products and/or services I sell, but so far this hasn’t happened.  Whether this may change is yet to be seen.  There’s no way of knowing for sure, as my employer did not start selling these particular products and/or services until early this year.  I’m going to be cautiously optimistic and surmise that the seasonal factor won’t be significant.  The products and/or services aren’t the sort of things people would give as gifts, hence my concern about possible adverse effects, but then again there’s no clear reason why sales should suffer to any meaningful extent.  Of course this would be far easier to understand if I could simply say what it is I’m selling, but there’s no way to do so without giving away too many clues.

On a different note, after doing most of my recent reading on my cell phone’s free Kindle app, I’m actually reading an old-fashioned, dead-tree book: Krakatoa, the Day the World Exploded, a nonfiction story about the 1883 volcanic explosion that among much else produced the Loudest Sound in Human History.  The blast actually could be heard thousands of miles away … and you complain about your neighbor’s loud TV.  But seriously, as much as I like the cell phone Kindle there’s an undeniable advantage to reading a physical book, in terms of larger type size and a much greater ability to flip backward and forward.  Which isn’t to say that I’m about to run out to bookstores anytime soon.  I got the copy of Krakatoa several years ago as a gift.


Published in: on November 22, 2011 at 4:25 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, November 14 – Wednesday, November 15

One out of three isn’t … well, it is pretty bad, but not disastrous

One thing about my line of work is that Mondays tend to be slow sales days.  My best guess is that it is due in part to the general slow pace of consumer-related business following weekends (note for example that many restaurants are closed on Monday) and in part to a factor peculiar to the specific nature of the company. I drove into Nassau County for the regular weekly meeting, narrowly avoiding a major construction delay on the Expressway by getting off at an exit right before the delay and taking some secondary roads the rest of the way.  Dealing with all the traffic lights seemed to be the better approach.

Following the meeting I went to a work location in central Suffolk, only to show distinctly mediocre results.  While this is usually a decent-ish location, the customer flow was notably less than usual.  That, however, is not the sole reason for my dismal day.  I just wasn’t particularly sharp in dealing with customers.  Objections that I usually can overcome with little trouble proved to be insurmountable obstacles.  It’s as if my normal skills eluded me.

Tuesday was a far better day.  I was at a much closer location, one that’s always been reasonably if not spectacularly productive.  It wasn’t busy today, but I was definitely on my A game and made the best of the situation.  It’s hard to say whether my skills at overcoming objections were significantly better than they had been yesterday, for the simple reason that all of today’s customers were fairly easy to handle.  Such objections as they raised were half-hearted and easy to counter.  All in all, Tuesday was a vast improvement over Monday.

I didn’t work on Wednesday, for a variety of reasons.  Tuesday’s success meant that missing a day wouldn’t be a huge financial setback.

Published in: on November 18, 2011 at 4:29 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, November 12 – Sunday, November 13

As is usual for Satudays, I worked for a few hours, and did decently well in that short space of time.  Which is moderately surprising, as I just wasn’t as sharp in my approaches as I like to be.  On Sunday, I made an early afternoon gym trip, hoping to do some bench presses.  I started out with Life Fitness shoulder presses, 3 x 8 x 100/100, and because of some shoulder soreness I decided to skip the benching and instead did some other upper-body work.  Triceps rope pushdowns: 4 x 8 x 100.  Cable curls: 4 x 10 x 110.  Life Fitness seated dips: 10 x 175, 3 x 10 x 190.

Published in: on November 14, 2011 at 4:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, November 10 – Friday, November 11

The first five seconds

One rule that applies in most types of sales is that you have no more than five seconds to get a prospective customer to like you.  Making this good first impression is no guarantee than you’ll make the sale, of course, but not making this good first impression is a guarantee that you won’t make the sale.  By “like you” I don’t mean making a lifelong friend or anything of that sort, what matters is that the prospective customer sees you as a decent person who won’t try to swindle him or her.  It’s a pretty low bar, when you think about it, yet it can be quite a challenge.

The more time I spend in sales, the more I realize that the “5 second rule” also applies in the opposite direction, in a somewhat different form.  When I get past the initial stage and start giving a full presentation, I have a pretty good idea right off the bat whether the customer is going to buy anything. There’s no single giveaway.  For example, the fact that the customer makes eye contact is a good sign, but no guarantee.  The same is true for asking questions.  Rather, there is a whole set of verbal and non-verbal things that when taken together will show that the customer is interested, but it’s almost impossible to express these in words.  It’s really the sort of thing that comes with experience.

Both days were reasonably good, but not outstanding.  I spent Thursday in a location that’s always been reliable for me.  Despite not being very busy, I was able to do okay.  Friday was busier, what with the quasi-holiday, though my results were about the same as the prior day’s.

Published in: on November 14, 2011 at 3:32 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, November 7 – Wednesday, November 9

Having to sing for my supper

Monday wasn’t a bad day, all things considered.  While I had to go into western Nassau for the normal weekly meeting, my post-rush-hour departure meant that Expressway traffic was quite reasonable.  I moved along at twice (or more) the speed at which I would have been driving two hours earlier.  What a difference times makes.  The meeting itself was helpful, and didn’t last as long as usual.  I then went to a work location in central Suffolk, a location where I hadn’t been in a couple of weeks.  While it wasn’t particularly busy, not surprising given that it was Monday, I did okay.

Due to circumstances beyond my control I was able to work for just a few hours on Tuesday.  Pity, as I was at one of the more reliable sales locations.  On Wednesday, however, I made up for Tuesday’s short workday by having a really good day.  None of my sales came easily, I really had to work hard to get them, but that actually makes them all the more satisfying.  Don’t get me wrong, a very easy sale (known in the trade as a “rollover” or “laydown”) is nice, but a sale made after a struggle just feels better.  No gain without pain, that sort of thing.

On Wednesday evening I made a quick gym trip.  I’m determined to get to the gym at least one or two weeknights, in addition to weekends.  I did some fairly easy back work to start.  Hammer Strength MTS front pulldowns: 3 x 8 x 100/100.  Next came Hammer Strength high rows: 3 x 6 x 100/100.  I also did some light bench pressing: 6 x 135, 6 x 165, 6 x 185, 6 x 205, 4 x 225.

Published in: on November 10, 2011 at 3:27 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, November 5 – Sunday, November 6

Saturday was not one of my better days.  I worked for about three hours at what is usually a good location.  My hopes of following up on Friday’s good performance didn’t pan out, unfortunately.  Several potential customers gave me typical objections after hearing my presentation, the sort of responses I usually have relatively little trouble overcoming, but for reasons I cannot begin to explain I was wholly ineffective.  I just wasn’t sharp, in other words.

On Sunday I decided that I’ve been lazy long enough and actually went to the gym for the first time in over two weeks.  I’m really glad I did.  Now all I have to do is keep this resolve and resume going on a regular basis.  There’s no reason why I can’t go during the week, as I’m usually done with work by 7:30 or so.  In any event, I started out today with bench presses, keeping things relatively light: 6 x 135, 6 x 165, 6 x 185, 6 x 205, 4 x 225, 6 x 205, 6 x 185.  Next came Life Fitness seated shoulder presses, 3 x 8 x 100/100.  Cable curls ended the session, 4 x 10 x 100.

Published in: on November 7, 2011 at 3:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday, November 4

On fertile ground

One of the rules we’re taught at JKL Sales is that all sales locations are equal.  It does not matter to your potential results which one of the 15+ locations you happen to be assigned to on a particular day.  Some locations may be more conveniently located than others, but that’s the sole significant difference.  This is the theory.  In reality, I have found that some locations actually are better than others.  This is often due to more-or-less logical reasons: location A might be busier than location B, location C may attract people with a more favorable demographic profile than location D; and other things which I can’t mention while maintaining the necessary confidentiality.

In the case of one location, let’s call it location E, there are no obvious reasons why it should work well.  But it does.  Every time I go there I do well, maybe it has something to do with my expectations and attitude.  Whatever the reasoning, all that matters is that I can count on a good day in location E.  Suffice to say that’s where I went today, and it was a very nice day.

Published in: on November 7, 2011 at 12:45 am  Leave a Comment