My two years of doing Door to door sales or Direct Marketing was the most invaluable experience of my entire life. It was like entrepreneurship boot camp. Those two years armed with essential business skills and developed life defining habits that I carry with me to this day. Instead of recounting the entire two year experience in one long, boring post, I’ll tackle it bit by bit. This one is an overview of what I unknowingly got myself into.
February of 2003. I was 22 years old and technically still in school, but also done with school. Without any soccer in that 5th year, I decided to finish school early and overloaded with classes in the fall. When the new semester rolled around I had no academic obligations, but still had my soccer scholarship which allowed me to live on campus and eat in the cafeteria. This was key to me starting this Direct Marketing job.
Because I was done with school early, I decided to look for a job. After experiencing the Northeastern Coop program, I knew exactly what I did not want to do. I did not want to work in a office setting and have a standard 9-5. I wanted something where I could interact with people. So I decided on sales and because I majored in Finance and Insurance, I looked at financial sales roles. Every interview was the same. Yes I could build my own book of business, but I had to take tests, which I hated. I was about to take a job at some big company, but decided to go on an interview for a Direct Marketing Sales Rep job.
I took the T out to Malden and was immediately intrigued by the interview. I was extremely excited when I got called back for a second, full day interview to see what the gig actually was before accepting the position. I wore my best interview suit, the thinest pea coat in history, and the most uncomfortably stylish interview shoes ever, which was unfortunate because nothing about the 2nd interview was indoors or stationary. I was supposed to shadow Mike McGeown, someone who became one of the most influential people in my life, and we were walking all over North Chlemsford Massachusetts to sell Dominos coupon certificates. It was me and another guy shadowing Mike, and he expertly fed into my competitive nature during the car ride by saying, “as much as I will like both of you, only one of you will be able to have an opportunity for a final interview”. He parked his car, beelined to what I thought was his house, and knocked on the door. A stranger answered the door and Mike went to work. Disarming him with his warm personality, explaining why an army of people were at his door in suits, and showing him the deal from Dominos. At the end of conversation the guy handed Mike a check for $300. What just happened? I was shocked. I had questions. Again, Mike expertly asked what we thought happened and that he would tell us the big picture at lunch.
Lunch finally came. And this is where Mike locked me in and I drank the preverbal Kool-Aid. On a piece of paper he laid out the “Management Training Program” where you get to have your own Direct Marketing office anywhere in the country. Before you can get to the top, you have to learn the basics and the basics was knocking on doors. While knocking on doors you’re learning how to expertly handle customer service on behalf of the client, in this case Dominos. You’re also learning how to deal with negative situations, and maintain conversations, which are all essential to being the boss. From there you get promoted to a position where you can interview and train people. Once you can train a team of people to sell 400 certificates in back to back weeks, you get promoted to Assistant Manager and start looking at places to open up your office. Finally you open up shop and facilitate other peoples training under your watch. If I worked hard, I could have my own office in 6-8 months. After Mike was done with his presentation, that is when I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up, an Entrepreneur. And nothing was going to stop me.
After sitting for a final interview, I got the job. At the time I had no idea that this one day would change my entire life, for the better, forever.