The moment I stepped into the door to door sales office for my first day of work, I knew I was destined for greatness. The only problem was that I god awful. That does not describe how unbelievably terrible I was knocking on doors and selling stuff. Mike was selling things everyday, this guy who started the same day as me and became one of my best friends, Josh, was like the door to door sales rookie of the year. For a frame of reference, selling 10 coupon certificates was considered a benchmark day. Mike, Josh, and so many other people in the office were hitting that with ease. Yours truly was lucky to sell one. That’s me, walking around who knows where Massachusetts in the cold winters night for 8 hours and making 10 bucks. If I was going to actually get through this training program and open my own office, I needed to figure out how to sell more than one.
Three people helped me. The first was Mike. He said for me to keep on task when talking to someone and to stop talking about having a college degree because it sounded like I was proactively defending myself against a job people perceive as being bad. He was absolutely right. I hated the negative stigma associated with door to door sales, so I wanted people to know I had a college degree and I purposely chose this career.
Next was Zifang Mei. He followed me around from door to door, then asked me to watch him. He immediately sold certificates to the next few people we spoke to. He told me that I talk too much and don’t listen enough. He was absolutely right. I’m never starved for conversation, but it took a different skill set to have a conversation that ends with someone giving you money. He taught me to ask short questions that yielded big answers and to use those answers to steer the rest of the conversation my way.
Finally there was Bill Shardinger. One Saturday morning our Malden office joined up with the Quincy office to sell some car care certificates. I was partnered with Bill. I told him how terrible I was and he just observed. Then he explained that my words were fine, my energy was fine, but I (me, the person) was not fine. He went on to say that I was the biggest weakness. My confidence, my swagger, my mentality all of it plays to people who already know me, but the way its presented at a door was doing me no favors. I needed to adjust my attitude. That was huge. He said I was my biggest challenge. I thought to myself “how do you fix 22 years of perfect awesomeness?” The way I worded that question showed just how off my initial mentality was. I wasn’t confident, I was a cocky know it all. No wonder why people didn’t want buy anything from me.