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A Story About My Dad, The Salesman

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My father was a door-to-door “No Solicitors” sign salesman. He had an annoying voice, a bothersome demeanor and obnoxious mannerisms. Sufficit to say, he was very successful at what he did. Every morning at five am, he’d leave the house with a box full of signs, load them in his car and drive off. He’d return about seven pm with an empty box everyday. Later, he shared with me some of his “trade secrets”.

Here’s list of things he’d do to give him the edge he needed to be successful:

-“I’d never brush my teeth in the morning or eat anything for breakfast. I’d chain smoke and drink as much coffee as possible, which is another great way to get inside someones house or business, may I use the bathroom sort a thing. Anyway, I’d drive around smoking and guzzling coffee then when I’d make a sales call, I’d lean in close and try to push my breath on them.”

-“Sometimes I wouldn’t bath for days or I’d wear the same suit all weak. Wearing the same clothes over and over again gives you a much more offensive odor than just not bathing. It’s a unique smell, special, different from just plain old b.o.. I think it has something to do with the fibers soaking in all the stinkiness.”

-“If I found myself in a situation where I thought I was on the edge of losing a sale, a real sale, not some bum who isn’t really interested in buying, but someone who just needs that little something to seal the deal, that’s when I’d pull what I call the mister. That’s where you spit very lightly in someones face when you’re talking to them. It took me a really long time to learn how to do it well and not get caught. I’d practice a lot when I was driving around smoking and drinking coffee in the mornings, scouting sales routes. You really have to be careful and gentle in your approach and watch out for too much repetition. If it only happens two or three times in a meeting that’s enough and it has to be a light spray. If it’s light enough and soft enough, the person won’t expect a thing and usually won’t even mention it. You can always see it in there eyes though, that instant loathing, how they pretend they’re rubbing their chin or scratching their cheek, trying to wipe it off. Even if you lose the sale, it’s pretty entertaining to watch.”

-“Talking excessive loud is a good tool. Again, you have to perfect the technique, but noise is something that bothers a lot of people. Some people will buy a sign just to get a little peace and quiet.”

-“I always loved when I got a head cold. Trying to close a deal with the sniffles or an abrasive cough really moves the transaction along.”

-“I only did this a couple of times, because the last time I tried it a guy came after me with a Louisville Slugger. I’d carry one of those stink bomb viles in my coat pocket and just as I’d finish my pitch, I’d reach inside my pocket and crack the vile open. Amazing, some people will buy from you if they think you’ve shit your pants.”

I’m sure there was more, but I can’t recall anymore. It’s crazy to think that’s how the man feed his family, but he did and never complained. He sold those signs up to the day he died. I sometimes wonder if it wasn’t the life that killed him.

So now, every time I see one of those signs that say, “No Solicitors” I always think of my dad and how happy I am that I’m not a salesman.

Egg On!

Ramblin’ Rooster


Written by Ramblin' Rooster

November 15, 2008 at 5:59 am

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