The richest people in the world are good salesmen: Donald Trump. Leo Iacocca. The Sham-Wow guy.
Which is why I’ll never be rich. The thought of selling anything makes my fingernails itch and my sphincters cringe (and for you scatalogical readers, there is more than one).
Complaining to you about telemarketers is like a stand-up comedian who says, “Take my wife, please.” Who hasn’t heard enough about that already, right?
So anyway, I hate telemarketers. And it’s not like I’m without compassion. I had a job in college where I had to beg university alumni for donations over the phone. Which might be worse because I was asking them for money for NOTHING. They wouldn’t even get a subscription to Popular Mechanics. I didn’t want to sell and they didn’t want to buy, so why were we even both on the phone, wasting precious lifeblood and energy that should be spent loving our brothers or something? No, instead we’re both just making each other uncomfortable. And for what?
Even when I fervently believe in the product, which is what is supposed to be the key to selling, I don’t want to sell it.
I am, however, happy to convince you to buy a product that I believe in, as long as I’m not getting paid for it. Maybe it’s because I wouldn’t fear rejection.
Or maybe I truly believe I’m doing you a service. I’m giving you something. Maybe I’ve had some epic consumer product experience and I must share it with EVERYONE I KNOW: What would it take for me to get you into a chartreuse fur-lined filing cabinet cover TODAY?
I sold Cutco knives. For four long one-hour demonstrations. And I’ll bet some of you sold them, too. Even celebrities have sold them. I recently heard Michael C. Hall (Six Feet Under, Dexter) tell some talk show host that he sold them before he was famous (GASP! Does this mean I’ll be famous someday?)
I sliced the leather demonstration strips (“If it cuts through this leather, think how it will cut through steak, even if it’s leather – ha ha!!”) and sold my parents a set of steak knives. I cut a penny into a corkscrew with the Cutco Scissors for my grandmother who escorted me into her kitchen to show me the forty-year old knife set she already had (which turned out to be Cutco, actually).
But I hated trying to sell a product that required you to make your potential customer fork over the names and phone numbers of ten of their closest friends. And I hated the fact that these poor knives were being sold under the MLM model, which reeked of Amway, Herbalife, etc.
But now, I’ve been “selling” their product ever since I quit more than twenty years ago. My parents swiped my demo set. I kept asking for the full kitchen set for Christmas every year until I got it. And I still tell people about how the handles are so ergonomic for your hand compared to other knives, and how they are made of the same material as bowling balls, and how the tines go all the way down through the handle with three rivets. And that Double-D patented edge that never needs sharpening.
See what I mean? Totally selling it right now.