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Last time I wrote anything I talked about being different. That point has been driven home more and more over the last week.
I’m mot saying you should try to be different or that it is even helpful. I guess what I am saying is that you either have to be or why bother. If you are not different in the way you think then you will never come up with anything new or different. You might as well just buy into a Fuddruckers franchise.
I started in sales when I was around 25 years old. I’ve sold advertising, Cars, Swimming Pools, Hot tubs, and anything else I could get paid to sell. My employers spent tens of thousands of dollars training me to learn how to sell. They taught me how to talk. How to dress. Even what to talk about with customers. When they had all spent WELL into five figures they had a very mediocre salesman who hated his job, but made enough money to pay the bills and frankly was not trained how to do anything else.
So there I was for years selling stuff. Clean shaven. Hair cut (yes i once had hair), Dressed up, tie straight, even cologne. I was doing and saying what I was taught to do.
I was working at the MN State Fair. I was working for a local retailer selling hot tubs. Up to that point the State Fair seemed like a sort of punishment. You are outside in the dog days of summer. It is hot, dusty and you are surrounded by people with little regard for their bodies and their health which is evident by the way they shove food into their mouth as though it may run away. The outdoor tent we set up at was next to the famous pork chop booth which meant that the grilling of pork chops was non-stop and the grease filled smoke would coat the hot tubs in grease that then attracted the dust all day. That means that I got to grab a bottle of windex every hour and clean 20 hot tubs while being asked questions and sweating my balls off and drinking $3.00 a bottle water.
So there I am wiping down the hot tubs. I’m not very happy and I’m dressed like an idiot. Suddenly behind me I hear the same damn question I hear 500 times a day. “So how much is this?”. In my unsettled state I turned around and said “Does it really fucking matter if you can’t afford it anyways?”. The man who just asked me that question looked at me and said ” I just built a $400,000 house on a lake and own my own dental practice. Do you think I can afford it?”. Without missing a beat I said “Well where the fuck have you been all day?”.
An hour later him and his wife had spent $15,000 on a hot tub and gazebo and I had the scariest realization I have ever had in my life.
Everything I have been told I needed to do to be a great salesman was wrong.
It still took years to accept and just let it happen but finally I made a choice that I was not going to pretend I cared about things I did not. I was not going to shave. I would dress the way I want and say what I was thinking.
I have spent the last 10 years of my life being the exception to the rule in SO many ways. When I meet with people I say things I am sure they have never heard. I had a Skype meeting 2 moths ago the day of my vasectomy where I felt the need to point the camera at my crotch to show the giant ice bag on it. Keep in mind I had not met 3 of the people in this group ever.
So I guess the “lesson” here is don’t try and be something you are not. People can smell a fake even if they do not realize it.