Long Hours and Early Bed-times

Someone DM’d me on Twitter asking if I was still alive.  LOL.  Yes but barely.  The new sales job is hard.  I’m working on average 10 hour days, which isn’t so bad.  What sucks is that I’m both trying to learn and trying to sell at the same time.  I don’t have the knowledge to make me “transactional”.  In other words, I can’t just show up at a potential client’s business and sell them by the end of the meeting.  I have to go back to the office, find out how much stuff costs and what we charge for them, find out how much labor is involved, find out if I’ll make any money on the deal… I do a lot of research just to make a sale.  That takes time.

Also, since I’m new, I have no referral network.  No book of business.  I’m literally cold calling 98% of the time hoping to drum up business.  I’ve made 2 sales, one last week and one yesterday.  I’ve only been working for 3 weeks.  Apparently that’s a pretty big deal for someone with absolutely zero experience in the security systems industry.  My “training” is pretty abysmal.  My boss calls it “earn while you learn”.  Basically it’s get your shit in gear and start selling and just ask a lot of questions along the way.  Making those two sales actually impressed my boss.  He said:

Sales Manager: Seriously John, I didn’t expect you to sell anything your first month.  I thought you were just going to take your time to learn everything, and slowly work up to sales.

Me: Well, shit dude, it’s not like you guys are paying me enough on base salary to sit around the office and do nothing.  My savings is nearly gone, so I gotta make some money somehow.

SM: No, no, no…I appreciate the hustle.  That is how you’re going to make money the first year.  I just expected you to go a bit slower, but you know what, I didn’t when I was new.

Yeah but he was a technician for 8 years before moving over to sales.  So he knew everything about security systems.  I know next to nothing.

I’ve focused on learning just a few system, and what they actually accomplish.  I don’t know their inner workings but I know what the end result is.  So that’s what I’m selling, in the end, what do you want your system to do?  I think my boss was intentional about that.  During my interview he said:

SM: The old school way of doing security system sales was to have the salesmen know absolutely everything about the system.  Basically we wanted techs to be salesmen.  But you know what?  Salesmen don’t need that perfect knowledge.  I want you to know enough about the systems so that you can accurately sell what they are going to do.  However, the customers aren’t going to buy a security system, they’re buying you.  If they like and trust you, that’s when you make a sale.  You, John, obviously have a natural knack for that.  Which is why you would be very successful in sales.  Let us worry about the ins-and-outs of a security system.  You go win the trust of the customer.

So I show up by 7am,  spend hours on the computer researching, spend some time on the phone, then I drive everywhere, and leave around 5:30 or 6 to go home.  I’m usually pretty spent by then.  We put the kids down around 9pm and I go to bed.  My wife is disappointed that we don’t get to watch Game of Thrones after the kids go down, but she understands.

All this leaves me with no time to write.  Which is disappointing.  I hope that will change as I become more efficient in the sales process.  Sorry for being so absent the last 3 weeks.  But I’m literally trying to earn enough money to live.  I got my first paycheck yesterday: $1,200.  All base salary.  So without sales that’s about $2,400 per month or $28k a year take home.  Yeah, I need to make some sales.


Everyone at work tells me I just need to be more patient.  That I will be successful and that I will make good money, but it doesn’t happen over night.  First year is going to be the hardest, but if I do it right, then it should get easier from there.

I don’t have a year to wait.  I need it now.  So I’m going to bust my ass now.  Work harder than everyone in there so that my family can live comfortably ASAP.

A big thanks to my Patron’s who covered the gap this month.  You gave me close $300 at the end of the month.  That obviously makes a huge difference!

I’ve got so much more to write about.  I hope I find the time to.


9 thoughts on “Long Hours and Early Bed-times

  1. Sounds like you’ve got the right attitude going in to it. The top salesman where I work (I work in VoIP phones, not security systems, though they are similar industries) has his screen saver set very simply: it’s one of the scrolling word ones that has come default in Windows since 1995, and it says “Hunter Mentality”. You can’t sit and wait for sales to come to you, you’ve got to go out and find them. And while it is true that you don’t have to be an expert on the tech to sell it, the more you know about your product, it becomes that much easier to sell. And the more you know about it means you’ll have more confidence in it, which in turn will give people more confidence in you as you make your pitch to them. Yeah, you’re probably going to run yourself ragged getting through the first hurdle as start building your network of connections, but that work to build it quickly now means it will get to work for you that much sooner.

    If I can offer any advice that I’ve seen from our sales force, it would be to keep a special eye out for connections that can get you other connections. Sure, everyone can possibly give you another connection, but some people are better connected than others, and you’ll be able to spot that. Even if you know you’ll never make that initial sale (or possibly, and not sure if it works this way for your place, sometimes you can get it to go through if you agree to take a cut in commission), still put in that extra effort for them to get on their good side. Make sure they know what you do or are trying to do for them without flaunting it. Even if you lose out on that initial work you put in, if it gets you referrals that means later sales that you don’t have to chase down.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It will get better. The part about not buying a security system, but buying you — that’s key. When I interviewed sales people for my own home security system, I connected with only one of the salespeople. That guy helped me figure out exactly what kind of protection was needed, which windows should be alarmed (some of them are so inaccessible that alarming them is a waste of time), where they could run wires vs. where I would have to go wireless (the techs who did the installation HATED him, I think, because they’d rather do all wireless, but all those batteries really raise the maintenance cost). Did we want to alarm the garage outside door? We needed to figure that one out as a convenience vs. security issue. And so on. See? It was about us, and our needs, and not them. And after that, there was no way they were not getting our business. Finally, for the technical questions that my sales guy didn’t know the answer to, he took notes and followed up with answers.

    So, you will learn your stuff, the sales will come in sooner rather than later, and there will be some cushion for you and your family. Because you are making the sales about the people buying the product.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jeez sounds like you are doing your best. i sorta agree with your boss, sales is sales is sales, and most of it has to do with liking and trusting the sales men. HOWEVER. my brother who is aces at car sales and widely desired as dealership management says constant training is key, and his sales people have training meetings every day and they must know every thing there is to know about heir product. i was in sales too, insurance. i had 3 rules. rule 1, my job is to help people. rule 2. those people had my money in their pockets. rule 3. any questions see rule 1. rule 1 supercedes all rules. and i was successful. you will find your way. perhaps if you could fit some reading in like zig ziglar or dale carnegie
    good luck

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So great to get a glimpse of these days!!! Thanks so much for skipping some zzz’s to let us know!!! Hats off for the thorough, conscientious work. Wow… have you ever traveled distance in a few short months. When you do have time to write, it will be awesome!!! …hope you’re being able to jot down some phrases as you go along… maybe just a word on a calendar square… threads to follow back into this fast-moving time.

    Admiration, thanks, all good wishes !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ya, sales can be shit when you first start out. =/ There are really no two ways about it. Luckily they do offer some sort of base salary (not everyone does that). A couple of sales in your first month is pretty impressive. It sucks while you are stressing about making ends meet and being there for your family, but they’re right that it can really pay off in the end.

    I wish you the best of luck and, as always, I look forward to your updates, no matter the content. I like your perspective and you always seem to have something interesting to draw from a situation, so I, for one, will keep coming back! Keep it up man!

    Liked by 1 person

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