"Sorry, I'm in a hurry."
"No thanks, I'm fine."
"Already have it."
"No not today."
"I need to think about it"
"No, you're not selling me that"
Never in my life had I heard so many 'No's.
One after one they came walking down the street, and after a while it almost seemed as if hey we're walking past me just to say no to my face and watch as the sparkle in my eyes slowly faded. And they became many, blending into each other like a living John Malcovic poster.
The smiling No's were the worst, like they pitied me as I stood there smiling at them. "I pity the fool who tries to sell me stuff, I do, I do!"
The next day was even worse. The sun was scorching that day, and our balloons kept flying off our stand like they too wanted to escape the heat. The parking lot was empty, and it wouldn't have surprised me if a hay ball came rolling down the street. People were nicer than usual, stopping just to smile at us and say NO instead of trying to ignore us as usual and I knew it was because of the heat. Whenever the rainy days would arrive, the Norwegian people shut themselves down. Cue the frowns and ignoring of our existence with the first drop of rain. Then came the sun and everybody smiled. They still said no though.
Truth be told, it was never my dream to sit on a chair for 8 hours or stand outside the Wall-Marts of Norway waiting for someone to put their shopping bags down and give me a minute or two to perform my semi-rehearsed speech on why they should get whatever I was selling. But I thought getting out of my comfort zone would be a valuable experience, and to be fair I've learned a lot. That, and I've got to meet awesome people. Like a certain Ylvis brother.
For one, I've learned what type of job I might not want to have in the future. Let me be clear however - I have nothing negative to say about my workplace, bosses, other employees or the job in general, and to be fair I did have some good times thanks to the wonderful bunch of people I spent my days with. But they know just as much as I do that when it comes to being a promoter, I don't have the skills required (in other words, I'm too kind to sell). And it's definitely not for everyone.
I did manage to sell - occasionally. And I did it without dirty tricks. Not that people do that a lot these days...I hope. My numbers weren't even close to those of the pro's though. I guess when it comes to sales, I'm more of a Phil Dunphy person than a Jordan Belfort type. I smile, I talk too much and I love getting to know people.
The second thing I learned in the job was how to sell even if there were days that I didn't. See, you don't necessarily have to lie or trick people into it. Sometimes they trick themselves, and to be fair, the products I was a promoter for were good ones. Humanitarian groups and fee-less debit cards are pretty decent products, right? I never felt guilty giving away debit cards or asking people to support a good cause and give an orphan a chance to have a good life. If only it was that simple.
I'd strike up a mellow conversation about your day. Then the perks of our product. What's your number? I'll send it to you in the mail. And then the no. And another 2 hours of silence until finally someone let me talk to them for a minute or two.
From hours of spectacle and voices overflowing to the hours where it seemed as if everybody was having a siesta. Empty halls and the sound of the air condition and sliding doors, shaking pipes and beeps from the registers. A sale seemed like a far fetched dream, a fool's hope that made me cringe of the idea that I would have to put up a fight with the next person walking in.
I don't like fighting, and to be perfectly honest I don't like it when people don't like me. Not in a Regina George "everybody likes me" way, but in a Robert Downey Jr "people have good reason to like me" kind of way. Narcissistic, I know, but I never aim for popularity or fame. Only appreciation and respect. Being under the radar fits me quite well, and jumping out from it and saying "surprise, I'm alive and can do stuff!" when people least expect it is even more fun. So knowing that a fair few people might say their NO's and think "god, what an irritating human being" makes me kind of sad. Unfortunately, as a salesperson you rarely get a good reputation - and as a pro, you don't really care about it. But I always did.
Which leads me to my final lesson - I'm not meant to be a salesperson, unless it's in front of a computer or in a room with people who are actually interested in me.
Let me be clear - I don't regret working as a promoter. Besides all the NOs I got to meet a lot of nice customers too, as well as work with some really nice people that has helped me from being totally useless as a salesperson to someone who now knows the tricks of the business.
But some of the NOs, especially the rude oness stuck with me after work was done.
So dear reader, please remember that sellers are all not the same. Not all of them are rude or in your face. Fewer of them try to trick you into buying stuff. Truth be told, the reason most of these people are on the street is to give you something awesome through a campaign which most likely will give you a perk or two. Plus, they are people, and it's nice to get to know people, right?
"Hell no, not from YOU people!"
"Go fuck yourself!"
"Kiss my ass!"
"I'm not gonna give my money, you're just trying to trick me!"
"Ugh, I don't have time for your nonsense"
" You can go eat a watermelon!"
That last one made me chuckle . The others not so much. Being rude to sellers is understandable, but unnecessary. As a seller knows that some people might have a bad day, you should know that a seller could be having one too, and as they (rarely) push or curse at you even if they might feel like it, you shouldn't do the same.
Saying no is fine, but a thank you and a smile next to it is even better. So the next time a seller approach you, simply nod and say no thank you, and know that you made their day at least a little bit better.
Oh, and regarding my conversation with the Ylvis brother - The Fox says no.