Confessions of a salesperson

No one trusts a salesperson. You assume they're going to direct you to their top shelf and try to up-sell you on whatever you're looking at. And you're probably right.

They never have the cheaper one in stock, but they do have the upgraded version for 20% off. Today only, though.

It's all part of a dumb game we have to play if we want to buy a smartphone, furniture, a mattress, a car or a house. You have to go to a place where some person wearing dress clothes feigns enthusiasm so they can hype you up and make a small percentage of however much profit is in whatever they just sold you.

It's an industry as old as time itself, and it's what I do.

On the salesperson's side, it's the ultimate gamble. Most places pay only commission and no hourly rate, so you don't get paid if you're not selling anything. It's feast or famine.

It's addictive though. It usually comes out pretty even, honestly. But there's always that chance you'll get a huge sale and someone buys an entire fleet of work trucks, or maybe enough mattresses to furnish a hotel. But then that day finally comes and you don't get the commission. Upper management steps in and sets up a contract deal and you go back to business as usual.

The most interesting part to me is the psychology. You know everyone who walks through the door is immediately sick of your shit and they don't want to talk to you. You're like a walking advertisement; you're the human face of a faceless corporation who's only goal is to increase profits year over year. They know you're going to say whatever you can to close the sale, but at the same time you're the one who has to educate them on the product and you're potentially the one who'll have to pick up the phone when they have any issues or questions about it down the road. So you can't really lie about much, unless you're okay with riding a train into a brick wall.

I've heard so many cocky sales managers say something along the lines of, "You just gotta remember the customer is playing checkers and we're playing chess." In reality, both parties are playing tic tac toe; each side is taking a shot in the dark until you run out of space and someone wins. Or no one wins, depending on how the board fills up. No matter how many sales books and seminars there are, it really just comes down to two things - whether or not the customer can afford it, and how much they like the sales person.