Archive for the ‘sales’ Category

I must admit that I was utterly shocked to hear the news of Billy’s untimely death.  It seems that this last week has been a very bad one for celebrities.  Now I know that most people will say that he was an annoying guy in a blue shirt, but to me he was proof that hard work and talent can get you anywhere.

I hate infomercials.  I hate them with a passion.  But I love a Billy May’s commercial.  I think that magic behind them was his over the top personality, and the fact that what he was pushing is actually worth a damn.  I can’t think of anyone I know that doesn’t have now, or at some point in the past, a bottle of OxiClean in their possession.  I believed in Billy and that was the power of his commercials.  You can’t ignore a man with that much passion for their product.

I had recently become a huge fan of his TV show on Discovery, Pitchmen.  It showed that there was more to the yelling guy on TV, and the more I watched the bigger the fan I became.  I love sales.  I love the fact that nothing happens in life without it, and I love watching people that are good at it in action.  Billy took what some consider an old and outdated way of selling, and turned it into a billion dollar business.  Along the way he also taught everyone a lesson on the power of buiding a personal brand.  Who would have thought that a yell, a beard, and a blue shirt could be worth so much money?

My heart goes out to his family, and especially to his little girl.  A man with a personality that large will leave a gap in their lives.  I, for one, will miss you and your commercials, Billy.  I promise if I get the chance I will punch the ShamWow guy in the nuts for you.  I hope you get a blue shirt in Heaven.

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I had an interesting “business meeting” today at my local Starbucks with a guy that I met at a gas station. No, I am not making this up. I was minding my own business and pumping some gas when a man approached me about finding homes in the area. Polite conversation led to him telling me about his business and how he was looking for new people. I said that I was always open to new things and so I find myself at Starbucks.

Now before I continue I must admit that I had no interest in this man’s business proposition. I was merely interested in proving whether or not I can smell a scam as good as I think I can. You see, I am in sales and I have to serve my own brand of BS to people daily. I don’t lie or cheat people, but I do have to play the sales game with them. I like to think of it as a form of courtship, and I like to see how others do it. I also like to sharpen my BS detector from time to time.

So here I am in Starbucks listening to this man give me a pitch about how I can make 3k a month working 5-10 hours a week. Sounds pretty good, right? It has all the key points that make people want to believe in it (be your own boss, make easy money, buy your dream home). I was, as they say, sitting there waiting for the hammer to fall, and after 20 minutes of this it did. Suddenly the urgency to commit was ramped up, and I was told that I was the “lucky” last guy looked at and that the train was leaving town. If I wanted to be on that train I had to JUMP ON IT NOW! Lucky for me, they were having a meeting that I could be squeezed into, but I had to say yes now!

Here was my moment of decision and it was a very hard one. I had come to this Starbucks and listened to this gentleman’s pitch. The train was leaving and I couldn’t decide what to do. You see, Starbucks just came out with a new drink I really like, but I couldn’t decide it I wanted to get it in the medium or large. What? You thought I was hung up on the sales pitch? My mama didn’t raise no fool!

I thanked him for his time and told him that I do not commit to anything without first doing my homework. He didn’t seem to like that answer and told me more about how easy it was and how they take luxury retreats as part of their business workshops. I still declined and asked for time to look over the brochure. If you have never seen someone end a meeting in under 30 seconds, then I highly suggest meeting with a gentleman like this. All marketing material was swept into his planner, a hand shake was giving, and I was told to think it over and he would call. Thank you, come again. I was left to order my coffee, and reflect on the missed train.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with a MLM (Multi-Level Marketing) offer, this is an example of one. You are normally approached by a friend of a friend or a stranger like I was. They are always friendly and if they don’t drag you to one of their group meetings, they will take you to a safe place (ie. Starbucks). They ask alot of getting to know you questions, and will take their time in making their pitch. Once they start the pitch they will tell you all of the wonderful things that we all want to hear, and they will use the information you told them to lean it towards you. The safe pitch will have lots of great looking pamplets and these will support what they are saying, but you are almost never going to walk away with one of them. The group meetings will offer you a much harder pitch in the form of what I like to call the “Revival”. It will remind you a lot of those traveling preachers who try and sell you on the greatness of their religion, but with no real substance to the facts. One key sign of an MLM is if they want you to bring your spouse or partner with you to these meetings. Peer pressure is a bitch, and they are masters of it. The entire time the pressure to commit, to grasp this fleeting chance, is turned up slowly until you are forced to decide now or you will forever miss out.

Information is normally kept at a minimum due to the complaints against most MLM’s. They are quasi-legal companies that a lot of people lose money doing. They may seem like a great investment and a real easy money maker, but it always comes back to there is no easy way to make money. Those who work them hard will make money, but the average Joe will be stuck with a lot of company materials about how to make money with little to none in their pocket. As always, buyer beware.