Too Good To Succeed

As I walked through the front door to my very first sales interview, my hands were clammy and I felt like a lost child who was suddenly pulled away from the security of his parents. I remember walking into the waiting room and seeing five chairs placed against the wall, most of them were empty except one that was occupied by this outgoing, confident and successful business man who was dressed to the nines. When I saw him, in my mind I had already surrendered to the fact that I wasn’t getting hired. I sat down two seats from him, hoping that the distance would prevent him from smelling the insecurity and lack of confidence that was oozing from my very soul. All I remember at that very moment is he kept glancing over to me and then he would grab the Entrepreneur magazine that was sitting a top of the end table and begin to browse through the pages. What was I doing? I was looking around the room aimlessly, staring at the clock on the wall and then I would look at the wall that held the clock up and kept doing that over and over. I was so tempted to get up and leave because I felt I was inexperienced and unqualified for this position compared to this candidate who sat next to me. The manager’s door opened and this girl walks out laughing while she is shaking the manager’s hand. “I really appreciate you spending this time getting to know me and explaining your business to me in detail. In order for me to really be successful in any career, I must first weigh out the pros and cons and match it up to who I am…it is only fair to you as the owner of this business that I don’t waste your time and resources that you are willing to invest in me.” she stated right before she walked out of the door. Did she really say what I think she said? It may have been my first interview but I would have jumped all over the opportunity not even knowing what the opportunity was all about.

All I knew was I was up after this guy and I didn’t know if I would even get a chance to meet with the owner after these two that came before me. I  could hear the interview clear as day through the door so of course I did the only right thing to do…I leaned over a bit more so I could get some pointers from ACE! Then it happened and the question that time stood still on was asked, “Jay, you obviously seem so confident and seasoned as a salesperson but my question to you is what are two areas that you really need to work on in order to become an excellent salesperson?” Are you kidding me? ACE came out and said, “That’s a great question…to be honest with you, I don’t feel like I have many shortcomings in my sales career and that is why I know I would be a fit for this position.” Damn, this guy is on point! He has an answer for everything. Mr. Smooth, Mr. Closer, ACE showed up! The owner walked Jay out of the room and told him thanks for coming in, I have a few more interviews and by the end of the day I will call you with an answer. Now I am even more confused, thinking I was in an episode of the Twilight Zone!

Hi my name is Jeff, what’s your name. My name is confused, insecure, inexperienced and some even call me unqualified but you can call me Brandon. Actually that’s what I was feeling, I just let him know my name. The minute I sat down in the seat it felt like I was on the hot seat. Oh great…he read right through my paper thin exterior. I was caught! Why do you want to work here? You don’t have any sales experience…why do you think you would be successful here? What do you have to bring to the table that these other candidates can’t? What are your strengths and greatest areas for improvement? After taking a deep breath and a moment of silence I answered him. “I know I am inexperienced, unqualified and probably not what you would think as your typical sales person so in that regards, I am sure others you have interviewed has that upper hand. What I do have is a desire to succeed…why? Because I have no choice. I have to succeed and I know that without experience I would have to learn from everyone who is successful here including you as well. When I was younger, I used to copy my brother and friends for hours, saying what they said and doing what they did. While others may see that as annoying, I could see that as a strength in some weird way. All I know, is what I would be taught so hopefully you could pair me up with the best of the best and I promise you, I will shadow them in everything they do…everything!” He just stared at me and as bad as I wanted to gravitate to that clock on his wall…I didn’t break eye contact. The silence must have filled the room for a good few minutes. With the most serious look on his face Jeff replied,”Brandon, we both know that there are more qualified people than you but how many of those top performers that I interviewed are willing to learn? How many of them are willing to wreck what they have been taught and start a new career? How many of those cocky, arrogant and self-righteous people are willing to humble themselves?” Before I could answer, he blasted out “ZERO, ZILCH, NOT ONE DAMN ONE! I am willing to give you a chance, because I believe you are GREEN! Yes…I am green! What the hell did he just call me? Did he say I was money? No, what he was saying is when you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.

Needless to say, that day I learned many great lessons! The biggest lessons I learned is from ACE is just because you look like a million bucks doesn’t necessarily mean you will make a million bucks because if you can’t see where you fall short and always make improvements to better yourself then you will be your own ceiling. The other lesson I learned that day is competition is not a bad thing. Everyone will always sell themselves on why them…and it begins to become the same noise after awhile. If you bring “You” and not who you think people want “you” to be…your qualities will come to light and if it’s meant to be then it will be and if it’s not…NEXT! That was 8,395 days ago and today, I have reached a period in my career of reflection. I am grateful for the mentors that took me under their wing and as much as I may have hogged up their time, they all have brought me to this place where I am today. I will forever be grateful for your direction and guidance.

In case you were wondering what happened to that girl and ACE, neither of them were hired and my very first sales job was a commission only sales job based off low payouts unless you hit volume. I worked my way to a team leader within the first two months and then to a district sales manager by month six. Now I was the one sitting behind the pine door asking the questions. The moral of the story is don’t be too good to succeed!

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