A Sales Job

After moving back from Coffs Harbour to Sydney the jobs were in abundance. It was crazy, almost every job I applied for had an interview for me and I was crazy off my feet looking for work.

One of the interviews was for a new retail store that was going to be opening. It was being opened by a second hand computer wholesaler whose business was based around buying bulk computers from offices that were upgrading or closing, refurbishing and then selling the computers.

They wanted to have a retail arm that sold direct to the public and so were opening a big concept store which was going to be decorated in the colours (red and yellow) and have all these cool things on the walls.

I actually applied for a computer technician role which would have been as computers came in, I was to format them and make sure they were working, and if there was warranty issues and so on, helping customers with that.

It was going to be easy for me to do and I had an interview in the head office with the owner of the company and one of the guys that would be a manager at the store.

Then, I had a second interview with the guy that was going to be the general manager of the store. They had plans to open multiple locations and compete with Harvey Norman’s second hand computer stores.

So, the funny thing about this one was, I went to the second interview, and hadn’t had time to print my resume. So, what I did was copy it to a disk and handed this 1.44” floppy dish to the guy. He was super impressed with this. Actually, it blew his mind.

So, anyways, the next step to the process was to do a trial day on the opening day of the flagship first store. There was 20 or 25 people trying out in the sales and technical areas. They were going to hire one technician and five sales people.

I spent the first few hours in the back room, formatting computers. Actually, I spent the first few hours organising the back area into a technical work space, where you could format 40 computers and install Windows etc with ease. Then, organised all the trial staff (6 of them) to be doing this in a factory style work line. Plugging in, booting, formatting, installing. Over and over again, around the room.

The guys who were evaluating the staff didn’t come to the back room at all in the first few hours of the day. And when they did, they found a factory line churning out computers faster than they expected. They were really impressed, but didn’t really know who or what had done what.

Anyways. Half way through the day, they moved a bunch of us to the front to also do sales. I wasn’t really interested, but there was a HUGE number of customers coming through the door. And a HUGE amount of sales being smashed out.

So, they needed more help.

Most of the sales were single computers, for a few hundred dollars. The guy leading the sales was an experienced salesman who had worked at the parent company for years, knew the product inside out and could really sell.

He was sitting at something like $4,000 in sales for the day.

I didn’t want to be the same, I wanted to job (I didn’t really want the job in sales, but I just wanted the job), so I looked for something to be different. I spent the first 15-20 minutes out the front watching this kick ass sales guy, and then went and learnt some of the products. I picked a few big ticket items like servers to see if I could sell them.

Now, these things were like $5,000 each, and I figured, if I could sell one, I’d be the best salesperson.

I hovered around and waited till someone was near them and swooped. I threw a bunch of technical terms at them, gave them a spiel about how awesome servers could be and the guy walked away without buying anything.

But I persisted. And so, after an hour or two, the gun sales guy was at like $8,000 and I was still sitting at zero. But it didn’t matter.  I persisted, I spoke to him, I took his insights and learning. And by the end of the day, I had sold 2 servers and a few computers.

My end sales amount was something like $14,000. The best salesman of the day was at like $22,000 (that one guy). I was 5th.

And so, that’s how I got my first pure sales job. By finding a target market, and a specific product, and working hard with persistence to sell something that no one else was selling.

I learnt so much on that first day about rejection, persistence, letting the customer talk (it should be 75% they talk, 25% you talk) and more.

And so I was given the job as salesmen, even though I wanted the technician. But it was okay. It was a job. Paying good base and commissions.

And so my computer Outlet journey began.