Monday, January 4, 2010

A Day In A Life Of A Salesman....

(In the following blog, you may find me considering only men as salesman and not women. But it’s not intentional. So don’t accuse me of being gender biased…. As if I care)

Words like Employee of the month, door to door, pestering, field job, irritating phone calls, targets etc have become very much associated with the word SALESMAN. And it has a reason. Coz that’s all we talk and hear when we discuss a SALESMAN. The perception that he (salesman) would just con (convince) you into buying something (product) absolutely unnecessary to you (actually necessary… otherwise you wont buy it in the first place)… just to fulfill (achieve) his cunning motives (monthly target) has become so much embossed in the minds of most of the people that the word “bugger” is just replacing the word salesman. Am I exaggerating things??? I guess not. Just notice the faces of the people when they encounter any sales man or the pitch and tone of their voice when they receive a call from any salesman... You would see exactly what I mean. But I am not critisicing these general perception about a salesman… coz it has its own reason. The idea of this blog is just to put forward the psychology of a salesman during an average day. It’s like trying to understand what goes in a monkey’s head when he glares at you through the bars of a zoo cage. Sorry if that’s a disastrous example… but I hope you get the drift.

So…first we find a monkey…. I mean a salesman. So I take great honor and also a bit of pleasure to introduce you to our specimen for this topic… its ME. Hmmm… Now just don’t start evaluating the credibility of this blog just because now you know that it has been written by a salesman. Yes…. I am SALESMAN and the first thing that I would like to say (scream) is that a salesman is far more beyond being just a bugger. Some can be sometimes pain in the “you know where”… But let’s not stereotype the whole species of Salesman for this. The sales job has its own up’s and down… has its own adventure and misadventures… But then what the heck…. It’s all in a days work.

The best way to showcase this is to take you through one average day in my professional life. I don’t promise it to be as interesting as going through one average day of John Abrahim (for girls)… or an average day of Katrina Kaif (For guys…) or an average day of Prince of England. But who doesn’t consider himself as Prince in some way or the other. So here we go…. (I just love saying this)

Clock time: 7:30 am
Location: Between the sheets in my OWN bed (Alone)
The Day starts….and I wanna sleep some more. I don’t feel like getting out of those sheets. Not because I am tired and lazy… But may be because at the back of my mind I know that it is going be a long day ahead. So my dad has the task of waking me up. And somehow he succeeds till 8 am. Again coz at the back of my mind I know that being late will cause me one firing squad treatment in Boss’s cabin. I would rather avoid that firing squad. Hey… if so much is happening at the back of my mind… how does anyone expect me to sleep anyways? But I always end up realizing this at 8 am (why not at 7:30 which would have made me Mr. Punctual in office). Time to start the RUSH HOUR. The movie by the same name was nothing. The actual rush hour is what I do between 8 am to 9:10 am.

Clock time: 9:10 am
Location: Mumbai local (just imagine a can filled with people instead of beans)
At 9:10 I get sandwiched between people in one of the overcrowded locals of Mumbai. I never crib about crowded trains. But do feel like punching people who do. Coz they fail to understand the fact that they also increase the crowd due to their own existence. They are also the part of the crowd. But in that crowd I get the 1 hour of leisure time. And then starts the thought process. Recalling all the follow-ups of previous day… Important TO BE FINISHED work from the day before. And speculations of how the work would be today. Ofcourse, in between these thoughts… I do tend to argue with some, fight with some, help some. That’s my train life which will require another whole new blog. Anyways… finally the train reaches the last stop. To me the trains always seem to reach the destination a bit late. After reaching the final station the rush continues… to catch the bus and finally reach the office by 10:15 to 10:30 am. The punctuality is quite bad. Not because my office starts at 10:00 am… But because my boss reaches office by 10:00 am. But then there are ways to just sneak in smartly. (The way is nothing but just praying that boss does not come out of his cabin when I enter the office)

Clock time: 10:20 am
Location: On my desk (Not literally)
Ok. Fresh. Ready to work. Hey... I just got hungry… Ordered a bread-butter from canteen…had it… BURP… Now ready to work. Hey… do you think my personal mails would get checked all by themselves… NO. So I check them… (Also add a bit of orkuting, facebooking, etc)… Now ready to work. But then the discussion about the latest movie/ happening/ events/ office news (whichever applicable or even all) with the people next cubicle ... blah, blah, blah… Now ready to work. Oh… wishing good morning to every Tom Dick Harry in office… OK... Now ready to work. (Stop thinking that when do I actually start my work…I do)
I just wanted to highlight that a salesman also feels like doing the normal TP (time pass) in office. He is just not the workaholic machine that many would want him to see as. But now seriously lets start work. Cause if by any chance my boss reads this… he would doubt the credibility of my work. .

Clock time: 10:47 am
Location: Same office desk (but this time with some work load)
The work starts with picking up the receiver of my desk phone. Every salesman will have the habit of answering the phone with “Yes Sir”. And he does that with six sigma accuracy. That’s just gets into the system you see. Coz a salesman always considers the person holding the phone receiver on the other side of the line as a potential client. And CLIENT IS GOD. That’s his income source. But here’s the catch. In adding the respectful prefix “SIR/ MADAM” he ends up compromising his own intellect. I will tell you how….
Every person when addressed as SIR/MADAM by a salesman just sky rockets his/her self image to very high level (And this is of course irrespective of where he/she actually stands) The next psychological reaction is to create an imaginary intellect level of self and presuming the intellect level of the salesman calling you much below that imaginary level. Hmmmm….. Do I see anyone denying that??? Hmmm … OK. So how many times have you wondered about the educational qualification of any salesman who calls you??? Or don’t you find yourself easily considering a salesman dumb on their simplest mistake. How many times has the thought ever zoomed past your consciously unconscious mind that a salesman calling you could be a genius?? Everyone considers him just another guy who couldn’t succeed in education or career. Anyways…I don’t wanna stretch it too far.
So… every single call I make…. Have to address the people as SIR/MADAM… Whoever the person may be… however dumb he/she may be… whatever the nature may be… Whatever…

Clock time: 11:30 am
Location: Desk… Still over the phone
Did you think that I would just make few silly calls…. Some friendly chats and that’s it. Hellooooo… Wake up… welcome to the real world. I may have to make up to 30 calls to get just a single appointment. Coz that’s the routine after lunch. Meetings. If my boss would have his way, I would have been always outside office doing meetings. Whether with appointments or without them. But my boss is not that bad. Lucky me. Also my phone keeps ringing at regular intervals (It seems that it has been kept on forever snooze). Answering queries, sending mails… (Loads of them) ofcourse with the prefix SIR/MADAM. Hearing the word “BUSY” from people who actually don’t seem to be that busy. People think that just by saying that they are busy, they can avoid a salesman. BUT THEY CAN NOT. A salesman will keep calling you (follow up) till he gets a satisfactory yes or no from you about the purchase of whatever he is selling. Believe me… he would be happier than you to avoid calling you. But his boss is always on his back. We are just like soldiers of a small country against a big country, already knowing that we are gonna die (get humiliated by words like “stop calling me”, “don’t you have work”, “I am busy right now”, “why are you disturbing me”, “I don’t want it, don’t you understand”, “Don’t call again and again” . But we still have to get into the battle field (call the client) on orders of our captain (boss). And it goes on…

Clock time: 12:05 pm
Location: somewhere on the streets.
The real job. Outside the comfort zone of my office AC (which is enjoyed only by receptionist, clerks and jerks). You may most probably find me crossing roads, being crushed in a train, getting pushed in a bus, running after a cab, waiting at the receptions of offices except mine, shouting into my mobile, talking to strangers (coz I meet strangers only). You may rarely find me asking for addresses (coz I have etched a map of Mumbai in my mind by roaming all over the place), having my lunch at leisure, looking chilled out, having some snacks outside (coz I don’t have time for that). And you will never find me enjoying my travel (coz it’s a routine), exploring places for fun (it’s all been explored already) or with out my office bag.
All the people you encounter on the streets with a tie in neck and bag on shoulder… with a hurried pace… blabbering into their mobiles…. You know what I am talking about. An average salesman. Poor chap.

Clock time: 1:15 pm
Location: Who cares???
Its lunch time. Time to do what you earn for. EAT. But I can never predict where I will be having my lunch the next day. It may be some high end restaurant (because of lack of average restaurant nearby) or some road side food joint (same reason). But luckily in a city like Mumbai, we get easy on pocket restaurant at every 30 meters. But there have been days when I have had my food in open food courts and a bird dropping its waste on my shoulder while I was eating my lunch with a semi washed spoon, and in a hardly washed plate. But no complains. Coz that was an experience. And I believe that a attitude is defined by getting different experiences in life. OK. Let’s not get into a psychological topic here. So… the bottom line is…. Location of LUNCH is always a big mystery. But the flip side is I also end up discovering very good eating joints and mostly very economical ones (that’s the need)

Clock time: 3:05 pm
Location: ???!!!
The afternoon location is the diciest. I could be at a plush office reception chatting with a nice beautiful receptionist. Or I could be in a meeting with a client being bombarded with questions. Or I could be on the streets heading towards my destination. And that would have to be in scorching afternoon sun or rains (during monsoon). Both are no fun at all. I feel lucky sometimes that in Mumbai we don’t have snowfall. Or I could be at a bus stop waiting impatiently for the next bus. The places that I have been in my career of two years in marketing are so diverse that it has enriched my experience to great heights. I have been to plush offices which are no less than 5 star hotels. Or say small lanes of Mumbai where a client operates his whole business within the perimeters of his 10 x 10 feet office room. I have been lucky enough to explore places which are so crowded that people cant walk without getting pushed… and places so beautiful… which as a non sales guy I couldn’t have seen. That’s all in a days work. But all this is no big deal.

The biggest deal of being a sales man is meeting different people. All kinds of people. Rude, bad, happy go lucky, sadist, generous, philanthropic, sentimental, egoistic etc. You name the character type and I have seen it. And meeting different characters is what ultimately helps me in deciding to shape up my own character.

Clock time: 5:05 pm
Location: Towards office (Back to the base)
Many a times I have seen this scene when I am heading towards my office and all the people are heading in opposite direction (towards home). It sucks. Not because I am tired and don’t want to work anymore. But more because the sight of people flocking like birds towards their nests also tempts me. But still back to office. While I was out… who did my office work??? No one (coz I am not the privileged few to have a assistant). So finishing that work…. Putting something for next day… Saying bye to every Tom Dick Harry (If anyone is still there) and stroll towards home.

Now what happens after office is my personal life. I am not the salesman anymore. Friends, family, lifestyle, reading, games, late night movies (the reason I don’t get up early). All this makes me the person who I am. Which do reflect on me during the office hours (as a salesman). But mostly ignored by many. For them I am just another guy selling something.

Now whatever I do is not some astronomical physics. It’s something basic done by every other salesman. But that’s what it’s all about. Salesman is not just about a salaried guy trying to sell you something. He is much beyond that with a heart, mind, logical reasoning and lateral thinking of his own. He would probably never ask you to treat him with respect. But inside… he would feel more that just simple nice if you do that. He also knows to build trust. He also knows to keep promises and has business ethics. He also has a work pressure which he balances along with his ego, respect, etc. Great act of juggling out there I must say.

So next time you get a call from a salesman… do try to hear things out and say a polite NO if you don’t want to buy. Wont do you much harm at all. But will do only good.