Life of a Salesman

My stocking clad feet are cold, and they hurt, which seems ridiculous given that I’ve only just wiggled them into my work shoes. My eye waters, smarting from an inadvertent stab as I apply long disused makeup.  I wonder if I’ll get an infection from the no doubt bacteria laden mascara.  “Death by makeup!”  I joke.  What a way to go.  Putting on makeup brings me much closer to my face than normal and I can’t help but take stock of the changes these difficult years have etched across it.  It has been some time since I could afford my expensive anti-aging, skin firming, rejuvenating cream and it shows.

I am preparing to go to work selling ads.  Selling does not come naturally to me.  I don’t like it when someone tries to sell to me so I lack the cutthroat killer instinct of good salesmen.  I let people off the hook much too easily.  So I’m trying out some sales talk on myself as I smear my teen’s hair gel on my palms, “You can do it!”  I tease my hair, overdue for a cut into a more fashionable mess and smile broadly at my reflection.  “You can be good at sales!  You like talking to people, you are good at public speaking, you just have to take it a step further – close the deal!”  It’s true, I do enjoy talking to people and I’m not afraid of engaging strangers in conversation.  I just have a hard time convincing them to spend money on things! I’m polite. I think this plays against me because as soon as I see someone start edging away I let them go.  “I’ve spent my ad budget.”  “I don’t think it’s a good venue for me.”  “I have to be selective.”  Whatever excuse they give, I find myself nodding in agreement with them and by the time I realize it, it is too late to retrieve the sale.

I’d rather be writing, or knitting, or playing with the goats.  But I have a job, and four kids to be fed, and since it’s commission only it’s really imperative that I make a go of this so even though it’s cold and dripping melting snow and the sky is gray and overcast I put on one of my few ‘work outfits,’ clothes that don’t fit well or feel at all comfortable but give me the air of at least being a casual professional, dab on makeup, take a deep breath and paste on a smile and head out the door.  I drive to town picturing success – today I will sell ten ads!  Well, I will try to sell ten.

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2 Responses to Life of a Salesman

  1. bogart says:

    Don’t know if it’s got anything that will speak to you, but I found this article (well, the first half, that’s all I’ve had time to read!) interesting: .

    In that frame, I’ll note I was recently interested to hear a report basically describing a sort of “Avon lady” approach to selling various kinds of (needed, e.g., drugs for common diseases) goods in rural Africa and making the point that actually, as aggravated as we get about it, advertising is a good thing, i.e., it helps people identify and connect with goods and services that they want. In our oversaturated context I thik that’s easy to forget, but of course it’s true.

    Good luck to you.

  2. SMS says:

    My husband does radio sales. Sounds familiar minus the make up. You can only try. Good luck.

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