Sales people are wankers. And now I am too.Submitted by Spam at 2006-09-11 10:20:56 EDT
Rating: 1.9 on 71 ratings (71 reviews) (Review this item) (V)
“Coke please. Diet.”
Brenda raises her eyebrows as I order but bless her, she doesn’t comment on my uncharacteristically unalcoholic choice of lunchtime beverage. It’s the first time I’ve seen her since I left my old job and I guess she realises that a lot have things have changed.
“So, You’re an Insurance Borker now? How’s it all going mate?”
“Yeah it’s okay” I say, unconfidently.
She grins and stays quiet, silently urging me to continue with amused eyes.
“Well…” I hesitate, knowing full well that verbalising my opinions for the first time will induce the downward spiral of disobedience that we all know is a formality anyway. I take a sip of my irritatingly unintoxicating drink before continuing. “…Well, it’s just that everybody else in the place has these moments where they fucking annoy the shit out of me.”
Brenda chuckles knowingly and starts to say something but I’ve opened Pandora’s box, I need to keep speaking.
“Seriously B, I really love the job - for fucks sake, I go in unpaid on Saturdays to catch up on paperwork and shit.” Another sip of my coke that I wish contained a far higher percentage of Brandy. “…but these people, my ‘colleagues’, they use buzz-terms like ‘PMA’, ‘Inspirational satisafaction’ and ‘Motivation to Action’ like they actually fucking MEAN something to them… And I’m expected to do the same. I swear, if I’m told one more to stand up when I’m on a call because ‘Motion Creates Emotion’ there’s a good chance that I might slap somebody.”
Brenda’s grinning broadly now, but she at least has the courtesy to offer me some advice. “So why don’t you?” she asks.
I look at her blankly so she continues further.
“What I mean is, if everything’s pissing you off so much - next time somebody comes out with one of their meaningful motivational slogans, why don’t you just be honest about it and tell them they’re a prick?. Try it. Just for one day. It’ll be cathartic, and being off-key for just one day won’t do too much damage will it?”
I’m pretty sure she’s joking, but at the same time, I can’t help thinking that she may have a point.
I mean seriously, I don’t how long I can put up with trying to act like a cock the same as everybody else but the smart money says ‘not very’. Maybe I should just be myself just for one day to see what happens.
“Another thing I want to discuss today is some of the unprofessional language I’ve been hearing after you’ve failed to close the customer.”
Matt, our new sales manager who’s decoded that we need to have ‘motivation discussions’ each morning , begins to write on the board. Well I say write, what he actually does is draw pictures, he says that words only use 30% of the brain where as a combination of pictures uses closer to 80%. Matt’s a bit of a prick.
“What do you mean ‘unprofessional language’?” I ask from the back of the room.
Matt smiles in the smug way of somebody who thinks they’re a genius because they’ve already anticipated what is essentially, a fucking obvious question.
“What I mean is: no more calling a customer a ‘knob’ after you hang up the phone. If you can’t get a client to like you then that’s your fault, not theirs. So you’re the knob. Not them.”
Everybody is nodding in agreement at this sage statement, and as I look around I realise that I’m nothing like these people. Nothing like these people at all. I’m not nodding. I put up my arm to ask a question.
“Yes Sam?” Matt’s voice has a weary cadence to it.
“Well…” I Say, “What if they actually ARE a knob??”
My team all turn to look at me with a mixture of scorn and disgust.
“What I mean is, there are some people out there who have no interest in sales calls and give you a bollocking before you have a chance to speak to them. Now I like to think that I’m not a cock, and so if I’m NOT a cock, then surely they MUST be. Right?”
“No Sam, none of our customers are cocks..”
“Well what about ‘Twat’? Can I use the word ‘Twat’?
The rest of my team all shift their seats away from me.
“Hello, Mr Garnier?”
“Hi. My name is Sam and I’m calling you from ________ Insurance because you were on our website requesting a quotation for your home insurance and what I needed to do was…”
Mr Garnier cuts me off in his gruff voice. “how long is this likely to take?”
“About 5 minutes.”
He sighs dramatically and for some reason this really pisses me off. “Make it quick” he says.
I begin asking him the requisite questions and I can tell he’s getting more annoyed with each one. As though by asking him for the fundamental information I needed to carry out the service he’s asked me to do, I am in some way inconveniencing him massively. Strangely, I’m getting more fucked off then he is, because the last thing I want to do right now is deal with another dickhead who thinks that I’m subordinate to him.
Two minutes in to the call and I can’t take any more of his condescension.
“Do you know what Bill, Forget it.” I say after a particularly morose response from him.
“I sorry?” He replies, shocked.
“I said forget it. You don’t sound remotely interested in anything that I’ve got to say to you and personally, I can’t be bothered to waste my time giving sound financial advice to somebody who isn’t listening, so what do you say we stop this conversation here, hang-up the phone and just assume that each other are knob-heads?”
Bill Garnier stays shocked into silence for at least 10 seconds before replying in a hurt voice. “I don’t think I’ve ever been spoken to so rudely in my entire life…”
“Get used to it.” I yell, and hang up the phone.
It’s the next day and I’m in Colin’s office.
Colin Thomas. Head Honcho. The Big Dick. Dropped out of school with no qualifications to join the army and then started out in sales at the age of 25 after being demobbed. Worked his way to being the top salesman for a leading estate agency before leaving to start up his own small insurance brokerage. He’s now 35, a self-made millionaire and sole owner of one of the largest insurance companies in the country despite having a case of dyslexia so severe that he can neither read nor write.
This man doesn’t fuck about and I’m bloody terrified. Not for my job, I’m already certain I’ve lost that, but for my health. Shit, he used to kill people for a living and the rage he goes into when he loses money is legendary. There’s a good chance he’s gonna give me a kicking before slinging me out. His expression at the moment though, is completely unreadable.
Matt is standing behind him like a good lapdog, looking at me with barely concealed contempt.. I guess after showing him up in the meeting yesterday, I’m not on his Christmas card list anymore.
“Would you like to explain your phone call with Mr Garnier yesterday?” Matt snaps.
I see a flicker of annoyance flash through Colin, and he turns his head to Matt to silence him with a stern glare before coming back to me. “Do you realise what you did yesterday?” He asks almost softly.
“I swore at a client” I confess.
I’ve never been on the receiving end of Colin’s rage before but his icy-calm exterior just makes the terrible fury which we all know is coming that much scarier.
“And do you know who that client was?”
“No.” My throat’s gone completely dry and I can barely croak out the word.
“That was Bill Garnier. Bill owns his own private housing firm with over a hundred properties. He was looking to insure them all through ourselves, and arrange a three million pound life insurance as well. That’d make him the biggest client in the history of the company.”
“The commission of that sale would’ve been quite substantial wouldn’t it?”
I just nod sadly.
“Do you know how I know all this Sam?”
“It’s because I called Bill earlier today when Matt brought this matter to my attention. Would you like to hear the call recorder for that conversation?”
“Not really” I whisper.
If I’ve just cost this guy a few million because of the advice a friend of mine gave me in the pub at lunchtime, I don’t anticipate much chance of getting out of this office alive.
“I’m afraid I’m going to have to insist.”
*Hello, is that Bill Garnier?*
*Hi Bill, my names Colin Thomas. I’m the Owner of ________ Insurance. I understand that you had a rather abrupt conversation with one of our senior advisors yesterday and I just wanted to call you to let you know that….*
Bill cut’s Colin off
*Ahhh, Colin. I’m glad you called, I’ve been meaning to contact you guys at some point today anyway.*
*Absolutely. A chap from your office called me up yesterday, and I was rather rude to him. I’d been having quite a difficult day at the time and I think I may have taken it out on the poor fellow.*
*Anyway, It doesn’t do to be impolite to strangers like that and I feel a little ashamed of the whole affair in all honesty. Could you possibly do me a favour and ask him to call me later this evening regarding the insurance of my portfolio?*
Colin, Smooth Talking Sales Professional Extraordinaire, is flabbergasted.
*Absolutely Mr Garnier*
Colin stops the playback with a grin, and Matt an I are starring open mouthed at the laptop we’ve just been listening to, trying to work out what the fuck just happened.
“As you can imagine, that piqued my curiosity so I listened to the first call you had with him. And do you know what my immediate reaction was?”
“What?” Matt and I both say at the same time.
“ ‘That man was a Fucking Cock’ “
True story, that..jpg