Don’t Let Anyone Ever Tell You it is Easy

Cover of "Night and the City - Criterion ...

Cover via Amazon

First, let me apologize for another photo-less post. I don’t know what the hell is wrong with me. There were many outstanding windshield shots, beautiful landscapes, and plenty of decrepit old businesses on today’s tour to share. Perhaps in place of my own photos, I’ll capture a picture or two from the film I am watching. Tonight it is Night and the City. Another Richard Wydmark film. Last night was Panic in the Street. Both outstanding films, but let’s get back to this post.

In a word, today sucked. It will happen. I planned to write about the inconsiderate small time operators that together wasted a full day, but I’ll leave that for later.

Selling, especially selling at the level I sell at, doesn’t always click. In the sales world, mine is very much a blue collar job and it gives me a lot of respect for true blue collar workers who might not get the kind of respect entitled to them. People don’t respect your time and so on, but the most significant thing they don’t respect is your profession. That’s the key thing I have learned after ten years selling print advertising to small businesses. Salemsen are regarded in the same light as something unpleasant stuck to the bottom of your shoe; best to avoid it or it will be impossible to get rid of.  But the real key is your relationship to your profession.  As a salesman you are very much judged by what you do and so you are not held in very high esteem. Disrespect for the work trickles right down to the practitioner of the trade.

Today I travelled over 120 miles to meet five clients. Only two bothered to show up. In the last case the client confirmed a double order and we agreed to meet at his office at 3:00, about forty miles from where I was at the time. As I pull up and park the car, the phone rings. It is the 3:00 appointment. He is letting me know he is not at his office and has changed his mind. He will not be buying.

I try to salvage something from the afternoon with a salesman’s favorite activity: Cold calling. Five doors to the left, five doors to the right. Got tossed out of all of them.

Scroll down the blog a bit and you’ll see my post bragging that “No” is a salesman’s friend, a necessary reality if one is going to work. No is easy. Inconsiderate clients and prospects are not.

Thick skin and the ability to let the worst roll off it is essential. But even the thickest skin appreciates being handled respectfully from time to time.


3 thoughts on “Don’t Let Anyone Ever Tell You it is Easy

  1. Yu No Hu

    okay, this is a very important topic to discuss. the lack of respect people have for salesmen. i recommend you watch the film SALESMAN by the Maysles Brothers. Most people react to the salesmen with condescension, but they are in fact quite interesting. Their lives ain’t that easy, but they sometimes have a quite subtle sense of humor and humanity. it’s easy for audiences to look down their noses at them because they sell bibles, and somehow the good word is a bad thing to sell. but like i always say, we all have to be salesmen sometimes, so who’s to throw stones?

    also, i think i meant to say this before–you should write more chandleresque. the tone of having an accurate moral compass is good. but the writing would be funnier if it had some of chandler’s sizzle. that’s what i want to see–like salvaging a day that’s a total loss by doing a salesman’s favorite activity–cold calling. that’s perverse and funny.

    now, why do people hate salesmen so much?

  2. Yu No Hu

    give this a different title. it needs to be hard-boiled

    how can you be watching richard widmark, and not be writing more hard-boiled? Panic in the Streets. Great images of New Orleans when you could live in the Quarter for next to nothing. Look at how run-down, moldy, and decrepit it is.

  3. Yu No Hu

    i mean when you think about it, what could be funnier than Double Indemnity’s tough-talking insurance salesman? the very idea is a real knee slapper. this guy comes to your door talking like some kind of mobster tough guy? an insurance salesman? it’s hilarious. people never notice that about Double Indemnity.


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