2009 – The Year of the Pretender | The Salesman

December 10, 2009
3 min read

The year started out with sleepless nights. Not due to worry, but rather, excessive heat.  Having moved back to Johannesburg after 7 strong years in Pretoria, I took residence in what used to be the garage at my parents’ house.  Bloody hot. Mosquitoes. Hadedas from 4am. This frustration was tempered with the value of returning to live back at home.  Hot and delicious dinners, a full time Roz, DSTV, time with the family, and all the luxuries afforded by family life.  It did take some adjustment, having spent many years of student and digs life only really looking out for yourself, but a super indulgence to be home.  Over the course of the year I played out a host of different roles to get to where the year is now.  The next couple of posts will form part of the #pretender series – a history of 2009.

The salesman
I had quit at Meltwater News at the end of December, after three horrid months of telesales and “Business consulting” which resulted in me not even selling a single product.  Big blow to the morale, but a number of lessons learnt. I learnt that life is all about sales. Whether you’re selling yourself to a potential girlfriend, employer, trying to tame a rabid dog, or negotiating a business deal, car sale, or even a contrast of opinion round the braai, it all comes down to understanding your customer. Listen to what they want, try and understand what value you can establish as an offering, and close them on terms that have a set window of opportunity. If it involves anything of decent proportions, have a record written down.  Often, to my amazement, the value of a correctly executed sale was worth more than the product itself.

I also realised that you cant get anything done unless you speak to the person who calls the shots. Speak to the top brass if you’d like something done. Earn some credibility with their gatekeepers so that your next approach is easier. So my start to the year saw me wearing The Salesman’s hat. A bittersweet short exposure making me realise I’m a crappy salesman. But I could book the experience to school fees – the fundamentals could come in handy somewhere.  Some people totally hated the Meltwater environment, like those who listed on this Antimeltwater blog, but I enjoyed the experience, even though it created a blot on my CV.

Still to come – The office administrator, The academic; The boyfriend; The traveller; The banker; The automotive specialist; The failure. Stay tuned!

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