This has been a difficult few weeks. I started a new job towards the end of February. I equate my first week or so to meeting a new potential beau. You’re in that honeymoon stage where things are new and exciting. You think this is gonna go the distance. Then reality sets in. That’s where I am now, and I’m finally seeing the reality through clear eyes – I am NOT a salesperson.
I went through a week and a half of training. I picked up on what they taught pretty well and even scored a 98.1 on my final exam. We did role playing by reading through the script and making sure we hit on all the points. They’d show us briefly, and in a disjointed manner, what you’d look for in each system. The problem is that they never once had us read through the script while also going through the processes on the computer you’d do start to finish. The way they figured we’d understand it best is to just put us on the phone…with live customers. Yeah, that’s not like throwing me in the deep end of the pool. It’s like throwing me in the ocean with no raft! Hell…can I at least get some floaties?! I asked several times if we could do that only to get a response with something like, “Oh, you’ll be fine. It’ll all make sense.” Ummmm…no!
I like to be somewhat prepared when I start a role that complex. Sure, they introduced us to the process by calling prior clients and only selling them on one product. I was excited when I made three sales in one day. The next day I came in and mentioned that not only had a done that, but I also realized that based on what they needed, it was a different product I sold to two of the three. I then found out that I got no commission for doing that. Wait! You’re telling me that even though you mentioned these products and had us go check that company’s website for their product that we get NOTHING for doing right by the customer?! Ethically, I felt good that I did the right thing by them. Business-wise, I was fucking PISSED that I wasn’t aware and didn’t understand this. This seems like something very basic. How was it that it was overlooked by me? It’s written into our script that we’re completely unbiased and don’t care which provider we choose, but that’s not true. We do care. Surely, someone there with lower morals than me would have sold the higher plan just to get the commission. That doesn’t sit well.
They next had us calling recent clients who had made a decision about all the products except one. It was our job to get a yes or no from them. This one product is very complicated. No one in our class made a single sale. After we all passed our tests, we were then put on the phones to sell all products. I was nervous, but they kept telling me that it would start making more sense and to just ask my immediate manager questions. The problem was that he was rarely available. When I did have a question, I’d ask someone more senior. Turns out that they weren’t always sure or I’d find out later that they gave me the wrong information. Great!
I finally made two sales last Thursday and was grateful I had THE MOST patient customer ever! I struggled through the sales and it turns out that one of the products included the most complicated order placement of everything. I also was supposed to be with the rest of my class in a meeting with CEO. Oh well…I’m sure he was fine with me missing it when I was making him money.
When I finally got off the phone with the customer, I needed help entering the order in a second, product-specific system. My immediate manager was gone, as was everyone else in my area, so I asked the company’s sales manager to help me. He was happy to do so. He sat down next to me, and upon seeing the system I was having to use, says, “Oh…I’ve only done this twice.” ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!?! In his quest to help me, he did it wrong, and I pray they fix it before the sweet customer is charged a shit ton of money. Because of this product’s process, I still had to call a separate number to speak to that company’s rep and then bring the customer BACK on the phone to verify the order. I told the rep about the issue with the order. He said that he had already fixed it and sent an addendum to the customer. I sure hope THAT was correct since I wasn’t copied on it.
Later that day, I was finally asking my immediate manager some questions and realized just how confused I was about everything. He’s a very sweet man and I do like him a lot, even as a manager, but I was feeling so incompetent at that point that I was fighting back tears. He could tell I was frustrated and was very patient with me. It was becoming more and more apparent to me that I was NOT grasping the job this way. I couldn’t figure out the systems. I was confused on the products. My friend who’s been in sales her whole career told me that starting a new sales job is like drinking from a firehose. Yeah…I can understand SOME stress from a new job and learning the ropes, but when I have no time to stop and get a refresher from someone because I have to hit my talk time and sales goals, I felt like I was never going to catch up.
I came home that night and wrote out the processes for each line of business and what systems you go to and what is needed for that product. I also wrote out what I did and didn’t understand. I was going to mention this to my immediate manager, but when I mentioned it to one of my classmates, he looked at me like, “Oh yeah. I already know all that stuff.” Great! So apparently I’m just a moron.
Yesterday was no better. I talked to person after person. Some were very nice, but when they declined the service, I did my best to turn it around, but I’m just NOT built to force something on someone they clearly don’t want or need. Sure, maybe I didn’t do as good a job in showing them the value in what I was selling, but I did enough and then didn’t want to piss the person off. As the day went on, I prayed that every person I called would not answer and I could just spend the day leaving messages.
They mentioned to us in our morning meeting that if we didn’t hit our goal by Friday that we should come in on Saturday. Are you fucking kidding me? I’m already leaving by 7:00 am to drive there in a commute that takes at least an hour. I’m working my ass off all day and can’t control who is home and who isn’t. Then I don’t leave sometimes until closer to 7:00 pm with another hour-long commute. They bring in all sorts of food that isn’t in line with my diet. So far they’ve had pizza, donuts, popsicles, breakfast tacos, and even cupcakes. Sure it’s a great motivator for most people, but for me, it’s pure torture. I started on February 20th and since February 23rd I’ve had a sore throat. I’ve been to the doctor twice and went again last night after work and finally had them give me a shot and do every test they could just because. My benefits don’t even start with this company until May 1st, and I’ve heard they’re not that good. Great! FML! Because I’ve been sick and exhausted for three weeks and leaving so early and getting home so late, I haven’t been able to exercise. This role just feels like it’s killing me. I’m still living with my parents and am no closer to moving out than when I started because the base salary equates to $14/hour. How the fuck do you live off that?!?! If I wasn’t living with my parents I’d be homeless!
I was talking with the guy who sits next to me who was from the training class a month before mine. I ADORE him! He’s a black, gay man and we immediately hit it off. I seriously need more of him in my life despite him being a complete mess. In between calls, he tells me that he is the only person left from his training class. I was shocked!…but then after thinking about my time there, I wasn’t. At about 4:00 pm yesterday, I made a decision. I was done. This is not the type of role where you give someone your two weeks’ notice. Most people would just leave and not come back. I’m not that type of person. I won’t just bail without letting someone know.
After I finally made it home after going to the doctor again, I talked with my mom and told her I just can’t do this job anymore. I’m exhausted, stressed, confused, and the thought of going back there causes me so much anxiety that I just can’t. She completely understood having seen how it’s affected me the last few weeks. At my core, I’m just not built for sales…especially with such inadequate training. I don’t want to go back and leave in tears, which is what would probably happen.
On Sunday, I will email both my immediate manager and the recruiting manager to tender my resignation. I’m spending this weekend resting my body. After a cortisone shot yesterday, I finally woke up for the first time without a sore throat. Monday, I will hit it hard with job applications and find something more fitting that has immediate benefits and possibly a closer commute…or at least a decent salary so I can actually MOVE OUT!
I guess I never would have realized that I’m just not cut out for this unless I took the leap. It shows that scoring ridiculously high on a training test doesn’t correlate to how well you’ll do in an actual role. Maybe I need to find a job where I go into a company, go through their training, start a job and let them know how their training could be improved. Either way, I need to do what’s best for me. I’m terrified that it’s gonna take me a long time to find something different since it took forever for me to find this job. I know I don’t want to work for a small company and need benefits that start immediately. After that, I’ve got a lot of work to find what works for me. Now THAT is work I’m willing to do!