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These Shoes Were Made for Selling

Kenneth, born and raised in the South, resides in Hamilton, Alabama. He enjoys sharing his unique perspectives on life through his writing.

The most-beautiful piece of artwork that "Ol' Blue eyes" ever created.

The most-beautiful piece of artwork that "Ol' Blue eyes" ever created.

Notice:

"I want to take this moment to salute (one of) my idols in junior high: Nancy Sinatra with her "Monster of a Hit": "These Boots Were Made For Walking," just so you will understand my reasons as to not editorialize, but talk about Old Spice, Sinatra, Boots, and yes, her fabulous looks." Thanks, Kenneth

The First Day of Your Work Years

You got a job. Finally. Yes, I said finally. Time to crack-open grandpa's white lightning, cook a gorgeous cake and talk about all of the money I will make over the years. What a great day. What will my work be compared to? Work? Did you actually say work? Most big industrial companies describe my work as "torment on two legs," "stressful naps," and "pure rejection." I think going on that the last description fits me well. At least that's what my good buddy, "Joe," who lives two blocks down, says about my job. "Joe" is not hold a Ph. d, but for someone who quit school in the fifth-grade, he knows quite a bit about life and the things that go with it. Can't say that about everyone in my life. But "Joe" is one that I can.

One last question: what kind of work (there "that" word goes again) will you be doing? Well, according to my human resources manager, I am going to do something called, Door-to-Door Selling. It's a brand-new line of work, but it's getting traction, and well, men such as me will be the rulers of America's ruling "Kings of Economy."

Yes, sir. What a day, my first day. I got my Old Spice shaving lotion working for me. I also have a brand-name deodorant and the hair cream that I use every day is a national brand, so I not only look goooood, but smell good. Just like success smells. Each door that I knock on, the smell of my success will get the attention of whomever answers the door And within, I say, fifteen-minutes, I will have made my first sale. A big sale. Not your garden variety sale. A big sale. I am not going to waste time making small sales. I've devoted my life to making big, really big sales. All young starter door-to-door salesmen should listen to me talk about how great that I feel about door-to-door sales.

Door-to-door selling is still the best way to let customers see the product in-person.

Door-to-door selling is still the best way to let customers see the product in-person.

Here I am 24; Ready to Start my Door-to-Door Selling Job

and man, oh man, am I ever excited. So excited in fact that I went off and plumb forgot my wife's 22nd birthday. I didn't remember her date until I got to work. Well, "Jodi" will be glad this evening when I return from work when she sees just how many sales that I made today. Yes. I am "on top of the world!" Let's see, I checked my breath and it's fine. A door-to-door's best tool (besides his tongue) is his ability to sell almost anything to anyone. Now. I check my facial appearance. Good. No unsightly beard, nostril hair clipped. Ready to rock! Then I look directly into my eyes and say, "Hey! My name's "Harold Simpson," I am a great door-to-door salesman--just watch me go!!!"

I meet with my sales manager for final instructions, my sales route, and get my samples of what I am going to sell. Can you see why I am so excited? My company thought of everything. This company cares for its employees. So here I go ready to take on the vast world of selling, making friends, and building a great retirement all built by me giving 110% each day in my dynamic selling ability.

I turn-off my car engine. Check my samples for the last time. Now to start the first step in my long journey of door-to-door sales. Here I go. I am going to love this job. It's now 8:33 a.m., I am about to click the doorbell of my first door. As the owner of this house is coming, I'm reminded of a old door-to-door salesman proverb: "if sales journey starts with odd minute of clock, day will be ruined." Of course, I am a sophisticated, well-trained, married man of few years, so what's to stop me?

8:38 p.m. Sure took a lot of time to answer the doorbell, I think to myself. Here we go! The door is opening. Wow, what a nice-looking woman. I smile my big door-to-door salesman smile. The housewife matches me with her I'm-here-all-day-long-cooking-cleaning and having nothing to look forward to, and I hate it smile.

Perfect! Depressed housewives make easy sales. Might as well show her the samples. I've told her my name and she's given hers. We are off to a fine start. She looks confused. I ask why, and laugh softly. She says just what are you selling? I start to worry. Then I quickly (just as I ws trained) jump into my simple presentation. You see? The samples are fine, easy to clean, and very efficient. I say as her eyes get bigger, a sure-sign of a sale ready to look for the contracts to sign.

After not being asked to come in for coffee, she looks at me and turns me down, not in an ugly way, but the kind of turn-down that leaves you respected, but not flying so high. I shake hands with her and give her my sales card to which she asks what do I do with this, pick my teeth? I leave my first housewife and great sale. I am still excited.

This salesman is "talking up" his product.

This salesman is "talking up" his product.

The Time, 9:25 p.m., I Look at my Appointment Book

and notice that fate has moved into my life. Not unlike David "Dr. Richard Kimble" Jansen, "The Fugitive," I do feel relieved that by the name and looks of my potential selling location, I will put on the suave and pull-off a great sale in seconds flat. Funny. It's now going on two sales, and my legs begin hurting like some school yard bully named, "Jedd Bullie," is standing there kicking me as my friends and his are laughing their butts off and falling to the ground with heaving laughter.

I wonder. Is this physical torment a part of door-to-door selling? Must be, because there ae thousands upon thousands of people like us doing this job, so I am not afraid. Things will work out. Think positive. All good things that my training brochure gave me to read at my second meeting at my office. Oh, these great point of success do work. They are carved in granite. Every first-time salesman should take my course to just read this great brochure for the inside secrets on how to "Succeed Quickly as a Door-to-Door Salesman."

I check my tie. Perfect. Even with my first turn-down, I am still excited. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and my legs continue to hurt, although mildly, but they are hurting. I press the doorbell. My wait is short. The door opens and look here, a fabulous-looking brunette, the Ava Gardner type, dressed in a nice dress, the kind that Donna Reed wears, and she is in black heels. I hope that I make this sell before she asks me to stay for lunch.

Her name is "Karlie LeBeaux," from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., she is tanned from the top of her head to the bottom of her feet. Not that I looked. Some things a door-to-door salesman has to take things by faith. I'm that way, because I have a lots of things to learn such as when to return a wink at a potential customer, pay (not just offer) for a sales contact a nice lunch or supper. And do not scrimp on any of the meal.

Door-to-door selling evolved to the salesman demonstrating his product.

Door-to-door selling evolved to the salesman demonstrating his product.

"Karlie": Opening Day -- All Cast on Stage

is exactly how I felt as I smiled as "Karlie," invited me to come in and sit awhile and enjoy a cup of coffee. Now it was "Karlie" who said that "I" must be tired. She didn't know that she was only the second sales call of that day, but although we door-to-door salesmen were trained to be honest, we were also trained on things that we are not to volunteer, and the fact that she noted that I was tired, gave me no space to disagree. Heck! This one moment might have opened the Door of Opportunity for me to let my sales job take off like a flock of blackbirds.

"Karlie," for being an identical match for any of the June Taylor Dancers, was sure stern-acting to me. Just a mild kindness as she poured the coffee. I cleared my throat--ready to take action on her bank account and get a big sale to make my first day to be charted on my Farmers and Cattlemen's Bank somewhere in Illinois, were my wife and I lived, on the outskirts of Peoria, Ill., which was a very booming town that was built on door-to-door salesmen and the products that the factories made in Peoria. I would throw this nugget of history to further build my sales pick up if needed.

"Now, what is it that you are selling?" "Karlie," asked in her, I guess, Louisiana style of talking.

"Well, I have these samples that I show to my customers instead of boring them with cht-chat and small talk." I replied staring straight into her pretty brown eyes.
She giggled softly. And fluttered her eyelashes. A big lump came into my throat.
"Mind if I look at them?" "Karlie" asked ever so gentle.

Of course, I am not a fool and say no. I handed my sample case over to her as she told me to drink another cup of coffee while she looked over my sales samples. She took her sweet time as she picked-up one sample, then looked it over closely back and front, and did it all over again, breathed a sigh of either boredom or disappointment. (Sales note . . .young salespersons, look. If you are dealing with a customer one-on-one in person, and the customer lets-out a noticeable sigh, do not be alarmed. Sighs can go either way. Success or boredom. The faster you learn the difference, will pay you in big dividends.)

"Well, 'Harold,' I just gotta be honest with you. Some of your samples really get to me while others make me so sleepy that I need a nap, ha, ha, so listen. Call on me at the first of the month and hopefully, you will have newer samples by then, huh?" "Karlie" responded with a lot of authority plus a pretty smile that I loved to watch her words spill over her pretty lips.

I smiled. Then tried hard to cover my second in-person disappointment and walk back to my car. It was nearing lunch, so I sit down in my car and checked the afternoon sales calls and drove to a local burger joint and relaxed. An scary thought then hit me. I wondered if all of these burger joint customers were really sales calls that I can make if they were home. Sometimes the life of a door-to-door salesman has a lot of borders to deal with.

1 p.m., time to get back on my feet ready for my third sales pitch. As I walked back to my car it came to me: third time's a charm, and I hoped that this was more realistic than fantasy. It sure would feel good to just make (a) great sale and that way I could not head home with my head held low and my confidence tattered.
1:30 p.m., my third customer was a jovial fellow. Middle-aged, 40ish, and happy as a lark to just be here at home, or anywhere. I checked my appearance, samples, and pushed the doorbell. Then the door flew open and this man smiling wider than Hoover Dam, stuck out his hand to be shook and said . . .
"Hey, partner! How's it going? Something that I can do for you?" he said very confidently.

"Uhhh, sure. I mean, thanks, and told him my name. He told me that his name was, "T.R. Williams," and was proud to make my acquaintance.
We chatted for several minutes. I did use the "Information Tool" that I found out the second week of my sales training, and it worked perfectly. Just ask the potential customer all about his or herself and remark about those facts. One fact of sales is that most people love to talk about themselves. All PR/Motivational speakers will agree.

"Williams" did not act like he was a negative person, in fact he said that my samples were some of the best that he had ever laid eyes on. I smiled. Then we had another cup of coffee and for me, it was "contract-signing," as all of the door-to-door salesmen, the pro's, agree that learning to see the signs that a customer is about to put his or name on the dotted line is crucial. Why? Did you ever try to add up just how any miles, hours, days, expense is invested by door-to-door salesmen only to have their products denied? I will chance telling that the amount is in the billions of scratch. Billions. Tough to believe, but true.

Look how modern the samples have become for door-to-door salesmen to sell.

Look how modern the samples have become for door-to-door salesmen to sell.

"Williams" Was One Class Act

as he did agree to buy a smaller version of my best sample. I thanked him and we both laughed as I said, "this size is just perfect for the door for cats and dogs that you can put into the kitchen or wherever you want." He laughed even harder. But never told me what he was going ot use and I left somewhat cheered by at least making one sell.

The day was getting by and I knew it. The hot summer sun was beating me to death as I talked-out what I was going to say at my fourth and last sales call of the day, a cold call, that pro door-to-door salesmen say while they are packed in one table at some coffee diner just off some lonesome highway, the kind that all of the over-the-road trucker's use.

My fourth call was a "Lulu." Her name just happened to be "Lulu Billingsley" a retired school teacher who never married and saw my company's ad in the newspaper and called my boss to give me her address because it fell into my sales district. I was still excited. Just one small sale to a "T.R. Williams," but hey, this last sales call could prove to be "the motherlode of sales revenues--a few hours to relax, only one sales call to "Lulu," and I would be set. And me just 24? It can happen. It's happening even as you read this.

I rolled in front of her two-story brick house and fixed my appearance in the rear view mirror. Nothing in my teeth, breath is fine, so it's time. Going to go in with a full tank of confidence and there is no way that this "Lulu" chick would say no to me, "Harold Simpson." On the way to her home, I said as I looked out of my windshield that "I" was destined to be a great door-to-door salesman, and I felt good. Still excited I was when I began this mornin

As I've done in my other three calls, I would park about two blocks shy of the customer's home, then walk to the customer's home, make my pitch and walk back to my car. I know that you may be having trouble with the terms, door-to-door, but if I didn't walk on my sales calls, I would have call myself a car-to-car salesman and no one would say anything nice about that title.

God bless this true American hero: the door-to-door salesman.

God bless this true American hero: the door-to-door salesman.

Here's "Lulu" Ready For Business

so was I. "Lulu," at my first impression, looked to be a former lady wrestler from the WWE and had the body to prove it. Not that I am slamming her in any way. It's just how she opened her front door opening it as if I were a hurricane with winds measured at 167 miles per hour. Needless to say, I was more attentive then excited. She laughed at me and invited me to come in and sit down and before she sat down, she asked if I would like a drink with her. No, I do not drink. But if you have some coffee, I'd love it, thanks. Was my reply. She smiled. I smiled.

"I notice that you work for the Door-to-Door Selling. Just what it is that you sell, young man?" "Lulu" asked then sipped her martini. I grinned. Then sipped my coffee that she had given to me.

"Well, may I call you, "Lulu?" I began, because I wanted to get off on a good foot and besides, I needed to make a big sale because the hours of this day were growing few.

"'Lulu,' I wish that I could tell you each and everything that we sell, but that would take way too long, so please allow me to just let you look at these samples and read the brochure that my company gave to hand-out on my first day of work . . .this day," and took another sip of coffee.

"Uhhh, "Harold," may I call you "Harold?" I am a retired woman and my company gave me a wonderful pension, but I do love to have some extra money, because you never know when you will need it," she said very confidently. "Besides, if your schedule allows it, would you come back to see me on this coming Monday, and that way I will have more time to look at your samples and then I can make a more-educated answer to buy your materials or not, but I can say, and this is not giving you a false compliment, I believe that you have shown me a confident salesman and his goods are okay. So can we do that?"

"Absolutely, "Lulu," I said standing while I shook her hand and walked to the door. I felt recharged. Excited again."t

A Few Ready-Made Excuses Made For The Door-to-Door Salesmen

and there are literally thousands to choose from. These "excuses," do work for the business owner, but if used too much, they can cause resentment on behalf of the salesman and the business. And these excuses are not meant to cause harm in any way, but are passed from one business to the other to use to just get more time to study a salesman's materials.

Some of the best excuses used by retail business people are . . .

⦁ I need you to come back next Monday. I had a guy in the shop have to be off for his mother today---sick, you know, so just write me down at 9 a.m. for next Monday. Okay?

⦁ Oh, did we agree on a time to meet on this sell we worked on last week?

⦁ Did you talk to me or my office manager about this product?

⦁ I know that I gave you a time to be here, but I need to run out of town to my other offices to check on a big problem they are having--so count on seeing me next Wednesday.

⦁ What was your name again? Oh, sorry. I have the wrong business card. Now what is your name and company you represent?

These are but a few of the best "lies" that retail business owners use so smoothly and until they are over-used and just have to talk to the salesman and it takes a very tenacious salesman to keep calling or visiting otherwise they seldom come back or call and then who suffers for a low commission check? Certainly not the retail business, but the salesman.t

Yes! Very true! There are thousands of door-to-door salespersons as women have big success in their careers.

Yes! Very true! There are thousands of door-to-door salespersons as women have big success in their careers.

As I Get Into My Car

I notice my watch and I find that there is no time to make one more call, but even with my one sale, I am very optimistic about my future, because I have made four calls, sold one and made four new friends overall. Really not a bad day. Although I'm not in any plaque contest at work, I believe that I would run a great race . . ."Best New Salesman of The Year: Harold Simpson." Dreams are fun.

I pull my car into our carport, stop the engine, pick-up my samples, and head for our kitchen door. So glad to be back home. Cannot wait to see "Jodi," and share with her what I did and whom I talked to on my first day of door-to-door selling.

Secretly, I hope that she has prepared a special dinner for me to celebrate my first day of work. I hope that she makes my favorites: baked pork chops; apple sauce; mashed potatoes, green beans and freshly-baked Grecian bread with sweet tea.

What a meal.

As I start to open the door, I see an old neighbor-friend of mine, "Russ Jacobs," who has lived by "Jodi" and me for years. He just retired from the telephone company and it's just him by himself at home because he never married. Not time to do all of those frilly things, he told me a month ago.

I walk over to shake "Russ'' hand and see what he's up to. "Russ" smiles as he sees me walk up to his very nice home. We shake hands and he asks me to drink come coffee with him. Coffee and water is all he can drink because he got off alcohol last year and I thank God for this change in my life.
"Well, "Harold," "old sport," what ya' been up to?" "Russ" says kicking-out his recliner.

"Just started my new job this morning," and I tell you. I am on top of the world. "I get to see new people, my job is challenging and get to travel, so what's there not to like?" I respond.

"Harold, my good friend, before we get into this deep talk, the kind that we are famous for, may I ask you two questions?" "Russ" says looking very serious.
I nod my head and take a sip of coffee.

"Son, I'm proud of you, and well, I've always thought of you as my only son, so shoot straight with me. Please tell me the name of your company," "Russ" states.

"Yes, sir, "Russ," the name of my company is: "Door-to-Sales Company with outlets across America." And I say this with pride, sticking-out my chest. For some reason, "Russ," looks as if he is fighting himself to hold back a big laugh.

"Did you say, Door-to-Door Selling, 'Harold?" "Russ" grins and agrees. But never laughs.

"Well, son, congratulations to you, but what does this company sell?" He adds.
Now I am stumped. A trick question. Maybe he is testing me since he has had a lot of business experience working for the telephone company.

"I got it! My company makes and sells DOORS," I reply. Now "Russ" visage changes from curious to pure comedy.

"Harold, my buddy. May I tell you something here and now?" He says now looking serious.

I nod in agreement.

"Did you not notice anything as you left your office this morning? "Russ" has been known to be very thorough about what he's talking about. "no one in management told you to drop off a few doors into your car so when you sell one or two, you will tell the customer that they will not have to wait."

Now . . .this very moment, I am shocked to my ankles. I feel like that I am a complete fool. I am just standing in one position. "Russ" stops laughing. He's not a people person and I'm not looking for any personal support from him.

"Uhhh, no, they didn't say one thing about you hauling doors, so I guess that I better get home and get on the phone. These people have used me as a mud hole." I say to "Russ" very heated. "Russ" still laughs.

On the phone to my company . . ."Door-to-Door Selling,":

"Sir. You are the man in the Human Resources Department, right?" I ask.

"Yes, sir. "Dick Swanson," Oh, yeah. You are that "Simpson" guy who smelled so good. Old Spice, right?"

"You are right, sir, but this was my first day on the job and someone told me in one of my sales calls that "you" should have given me a few doors as samples so my customers could see them and approve what I'm selling," I explain.

"Well, my boy. Hate to do it, but you're terminated. Sorry, but we need sharp-minded people who can 'take the bull by the horns' and take charge of things. You should have noticed that there were no doors waiting for you to load in your car. Looks like the bull stuck you in the behind, son, but good luck. You can use me as a reference at your next door interview," "Swanson" says and hangs-up.
I'm still in shock. "Doors?," I cry.

"Yeah, son. Doors is what I said," "Russ" answers sympathetically.
"Now who in this world sells doors, door-to-door?" I asked hoping for a bit of understanding.

"Evidently you don't," "Russ" replied with a lot of pity in his words.

June 07, 2021________________________________________________

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Comments

stella vadakin from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619 on June 15, 2021:

Hi, yes I remember selling door-to-door salesmen. I also know who Richard the fugitive was in the good old days. This is a very remarkable article and is a very honest assessment of how selling was done. Thanks, Stella.

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