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Your Neighbors Have Been Seeing The Cockroaches…

Rusty - June 1, 2005

Over at the BCC Bob has posted about a humorous run-in he had with a home security salesman. This doesn’t surprise me as all the home security and pest control salesmen of the world hail from Provo, Utah. What is it about door-to-door and pyramid selling schemes that attracts the LDS populace? I’ll tell you: the sexy combo of polo shirt and khakis.

And money.

I must confess, I sold pest control for a summer and a half. Eclipse Marketing selling for Orkin Pest Control. My first summer (’99) was in Phoenix and my second (’00) was in Spokane, Washington.

Did I make good money? Sure.

Did I make good friends? Yes.

Did I learn a lot? Yes.

So why did I hate it so much? Because I didn’t really believe in the product, I hated knowing how much BS salesmen shovel, it was too dang hot, and I hated bothering people at their homes (I also hated tracting. Just because I’m selling the Gospel doesn’t mean I enjoyed the method of finding people).

What did I learn? The subtleties of selling. That Phoenix is no place to spend a summer. That gift incentives really do work as a form of motivation (even thought they are stupid). That when a salesman tells you his truck is going to be in the area (so is willing to give you a discount) that he’s full of crap. And most importantly, that it’s much more important to do what you like to do and make a little bit of money than do what you loath to make a little bit more than a little bit of money.

Is anyone else out there willing to confess their lost summers to sales? How was your experience? What did you learn?

1 Comment »

  1. Okay, after going back and reading some of the comments at Bob’s post I’m realizing that this seems a bit like I’m poaching. I thought the comments over there would be along the lines of socially retarded people, not sales and pest control.
    Rusty | Email | Homepage | 06.01.05 – 4:46 pm | #

    I worked in a gas (service) station most of my summers. Low wages, hot weather and not even a Polo shirt or shorts.

    I wish things were as easy as choosing what you love to do to make money, and choosing something else because you need to make money.

    You’re the ideal. The real world is out there for many of the rest of us.

    Yes, I have had businesses where I’ve enjoyed going to “work”, others where it’s not so much fun!

    Congrats on your choice and success!
    Don | Email | Homepage | 06.01.05 – 10:23 pm | #

    Sales done right can be a great job… It’s when boneheads try it with bonehead approaches that problems arise.

    I already posted on God as Marketer and I still plan to post on God as Salesman in the future…
    Geoff J | Email | Homepage | 06.02.05 – 3:30 am | #

    A couple of kids in my neighborhood did this selling thing after they got home from their missions and made a bundle. One is actually a big cheese now in one of those companies. Worked for them.
    annegb | Email | Homepage | 06.02.05 – 9:55 am | #


    I went to pitches twice for pest control; but decided to go for internships over jobs. While working for Hatch and writing an honors thesis didn’t pay as well as pest control…it worked for me.

    I also turned down a job working for living scriptures doing telemarketing. I got very very bad vibes from that company and am glad I avoided them. Smells like priestcraft, not teen spirit.
    lyle stamps | Email | Homepage | 06.02.05 – 10:07 am | #

    Hey Rusty — how was Italy?
    Chris Williams | Email | Homepage | 06.02.05 – 11:06 am | #

    What I find most appalling is the suggestion (not from you, Rusty, but from some of the promoters of this stuff) that door-to-door selling is really just like being a missionary, just with a different “product”.
    Mark B. | Email | Homepage | 06.02.05 – 4:36 pm | #

    I think what Rusty meant was that the method of finding people who were willing to recieve the gospel and the method of finding people who are willing to buy pest control were the same. Not the entire experience of being a missionary and pest control salemen
    Bret | Email | Homepage | 06.02.05 – 5:18 pm | #

    I am doing a summer job at home that doesn’t make nearly as much and I don’t particularly like it, but I still like myself. If I ever did sales, I’d hate myself. It’s just not for me. I got tired enough of just trying to be recruited by those incessant punks in Rexburg. I felt the same way as you Russ about having a hard enough time pounding the pavement giving out something I truly believed in, let alone some product I really don’t think people need anyway.
    The big problem I have with sales is the use of the manipulation pattern. For some reason (another post by itself, maybe?) it’s ok to say and/or do anything it takes that’s still legal to make a sale to someone. I don’t believe that to really be kosher.
    Bret | Email | Homepage | 06.02.05 – 5:24 pm | #

    I worked telemarketing for a year in school and felt like a puppet, a hand doing work that I didn’t believe in for someone I didn’t know. And the worst part is that they would stand up there and tell us to work harder because we’d get a T-shirt if we sold more–and we would work harder. I learned that I could be brought to do some stupid things, something it was helpful to know about myself. I had a manager that ridiculed an employee for skipping work for a week when his dad died in a fire. Managers got paid more if their people were there to make sales. That manager was fired. I learned how low a person could go for money. I learned I wasn’t that low.
    To go back to sales, I would need to need money badly and have a product I thought everyone needed and that sold well enough that I wouldn’t have to harry people if they really didn’t want it.
    To put this in perspective, my father was a salesman most of his life, and he was good at it. But he was also good enough that he could pick his product, and he worked at places where he felt like he was selling something worth selling. I don’t hate sales per se, but I can never see myself doing it again.
    Steve H | Email | Homepage | 06.03.05 – 2:56 am | #



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