January 10th, 2012 turned out to be like a lot of days that I’ve been having in the past 2 months, full of funny stories and pleasant satisfaction.
I have yet to sell a car, but each day I talk to more people. It’s a numbers game, just like baseball and if Wikipedia is correct (isn’t it always), a “closing” average of .265 is a good place to be, so my enthusiasm to close the perfect sale is still there, just below the surface.
I must admit, more than making a sale, it’s been rewarding fitting into a new team.
When I first arrived, being the new girl, the young one, coming from corporate into a world that 70% of my coworkers were wishing they could escape, was a complication. In my first three weeks it seemed I had crawled into a dark cave and I had come ill prepared to defend against the mythical creatures that hid in the crevasses.
One of my co-worker’s, I’ll call Radek, was particularly helpful in painting my failure before I had even begun my journey. One of our earliest conversations went like this:
“Soooooooooo Dawnafaye, you have decided to come work in Sales”
“That’s correct Radek, I am looking forward to the experience.”
“Soooooooooo it is true, you have left a well-paying salaried position in corporate to work in Sales”, which was followed by a shaking of the head and a cluck of the tongue.
“Yes, I have….”
“Well I don’t understand why you would do something like that.”
“Yes, it does seem obscure; however I do have my reasons. Do you enjoy your Sales job?”
“No, I hate my job.”
“Radek, I am sorry to hear that, there must be a job you’ve enjoyed?”
Radek’s eyes lit up and he stood a little straighter.
“Well, there is a job I had back home that I loved, unfortunately there is nothing like that here for me to do.”
“Are you sure Radek,” being the optimist “there must be something.”
“No, there is nothing.”
Radek’s slouched posture returned and the light in his eyes went out.
Determined to end on a positive note, I enthusiastically asked,
“Radek, if there were no obstacles in life and you could do as you pleased, what would you do, the sky is the limit.”
Radek replied a flat and definitive
And with that, our first meaningful conversation was over. I felt defeated and made an oath to myself that I would be kind to Radek, say hello in the morning and goodbye at night, but I would not engage in any conversation that would lead to any further definitive, flat and depressing NOTHINGS, I couldn’t afford the negativity.
Then today happened.
I’ve been working on Radek’s “team” for the last week and a bit. This is very important since working on each other’s shifts can make or break the working relationship. There is an honour system for walk-in customers (who are called Ups), and I know by this time that Radek is suspicious of me. I have caught him discussing with our co-workers that “she is a spy, she has been hired to watch us.” Yep that’s me, I have been sent to Retail to spy on no one other than Radek and my co-workers. So in the last few days I have been doing my best to take my turn with Ups, say my morning hello’s and join in group discussion when there are no Ups shopping in the store. The group discussions have been working out pretty well, I get to ask questions on strategy and ask for advice to help me become proficient at the art of Closing.
Today I realized just how important these last few days have been for my relationship with Radek.
While trying to call a customer long distance from my desk phone, I kept getting a weird long beep and then my call would disconnect. Needing to make the call, since I’d told the customer I would call back within 30 minutes with an answer, I needed to understand this curious phone system ASAP.
Murphy’s law was in full swing, when I looked-for help with something so trivial, there was no help to be found, thankfully Radek appeared!
So, in my desperate situation I asked Radek if he knew how long distance calling worked – he had the answer and I was grateful.
What made my day, however, was when later on his own accord he came over to my desk to show me how to use two other seemingly trivial systems that without knowledge, I am sure would have one day been my undoing.
There is nothing more uplifting than an expression of kindness, especially when it is unprovoked and certainly unexpected.