When I was eight years old, I started working at a car wash, vacuuming cars, for $3.85/hour in Plano, Texas. Of course, this took place in the summer, in the Texas heat. I kept causing problems at home so my stepdad put me to work, to keep me out of trouble. Each day I’d watch the service advisor talk to people, but never have to do any kind of labor.
Even at a young age, I was intrigued. It was so cool to me that a person could have a job talking, instead of working. After talking to the service advisor in between cars, I learned about something called “commission.” For every car that he sold tire dressing and wax to he got $.05. Some days we would wash 1,000+ cars, that meant an extra $50 and less work. I was sold!
For the next few years, each summer and on school breaks, my stepdad would drop me off at his car wash to work. Every day, I tried to close him on letting me sell car washes instead of vacuuming. He would say “You’re too young,” and I’d say “I can see over the people’s doors and reach the windshield, so it doesn’t matter.” Now, in retrospect, I see how weird it would be to have an eight or nine-year-old close on you a $30 hand wax.
Then one day it happened. I turned 13 and my stepdad could no longer tell me I was too young. He’d promised me that at 13, I could start selling. I’ve always been weird and the “all-in” type. I studied every car wash manual they had and mastered every step of the car wash process. I knew it all, therefore I could sell it all.
The day started out at 8am. By the time the place opened it was already 95 degrees. I was there, at the front of the lot, pacing back and forth like a tiger stalking a gazelle. I knew that if I did a good enough job selling I’d never vacuum or dry off a car again. My mind was made up.
The day ended at 6pm. We’d washed around 800 cars and on day one I had set a new record for upsells. That’s right, at 13-years-old I was a 5-year expert in my field of work and I hadn’t even graduated middle school yet. The reason I was able to sell so much was simply due to the fact that I had read all the pamphlets and bought 100 percent into what they were saying. I didn’t know any better. I was completely coachable and a blank slate.
Soon after that, I was relocated to the busiest location of that car wash chain. I crushed it there even more. The car wash company even had sales meetings that I led at 14-years-old. Every time another grown-up advisor would bitch about customers not buying upsells, my pops would drop me off at their location, let me kill it, and then make fun of the fact that a 14-year-old kid closes more than they do.
One day, I was sitting at the Dallas location on a Monday, a slow day, and the sales manager was there talking to me. He and I got to talking about checks and mine was $100 more than his, with fewer hours worked. He flipped out and got all butthurt. To the point that he had the commission structure changed and screwed me. I ended up quitting and getting a job as an electrician.
I hated wiring houses. I wanted to talk for money not work for it. I also needed a job that paid a little more, so wiring houses was what I did at the time. Eventually, though, I got fed up and went back to the car wash in an attempt to just sell more to make more. It was all I knew.
One day, while writing car wash tickets to a customer, at age 23, the customer offered me a job in sales. Mortgage sales. I had no idea what a mortgage was but I wasn’t about to pass on the opportunity. I did the same things I did in the car wash business. I read all the pamphlets, studied the material and became an expert.
Within three months I was the top producer at the bank. No experience, no formal training, just a will to learn and fight objections. I learned at eight years old that I was going to be a salesman and live my life in sales. I remember buying audio tapes on selling and listening to them on the drive to and from the mortgage bank.
You see, I don’t think being a salesman is something we choose. I think it’s a calling we choose to answer or not. For me, it was a way out of work. For many, it’s a chance to write your own paychecks. What’s weird though, is that there are salesmen suffering to make sales all over the world, while a 14-year-old kid can crush records. Why do you think that is? Lemme tell you…
Both times I entered into a new sales position, I studied and became an expert. I cared about the outcome of every single selling situation I got in. I set out to sell my products but protect my customers at the same time. I surrounded myself with knowledge instead of office naysayers.
If you know you’re destined to be in sales and you’re lucky enough to work in the industry right now, then you owe it to yourself, your clients and your company to become the expert and care about the outcome of every sales situation you face. If you need help I’d suggest you check out www.breakfreeacademy.com/entourage and we would love to help you!
I look forward to helping you win in sales.