A Few Hours a Week

Monday, wash day.
Monday, wash day.

 

Although I’m an aspiring salesman, my time spent selling is limited. Firstly, I work nights, and secondly, my body needs sleep. Without this sleep nonsense I’d be eight hours a day finding people and presenting.

The night job is quite an obstacle. I have a thirteen hour door-to-door work day, so that by the time I’m back at home around 8:00 in the morning, I’m pooped. Something to eat, a shower, and I’m into bed. Ideally, there would follow eight hours of uninterrupted snooze, but that’s just a dream. Sorry for the weak pun. Six or so is about what I usually get.

Given those limitations, Sundays and Mondays are my days to be in the world, so to speak. Saturdays are my afternoon and night to be at home, veg, spend time with my cat, and generally wind down.

During the week I’m here in short bursts, writing, creating stuff that will both explain who I am, and allow me to make friends with new people. Selling to people who know me, I think, will be so much easier. We’re all pretty jaded when it comes to marketing ploys and sales tricks, so I’m taking the honorable (if somewhat old-fashioned) route of getting to know my potential customer, and how my products will fit them.

However, my aim is to be full-time selling. Presenting is most important, but listening, following-up and ensuring I’m not becoming a sales beast are right up there in importance. There we are, my life and aims in a blog post.

 

Spring

Baseball! Orioles v Pirates.
Baseball! Orioles v Pirates.

 

Not only is it (nearly) spring, this weekend just past was the second time ever that I forgot to advance the clocks by one hour. Drat.

It didn’t matter, unlike that other time when the entire scout troop left for a day’s outing without me. Ahem. Oh well.

Out of the blue on Saturday morning, I took a call from a friend from a few years ago. Mario was in my life for a while, and disappeared. Stuff like that happens to everyone, I guess. Circumstances change, priorities shift, time suddenly is more valuable spent on something else. Disconnectivity, I call it, the act of disengaging.

But Mario rang, and we met for coffee on my way home from work, on Saturday morning. He’s looking good, slimmer than before, now a non-smoker. BTW, who smokes thesedays? I understand the addictive nature of nicotine, but smoking tobacco to get that fix? Really? But anyway.

Apart from some serious family problems, Mario was in good spirits, and, happily had four tickets to the Orioles spring training game on Sunday. Now I live in Sarasota, which falls into the Tampa Bay Rays’ catchment, so I’m a Rays fan. But their American League rivals from Baltimore have a beautiful new training ground here, the mightly Ed Smith Stadium.

So it eventuated that Mario couldn’t make it to the game. My friend Tim and his boy Matthew, and our buddy Alan made up my foursome, a group of happy baseball dilettantes like no other. The day was warm (warmer than for a few weeks) the sun was strong, and the tickets were free. What more could we want? Well, the seats were brilliant, a table with table service in left field, and the grass was freshly mown, portending another season of baseball, that great American pastime.

Pittsburgh 7-4 or thereabouts over Baltimore.

 

Lightbulb

...because the Florida Panther is nocturnal...
…because the Florida Panther is nocturnal…

A little spark of something good happened last night.

 

Driving south on I-95, my work friend Luis was on the phone.

 

Tim, he said, I watched that video you gave me. It’s amazing. I can see how (my company name) can really work for me now.

 

Luis was the first person I presented to…let’s think…it must be about a month ago now. We sat in my car in a gas station parking lot.

 

He knew about my company from his mother-in-law, who was at one time a customer. Him knowing that up front is neither a good thing nor a bad thing IMO – all it means is that he was familiar with the name. I asked him if he was still interested in spending the time listening to my pitch, and he agreed.

 

As you’d expect from a first-up presentation, I wasn’t good. The take-away points were as follows:

1. My enthusiasm carried the day, because he actually commented on it.

2. The general business idea and product philosophy was clear to him.

3. His mother-in-law had never done anything more than talk about a few products and hand around a catalogue – she’d never sat anyone down for thirty minutes and methodically moved through the sales materials.

 

Lessons abound all over the place here, foremost among them is that my job (as a salesman) is simply to find myself in front of as many people as I can and give the show. The rest will take its course.

 

Luis’s progress towards me put a big smile on my face.

 

Walking the Trail

 

Lake Serene flows to become Bridal Veil Falls, Cascade Mountains, Washington.
Lake Serene flows to become Bridal Veil Falls, Cascade Mountains, Washington.

When I write I try to avoid clichés.

 

It’s not that clichés don’t convey an idea, it’s that they’re not original, smelling slightly stale and undermining the words around them. I like to think I can conjur up my own metaphors – lame and strangled as they may be, they’re at least fresh and organic.

 

The metaphor I’m trying to avoid is one about persistance, the idea of taking one step at a time, and that that will eventually get you where you want to go. It’s a beautiful day in Sarasota today, just my kind of weather. It’s cool, around seventy degrees, it’s blue, it’s dry and it’s a little bit windy. All-in-all, nothing like south-western Florida, except for a few precious days around this time of year. It’s like an early spring clean.

 

I’m still not quite sure where I’m going with this, other than I’d like to connect my ideal life with the path I’m on now. Monday’s meeting was another small step towards that ideal life, almost immeasurable. But a step it was. I’d like to be out there now, finding new people to whom I can talk, to keep walking, but instead I have to take a nap before tonight’s work.

 

Night and day; light and dark; one step forward. Being happy in each moment of the journey will make the time it takes irrelevant. And that’s no cliché.