Sales for Salespeople
There was always something inside of me that screamed, “Go big, or go home.” I was a fanatic without any direction; a freight train, off its rails, without a destination.
I need you to understand that what I tell you in this chapter is not because I’m proud of it in any way, but I am grateful to God for all of it. Growing up, I was the definition of problem child. I got into fights, got suspended from school, hung out with the wrong crowds, did drugs, went to jail, whatever.
Nothing was ever my fault, and if you told me it was, you were an instant arch-enemy. I was wild and unpredictable, angry and filled with spite for everything and everyone. When things went wrong (and they went wrong often), I would blame it on circumstance, or try to deflect my bad decisions onto those effected by them.
I put my family though one terrible ordeal after another, until I had alienated absolutely everyone that cared for me. My so-called friends were users and losers who, like me, cared about nothing and no one, except for themselves. My world became a hopeless and delusional mess of self-preservation, coupled with a fierce desire for notoriety.
I loved the spotlight. It didn’t matter why, I had to be the center of attention. By my early twenties, I had joined an outlaw motorcycle gang, and had entered, in turn, the darkest chapter of my life. I call it chapter zero. As they say, birds of a feather flock together. The gang was made up of about six-hundred other lonely, drug addicted and endlessly afflicted guys- all in search of criminal notoriety.
I was good at the gang life because I had a tendency to take things too far. It was a never-ending struggle, maneuvering, plotting and posturing for a position of power. Violence and anarchistic masochism were abound, and nobody had any regard for anything. The main objective for the members of this gang was to rule over each other with fists of iron. My life became very cold and hard. I didn’t care what people thought, I was intentionally out of control, a wrecking ball, I was a literal walking calamity for anyone who crossed my path. I was dangerous; I had become a maniac.
After several years in the gang, I found myself hating my life, and I saw no way out. At that point, I truly believed that this was my existence. Cold, dark, filled with hatred and despair, I was broken. I didn’t care if I got myself killed, went to prison, it didn’t matter. I was insane! Nothing good ever happened anywhere near me and everyone tried to avoid me. I had nothing to show for my years of loyalty to the gang, but bruises and enemies. I’d beaten, and been beaten, shot and been shot at; my only friends were nothing but foes. I believed that the world had dealt me a bad hand, and as good as I had become at bluffing, I couldn’t win because the odds were stacked too high against me.
It was God’s grace and a set-up, that brought me to the bottom of the hole I had been spiraling down for, now, eight, long years. As I arrived home one day from whatever I was doing, I noticed a lot of out-of-place vehicles on the block. I lived in a terrible ghetto, in a nasty, broken down apartment attached to the gang’s clubhouse. New, non-descript vehicles were not normal to the area, so I knew something was up.
No sooner did I get in the front door and shut it, then it came crashing in. Someone had given the cops an anonymous tip that I was involved in criminal activity. They found nothing, but I later found out that the report was made by another member of my gang, looking to get me off the streets and out of the way.
They took me to jail for some old, unpaid this-or-that, and bail was set at was two-hundred and fifty bucks. My “Ole Lady”, as bikers call them, took my money, gave my motorcycle to the guy who had set me up, and left to places unknown until the money was gone.
That was rough, but the worse part was that none of my “brothers”, as they’re called, could come up with $250 to get me out! I am so glad, and so very thankful that they left me sitting there; it was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I was done! That was the last day I belonged to a gang.
Shortly after getting out of jail, I woke up one morning, and my desire for drugs was gone. I can’t explain that, and don’t know if I ever will, but somehow, without any 12 step, 2 step, rehab, nothing, I was clean, and even better, the thought of drugs made me sick to my stomach. To this day, it still does.
There is quite a long road from there to where I am now, and I’m sure the road to where I am going is longer. Things were definitely better, but I was still hanging on to the idea that my fate as a poor person, was something I would just have to live with. I was working, but I hated money because any time I had to deal with it, I was dealing with something I couldn’t pay for.
I felt ripped off, like I was meant for more, but life had robbed me of any chance I had. This little, personal pity-party went on for another couple of years because I still didn’t want to admit that it was all my fault. I felt going big wasn’t an option for me so I pushed that part of me deep down inside and it made me angry.
During those years, I was still in a horrible relationship with the “Ole Lady” from the biker days, who I had stupidly taken back after getting out of jail. I’m not saying anything bad about her, but I’m saying the relationship was unhealthy for both of us.
One day she kicked me out of the house for some stupid thing we must’ve been fighting over (that happened a lot), and one more time, I was done. I found myself in a cheap motel, agonizing over what I was going to do next. I called my dad, who is one of the best people I know, and I’m sure he was thinking this was just another call from his wayward, going-nowhere son, but it wasn’t.
I was tired of being sad, tired of being broken, man, I was tired of everything. I told him all of this, and that I needed a change. I remember saying, “dad, I think I need God in my life or something.” He told me that I should grab a bible and start reading, and for the first time, I took his advice.
I remember reading the book of John, like three times that weekend. It was Easter morning when I made my decision for Christ, and my outlook instantly changed. For the first time, I could remember, I was Looking at things with a feeling of hope. This is the short version of my testimony of Jesus. I would be happy to share the whole story with anyone who asks. Seriously.
It wasn’t easy, but from that day forward life was improving. Eventually, I answered a Craigslist ad that read: Positive Sales Rep Needed. It was one of those sales ads people don’t answer because the description was intentionally vague, but that meant it was commission, and for some reason, that’s what I wanted.
I had to learn to tie a tie on You Tube for the interview- some English guy was swirling and tucking this thing, and after hours of yelling and rewinding, I got it. I had tied my first tie. The interview went perfectly. It was home improvement sales, which was perfect because I like construction. They told me I had to train for two weeks for free and asked if I could “afford the opportunity”. My answer was, “Dude, I’m already broke, what’s the difference?” …They loved me.
From the first second I began my training, I knew sales was going to be awesome. My level of hope for the future was growing by the minute, training was a breeze., and I was excited about a job for the first time in forever. I had no idea the opportunity I was sitting on. One day before the training class ended, they told me they had a siding lead they couldn’t cover, and asked if I could run it.
I was so excited, nervous, not ready, and planning to kill it! I got to the home twenty minutes early, and realized I didn’t have a tape measure, so I admittedly broke several traffic laws getting to the nearest Home Depot. After spending my last twenty-three bucks on a Stanley 100’ tape, I made it back with one minute to spare.
I was more than motivated, I was obsessed with getting this deal! From the first handshake, I knew I was in my element, I was a salesman, I was a fanatic again, but this time I had direction. I closed that deal like I’d been doing it for fifteen years. On my first lead, I made eleven hundred bucks! I was hooked, and this addiction would change my life forever.
I took over the office. I was killing it! My first week I made over two grand. I was showing everyone how it was done, telling veteran sales guys how to close deals, showing the managers, and most of all, I was having fun. It wasn’t six weeks and I was made the sales manager and just when I thought I couldn’t love my job any more, I got to speak in the sales meetings.
Dude, wow! The responsibility to make the other reps successful fueled a fire inside of me that I had completely forgotten about. I, once again, knew that I had to go big or go home. I was obsessed! After years of thinking I was defective, after setting aside my obsessive nature for fear of becoming a monster, after quietly doing nothing for way too long, I had found my purpose.
I was intentionally feeding my obsession, studying, soaking up everything I could about sales and business, making sure my people were killing it …and they were.
I was a maniac!