Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Oh Yeah, That New Job Thingy...

Okay, I've told you I would tell you all about my new job. You're going to be a) surprised that people actually do this for a living, and b) laughing your ass off...until I tell you just how much money can be made on it (well, I won't exactly tell you, I'll just say this; a fucking shitload of money can be made doing this!)

I sell energy.


(Pause for laughter)

Laugh if you will, ye of little imagination and less ambition! You'd be positively shocked if you saw just exactly how this is done, and how relatively easy it is to do, and even more, how excited your potential customers are by the prospect.

It basically works like this:

The New York State legislature fucked up (that is, they actually did something right) a while back and did something useful; it de-regulated the energy market in the State. No more one-energy-company-towns. No more monopolies on energy production and vending. The public now has a choice between competing producers (alas, there are no competing distributors, but that is a different story).

I work for an energy company. This energy company produces energy, both electricity and natural gas. It produces these commodities in the traditional ways, and it also produces it in more environmentally-friendly ways. I, and people like me, are given instructions on how we generate energy, how it gets sold and distributed, and then we're taught how to make sales.

Now, I've never sold anything in my life. Imagine my surprise when I was informed that all the other people in the classroom with me had never sold anything either. Not a single professional salesperson in the room. This may sound ludicrous, but there is a keen and cunning logic behind it.

Salespeople, even the really good ones, pick up very bad habits in the course of their careers. These involve cutting corners, sometimes ethical lapses, and various attempts to 'game the system' for personal gain. The idea behind hiring people with absolutely no sales background whatsoever, is so that when you teach them how to present your product to the public, they have no preconceived notions and no bad habits. They can be taught the proper ethical regime pertaining to sales.

Then you send them out to pound the pavement. Hit every business in your local area. Canvass the residential neighborhoods. Learn to network, how to develop leads, and how to make a professional presentation without having to resort to Powerpoint and 16-color pie charts.

And it works. Well. I've already met several people who have less than six months to a year on the job and have already roped in contracts that have brought them very hefty paychecks.

It's difficult work; you're on your feet all day, every day. If you're not willing to hustle (as in get up early, be diligent and work hard) you're not going to be very successful. Some days are very good (you get the contracts, you develop a lead, or better yet, you've learned something new), and some days are pretty bad (all have happened to me, thus far: you didn't drum up any business, you've been harangued by a Vietnamese man wielding a meat clever because the last energy company who came through screwed him over, you walk into a local restaurant and begin your sales routine while half a dozen guys from the old-monopoly energy company are standing in line behind you...waiting to order their lunch...and you just know they want to kick your ass).

I'm just getting started, and so I know I will have to walk before I run. But I can already say this about it: it has sitting behind a desk, collecting cubicle-slave's wages beat by a far god damned sight.

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