A "good" salesperson does their best to meet their quota, be #1, etc.

But a "real" salesperson cares nothing about quotas. They treat every day as a brand new day, and will rarely be satisfied with their sales volume for the day/month/quarter.

E33 Typewriters & Electronics   1984

E33 was one of the first "consumer electronics" stores in NYC just as that industry was starting to bloom.  Was brought in simply because I knew how to program and therefore knew more about computers than 99% of the population out there.  This was around the same time that the Commodore 64 exploded onto the scene and helped bring the computers into the home.

Here I learned very quickly that knowledge of computers and selling them had very little to do with each other.  "Selling" was an art form that I made sure I threw myself into.  As well, since this was a complete electronics store, I had to learn how to sell more than just computers.  Whether it was TVís, Stereo Systems, Answering Machines (yes, they just started coming out back then as well), etc.  Whatever "it" was I had to learn how to sell it.  Selling, selling, selling.

After just a few months computer sales at E33 grew so fast that the owner converted one of his adjacent warehouses into its own computer store.  I was no longer just selling computers.

I was now building a computer store to cater to the ever so new computer user.  As well as learning to be able to look ahead and see what products might cater to potential buyers: Games, business software, peripherals, even ergonomic furniture, and more.  Observing by what people bought and asked for, it was my responsibility to "properly" stock the store so that regardless of the type of customer that walked in, I was able to satisfy their needs.

 

The Computer Factory   1986

The Computer Factory was a NYSE listed (symbol: TCF) nationwide company that sold computers via multiple retail stores as well as direct corporate sales.

Living in Manhattan I was fortunate enough to get a job in their store located just on the border of Rockefeller Plaza.  The clientele that walked into our stores werenít looking for Commodore 64s to run their businesses.   They spanned the entire spectrum: Professional writers who had heard just enough whispers that computers were the way to go.  Yet still needed to be convinced that their trusted expensive typewriters were about to become not just obsolete, but obstacles as well.  

Back then there was no WiFi, no USB sticks, nothing of the sort.  Bluetooth?  That was something you went to see the dentist about.  Having multiple computers talk to each other required extreme pre-planning, hardwiring, dedicated fileservers, and a sales process that could take months.  And the Apple Macintosh, barely 2 years old, was about to turn the publishing world upside down.  

Coming fresh off my experience at E33, here I was thinking that I already knew all there was to know about sales, marketing, and all related skills.  I was quickly proven wrong.  This was a different type of clientele looking not just for more professional computers, but their needs were totally different than the people I was used to selling to. Nowadays if you want to buy a new computer, you pick up your smartphone, Google one or two pages and youíre done.  

Back then businesses were just starting to realize that computers were much more than glorified typewriters. While price was a factor, these customers were looking for guidance, and someone who would be there for them when they ran into a problem.  Today's computers and software programs can and do have the occasional bug. Back in 1986, bugs were almost as certain as "death & taxes".   This was all about connecting with people, and letting them know that you were all about "customer service" long after the sale was done.

Even if someone was just coming in to buy a printer ribbon, a floppy disk, or some weird cable: you had to connect with them.  Sure, you could have just sold them that cable, which being a high profit margin item put a decent amount of change in your pocket for just a few minutes of work.  

However, if you took that extra minute or two to connect with this person, chat them up, maybe get the chance to hand them your business card...anything could happen.  

I was lucky to get to work for The Computer Factory.  I learned there that customer relations was everything.  Build a relationship, let someone know that you cared, and that you not only knew what customer service was but that you sincerely "cared" about customer service. Becoming that person opened the doors to more than enough sales opportunities than I can remember.

 

Wall Street   1994
Definitely about sales.  But this part of my life definitely gets its own web page