If you have been in sales for any length of time, you have plenty of stories from the road. Looking back, some stories probably make you want to laugh, some make you want to cry and some leave you thinking… I can’t believe that is actually how that went down. When our sales team hits the pavement, they always come back with some type of story to share. We have compiled a few of our favorites below. Hopefully they will provide some comic relief on this dreary winter’s day.
Meet the Soprano’s
I was traveling with my boss for a sales calls in New Jersey. I had never been there before so my expectation of the locals was strictly based on the TV show, the Soprano’s. I thought to myself – “It would be too perfect if the person we are meeting with is wearing a pinky ring.” Well, my expectations were blown away when the gentleman walked out wearing a blue track suit and gold chain. It couldn’t have been more perfect.
Cool Car, Tiny Back Seat
I was presenting to a very large gas company in Las Vegas, NV when after the presentation the gentlemen requested we all go to lunch. Now mind you my rental car was a Chevy Camaro and I told the gentlemen I could only fit one person in my car and the other would need to drive, but they insisted on riding in the Camaro nonetheless. So, the Director of Safety decides he will ride in the back seat and proceeds to climb in when all of a sudden he becomes stuck. In an attempt to assist him, the other gentleman begins pushing him but to no avail, he is definitely stuck. So with one big push he gets jammed through and lands in the very small back seat. As we head to lunch he begins to announce the intense amount of blood seeping through his very nice dress shirt and of course I panic knowing this has lost me the sale. But, we arrive at the restaurant and he heads to the restroom to get cleaned up and comes back with a very great attitude and only a very small scrape and we spend the next hour laughing at the situation. Lesson learned; don’t accept the free upgrade for the cool car when on a sales trip.
Punked by My Own Boss
I went to a trade show in Cincinnati, OH with several co-workers and we had a booth for the two day show. As everyone who hosts a trade show booth knows, a whole day standing on your feet meeting and greeting can really make for a long day. At the end of the first day, we all shut down the booth and were headed for our hotel. We packed up and we were leaving along with everyone else. So, I am heading through the conference center and hustling to beat the crowd to leave. I am following my co-workers while trying to read my texts and we come up to a revolving exit door. The flow through the door is pretty smooth, so I worked my way into the line and was about halfway through the exit when all of a sudden the revolving door came to a dead stop. I looked like a bug on a car windshield when I hit the glass door face first. I was panicked, not knowing exactly what happened, until I looked up and saw all my co-workers laughing. So I peeled myself off the glass door and looked directly into the door slot in front of mine and saw my boss with his shoe wedged in the door and a cheesy grin on his face. Wow! I was punked by my own boss…….
A Slight Detour through the Showers
My favorite sales story is calling on a particular State Department of Corrections. Some of Plant 1’s bigger customers are State Prison sign shops who make a lot of signs for their State DOT. This correctional shop is in a medium security prison. After you check in through several security stages, an employee of the sign shop walks me through the prison to get back to the sign shop which is located in several out-buildings, but inside the fences. Every once in a while they lock down certain parts of the prison we normally walk through and this forces us to take “unusual” paths. Many years ago the most “unusual” path I ever had to take was through the showers. Yes, I said the showers. I had to walk down the middle of a large room with prisoners taking showers on either side with NO privacy and guards all around. I kept my eyes straight ahead and NEVER made eye contact. To this day, I am not sure if the Sign Shop guys took me this way out of necessity or just to mess with a poor salesman. However, this particular state DOC remains one my best customers to this day; so I guess it was worth the shock!
That Will Be 25 Cents
I was in California for a sales visit. I went to a service station for bottles of water. The clerk asked if I needed a bag to which I said yes. The clerk responded, “That will be 25 cents.” California passed a law banning single use plastic bags. Next time I’ll think twice about saying yes to a bag.
“Warm and Sunny”
My travel mishaps always seem to revolve around the weather. Inevitably, weather is forecasted to be warm and sunny but it always turns to snow and ice!! I have never missed a sales call as a result but I do slip and slide my way to the field offices on these days!
Dukes of Hazzard
In 2005 I was in St. Louis, Missouri for a few days calling on customers and was wrapping up my trip to get to the airport in plenty of time to return my rental car and catch my flight. On the way to the airport, one of the customers that I visited earlier that week called and asked if I could swing by and look at his artwork to make sure it would work for his needs. As I was heading to his office, it started raining hard and continued even after I left his office. By this time I was going to be cutting it very close to returning the car and catching my flight. I was driving very rapidly in a new 2005 Camaro and when I reached my exit for the airport it was a fairly hard turn to the right. I was obviously driving too fast to maneuver this curve and it must have looked like something out of the Dukes of Hazzard show when I flew off of a six feet embankment and landed in three feet of water. The car was flooded, I was flooded and all of my luggage was flooded. Moto of the story: Take care of the customer, drive safely and take care of yourself and always remember there is another flight out.