My new found career should have been a great advancement for me and I was indeed happy to be promoted but there were many times I wished I could go back to what I loved doing best and that was being a pest control tech. This is a continuation of an earlier article and you’ll want to catch the rest of this story so I’ve linked to it here.
My background in the commercial tech route was definitely my greatest asset but my sales ability was sorely lacking. Sure my 4 day crash course was a real boost and on my 1st day as commercial rep. I landed a nice $1200.00 sale but the following weeks and months were not so easy. It was the dead of winter in Baltimore so leads weren’t coming in as much for anybody but commercial leads were almost non existent. My new world was cold calling and phone tag and I detest both of those activities.
Inside the office was a bit strange too as I didn’t feel like one of the guys anymore. My sales weren’t to be measured now like anyone else’s because they would by nature be slower in coming but supposedly when they hit they would be big. At least that’s the way it was explained to my manager when he was told not to hold me to the same monthly draw standards as everyone else. I know he resented that and I can’t blame him when I look back on it now. He also wanted to grow on this corporate tree and having a ball and chain like me skew his numbers wasn’t in his plan. Indeed my numbers were all over the place as one month I’d hit an $8000.00 account but only end up with 10 or 12k for the month but most months were less and there might be a span of a week or so that I wouldn’t get anything at all. For a numbers driven company I know this had to drive him crazy and my once good relationship with my manager was now sorely tested.
By late spring I was sort of getting the hang of things and building up a pretty good contact list. I had sold a number of larger accounts but my bread and butter were the smaller jobs like mom and pop restaurants. These have always been the people I could best relate to and always felt I was helping the most. These sales were only 6 or 7 hundred at a clip and not at all what the program was designed for. Although my manager could grin and bear the low numbers the big kahuna who chose me for the position wasn’t happy at all. He paid me a visit and sat me down in the office to see how I was doing and find out why I wasn’t targeting the big sales. I explained that I liked to eat and 0% commission wasn’t putting food on the table. (I’m sure I didn’t quite put it that way) At that point I thought he might send me back to residential sales or even a tech. Instead he announced a plan that I’m sure sent my branch manager over the edge. While Baltimore is a huge city I still was restricted to our branch boundaries, now however the plan was that I would have the entire area as my sales play ground and nothing was off limits. For me this was great but the added tid bit of any sales in the other branch areas would count for that branches numbers and not my home office was a point my manager argued vehemently against. On top of that, my check would still come from this now estranged office so while I was given some freedom and new life, my boss was kind of getting a raw deal.
What ever modicum good relations I had with my manager was now gone and the good ol boys that I once so freely laughed and joked with was now more of a courteous “hey hows it going” in passing. The atmosphere was definitely not conducive for me to sell much of anything so I took the opportunity of my new found freedom to explore my new territory. I rarely showed up at my old office after that and found my self across town everyday in a place where the guys and the manager were happy to see me. The man who originally got me into pest control with his promise of an $11.00 an hour job was there and by now he was one of the hottest salesman in the region. He helped me out quite a bit and renewed some confidence and for awhile I felt like I was becoming just ‘one of the guys’ in my new home. My sales went up too and I bagged some nice accounts, big jobs, even a meat packing plant 10 times the size of the one I use to service as a tech. These accounts however weren’t in my original territory so I’m sure this fueled a fire on the other side of the city. It was starting to look up for me but what I couldn’t see was the walls were crumbling piece by piece and my time was growing short.