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The Job Profile of a Direct Sales Person

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Q - What are some of your responsibilities?

A - The first time you meet with a client who is trying to buy a home, you have to "qualify" them. You need to check what their annual income is, if there is a supporting income, how long they've been on the job; it's an interview like a loan officer would conduct. I take all this information and apply the interest rate, take the down payment into consideration, and figure out what kind of monthly payments the people can afford. Now I know what type of home to show them.

I sell cable TV subscriptions. My main responsibility is making calls. I go to a house and say, "Hi, I'm Attila, with so and so, and I would like a couple of minutes of your time." If they have the door open, I'll go in. A lot of people let me in, and a lot of people would stand there and tell me they're not interested. I'm not a high-pressure type of person, so would let it go at that. People often said, "I don't like to watch TV, I like to read a book." We were taught to overcome those objections, but rarely try. I'd say, "Okay, great!" and go on to the next one.

They drilled into our heads that the only way you can be a success is to knock on 100 doors for five hours straight. After I did that for a while, I found out that that wasn't exactly true. Using your head a little bit more and being creative was what it was all about.

I'm in charge of getting new accounts, I'm in charge of customer service and sales representatives service. The sales representatives in the southern territory call in and have questions on rating or credit problems, and it's up to the inside sales department to answer questions or to find someone who can. I am involved with group life and health rating and underwriting, also with individual life rating and quoting.

Q - What are some of the things you do in an average day?

A - In an average day I would report to the office at about 9:00 and turn in any orders I have. I usually have a couple leads to call, miscellaneous paper work, I look up a few account numbers, check them through the computer base to make sure they have paid their bill before, that type of thing. I'm gone by noon. I call on a couple of homes in the afternoon before 4:00 to try and pick up a few sales, and then I work from 5:00 to 9:30, that's the best time to catch them at home. I usually knock off around 9:30, then get up the next day and do the same thing over again.

When I make the calls, I just knock on one door after another, pick a street, and go up one side and down the other. It's hard work. I get thrown off porches, called names and worse. Sometimes I think, "I have a college degree, so why am I knocking on doors?" But I was working on a fairly high commission plan, and the quota wasn't very high. So I would use the term "creative selling" rather than "door-to-door selling" to encourage myself to think up different ways to get sales. I might get two by 5:00 or 6:00, and what they ask for is three every night. If I can get two by 5:00, work until 7:00, and get one more, I can stop there rather than beat on the doors all night.

My day starts anywhere between 8:00 and 8:30. I come in and read the Wall Street Journal and go through my box to find any releases that have come in; 1 try to bring myself up to date with what is happening. Then I go to the quote machine and see about any new offerings, captions, strategies, things like that, so I'm familiar with different prod-acts we're offering or recent news I may or may not have picked up from the paper. Then I make a list of the people I intend to call today. I may call on someone who owns a certain stock that's had a negative or a favorable report. Someone else might be interested in a particular company, and for one reason or another I think this is a good opportunity to buy, so I'll call. In between my calls there are people who are calling me as well. I always allocate a certain time each day for calling prospective clients. I usually break about 4:00 or 5:00. At least three nights a week I come back and work from 7:00 to 9:00, because that's probably the best time to make a cold call. Saturdays I usually work somewhere between 10:00 and 1:00.

Every morning I check in with the office to see if I've had any messages, usually between 9:00 and 9:30. A lot of people don't want to call you at home. So I might make a few appointments to meet with clients. There is a certain office protocol that determines the way you list a property, the paper work that needs to be turned in, and all the administrative work. We have a meeting every Wednesday morning to talk about current interest rates, who are offering what, new listings, anything that is pertinent to what has gone on the previous week in real estate. After the meeting we go out and tour all our new listings. I am responsible to visit all the homes in the immediate area that have been listed within the past week. This way I have a first-hand picture of what they are like.

Q - What are some positive aspects of the job?

A - My compensation is a result of my own effort. If I want a raise, all I have to do is to work harder. I enjoy being responsible for myself and being directly responsible for my own pay. I enjoy being my own boss and not having to be measured based on the performance of a large group, where things are outside my control.

I like the money; it's good money. I also like the people. Everyone I work with is young, I'd say the average age is twenty-one to twenty-seven. Everyone is pretty much on the same wave length.

I like being my own boss. If I have a good day on Monday, I may not work the next day. I'll go into my office, do all the paper work, and then come home, put the shorts on, and get a drink.
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