Tag Archives: Business Lessons

Doug’s Dubious Debut in Sales

I’ve been in sales of some sort for a long time.  Almost 25 years actually.  I took a long and winding road to get to Frameable Faces Photography where I’ve spent the last seven years with Ally and this is by far the most fun “job” I’ve ever had.  It doesn’t feel like work at all most of the time.  For years working in a corporate environment I always dreamed of the day when my clients would actually come to me and be happy to do business with me.  No cold calling, no massive RFPs, no representing a shabby product that I barely believed in, no politics and stupid bosses who couldn’t even keep their time zones straight or were having affairs with the incompetent staff responsible for supporting my accounts (true story), no territory issues…. the list goes on and on.

Dubious Debut

Okay Doug – calm down – it’s over.  That was way in the past.  You’re good now.

The fact is as much as I hated that environment for many years I was able to navigate it and I was pretty “successful” for a long time.  I sat in “high level” meetings with CEOs of Fortune 50 companies, and “low level” meetings with cashiers at dry cleaner shops, and everything in between.  I closed big deals, trained, hired, and fired people.  Yeah – I was a real “big deal”.  Yuck.  When I joined Ally I took the good I learned, left behind the bad I wanted no part of, and I’ve used it all to build a community here at our studio.  It’s our own and I love it.  I love marketing our business.  I love social media.  I LOVE live streaming on Periscope.  Fulfilled and alive, I feel like a “big deal” again – for the right reasons.

Dubious Debut

But it didn’t start that way.  No one steps into the business world fully polished and accomplished the very first time.

Dubious Debut

Dubious Debut

My first sales job was over the summer in Ann Arbor while I was still in college at The University of Michigan selling latex medical gloves to medical practices.  My dad spent decades in sales so he got me all set up – took me to TJ Maxx (!) and bought me a couple of short sleeve dress shirts and a couple ties, got me some business cards printed up, gave me a few sales tips and turned me loose.  I meticulously made up three boxes of samples for small, medium, and large gloves with each glove in a baggie with a color coded sticker on each bag.  My first stop (and first sales call ever) was at a Veterinarian’s office near the corner of Packard and Platt.  They were pleasant and I left them a couple samples and was told I could call to follow up.  I left and went to my next stop feeling proud of myself.  When I got to the next stop I noticed I didn’t have any of my samples.  Annoyed I turned around and went back to the vet’s office to grab them.  They claimed they hadn’t seen them.  I knew that was impossible since it was my only stop and I was convinced they kept them for themselves (I was still young).  Man was I mad.  I pulled away steaming and trying to figure out what to do about it when I pulled up to the intersection.

Keep in mind that back in those days the car I was driving (a brown Pontiac Phoenix inherited from my Grandpa Louie may he rest in peace) had this thing under the door handle called a key hole that you actually had to put your car key into and turn to unlock your car.  So it became clear that with my briefcase in one hand and the samples in the other I obviously put the samples on top of the car as I fished around for my keys when I initially left the vet’s office.  I found this out because when I pulled up to the intersection of Packard and Platt it was completely covered with latex gloves……

A dubious debut indeed.  Everyone has to start somewhere.

Frameable Faces Photography
Frameable Faces Photography is a small biz retail mom & pop shop of Doug&Ally Cohen located in the Orchard Mall in West Bloomfield, Michigan, United States Of America!
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