09 Feb Timeshare Sales Job Interview with a Greasy Wizard of Oz
“You look like shit”
These were the words the manager pointedly chose as he eyed me up and down. He wore a bright purple shirt with slicked-back gelled hair. The sales floor stretched from window to window, filled with slick dick timeshare salesmen sitting down at cafeteria-style circular tables with worn-down, middle-aged, middle-class couples that were dressed in tacky vacation wear. It would have made for a good Sunday morning cartoon. A mega douche-clubber type sitting next to two people who wanted to get into the cool club. Not knowing that his club was merely a mirage. The slickster – a snake wearing a collared shirt – sat with his back to the windows, forcing the couples’ eyes to always be focused looking out onto Eden. Maybe the couple knew. Many know. But once you are on the Titanic it is hard to say you want to get off the ship. It is beautiful and luxurious and hits the internal want button. The snakes know that they have a captive audience. They know the objections before you can even think them. It is what they do everyday.
Me: “Tell me what you really think”
Snake: “You see those guys over there [eyes roll to sales guys in corner]. Those are my guys. They look sharp. They look like they are ready to sell. They wake up ready to make shit happen. You don’t look like that.”
Me: “You mean those guys over there…in the shirts that were cool like 4 years ago?”
Snake: (Half bemused-smile) “Look this isn’t for everybody. This resort. This is the Superbowl. This is the Big Show. We sell blah blah a year [his intensity increases]. We hiss hiss blah blah hiss everyday . You know what we closed last month? Hiss hiss hiss. I’ve closed more deals in this town than anyone.”
It is funny to think what it must be like to be professional sales dick…there is no off switch. He was even selling me there. Selling me on his facility. Selling me on his team. Selling me on his lifestyle. Making them sound exclusive. Offering me the opportunity to pull away while retaining his elite status and making me want to grab the carrot.
Me: “What kind of conversions are you getting here? How many turns are you going through daily? Do you pre-qualify your sales leads?
Snake: “Hiss bs Hiss. As long as they are breathing holding a credit card we will take them.”
I have been on a few sales job interviews before, so I knew that it was more about asking the right questions than knowing anything about the product. Saying less can get you out of trouble before you walk into it. Trying to act knowledgeable about something you know nothing about is a losing game. These guys can smell bullshit. They are pros. They didn’t care about the product. They didn’t care about the person in front of them. They wouldn’t care about a dying person in front of them unless the person had a Visa card in hand. They care about the close and getting your signature on the dotted line.
Snake: “I don’t care about the Resort facilities. Don’t talk about that. You aren’t selling that. It is about finding their pain and pleasure points and exploiting them. Lifestyle sells. You got any sales experience?”
Me: “I have done some online ad space sales and some real estate stuff.”
Snake: “Um. (Brow furrows)…You real estate guys sometimes have a problem in this industry. You want to build customer relationships. You think long-term[rolls eyes].”
Translation: (He means being accountable and relying on a good reputation).
Snake: “My best new guy came from Canada off a car lot. Guy sells the shit out of this place. Turns blah blah hiss hiss. He knows how to force the close. He makes the fuckers sign.”
I decided to take a gamble.
Me: “Kind of like the difference between dating a girl and trying to pull a one night stand?”
Snake: “(Big smile) Exactly.”
Sales Dick Axiom Numero Uno- Know your audience, and play to them.
Me: “Well I have been here for about two weeks, and I am hunger to make some money. And I hear Timeshare sales is where the big dogs play. And I want to go where the money is.”
I find it to be an interesting anomaly in life when you interview at many sales jobs, where the greedier with less ethics and morals you can make yourself sound, the better you come off. Forget what your family or society has taught you. This is a sales jungle. Where only the sleaziest with the least scruples survives.
Snake: “Good. (Slight grin with look of satisfaction from “closing” a sale). I will warn you though. This is the army. I run a tight ship. No beard or facial hair and you have to wear a nice shirt. Not that piece of shit you have on.”
I thought I had dressed up.
Me: “Shouldn’t be a problem (ha yea right). What do your starting guys usually make?”
Snake: “Well it all depends on you. If you sink, you are gone. I like to get rid of half the ship each year. But lets says 4-6K a month, 7-8k if you are good.”
I wanted to test him.
Me: “Oh? Is that all?”
Snake: “(shifts in seat, stern-pokerface) Well that is just some of the guys. The top guys and managers like myself make a lot more.”
Snake: “You got a girl here?”
I do not in fact have a love bunnie. But what I’ve learned over the years is that it is always good to show that you have some kind of anchor, tie, or monolithic burden keeping you running on the mill to make that hay. It is always a wise bet to convince them that you will make a good
slave , indentured servant employee with long-term potential.
Me: “So you got a business card?”
Snake: “Nah. I don’t do business cards.”
You know what businessmen also don’t do business cards? Con men.
Snake: “Look…you seem like a smart guy. Come back with a clean cut, looking as sharp as my boys, and we can probably get you to work.”
Psychological posturing at its finest. Leading me to want to be perceived as smart, so I will acquiesce to his requests and come back looking as he wishes.
In a normal situation, I would be turned off by such brazen arrogance that the manager displayed. But on another level, I had compartmentalized the experience and found his slick dick diatribe to be both enduring and charmingly cliché of a snake-oil salesman. So what do I do now? Should I abandon all my values and join this sinking rat ship, for the sake of the all mighty Peso? How could I possibly shave my precious man-beard, which I have spent months manicuring to give me that perfect, disheveled, “I don’t give a shit” rebel look yet secretly care that people think I am bad boy, non-conformist? How could I even look myself in the mirror, knowing I would be in league with such swindlers and thieves?
Tequila. Lots of tequila. I start Monday.