I'm not interested! [Door-to-Door Sales Job]

finnithfinnith TorontoRegistered User regular
edited May 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
Hey H/A, in my short time here you guys seem to be really good about giving advice so I thought I'd ask you about a problem I'm having.

The first thing you should know is that I'm a first-year university student (second-year in September), and I have only had short durations in other low-paying jobs (>$10/hr) before so I go broke after whatever money I got from my birthday (usually in the $400 range) runs out.

Based on this, I decided to take this job at this firm going door-to-door selling water heaters. Now, this is the first time I've had such a job and it being only my second day on the 29th, I've only made one sale. This is for six hours walking around being somewhat nervous about getting people into a contract when I get inside their house so I'm hoping that I make more money tomorrow and in later days. Commission for the job is $100/sale + bonuses depending on weekly sales so its fairly profitable.

Regardless, I'm having trouble figuring out whether or not I should keep the job. So far, the problem is that the other jobs I've been offered have been non-paying, though I think I can probably find a paying job still. My parents have objected to door-to-door sales, because I attend what is considered a good business program in Ontario (Schulich) and they think that this type of job is under me. They also don't like me going down into strangers' basements (I guess it's possible, but less likely since I'm a guy, and I don't think the people are that bad). I'm unsure whether or not a door-to-door sales job is a good one given that on my first full day of work (29th), I encountered a man wearing only underwear and a dog that started biting me. I've also been offered a political intern position at the Green Party of Ontario (kinda crappy) and an Administrative Assistant position at a smaller company Gram Precision Scales (they don't even have a finished website last time I checked). They're both unpaid too and might be filled by now (they called me 7-10 days go).

The thing is that I think that talking to strangers can improve me speaking skills, which aren't as good as they can be (I stutter too much, I think) and give me a confidence boost when I'm in presentations, which are commonplace in the office and in university.

I was just wondering how long I should keep this job, and if I should try and contact back the other parties that gave me offers. I'm going to restart my job search for sure though. I'd also like to know everyone else's experiences with door-to-door sales.

This post has got a bit long so I'll give a rundown of the points.

Question: I'm wondering whether I should keep a door-to-door sales job.

Pros:
-$100/sale + bonuses which is good since I need money for uni
-Improves my somewhat poor speaking skills
-Even if I don't get much I don't really need too much since I study from home and commute to university (my tuition is paid by scholarships, bursaries, OSAP and my parents)
-I've already made my first sale

Cons
-Pay is not assured so I may not be earning too much depending on my luck
-People aren't nice and most others I've talked to have described bad experiences in door-to-door sales
-I've checked with my university's career site and they have a lot of jobs listed. I might be able to fin a better job. There is however, no guarantee that I would find another job

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Posts

  • HyperAquaBlastHyperAquaBlast Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Wow I'm surprised this kind of profession still exists.

    For needing a job and this is working then I'd say stay with it till you know you can get something else.

    As for the job you do just know that no one likes you. Not you personally just you the salesman. You know spam email and junk snail mail? Well you can ignore it and throw it away but you actually exist and are knocking on my door bothering me to buy a water heater of all things.

    HyperAquaBlast on
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  • DhalphirDhalphir don't you open that trapdoor you're a fool if you dareRegistered User regular
    edited April 2010
    As long as you have a thick skin and can deal with either suppressed or overt hostility when you knock on someone's door, I say go for it.

    Dhalphir on
  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Quit and get a job through the university. That shit is demeaning. Does where you go not offer work study? I just got all my FAFSA award information for Fall 2010-2011, and they offered me $1,000 a term PLUS whatever I would make at the job I was placed at. I already have a job, but it's just a thought.

    Esh on
  • DarksierDarksier Registered User
    edited April 2010
    You should also think about how the job will look on a resume later down the road. An internship at some office may not pay as much, but can provide experience and contacts that will help you far better in the long run. It's nice to get out of college with entry level experience in whatever career path you are choosing.

    Darksier on
  • cabsycabsy the fattest rainbow unicorn Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    If you just want something to put on your resume, I'd ditch it. I did door to door work for Kirby vacuums for three months, and it isn't an experience I would have passed up, but there are things you need to know about door to door work.

    You aren't going to make any money at it unless you're phenomenal at it; it's a lot of walking and hard work (mental moreso than physical, usually) but it is a very good learning experience. It will also teach you not to be afraid of pretty much anything, because after some guy taps you on the forehead and threatens to shoot you, someone qqing about how mean you are because you won't accept form x because they didn't fill it out properly will not phase you at all.

    It will improve your ability to talk to people, and especially to bullshit with people, so if you're not looking for a solid income to pay bills I'd keep it for a month or two while looking for another job. You'll also get better at reading people quickly, it's less of a concern for you since you're a guy but as a woman doing door to door sales I got really good really fast at knowing when people were ok and when I needed to smile politely and get the fuck out.

    cabsy on
  • JubehJubeh Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    As a salesman I can tell you that it never gets better. People don't get nicer and everyone assumes you are satan incarnate so maybe take the advice of the few guys above. There is a chance that you may become exceptional at it without having to resort to lying or dirty business practices, but the stress it will put on you will just become greater when you realize you could have made the sale if you had just bent the truth a little. It'll mess you up man. Just my two cents.

    Jubeh on
  • RobmanRobman Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Just get a job stocking shelves at a supermarket or some shit like that. You'll make much more money and won't be nearly as miserable.

    Robman on
  • finnithfinnith TorontoRegistered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I guess I'll just keep it till I can confirm I can get another job. I don't really care about people closing the door on me or getting angry but then again I haven't had anyone truly angry. One sale a day even for this week and next is pretty good.

    I will however try to avoid stocking shelves at supermarkets. I already had one three years ago and I even hated my first day there more than my first day here. Mostly because the pay was just around minimum wage.

    finnith on
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  • cabsycabsy the fattest rainbow unicorn Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I had mostly good or ambivalent experiences, real dicks are few and far between, in three months of working there I can only come with a few times out of all the people I talked to where I was actually afraid of physical violence. Just don't plan on it being a long term thing unless you hate yourself or are truly fantastic at bullshitting people.

    cabsy on
  • SideAffectsSideAffects Registered User
    edited April 2010
    I've never done sales myself, but my father was a salesman, and I personally love salesmen. I don't know...I just love a good pitch. When I see door-to-door kids selling magazines for schools, I love giving them a chance to sell to me.

    My dad always said, "Once you let them in your home, you're already buying". I guess that isn't necessarily true in your case, but one day it could be.

    Selling stuff isn't "demeaning". Everyone works to sell *something*, whether it's goods or a service. I work in a lab and my job is basically just support for a production team trying to shove a drug out the door. The people that didn't buy anything from you are going to forget you in two days, and the ones that do buy something from you will probably tell a few of their neighbors about how nice you were and how much better their new water heater is.

    There is a lot of money in sales, and plenty of different things to sell. Get the practice and then maybe one day you can get a sales job for something you are more proud of...perhaps you'll be a pharmaceutical sales rep showing doctors a new drug that can help millions of people! Maybe you will take the public speaking skills you learn here and turn it into an advantaged skill at a completely different job. I say stick with it.

    SideAffects on
  • Romantic UndeadRomantic Undead Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I just want to make a quick note here about the job itself.

    You mentioned selling water heaters in Ontario. I would like to point out that there have been a run of scams in Ontario lately of water heater sellers falsely posing as legitimate energy companies like Enbridge to con people into paying for a water heater that 1) they do not need, as their current heater is fine and 2) sucks them into a ridiculously expensive contract.

    Now, I'm not attacking you, I'm simply asking: Does this company encourage you to do anything shady, like claim you're an Enbridge employee or something when you actually work for Direct Energy or some other company? Please be aware that if you're being told to engage in deceptive practices, such as lie about who you work for, hat's fraud, and you could be held liable for that.

    Just please be honest with yourself here and ask if this job is really on the up and up.

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  • witch_iewitch_ie Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    It's difficult finding the best job at any time, but especially in college when you have limited hours you can work. I have tried sales in the past and hated it both times. The first time, I stuck with it for a few months and the second time I quit after the first day. Guess what though - I know, based on those experiences, that I hate sales and probably don't want to pursue a career in it. That's what these kinds of jobs are good for - learning what you like and don't like.

    I'd say that if you're enjoying it, stick with it, but maybe keep your eye out for something that looks prettier on a resume. Now, if you do really well at this, having sales experience can be invaluable in getting higher tiered sales positions or even working in a marketing setting where you interact with the sales team. Also, if you're lucky and sell a ton of water heaters, that would be a great accomplishment to put on a resume. It shows that you're hard working and that people want to buy from you - essentially great influence and charisma (or targeting the right communities).

    witch_ie on
  • finnithfinnith TorontoRegistered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I just want to make a quick note here about the job itself.

    You mentioned selling water heaters in Ontario. I would like to point out that there have been a run of scams in Ontario lately of water heater sellers falsely posing as legitimate energy companies like Enbridge to con people into paying for a water heater that 1) they do not need, as their current heater is fine and 2) sucks them into a ridiculously expensive contract.

    Now, I'm not attacking you, I'm simply asking: Does this company encourage you to do anything shady, like claim you're an Enbridge employee or something when you actually work for Direct Energy or some other company? Please be aware that if you're being told to engage in deceptive practices, such as lie about who you work for, hat's fraud, and you could be held liable for that.

    Just please be honest with yourself here and ask if this job is really on the up and up.

    Heh. They actually tell us to do our best to do the opposite, because people are really stupid about this. When we get into the house and are getting a sale done, we have to confirm multiple (stress on multiple) times that we are from x company and not from Enbridge. I represent a division of a pretty big company that's listed on the TSE, so I would guess that they wouldn't want any bad press. Even then, since my colleagues and I are independent agents and not really part of the company.

    I've shadowed two good salespeople, and have had similar experiences. People just don't seem to figure out, regardless of how many times you have told them, that you are not from their gas company. We go as far as showing them their gas bill (or an example one) showing the part of the bill where they receive charges from other companies (the water heater rental companies) but they still don't seem to acknowledge this fact for some reason. It's not until we call customer service to book the install and they talk to them that they finally realize it. As if talking on the telephone is the only way they listen to anything else in their environment. People are pretty stupid I've found, though its somewhat justified here because Enbridge did own the water heaters, they just sold them off after they figured out that it was going to be an open market.

    finnith on
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  • eternalbleternalbl Registered User
    edited May 2010
    My friend did something similar to this for a year when he was probably about your age. His job, though, was demoing vacuums in home for people. He travelled out of town as much as a 12 hour drive out.

    When he came back, you could really tell that he'd learnt alot. Some people were really rude to him, some people were really nice. As he got better he started making pretty good cash, something like the equivalent to 15-20 bucks an hour.

    While it might not look so great on a resume, the skills he's developed because of it have enabled him to return to college, get his masters in Mathematics, start a company with his brother and just doing side work he can make 1-2k a month easily.

    He always was a hard working guy, but I know that sales job is one of the things he credits for who he is today, partially because it sucked and partially because he had to learn a lot in order to get good at it.

    eternalbl on
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  • oldsakoldsak Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    finnith wrote: »
    The thing is that I think that talking to strangers can improve me speaking skills, which aren't as good as they can be (I stutter too much, I think) and give me a confidence boost when I'm in presentations, which are commonplace in the office and in university.

    Effective communication skills and the ability to sell are incredibly important in business.

    Door-to-door sales are tough, but the skills you have the opportunity to develop are useful in almost any job.

    As it's only your first summer, it's probably not essential that you have a "resume builder." Besides, most high profile jobs will have probably filled their summer internship positions months ago. Also, while door-to-door sales may not be as glamorous as some other jobs, the proven ability to do cold sales is definitely a plus.

    oldsak on
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