Sales Fails: "I sent an angry email before checking my spam folder"

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“My first ever sales job was about twelve years ago. I was going to become an electrician, but instead I was offered a sales job working for a local construction company that was owned by these two guys who had run it together for almost ten years. At the time, it was a good opportunity, and I’ve stayed in sales since, so it all (sort of) worked out in the end, but at the time, I had very little workplace experience in general, and less than a month after I started, the you-know-what hit the fan. 

The company mostly did high-end remodels, but they sometimes built new houses too. I took over a handful of accounts from a sales rep who left to work somewhere else, so my job involved some project management too at a very high level for jobs that hadn’t been started yet. But a few weeks after my first day, the two owners had an absolute blow-out fight in the office right in front of me. 

They were locked in the office for a few hours and I heard them raising their voices, but couldn’t make out what they were saying. Then, one of them stormed out and the other one came out behind them and they were screaming at the top of their lungs. One was saying, “After everything I’ve done for you, this is what you do?” And the other one was screaming back, “I can’t do this anymore, I’m gonna have a heart attack. I’m gonna die. Do you want me to die?” They eventually went outside and kept shouting, until one of them left and the other one came back in and was so distraught that I don’t think he even noticed me. 

It turned out that one of the two owners was abandoning the business and going to work for someone else, which was obviously really bizarre since I thought they were really successful. But I guess he couldn’t handle the stress anymore and was worried about his health. In any case, the company COMPLETELY fell apart after that. Customers who gave deposits would call in screaming that no one was getting back to them, and jobs in progress were a total disaster, and I was getting a lot of the punishment from the customers. After a few weeks, I left too, but the remaining owner didn’t even return my call when I told him I was leaving. It was pretty awful, but after dealing with that, nothing that happened to me in sales was ever as bad again. 

Anonymous             Georgia          

“Currently, I work for a big company in tech, but I put in a few years selling timeshares earlier in my career. It can be a pretty sleazy industry, and the company I worked for wasn’t exactly at the top of the charts for ethics, but I wouldn’t say that the majority of us were out to screw anybody over (at least I wasn’t). 

In my time there, I saw a ton of crazy stuff, both from the sales reps and the customers (and sometimes, the owners). The guys who owned the company each made like $50k a month, but somehow, between paying for their huge houses and their supercars, they were always on the edge of being broke. They spent it as quickly as they made it. 

The absolute craziest thing I ever saw happened when a new guy started on the sales floor. He was one of those guys who liked to show off (the watch, the designer sunglasses, etc.) but he was pretty cool and seemed laid-back, which is why what happened was so surprising to me. 

We worked on the fourth floor of a building that had floor-to-ceiling windows. The view wasn’t anything special, just a parking lot and highway, but it made our business feel more “official” since we had basically the whole floor. 

One day, about a month after the new guy had started, he was waiting on a prospect to call him back to get some paperwork signed for a deal the prospect had committed to. I sat next to him so I heard and saw everything with my own eyes. He had spent the afternoon trying to get ahold of this guy, but wasn’t getting a response. Finally, the prospect called him back, and canceled the deal. I could hear the new guy struggling to close it, but the guy had been talked out of it by his family or something like that.

So the new guy hangs up the phone. But he doesn’t just hang it up, he slams it. Then he slams it again, and again, and again, then rips the phone out and slams it on the desk. Then he picks up his chair, and throws it as hard as he can against the window. It bounced off, and he picked it up, wound up, and started slamming it against the window over and over again until cracks started forming. 

We’re all (the sales reps) just watching with our mouths open while this guy is grunting and screaming and trying to break the glass. Finally, one of the owners ran out and grabbed the chair out of the guy’s hands, but then very calmly started saying “it’s okay,” and walked him to his office and then (with another rep) walked him out of the building. He never came back. It was by far the most nutty thing I ever saw at work, and I saw some pretty nutty stuff.”   

Anonymous             Florida    

“The most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to me in sales was when I was working in the mortgage industry a while back. At the end of the month, there was always a mad scramble to close loans, and since most people scheduled their closings toward the end of the month, it was always a pretty crazy last few days. 

During one of these end of the month scrambles, I was waiting on an emailed verification of employment from one of my customer’s employers. The loan was set to close that evening, and it was the remaining outstanding condition they needed to satisfy in order to get underwriting to sign off and allow the loan to close. To make things worse, their rate lock was about to expire, so if they didn’t close, the whole deal would blow up – it was a mess.

Anyway, I was helping my processor get the verification, and I finally got the person who needed to fill it out on the phone. She was very nice and promised to email it over within an hour. It was almost the end of the day by that point, so I knew that if she didn’t send it before she left to go home for the night, we would be screwed. So I confirmed with her multiple times that she would send it over. 

So an hour goes by, and no verification in my email. So I start freaking out and calling her direct line (which she had given me earlier) over and over, but it keeps going to voicemail, and I start leaving increasingly desperate messages. Finally, I am calling over and over and over again, and no one is answering. To make matters worse, I am getting calls and emails from the closing attorneys, the customers, and my sales manager (LOL) asking about this thing that everyone is waiting on.

Finally, I lose my temper, and write a really nasty email to the woman who was supposed to send the VOE. I tell her she’s unprofessional, that she doesn’t care about her employee’s well being, and that I hoped if she were ever in this situation, that her boss would be more professional and less selfish than she was. But still, no response. By that point, I was on the verge of tears. 

Then a thought occurred to me. I went back into my email, moved the mouse over, and opened the spam folder. Lo and behold, the VOE was waiting there – it had been sent about ten minutes after she and I had spoken. The deal closed a little while later, and I sent a long, apologetic email to the lady. The next day, she responded with two words: “It’s ok” 

Anonymous             Connecticut

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