Friday, December 12, 2014

ABC 20-20 "The Sell Game": how to make a living as a huckster if you can't do anything else


ABC 20-20 tonight featured “The Sell Game”, going into the field of hucksterism, and of people who make a desperate or good living at it. 

A good salesman is a chameleon. He or she is in combat with the customer.
  
I recall the phrase “always be closing” from the comedy movie “The 100 Mile Rule” in 2002.
  
ABC investigated the practice of selling changes to home security.  One person in Chicago represented himself as from ADT when he was not.  One company told door-to-door sales reps to ignore “no solicitation signs”.  Persons who do so may be guilty personally of committing criminal trespass and might be prosecuted in some places.  People may be less willing to admit door-to-door because of fear of home invasion, which has been growing.
  
Robert Herjavec has a video for “Shark Tank” on closing a sale, link

My own attitude is that it isn't acceptable any more, for me at least, to go into people's lives to hucksterize someone else's stuff.  Of course, there is salesmanship for your own work.

It's really quite remarkable to me, upon reflection, how so much of our workplace used to depend on aggressive personal salesmamship.  I found that out last decade as my "career" (in the sense of the last movement of the Shostakovich Symphony #13) as an individual contributor in IT collapsed. and found so many interviews for jobs based on commissions and aggressive behavior (which had been OK for my father a half century ago -- but he sold to retailers, not to individual consumers).  In the Internet age, this sort of thing seems no longer appropriate.  There are more people like me who don't like to be approached (in public when walking or by telemarketers) so it is getting harder for sales people to make a living.  A new kind of cultural divide, with moral overtones, is developing.

I think that instead of just "American Hustle" (with all its legal issues now), we need "American Huckster", produced and directed by Seth Rogen (and maybe James Franco), and released by Columbia Pictures (Sony) as a summer movie. 
 
At the end of the episode, a girl from Detroit shows how to sell for charity.

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