| In an attempt to save $100/pp on a return airfare and after swearing never again to travel WestJet, I recently booked a return flight on WestJet. I have always been a loyal Air Canada traveler and as a frequent flyer on this airline, I have only ever experienced one major travel issue out of hundreds of bookings. Previously, I had only ever flown WestJet once and only because an employer booked the itinerary. I was annoyed with the over-the-top fake friendliness of the flight attendants. When I am travelling for business or for pleasure, I simply want to get from point A to B in the most efficient and comfortable way possible. I don’t need entertainment from flight attendants. |
OK all that aside, let’s get to my current booking. I had initially booked a direct flight to my destination via WestJet. I was informed a few weeks later that it had been cancelled and I had to rebook my flight. Understandably due to the issues with the Boeing MAX 8 aircrafts there have been many cancellations and therefore rescheduling of flights. When I contacted WestJet and inquired about the reason for the change they refused to comment. Unfortunately, having selected the base fare, I had no choice but to select an alternate itinerary, the shortest of which added a few hours to the itinerary and cost me a day in my destination. I understand safety is paramount so without issue I contacted WestJet to select this alternate itinerary. This is when the nightmare saga began.
Call #1 to WestJet: Switched my flight to a now Delta operated flight. Instead of a direct flight which I had booked and is no longer available, the closest comparable flight departs 2 hours later, has only a 47 min stopover time and arrives 4.5h after our original arrival time. Concerned about the lack of time between arrival and departure between connecting flights, the WestJet agent assures me that is sufficient time although in the same breath she stated that “she is unfamiliar with XXX airport and their transfer times” . After reviewing flights with the agent online and checking the flight time arrival status statistics on filghtaware (alternatives were a 10-24h travel day vs. the original 4.5h travel time), I agreed to chance the flight with the short layover. She issued me new tickets.
Call #2 to Delta: Because of the short connection time, I called Delta to pre-book seats at the front of the aircraft to ensure we can deboard earlier than other passengers so we have sufficient time to catch our connecting flight. Delta emails me tickets with seat numbers.
FUCK UP #1: Upon review of the tickets, I noticed my name was listed as JACLYNCMS GOLDMAN when it should have been MS JACLYN C GOLDMAN (or another acceptable configuration of my prefix, name, middle initial and surname). When travelling internationally, if the name displayed on your ticket does not match your government issued-ID, you may not be allowed to fly OR you may need to spend hours in line waiting for an agent to make the correction. Since we only had 47 minutes scheduled to connect and surely wouldn’t have time to make this correction at the gate at our transferring location, I knew I had to contact Delta.
Call #3 to Delta: Called Delta to explain that our names were not being displayed correctly on the Delta App or online and I wanted to confirm our names were correct in their system so that we would have no issue at check-in. Delta agent explained that the names on the tickets do not match our names and we would not be permitted to board and that I must contact WestJet to correct the ticket.
Call #4 to WestJet: Spoke to another “friendly” agent. She assured that she corrected our names and asked me to verify our birthdates. I asked her for an ID number or name and she declined. She said that she would email me a new ticket but never did.
FUCKUP #2: When confirming the passenger names on the tickets, the WestJet agent indicated that SOMEHOW, WestJet mixed up my birthdate with my accompanying passenger’s birthdate! The agent informed me that she fixed this but could not confirm and informed me that I had to call Delta to confirm that all the details were correct in their system.
Call #5 to Delta: Spoke to an agent. The first name and last names were corrected. Birthdates were corrected. However our middle names were deleted. Also, even though my passenger’s ticket was fine (Open), mine apparently was not.
FUCKUP #3: WestJet listed my ticket as “exchanged” and not updated in the system. This means that my ticket was invalid. So, I had to call them back.
Call #6 to WestJet: I explained to yet another ‘friendly’ agent what happened. She informed me that she would get on a line with WestJet-Delta so that I would not have to call back and forth again. She returned on the call and emailed me a new ticket to inform me that all was resolved.
FUCKUP #4: I received the new WestJet ticket but the e-ticket number is not updated in Delta’s system.
Call #7 to Delta: I explain that WestJet apparently made the correction but I cannot see it in Delta’s app or online. Delta informs me that they never received the updated ticket from Westjet. Delta calls WestJet and obtains the correct e-ticket number and resolves the problem.
END OF STORY: This entire endeavor cost me 3 billable hours which was far beyond the cost savings I originally intended on keeping and which I could have spent elsewhere. Yes, all of the WestJet agents are very friendly but ALL of the agents I have dealt with are COMPLETELY INCOMPETENT. Being a loyal Air Canada flyer taking a chance on a cheaper flight, I’ve learned that you get what you pay for. Even if Air Canada’s service may not be the friendliest, it is by far the most efficient. I won’t chance a risk at saving a few bucks to take WestJet ever again. Sure, they’re friendly, but they’re also seriously incompetent. Delta on the other hand, even though they code-share with WestJet, their service has always been amazing. If I couldn’t get a similar flight with Air Canada, I would book with Delta directly in lieu of dealing with WestJet.
Hopefully our flights pan out. Will post an update.
Travel safe my friends.
In this day and age we are all being rated on various social media platforms. We’d like to think that those platforms allow honesty and transparency, however I recently learned that is not the case with Airbnb.
I’ve stayed at quite a few great Airbnb’s but one that I stayed at recently, I was very concerned for my safety and felt the need to incorporate that in my review as a warning for solo (especially females travelling solo) and to my surprise, my post was removed. The host recently contacted me with a message stating ” Your review has now been removed as it was found to be incorrect and violated all air bnb standards.”
I was completely shocked when I read this because when I composed the review, I was very careful as to not write anything bad about the host as I had no issues with them. I simply stated exactly the situation and well, low and behold it was removed. Below is my post which was removed:
” Brian and Emma were great at communicating instructions. Place was disappointing 95% because of the location. I chose the location because of the proximity to the ICC but the area is sketch! Balcony backs onto walkway which is full of degenerates who are loud and it echoes. Didn’t feel safe walking through there. Got called at, harassed and followed on the way back to my flat. Inside the main foyer there are postings about recent break-in attempts in the building. The door to the balcony does not lock. One night the place wreaked of pot. Likely because of one of the neighbors. The flat inside was clean but bathroom sink clogs and overflows within seconds, only garbage can busted and oh there is a window to the bathroom right off the main walkway so even thought frosted anyone walking by can see you in there! So not private! Decided to shower in the dark. Not comfortable! Internet spotty…had to reboot the router on several occasions. Would definitely not recommend to any solo traveller (especially female). If more than one person, fantastic place to stay because it is within walking distance to everything. But as a solo female, I just didn’t feel safe at all and would get a hotel next time. Seems like this may be typical for any Airbnbs in the area.”
Now does this honest review violate Airbnb’s standards? I surely don’t think so but you can check them out here: https://www.airbnb.ca/trust/standards?locale=en
In the past, ok well still present, I ‘ve had an Airbnb host bombard me with inappropriate text messages but I never wrote a bad review because I figure he is drunk and it doesn’t really matter. But in this instance, I felt that this particular flat I rented in Birmingham UK was simply not safe for female solo travellers like myself and I do not think it is just to be censored.
So next time you’re booking an Airbnb, take those reviews with a grain of salt!
We are having a contest throughout the month of August. If you are on the road in sales and/or a road warrior, we want to hear your stories.
Whether it’s a story about some of the crazy things that happened to you while on the road or sales calls gone terribly wrong, share your story with us for a chance to be featured on TheTravellingSaleswoman.com blog and an opportunity to be featured in my new book, “Road Block: Tales and Adventures from Road Warriors”
To enter, simply submit your story to email@example.com by August 31st, 2018.
If you prefer to remain anonymous, please indicate this in your submission. Alternatively, you may wish to include your LinkedIn profile and other social media links if you would like to have your post shared publicly.
Looking forward to hearing your stories!
Follow this simple template to write emails that actually get opened, read and replied to!
A study conducted by the Radicati Group in 2015, illustrated that the average business user sends and receives an average of 122 emails per day, a number that is expected to increase to 126 messages by the end of 2019. As no surprise, the average email only has a 20% open rate and a shockingly low response rate of only 6%. This means that for every 100 emails you send, only 20% (20 emails) are being opened and of those 20 emails, only 6% (1 email) are being replied to. That works out to 1 email reply for every 100 emails sent, so essentially a response rate of 1.2%.
So how do you compose an email that will fall into that 1.2% category? The answer is quite simple. Keep it short and to the point. Follow this simple template.
For example: “Referral by [INSERT NAME HERE] Re: [INSERT OPPORTUNITY HERE]”
- Who are you?
- How did you get this email address?
- What do you want?
For Example: “Dear [ADDRESSEE], My name is [INSERT NAME HERE] and a mutual acquaintance of ours gave me your contact information. [INSERT REFERRAL NAME HERE] recommended I contact you regarding [INSERT OPPORTUNITY HERE].”
In 1-2 sentences (3 maximum), outline the purpose of your email. This can be a brief description of the business opportunity you wish to discuss. Do NOT be tempted to get into your sales pitch here! Simply address the following:
- What do you want to talk about?
- Why should they talk to you?
- Call to action (i.e. request a meeting)
- How you can best be reached
I have found this approach to be successful over 90% of the time regardless of whom I am contacting (CEO’s, lower-level management, clients etc.). So, whether you are struggling with a low reply rate or you simply want to improve your existing reply rate, try this formula and I’m certain that you will see results. If you require more assistance, please feel free to contact me for personalized sales coaching services.
Happy Sales my friends!
A day on the road without technology gave me the answer.
For the past 24 hours, I did not have text, email or internet access on my phone. My BlackBerry (yes, I know, it’s ancient!) did a recent software update which eliminated all of the “smart” out of my smartphone and left me with the sole capability of making and receiving phone calls. I couldn’t even see my call log, so if I missed a call and they didn’t leave a voicemail, I would have no clue anyone called me.
Normally while I’m on the road, I text and email clients and use the mobile hotspot on my account to access and input data from my CRM. Today however was a very different story. Even 13 years ago when I first started out in sales, I recall driving around “trolling for wifi” as I called it in order to check my emails and had offline access to my CRM which apparently doesn’t exist these days. I would text my clients and coworkers throughout the day. Typically, I never could gain enough email access to accomplish my work tasks during the day and would have to attend to all of my emails before and after I hit the road and would average 15 hour days.
Today, I went back 20 years in time. Initially, I thought that I would go and get a new phone ASAP before embarking on my calls, but instead I decided to take on the day as a sort of “experiment” and see how I could manage.
I committed to doing all of my calls and had an amazing experience!
This is what happened:
- I realized that I reach to check my phone almost every 2-5 minutes.
2. I conducted a personal record number of cold calls (in person).
Without any means to access background info (aside from what I printed out the night before in advance to prep for the day), or input data into my CRM, or dick around on the internet, I was completely unhinged. My only task at hand was to call on as many clinics as possible in my target area to invite them to a corporate event and/or book an official meeting with them and I achieved it. I called on 31 clinics in 8 hours. Mind you I really didn’t take any breaks at all and I meticulously planned out my route in advance with the help of old fashioned maps.
3. I was living in real life and interacting 100% with real human beings
I spent more time interacting with human beings face-to-face than I have in a really long time (aside from tradeshows that is).
4. My clients were concerned about me.
I received calls from my clients who were concerned that I didn’t answer their emails and text messages and decided to call me to see if I was OK. I thought that was really sweet but I also look at that and note that I must be so neurotic and obsessive about responding to emails and texts that if I don’t within a matter of minutes or hours, that is a concern. I have always been focused on providing the best possible customer service that I can, but this set me back a little and made me think that perhaps I am being a little too overzealous in my approach. Do I need to chill out a little or do I need to keep up my game in order to remain competitive?
So what were my stats?
At the end of the day, I got valuable face-to-face time with 31 clients with a maximum of 1 hour “homework” to log those calls. Surely I didn’t get to spend all the time in the world with each of those clients, but look at these stats:
3/31- Turned into a timely lead. The clients were looking for a solution that I provided right at the time I walked in.
5/31- Reserved a space to a dinner meeting I invited them to (one of the purposes of my visit).
20/31- Booked a follow-up face-to-face meeting to discuss my products in more depth.
4/31-Got to see the decision maker and do a regular sales call.
If I would have spread out all of these meetings to log my calls in a “timely” manner (immediately after) versus logging them later, I’m certain I would have run out of time given that regular business hours are between 8-6pm. On the other hand, if I would have done these calls by phone, I most certainly wouldn’t have had the same level of penetration that I did in person. Meeting and talking to people face-to-face is far more impressionable than a strange voice over the phone.
So, back to my initial question: Technology has always been key to being functional as a sales rep on the road, much like it is to pretty much any other profession, but is it making us more or less effective?
Not necessarily. In the old days when we would have to do our homework pre and post calls, it lengthened our days. Now we can do emails, texts and calls while en route. It all depends on the individual and how prone one is to distraction. If you commit do only doing work during business hours and restricting social contact to outside of business hours, then yes, you will be more effective. If not, then you will be working (and socializing and killing time on the internet) from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to sleep and in that case, you are not more effective.
If you are in outside sales, would love to hear your thoughts and feedback.
When a friend asked me this question, it changed my life. I had never truly thought about it before. After carefully calculating my budget and analyzing my monthly earnings and spending, I felt so much more in control of my life.
Let’s face it, life is tough and is always throwing us punches. No matter how stable and secure we may think we are, at any given moment everything can change at the drop of a hat.
Whether it’s an emergency home repair, health issue or job loss, everyone should have some sort of emergency savings to cover these unanticipated costly events.
In sales, most of us are on a highly variable income. We are typically compensated by a base salary plus commission which may be paid out monthly, quarterly or only annually. Some sales positions are 100% commission. My monthly income used to vary by as much as 500%. Being on a variable income makes it significantly more challenging to save, however if you follow these tips, you will find yourself getting ahead much faster than you may think.
1. Analyze Your Income and Identify the Month with Your Lowest Earnings (AFTER TAX)
A quick way to figure out this number, is to simply look at your base salary and ignore commissions. If you make monthly commission, look at the previous year and identify your lowest month and use that as your figure. If you are on 100% commission, identify your lowest month and if that is zero, look at the frequency of your sales and you may have to develop a quarterly budget.
2. Create a Budget Based on that Number
Identify ALL of your current spending to have an idea of where you are at. Firstly, begin with your non-variable income (i.e. mortgage/rent, property tax, utilities, etc.) and then your variable income (everything else ranging from food, entertainment, travel, etc.). Don’t forget all the small stuff that adds up like subscriptions, gifts, clothing, gym membership etc. Be sure to include absolutely everything you can possibly think of because this is where you will be able to make some cut-backs. Add up all of your variable and non-variable income separately and combined. Then compare it to your lowest earning month and deduct that figure from your expenses. What kind of deficit are you running? Where can you cut back? Can you be shopping for basic necessities elsewhere to save money?
3. Pay off High Interest Debt First
With some high interest debt, you may actually end up spending more money paying off interest than your actual debt. If you can obtain a line of credit from your bank, usually those rates are significantly lower than credit cards and other debtors and you can use those to pay off your higher interest debt in the interim and then work towards paying off the line of credit.
4. Upon Paying off Debt, Automatically Transfer the Same Amount into a Savings Account
This is where I was able to save most of my money. I had a car loan that was $750 per month. As soon as I paid it off, I set up the exact same amount of money to be automatically transferred to my savings account each month. After all, I was used to that amount being withdrawn from my bank account each month, so why stop now?
5. Set up a Tiered Savings Plan
I have a variety of savings accounts, all of which have a different purpose and I use them in this precise order
- Chequing account– A basic account I use to pay all of my bills
- Savings account (low interest)-First line of savings which I use for mostly home repairs or vacation.
- High Interest Savings Account-Backup- Only withdraw funds if regular savings account is low.
- TFSA (Tax Free Savings Account)-This is similar to an investment account. Only accessed in case of emergency.
- Mutual Funds– Investment only accessed if all other accounts are limited which would be an extreme emergency.
- Line of Credit-Absolute last resort.
When I was not working, I always kept a base amount of money in my chequing account. I transferred my monthly requirement to that chequing account from my regular savings first, then my high-interest savings account after my regular savings was used up. Fortunately, after 7 months of unemployment, I never had to dip into any of my investments.
6. Invest in RRSPs
Very commonly in sales positions where we may be taxed at the rate of our base salary and not at a higher rate once commissions are included, we may end up not paying enough taxes and owe taxes back. In this case or if you anticipate that you may be earning less money the next year, then you should consider investing in RRSP’s. This will reduce your overall taxable income. The only disadvantage is that once you invest in RRSP’s, this money is no longer liquid. Therefore if you plan on needing access to this cash, it may be better to simply pay taxes and keep your money in savings.
The Take-Home Message:
The saying “The more money you make, the more you spend” is so true. My spending over the years got out of control. I used to be an entitled brat who felt that every time I received a paycheque or a bonus that I “deserved” something in return. I used to spend almost every penny I made and would deny myself nothing. If I woke up and thought I wanted something, I’d go out and buy it.
It wasn’t until I was facing a situation where I was no longer able to work, that I actually sat down and ironed out the differences between what I really needed to get by in life, vs. the “things” I thought I needed.
The fact of the matter is that nobody, I don’t care who you are or what you do “deserves” anything. All of us owe it to ourselves and our families (where applicable) to be fiscally responsible and maintain a roof over our heads and be able to have food on our table. It is only from there that we can build a foundation upon to live a happy, meaningful life.
So ask yourself, how long could you exist on your savings alone?
If that time frame isn’t long enough, what are you going to do to change that?
Happy sales my friends and don’t forget to put those bonuses to good use.
It is typically in the salespersons best interest to befriend the gatekeeper and other staff in order to get to the decision maker. But what if, as a salesperson, you need to get to the decision maker and their staff cannot know any details about your business venture? How do you access the decision maker without getting you butt kicked out the door by trying to go over the gatekeeper’s head?
The majority of sales gurus these days will tell you that cold calling is dead, especially face-to-face cold calling. If that describes your situation, be sure to read my previous article on The Do’s and Don’ts of Cold Calling. So, although this may be the case for a variety of industries, there are some that do in fact require employing this brut methodology in order to access the decision maker.
In my current role, I have been faced with this dilemma. I have always been accustomed to being friendly and open with all staff and best utilize those relationships in order to ultimately reach the decision maker however, now my business is of an utmost confidential matter and it is crucial that I do not share the nature of my business with anyone but the decision maker.
After getting the door slammed on my ass on the way out of a business a handful of times, I decided that I needed to revamp my approach.
One prime example that stood out in my mind was when I went into a clinic that was clearly empty. There were no cars out front, no patients in the waiting room and clearly no patients in the treatment area. When I asked the receptionist if I could speak with the doctor for a minute, she hemmed and hawed and asked me if I had an appointment. When I told her no, she told me that he was VERY busy but she will check. She went out back and returned to inform me that he was so busy and doesn’t have any time this week.
This experience was akin to walking to an empty restaurant and the hostess asks you if you have a reservation. In sales, having thick skin is a MUST!
So what did I decide to do?
1. Write a handwritten note card in a sealed envelope addressed to the DM
Before my next round of cold calls, I picked up some blank note-cards and envelopes. In each card I wrote a personal note:
Sorry to have missed you today. I was hoping to catch you to talk to you about a business opportunity. I will be in town (UNTIL DATE OR WILL BE BACK AT DATE) so you can call or email me anytime. Talk soon. Sincerely,
On the top flap of the card, I attached my business card with an adhesive (double-sided sticky) so that the card can be easily removed.
The card is inserted into an envelope and the DM’s name is written on the front of the envelope.
2. Conduct cold call with envelope in hand and business card in back pocket
I show up at the clinic and approach the receptionist in a friendly manner and say “Hey I’m (NAME HERE). I have something for (DM NAME HERE). Is he/she available for a quick minute? I have something for them”
If they check and the answer is YES (wohoo!):
I put the envelope away and ask to speak to the DM privately for a minute and then give them my business card that’s in my back pocket and try to arrange a private meeting.
If they check (or don’t ) and say NO:
Give them the sealed envelope and ask that they kindly pass it on to the DM addressed on your card and mention that you will be calling the DM soon to follow-up.
Since it is addressed to the DM personally and hand written, even if the receptionist does not know you. the way you presented yourself is as though the DM does. For this reason, the receptionist or gatekeeper is highly unlikely to open the envelope or toss it out. Furthermore, mentioning that you will be touching base with the DM regarding what you have enclosed in this envelope will make it even more unlikely that it will be tampered with.
So far this approach has gotten me call-backs and appointments 75% of the time.
Surely much more effective than a phone call or random email!
If you are in this type of sales, I would love for you to try this and let me know how it works out.
Also if you have any other tips, please share!
Happy sales my friends.
Most travellers I know aim to travel with just carry-on baggage but most often end up checking their bags because it takes far too much time and effort to pack smart and efficiently. Most of us pack far too many clothes than we will ever need because doing so requires much less thought when packing. Just throw everything in that suitcase and don’t worry about it right?
Although there may be several benefits to travelling with just carry-on, in my personal experience it may not always be the best choice. In fact, it may end up causing you more headaches throughout your journey. Before I divulge why it may be less convenient to not check a bag, lets explore some of the benefits to travelling with carry-on alone:
Pros of Travelling With Only Carry-On Baggage:
No extra baggage fees
The typical airline charges $25US per checked bag and up to well over $100 for bags that are overweight. By keeping your personal articles to a minimum, you can save up to over $200 per return flight. Recently however, due to long TSA wait lines, some airlines are dropping baggage fees in order to expedite the security wait times.
Save Time by Avoiding Baggage Drop-off Lines and Waiting to Collect Your Baggage at Your Destination
If you are checking a bag, be prepared to add at least 1 hour minimum to your transit time. Instead of simply printing off your boarding pass and proceeding through security, you will have to tag your bag and line up to drop off your bag. This process alone can take an hour so if you are planning on checking a bag, be sure to arrive at the airport at least 2 hours early for domestic flights and 3 hours for international flights in order to ensure you have enough time to drop off your bag and go through security.
Furthermore, when you arrive at your destination, typically you will have to wait an additional 20-30 minutes for your bag to be available for pick-up at the baggage claim carousel. For international travellers, this wait may be even longer given that customs agents may be searching your bags prior to putting them on the carousel. What better things could you be doing in those 20 minutes? Be at your hotel, sipping on a nice glass of chardonnay? Sign me up!
No Worrying About Lost Baggage
I don’t know about you but every time I’m waiting at the baggage claim, I always fret over the fact that my bag might not make it. I neurotically think of what time I checked-in for my flight and what order my bag should be in as it was loaded and unloaded on the plane. Fortunately, I have not ever had one of my bags lost but one time I had to wait almost 3 hours after returning on a flight that arrived at midnight. I was not a happy camper by the time I claimed my bag at 3am but nonetheless, I was pleased that I did get my bag!
Save Money at Your Destination
Cons of Travelling with Only Carry-On Baggage:
Not All “Carry-on Approved” Bags Will Fit in Overhead Bins
Ever go to a luggage shop and see luggage labelled as “Carry-On Approved Luggage”? Or even try out the airline’s “Carry-on Approved Luggage Sizes” bins at the airport? Well sorry to disappoint, all that is meaningless and rather completely dependent on the type of aircraft you will be flying on. Each aircraft has VERY different overhead bin storage space and there are some aircraft such as the dash series which won’t fit much more than a laptop case!
Travel Tip: I always travel with an extra small bag/purse within my larger carry-on which contains all of my electronic devices (cell phone, chargers, etc). Note the small purse in the left of this photo which I store in my larger carry-on below. This way if you are on a small aircraft where your bag won’t fit and you have to use the sky-check service, you can quickly remove any articles which cannot be checked (i.e. anything containing a lithium ion battery).
Additional Scrutiny at Customs Checkpoints
As I mentioned previously, if you are just travelling with carry-on, you have limited space in which to place any additional articles which ultimately limits you in terms of what you can purchase throughout your travels. Several times, well more often than not, I travel with only carry-on and do not purchase any items while abroad and therefore have nothing to declare at customs. Apparently this must be some sort of red flag or perhaps a red flag only because I am a female and I should be bringing multiple bags and shopping everywhere I go? I have wound up in secondary screening almost every time I travel with carry-on only and have nothing to declare. Being subject to secondary screening is time consuming and anything but fun. At minimum, it may add 1 hour to your journey and if you have been travelling for a long time, this is the last thing you want to have to go through! As a side note, if you are travelling internationally, ALWAYS DECLARE EVERYTHING HONESTLY and IF IN DOUBT, DECLARE IT! Not properly declaring items is a serious offense!
Limited Quantity of Items (Liquids and gels, clothing, shoes etc.)
This is probably the biggest challenge for most travellers; Being able to pack all of your necessities in such a way that it meets carry-on requirements. Liquids and gels are limited to a maximum of 1L total comprising of bottles that contain a maximum of 100 ML each and that is very difficult to do, especially if travelling for more than a few days at a time. Clothing can be packed minimally especially if your hotel has laundry facilities but shoes however cannot. If you are planning on travelling with just carry-on, I recommend wearing all of your bulkiest items (boots, jacket, etc.) during transit.
In reading this, I hope that my points will better prepare you for your next trip.
Looking for tips on how to travel more efficiently? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Safe travels my friends!
In this modern day politically correct society, we can only expect that potential employers will ask us questions in the interview process that will be of utmost professionalism and they will never ask anything that may be in violation of the Human Rights code. Although this practice is expected, it is most certainly, not always practiced. Throughout my career, I have been asked a variety of wild and awkward questions to which I had no choice but to reply in an equivocally awkward manner. These are my top instances:
Q1: Are You a Vegetarian?
A1: “No, I am a carnivore. Well, more precisely, an omnivore.” This was in an interview for an animal health company which entailed selling products to veterinarians who catered to all species . Although I feel that this question wasn’t particularly relevant to the position I was applying for, it actually can be in some positions. For example, one sales representative that I knew got a job at a large animal health company that sold vaccines for cattle and he was a vegan. Needless to say, the company never asked him about his dietary preferences and the situation arose where his clients (cattle veterinarians) invited him to their dinner table and let’s just say that didn’t go over so well. So that being said, In spite of this awkward question, one’s dietary habits may actually be quite relevant to the position.
Q2: “Are You Jewish?”
A2: “Just because my last name is Goldman, it doesn’t mean that I am Jewish. Why do you ask?”. Apparently they asked because my interview was scheduled just before sunset on a Jewish holiday (Shabbat). When they told me that, I replied, “If I was Jewish, why would I schedule an interview minutes before I had to leave and be home before sundown? That isn’t professional is it?” They explained to me that they were asking me out of politeness because they knew a lot of Jewish people. Uhhh..ok??
Q3: “Is family important to you?”
A3: “Yes, absolutely, but if you mean to ask if I want to have children, I do not.” When they asked me that question, I knew precisely what they were REALLY asking and I knew if they asked me that question outright it would be illegal. Regardless, I answered honestly and perhaps if I didn’t get the job, it may have been an issue. The primary reason I decided to answer this question is because I am of the belief that women often don’t make the same pay as their male counterparts and it is simply because they take years off at a time to raise children and I wanted to make it clear that I do not fall into that category and should be considered in the same light as a man for the position.
Q4: “Wow! You were responsible for so many roles in your past job. Why don’t you go into business for yourself?”
A4: “I have considered it but for various reasons, it is simply is not an option at this time.” This interview got awkward very fast. They knew I was a highly skilled individual who was accustomed to regularly undertaking multiple tasks within a small company vs. a very specific sales role within an massive corporation. I ultimately left the interview prematurely upon realizing that this company did not want someone of my skill set but rather a cookie cutter sales person.
Q5: “We require 5 employer references at a minimum, but in your 10-year career you have only worked for two companies. Are you able to provide this?”
A5: “Since I am currently employed for one of the only two employers in my 10 year sales career, no, I cannot provide a reference from my current employer who is my only supervisor.” I couldn’t help but laugh inside thinking that it is a good thing that I have only worked for two companies in 10 years given that the average sales person changes jobs on average every two years but I suppose because of that precise statistic, the HR person specifically asked for one employer reference per two year period. Can you say closed minded? Being on the receiving end of this question can be a potential death sentence especially if you are currently employed and your employer does not know you are looking and in my case, I worked for the same company for almost 9 years. So I said, “If you ask any of your sales representatives across the country to ask any of their clients if they are using my products (since I was the only national sales representative), I am 99.9% certain they will inform your representatives that they are using my product. There is no better reference than that.”. Unfortunately, my response rubbed these folks the wrong way and they told me that was in no way sufficient. As a result, I had zero interest in working for such a company. As far as I am concerned, if you can’t judge a sales person on their results, but only on references because your company has such a rigorous “process”, then good luck finding a stellar sales representative and running a successful business. Needless to say, I rescinded my application for this particular job.
All and all, in spite of how politically correct our society is supposed to be, when we are conducting business or involved in the interview process, sometimes things simply just slip. As an interviewee, although it is great to be aware of what a potential employer legally can or cannot ask you, if you are interviewing for a job you are at a disadvantage. You are at the mercy of a potential employer and you want a job or perhaps a career. All I can say is, keep in mind that you don’t have to take just ANY job. Just like you don’t have to settle for an inferior romantic partner. If you ever feel uncomfortable in an interview, stand up for yourself and say so, regardless of how awkward it may be. Heck, even walk out of that interview if you feel that it is a waste of your time! I have done that many times.
Remember, you are looking for a job that suits your needs too, not just your potential employers.
Good luck out there my friends.
…or at least lunch!
Let’s face it, not all clients are easy to deal with. Some can be outright d!@$’s and sometimes as a salesperson that means you’ve got to play hard ball in order to close that deal.
Like most sales reps, I have had my fair share of moments where a client completely ticked me off, however it is definitely not always appropriate to react.
In sales, rejection is part of the game. We all need to deal with it and be able to handle it. By handling it, I mean brushing it off and persisting and hence why my motto is “Suck it up Princess!”
But what happens when your client or potential client abuses your working relationship or acts unprofessionally?
In extreme cases which I have previously discussed, it may be more appropriate to simply fire your client.
In other situations however, it may be more appropriate to bring the clients bad behavior to their attention and try to leverage that into a sale. Below are some examples from my personal experience where I did just that. They are in no particular order.
Problem Clients and How I Managed Them:
Problem Client #1: The “No Show”
My “Guilt Trip”: Call them and outright tell them that I don’t appreciate being stood up and that they owe me a good order, or at the very least that the next time that I’m in town, they can buy me a meal. 90% of the time, I got a really good order. The other 10% of the time I got a meal or at least a drink out of the ordeal.
Problem Client #2: The “I Want to Have My Cake and Eat it Too”. Not giving me the majority of their business after years of effort they asked me to pull strings to get them a good Christmas gift.
My “Guilt Trip”: “You’re making me look bad in front of my boss”, which I said with my boss present when we were delivering their Christmas gift. After that visit I acquired 80% of their business.
Problem Client #3: Returning My Product in My Competitors Packaging
My “Guilt Trip”: I mailed the box back to them and included an order form and a hand written note stating that it was rude of them to do that and I think they owe me one *wink* *wink*. They faxed in a really good order and ended up being a very loyal client.
Problem Client #4: The User Abuser: Exploited me for my knowledge but only ever bought one product from me.
My “Guilt Trip”: I barely had to say anything since he was fully aware of what he was doing and had a good idea that this was likely our last meeting. He looked at me and blurted out, “I’m an ass*^** aren’t I?”. I nodded my head in agreement and informed him that all of the free bits of information end here and now unless he starts to buy more products from me. It worked. That move got me over 90% of their business after that and they ended up being a very loyal client.
Problem Client #5: The Stuck-In-the Habit Excuse: Competitor programmed into speed dial.
My “Guilt Trip”: I told him that it was a lousy excuse and asked him to hand me his phone. I programmed my business number in the slot where my competitor was and moved my competitors phone number to a different slot. I did the same thing with his fax machine. 100% Effective. I acquired all of his business after that.
In reading my examples of when I thought it was appropriate to guilt trip a client and try to leverage that into a sale, I hope that you understand that this is by no means common practice. These client behaviors and my subsequent responses are rare and I would never suggest using guilt as a primary means to close your average deal. These situations are highly specific and apply when a qualified buyer has done something to blatantly disregard and waste your time and/or disrespect you. As I mentioned previously, rejection is integral to the sales process and by no means should you be putting a guilt trip on every potential client who refuses your product or service.
When you are a sales rep, your time is valuable too, so if you encounter someone who is blatantly wasting your time, perhaps you should move on or call them on it.
In the meantime, happy sales my friends and I hope you don’t encounter too many difficult clients.