The Incredibly True Story of Dave's Sordid Past

Picture a young guy, say, in his 20’s or so.  Just starting out in sales, a few years under his belt.  An up- and-comer, really, trying to make an impression, and hungry to make a difference in the world, to solve problems for clients, and oh yeah, make boatloads of commission.  Maybe the image of a young Charlie Sheen as Bud Fox in Wall street comes to mind, ambitious as ever and willing to do whatever it takes to get to the top. 

Well, that wasn’t me.  It was, and it wasn’t. Yes, it takes a different kind of animal to wind up in sales.  I always compare it to those brave comedians you see take the stage.  Who’s got the guts to get up in front of a bunch of people like that?! Some say that you have to be a little twisted, a little damaged, in some cases, to be ready to take the glory along with the abuse.  But we do it for the chase.  I, in fact, have also done stand-up comedy, along with sales, so I can relate to the stereotype of the wounded jester, seeking attention on stage. 

So, sales.  Ya gotta have thick skin and guts, it’s true.  And I had exactly that at age 25, hitting the phones, taking meetings…..and being pressured every month to make a quota.  It takes its toll.  When you don’t make quota, you get heat from the boss, you feel it in the pocket, and you can have trouble at home, as bills pile up. 

So, in my earliest days, I saw some things.

·         I had a client that was hesitant to sign a deal on the last day of the month, and was unresponsive.  My boss told me to send two large pizzas for her and her marketing team.  It didn’t work. 

·         I once kept sending pictures of myself to a client every hour on the last day of the month with varied expressions, hoping they would think it was funny, so I could get the deal, and the commission on the last day of the month.  It didn’t work.

·         I once had a client tell me they were going with the competition because I would hammer them over the head at the end of the month to make quota.

It only took me 20 years, but I realized something.  Everything is a choice, and it didn’t have to be that way.  Right when I was faced with finding another sales job at 47, and deciding that it would be more of the same, I thought that I never wanted to do sales again. 

And then …. Something inside me said, “What if you had your own company?” ~ well, it wasn’t that simple, and yes, there are financial pressures, of course.  But, today, as I write this, and as I trade emails about the business back-and-forth with my illustrious partner, Becca, even at this (not-too) late hour of 8:00pm on a Tuesday night, I’m simply thrilled as hell with my life, and instead of trying to look for inspiration from Charlie Sheen as Bud Fox, I’m more of a Michael Keaton guy, as Ray Kroc, from “The Founder” …. Well, he wasn’t so nice at the end of the day, either, but he had a Dream!  

Dave OrloffComment