We all met at the designated cafe at 7:00am and were provided with a coffee and an overview of everything we had learned. It was one big “Rah! Rah!” session to get us motivated and confident.
We were partnered with a more experienced person whose task it was to supervise our presentations and advise as necessary. The strategy was very simple, we started in the town center and “hit” every store or business there was. Our first step was to identify the managers and sell them on PA* insurance. If we were successful, which was very often, getting approval to approach the staff was not a problem. If the manager did not buy a policy, then we simply asked for permission to approach the staff.
All the PMA* training was very effective as we constantly bombarded ourselves with positive messages. We knew that we were going to sell a policy eventually. That was statistically guaranteed and so every time a sale was not closed, we knew that we were simply one presentation closer to a successful one! Perhaps it would be the next call?
During that first week, I made a lot of money!
There was an incident which the CICA* people took full advantage of as an example of initiative when selling. One of the key aspects was eye contact. It is so much easier to get a message across if you have eye contact. On one particular call, I was trying to present to a store manager who would not look directly at me. Instead he kept looking down at a table next to him. I don’t know what came over me but (as it was presented later) “Colin bent over and put his head on the table and looked straight up at the manager’s face … and, without missing a beat, continued with his presentation!”
The manager, my supervisor, and myself had a good laugh and yes … he bought a policy!
The second week was taking us away from the town center and there was less presentation time during the day due to travel time between stores. It was still however a lucrative week.
The further we moved away from the center, the more the stores and business were further apart and so my income started to drop and, after four weeks, it was becoming less attractive. Because we were technically self-employed (albeit contracted to CICA), all travel expenses were our own responsibility. I could see problems down the road and so , a short time later, I thought it prudent to look for a “real” job!
I should also mention that I had an ethical problem with the whole concept of selling in that manner. I did not see the personal value in the PA Insurance and yet I was selling it. I was trained to sell it and overcome any obstacles, but the prospective buyers had no advance notice and therefore had no time to research the idea of PA Insurance; discuss it with family or friends, or even think about it! Pressure selling was not for me.
There was a company in Peterborough called Peter Brotherhood Ltd which I knew little about except that they were an engineering company who manufactured all kinds of things! Their “claim to fame” (with me) was that I would often see a huge piece of equipment coming out of their yard which would have a police escort as it headed towards its destination.
They were advertising for a buyer. I applied and, for reasons that I am unsure of, was offered the position. I accepted.
*See “Dear Diary – Page 86”