At the gleaming offices of PHARMACOMGLOM on the outskirts of Slough, it was set to be an exciting start to the week.
The final candidate for the vacancy in the sales representative department was waiting in reception.
He wasn’t reading up on the company in the strategically positioned brochures like all the others had, he was flicking crumbs off his thighs, the remnants of a hurried breakfast on the bus.
Derek Bradshaw, head of sales, had one last look at the candidate’s CV from his 17th floor office over looking the M4. It was a lengthy 16 page CV and that was always a good sign, Derek felt.
More is more, he always said.
This candidate…Bob Smith… wasn’t Sheila the recruiter’s recommendation but he certainly fitted the bill as to what he’d asked for. A massive amount of experience in a range of different markets with some reasonable results.
He’d been successful back in the 80s, so he could work well for us Derek thought.
He straightened his tie and picked up the phone.
“Is he here yet?….well where the hell is he?”
This is such an important decision for me today, Derek thought, as he tossed the receiver back in to it’s holder. The whole of next years sales figures could rest upon this hire.
At first Bob didn’t really hear his name being called, he was watching the receptionist’s legs walk across the lobby.
This time the voice was nearer and the legs were right in front of him. He looked up.
The legs kept walking.
“Yes..excuse me….over here!”
Denise the receptionist stopped, raised her nose upwards like a lion that had just caught the sent of a passing zebra, and turned on her heel.
“Why didn’t you say you were here?”
“Oh..I didn’t notice you”
“Seventeenth floor..third office on left” said Denise pointing at the lift doors.
The lift he doors parted and Bob was greeted by Derek’s extended hand and one raised eyebrow.
“Have we met before?” said Derek as they walked past the rows of cubicles and furiously typing workers.
“Don’t think so” replied Bob Smith, in what Derek thought a rather monotone voice.
“You look familiar”
“I get that a lot” said Bob.” I think it’s my suit”
Bob Smith was dressed in a, well what was that? It looked like he’d got the jacket from a charity shop and the trousers from Primark.
“So, Bob…tell me about yourself”
“MY NAME IS BOB SMITH” Bob suddenly shouted.
Okay, bit shouty thought Derek…but he gets his point across.
“I’M 56 AND A GREAT SALESMAN”
“Really?” said Derek as he slid his chair back a few inches, hoping Bob didn’t notice.” Now this was more like it.” thought Derek.”Don’t tell me a joke..tell me you’re funny!”
‘AND I’M 26% MORE EFFECTIVE THAN MY NEAREST COMPETITOR”
Derek wrote that down. 26%, competitor. This was excellent. He would have to check with someone to verify that obviously. Not sure who.
“Yes, and I have my own phone”
“Own phone” said Derek under his breath and gave a big tick next to Bob’s name. Writing ‘economical’ in pencil beside it.
“And my number is 0887 534 670…so you can call me to offer me the job. Today!”
“Great” said Derek…”always closing!”…there was nothing to not get about Bob. There was something comforting about his direct, brash approach.
“That number again…is 0887 534 670”
“Okay…wow…you don’t forget people like er….Bob in hurry”
“And this year I was voted top salesman in Berkshire!!” Bob added.
“Got it!” Derek laughed nervously, pushing his chair back another six inches.
Okay, bit annoying now Derek thought.
“15k” said Bob.
Derek tried to disguise his sudden intake of breath. We’re not made of money!
But, this sales position was pivotal if the brand GENERIKA was going to really take off and be a multi-billion dollar success.
‘Is that negotiable?” he asked thinking if you don’t ask you don’t get.
“How about 10k…you see our budgets have just been slashed”. They hadn’t, but Derek decided they would be.
“Not a problem”.
Even better, a reasonable man.
The interview quickly came to a close and Derek ushered Bob out as quickly as he could and sat back down in his chair, thumbing through his sixteen page CV over and over again.
The thing about Bob was you knew he wouldn’t upset any existing customers. No nonsense, what you see is what you get.
All the information right there. The drug will sell itself, all Bob has to do is shout the facts at them.
As Derek always said, don’t sell…tell!
All those people who call themselves sales people that Sheila the recruiter had tried to fob him off with? With all that charm and the getting to know you chumminess. All that building a relationship modern thinking claptrap, all that talking to me like I’m not an idiot!!
It was a well known fact scientists and doctors are mostly idiots.
PhDs are the worst, Derek said out loud as he filled his water bottle from the cooler. A few feet away an Asian looking woman who was typing something, momentarily stopped and rolled her eyes.
No, no..that ‘creativity’ bullshit was for the other schmucks. Not for PHARMACOMGLOM, we’re just not risk takers.
So Bob got the job and all was happy for a while.
Until the sales figures came in.
To Derek’s surprise, apparently no one really remembered what it was Bob was selling, not even the telephone number.
“Perhaps he wasn’t shouting it loudly enough?” said Colin, Derek’s MD as he started to tap at his iphone.
“It’s possible I suppose” replied a dumfounded Derek.
“Was he wearing the company blazer with the huge logo on the breast pocket?”
“We had it made bigger just in case”
“Not big enough, obviously…did he tell customers why our drug was more efficacious?”
“We gave him a chart and everything”
“Sometimes I despair of people”
“Our follow up survey says he was just like all the other reps people saw during their busy day…I thought that would be a good thing!”
Colin looked up momentarily.
“That damn recruiter, sending me substandard candidates”
“Well, there’s nothing for it” Colin said, this time not even looking up.
“The safest bet we can make. We need to hire ten more just like Bob and up the budget”
“I’ll call the recruiter.”