What is the craziest sale you've ever made?
I've had a few crazy sales in my days. But my very first one at Gateway Country stands out.
No shit, there I was. A young and eager, but inexperienced salesman. Gateway Computers had just opened a nationwide chain of computer stores and I had scored a job there.
It was my third or fourth day there and up until this point I had been shadowing more experienced salespeople and hadn't actually assisted any customers. I was eating my lunch when a manager asked if I could talk to a guy who was browsing the laptops. I mustered my best salesman face and strode out eagerly to the sales floor.
There stood a disheveled, dirt covered man in work clothes. The kind of guy most salespeople wouldn't give a second look at and probably why my manager had me, the trainee, assist him. No problem, no one is really expecting me to make a sale yet anyway.
I approached the customer who began asking very technical questions about the computers specs, what we could add to it to boost performance, and generally knew his stuff. Good, I like talking tech, I'm a geek.
Fast forward about an hour, I've gone over every possible iteration of every laptop that Gateway sells. The man shakes my hand, takes a few quotes I worked up for him and leaves without purchasing anything. I take it in stride as a training customer and continue about my day. About an hour later, I get a phone call. Odd, since I don't actually have any clients yet.
It was that customer's boss. He liked one of the quotes and wanted to purchase them for his sales reps. All 40 of them.
I processed the sale with the help of the assistant manager. 40 laptops, a bag for each, and the extended warranty. All told, over $50k.
The store manager about had a canary when he saw the sales report. "BREAUX! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?" He couldn't believe that my first sale was that epic and was SURE that I had screwed something up and he was going to have to explain to corporate why he had to void a $50k sale and apologize to some poor guy that just had a $50k charge put on his credit card. After the assistant manager calmed him down and showed him the sales receipt, his demeanor changed drastically. He went from accusing me of being a screw up, to immediately telling everyone how awesome I am. Every new person that got hired after me was jokingly told that story as "the standard" for everyone's first sale. I think at least one person took him serious and almost quit.
I went away on a three day skiing trip with some friends of mine.
The hotel we stayed in was holding a rafffle ticket drawing for some prizes. I think the price per ticket was around $20.
3rd prize was a flat screen TV. 2nd prize was a Polaris four wheeler. And 1st prize was a boat.
All things I didn't care about. But I went along with my pals and bought 2 raffle tickets. Not really thinking I was gonna win.
We all went down to the lobby for some food, drinks and entertainment before the big draw. I won second prize. A Polaris four wheeler. WHAT??!?! It felt unreal to hear my name called over a loud speaker.
But really WHAT?!!?!....What is a Polaris??!? What is a quad?!?!. I don't care.
I would rather have taken the value of the prize. specially since I was told I had to pay almost $600 for taxes before I can take it home. And wait, how would I get this thing home?!?!
I said OK to all they said, told them I'll pay when I'm leaving Monday morning. and back to drinking and having a good time.
While my friends and I were relaxing, a bearded man comes up to me and introduces himself. Small talk ensues and he finally gets to the point. He entered the raffle draw hopping to win the QUAD!!!""
He says how much would you take for it? I look at my useless drunk friends because I have no clue what this thing is worth.
What would you pay? I ask the man. I can give you $12000 for it Monday morning if you'll take it!!! My eyes came out of my head.
Sold Mr... you have a deal. He vigorously shakes my hand, and tells me that I have made a 15 year old very happy.
I meet him Monday morning after taking ownership, and immediately selling over to him and receiving a bank check for $12000.
But of course my friends who are now sober felt the need to tell me how I got robbed, and I should have held out for more. They show me on the computer that the Quad is worth a little over $18000.
SO WHAT!!! It was found money. And till this day I still have no interest in a QUAD!!!
One of my former employers would routinely sell off old equipment to their employees in a silent-auction type transaction. Occasionally, the goods would start to show up well before the auction began which gave everyone plenty of time to peruse the offerings.
I typically buy the odd and obscure stuff, but only after thoroughly researching it. One of these was a big document scanner. It looked brand new, but I wanted to check its numbers which are operating hours and scans - and given that my office was right around the corner, I carted it in to connect it up. For reference, these scanners typically make millions of scan in its lifetime over tens of thousands of hours of use. Imagine my astonishment when I found that it had just a few scans and maybe 20 hours of use. I quickly made my move. I managed to convince the powers-that-be that the scanner shouldn't be in the regular auction because I was going to offer any amount they wanted right on the spot - and I had a big catalog of photos my recently passed grandmother needed to have archived (totally true). The guy looked at it and said, "Aw hell, give me $10. Is that fair?"
Hell yes, it's fair.
A couple weeks later, I had contacted a brokerage firm that manages these types of sales. I was almost immediately offered an amount of $10,000 and they would cover shipping. SOLD. I made $9990 and shipped it right off the company's own dock. I miss that job.
Going anon for this because the buyer might read it and have some hard feelings.
My wife (then girlfriend) bought me a "2001 Monolith Inaction figure" that one of the geeky sites sold as joke for a short time.
It looked like this:
In high school, I worked as a representative on behalf of various charities. Officially I wasn't a salesman, but my job was all sales. I was contacting previous donors trying to get them to donate again.
I remember the sale vividly. There was one veteran salesman who blew the 30 or so other salesmen and women out of the water. A good day for the average worker was about $2,000 of donations in an 8-hour shift. Any day where he got less than $20 grand in donations was mediocre. This guy sold like Michael Jackson danced and Sugar Ray Leonard boxed. No one ever tried to beat him, everyone just tried to be number 2 in the office.
One day, about 3 months in, I realized I may have a shot at beating him. I was working on behalf of a very well-known and respected international charity. It was a good day for me. About 3 hours in I was at $7,400 and he was at $7,800. I set out to beat him. I even skipped lunch so I could be #1.
Fate soon seemed to work against me, however. I had fallen behind. I was at $12,000 and he was at $16,000, with only two hours left in the shift. That's when it happened.
My computer made the call. An older southern gentleman answered. "Great," I thought. "Another rotten lead. This guy gave $500 7 years ago. He's not going to give now."
But, I launched into my pitch. There was silence. Then he spoke.
"You know, I never gave anything to (charity name). My mother was a big supporter, I'm sure she gave the $500 in my name. My dad left her a lot of money, and she gave a lot of it away before she died and I got the rest. But, I haven't been too good about using it how she'd want me to...suppose I gave you guys $20,000. How much good would that do?"
I almost jumped out of my seat. I had a list in my cubicle of what different donations amounts would do to help the cause, but it only went up to $5,000. So I just quadrupled that. We both agreed that would do a lot of good. But I wanted to push it further. I personally love this charity more than any other, AND I wanted to be #1 in the office. For the next 20 minutes, I gave the greatest performance of my young life. We went back and forth and back again. The woman sitting in the next cubicle turned off her phone so she could watch me. And then, it was over.
$85,000. He had agreed to give the charity $85,000. I ended the day breaking two new records, single largest donation and largest amount raised in a day ($104,000). The previous records were $18,500 and $74,000 respectively.
I even got a handshake from the man himself, the greatest salesman in the office. Life was good.
The only way it could've been better is if the job paid commissions...
Edit: it appears my sarcasm did not translate into print well in the last sentence. I did not really want, or ask for, a commission. I recognize that if I wanted a commission I should go into selling cars. I was making a joke about how nice it would've been.
The charity I represented received $84,995. The company received their flat fee of $5, but they received more work as a result. The boss of the organization rewarded me with a lunch at a local cafe. I'm just proud that I was able to raise so much for a charity I admire.
Back in my real estate days (1994 - 2005), I had an elderly couple contact me (from a word-of-mouth referral) looking for a home. But they had an interesting situation: They had been Nazarene missionaries in Africa for 27 years, and were moving back to the States for health reasons. However, they were going to be moving back with absolutely no possessions other than their clothes and some knick-knacks because it would be far too expensive to have their possessions-though meager-shipped.
The couple told me they needed a house that was completely furnished-which was a request that was about as common as a client asking for a home that was free. The remarkable thing was that because of the generosity of their supporters, they had saved every bit of their wages received for their work. They had accumulated a relatively sizable chunk of money, so they could pay cash up to $90,000 (remember-they had saved for 27 years!). A home in that price range was not out of the question because this was in a small rural area in Ohio and probably 20 years ago.
I told them that their situation was quite out of the ordinary and counseled them to consider a home that was lower in price so that they could afford to buy everything they needed to get set up. The wife replied that the decision to move and the thought of putting together a household was just too much. They were in their mid-80s, and while I had empathy for them, it was an Empire-State-Building-sized order. They both smiled and said they had dozens of people praying for their situation.
Well, you guessed it-AND I SWEAR THIS IS HOW IT HAPPENED. Three weeks later in our sales meeting, another Realtor said that she had a new listing, but that it would be difficult to sell because it was in an estate and the owners had no heirs (or something like that). She said that the problem was that the home was being sold "as is," meaning that a buyer would have to figure in the cost of removing all of the furniture, appliances, clothing, the contents of closets and cabinets, etc., to make room for their possessions.
As you can imagine, I nearly fell out of my chair. I showed the home to the missionaries, and as we toured the house, we found everything they needed-from towels to salt and pepper. They said "Praise God!", and we signed a contract for the full asking price-$79,900-and closed in three days. I am not making this up.
The power of prayer???