Buck from Football to Salesman - a snapshot of an birth of American Entrepreneur!
The journey began just a few days after leaving the CFL and post-NFL injury in the my 2nd year with the Atlanta Falcons. After some soul-searching, I decided to leave football - at least for the time being - and began job searching for jobs that utilized Biology, my major at Alcorn State University in Mississippi. To widen my search, I also put "Creator Jobs" in my criteria. "Creator Jobs" are ones that require you to think on your own, take your own initiative, and be your own boss, aka an Entrepreneur-style Operative! I'd always been a self-starter. How could I not give this type a job a shot?! From performing magic tricks at the corner store at age 9 for 50 cents to dubbing my own rap CD when I was 14 and selling them for 3 bucks a piece, I knew I could self-motivate and sell ANYTHING!
Sometime Late Fall 2013, after submitting a ton of resumes, I finally got a call about a job - one that left me skeptical to say the least. It was one of those “Creator Jobs", though not quite what I was expecting. Not yet desperate, but full of the grit and determination I'd used so many times before throughout my athletic career, I accepted the interview. I made sure I arrived twenty minutes early, and was promptly greeted at my arrival by Mr. Ralph. He laid out the interview process, and within minutes, we were headed to Dunkin Donuts. Sipping coffee calmly, I was crushing the interview, nailing questions left and right. I was confident in my responses, that I thought to myself, 'How could they not want me for this job?!'
The question quickly changed to asking myself, 'How could I want THIS job?', as Ralph pulled out some damn makeup kits! I was shocked, but just hard-headed or open-minded enough to keep listening. Besides, I was only half-way done with my coffee.
The interview turned into a field exercise, carrying our products to the streets, parking lots, stores, wherever we saw people. I followed Ralph and stayed close as we maneuvered through plazas and store fronts. The name of the game was obviously to not be of shame! There was no time for timidity, zero allowance for meekness! Buck was up for the challenge. Learning rapidly, taking notes on my iPhone as we go, I caught on to every little bit of knowledge Ralph was willing to share. After several interactions, Ralph turns to me to say it's my turn at the next spot!
Mind swirling....Oh shit! I'm nervous to say the least...determined not to mess up my pitch, hesitate and miss a sale. Deep breath...holding onto the gift bags with make-up kits that included three pieces for $25 with a retail mark up slightly over a $100, I approach the first lady I saw! My approach is smooth, not too fast of a walk but not too slow. I didn’t want to scare her I only wanted to share with her. As I make it up to the lady, I happen to smile and wave at the same time. When I waved I happened to wave with the hand that had all the gifts. She paused, perhaps because she thought I was bringing her a shopping bag from the store she just left. After I realize my mistake, I lose focus for a second and forget I'm there to make a sale. The slight hesitation allowed me to help her with her bags, and the opportunity to compliment her hair and shirt. She asks 'What's in the gift bags?,' breaking the ice for me! Back on track, day one on a job interview and I was speaking to this woman about cosmetics, more comfortable than ever! I began to tell her about our company, the products, placing them in her hand to see and feel and see the quality. Finally, Ralph made his way over to us, correcting me on a few stumbles as I continue my promotional spiel. As I'm speaking, I make eye contact and continue to smile, sensing she's already committed to purchasing a kit, but is politely allowing me to finish my pitch. Reassuring her that she's getting a kit valued at $120 for only $25, she confidently buys two. I'm content at this point, quite pleased with myself for dealing the deal. Ralph says, 'Now watch what empowerment learning can do for you!' Empowerment techniques and concepts was something I had read about before, and I had a feeling Ralph was gonna put the tactic to successful use!
He approaches the lady and says, 'M'am, didn’t i see you come out of this boutique?' She affirmed, and Tom proceeded to tell my first close about another lady that works in the boutique that just purchased 10 kits for $200 to set aside for Christmas presents. As Ralph is speaking to my two-kit customer, the light goes off in my head again! Simply put nobody wants to be left out or to miss out on an opportunity that they see others taking advantage of! The lady pulls out her wallet again and purchases my last 10 gift bags that I needed to clear on my first day!
As we head back to the office, I'm confident that I can do this job, despite my initial reservations. I thank Ralph for his guidance and write on the discussion board why today felt like a success. First, my approach was friendly, holding gifts, coming in peace with a wave. She was in shopping mode, and I too, was holding goods in the bags. I created an awareness for her surroundings. I was able to sell her on my personality, being genuine and not pushy. I ended at an interview for a Make-up Promoter on accident, but I accepted the job on purpose! Why you ask? The competitive nature that carried me through my collegiate and professional football career always left me with a desire to be challenged daily. My drive was feed on the good days I made sales and my resolve was strengthened on the days I didn't.
We would go on to use sale techniques like the 3 F’s - Feel , Felt, Found. This technique proved useful, for example I would have a potential customer say that the eye shadow colors wouldn't match her skin tone perfectly. I'd reassure her by saying I understood her concerns, and relate it back to someone that found resolution. 'Sarah, I understand and you're not the only one. Suzy over at Macy’s said the same thing, until I showed her she can can mix the colors together to make 40 different shades!'
We learned about the Law of Averages, Public Relation Skills, Power of People, to name a few. This job allowed me to drive through and to at least 50-60 different counties in Georgia over the course of my employment. I learned about myself and more about interaction with people the most from this job. I wanted to share this story because some of you out there are working that job right now thats going to give you the intangibles or skill set needed on the path to success, even if you don't realize it. I encourage you to listen, observe, read and research. This job to me was a test of patience and a learning experience that has helped me succeed in life thus far. God puts us in situations that are never too much for us to handle, and although I had to leave this job, I truly thank Him for allowing me to have to open mind go out there and sell a belief in myself in a humbling way. I truly believe this is where I found the confidence in my heart to start my company Creative DynamicSports, LLC.
Today is the day of the dreamer…That one idea or that one risk taken and your steps away from your dreams. I've always understood leadership roles and how it can bring out the best in others. Leadership can help people of all ages grow in confidence in themselves and accomplish things they once thought they couldn’t. I encourage you to share who you are - to have the CONFIDENCE to communicate and reveal your internal message to others. Today, because I chose confidence, I have Creative Dynamic Sports, LLC. A concept that started as teaching youth speed & agility in my community of Cumming, Georgia, that has grown and continues to grow beyond a fitness class. My internal message told me I could do this - that I had a gift of knowledge, the ability to listen, a passion and a patience to help others fine tune themselves. I am able to help others see past their insecurities and help them achieve and excel in their abilities. Tap into your gift, find what you can share with others, and the sky is limitless to what you can achieve when let your light shine to the world. Today is the day of the dreamer…