One summer during college, I sold $10,000 worth of knives. It was kinda crazy. When I started selling knives, it was to my family and friends – sorry, you guys! – but eventually, through their referrals, I took my knives to complete strangers’ homes, gave them demonstrations and tried selling knife sets to them. Can you imagine inviting a complete stranger to your home who is packing a bunch of knives? (Ok, even if that stranger is pretty innocuous, like me at age 19?)
Everyone was impressed when the Cutco knife cut through a thick rope with one smooth swipe, when their own weak steak knives were sawing away, reducing the rope to shreds. Everyone was impressed when I cut a penny into one long spiral with the Cutco kitchen shears. That is cool, but not cool enough for a lot of people to reach into their checkbooks. I walked away many times having driven to some far-flung suburb without orders for even a single knife.
I had to get through hearing no after no – or getting the phone hung up on me – to even get an appointment just to show someone the knives. I mean, who really is in the market for knives? Who is willing to drop $500 on a new set of knives?
These folks exist, but you have to find them.
Selling door-to-door is something I’ll never want to do again. It’s really rough, lonely, and in this case, certainly soul-deprecating work. But I’m glad that I tried it because I learned the power of persistence. The more people I called, the more appointments I got, and the more knives I sold. It held true week after week.
I heard no plenty of times. But to find a yes, often you have to get past hearing no.
This is a lesson I remember today.
- I didn’t get into the finalist round in the 2012 I Am Intrepid Contest. If I’d have gotten 300 more votes, my entry would have gotten into the top 10. Maybe if I had a few more weeks to campaign or if I’d gotten my link on TV (yes, I tried that), that might have helped, too.
- My work isn’t going to be read by awesome travel writer, Pauline Frommer. That’s disappointing, of course.
- I appreciate all who voted and who encouraged friends to vote for my entry, too. We got to 212!
- I am grateful that Mike Corey picked my entry to highlight in the fourth week of the contest. I don’t think I’ll get over him reading my story.
I didn’t get what I wanted this time exactly, but I look at it this way: it’s one no closer to a yes.
Congratulations to the I Am Intrepid contest finalists! I’m rooting for Jenny Marsden, fellow poet with a great and moving entry!
- This is my Web Gem! (sarahlynnpablo.com)
- I Want Pauline Frommer to Read My Work! A Trip Around The World Doesn’t Sound Bad Either! Vote by June 5! (sarahlynnpablo.com)