Thursday, August 16, 2007


My mom just called. She opens with:

“I’ve been out all day trying to get donations for the Utah Chamber Artists auction.”
“Oh yeah, how’s that going?”
“I feel like Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman.”
“Never seen it.”
“Oh. He kills himself.”

Poor Mom. I am not a salesperson either. I've never really mastered the technique of asking for money. I don't even like reminding people that they owe me money.

Sometimes I think I could be good at sales, but then I try and feel so out of my element that I don’t feel like myself anymore. If I have a connection with someone or some business, it’s easy. For example, I work for Sur la Table and I felt comfortable asking them to donate two spots at a cooking class for the Utah Chamber Artists auction (I'm UCA's informal slave). The culinary coordinator was happy to do it, no big deal. Plus, it's a donation, not exactly a check. But cold calls -- that’s another story.

Lately, since the Gallery Stroll has decided to launch its big ad campaign in the City Weekly every month, I’ve had to become more of a salesperson. It costs us $4000 to publish that centerfold each time. The hardest part is being a brand new organization and gaining support. Especially finding a presenting sponsor, because we charge $2500 for that (does anyone or their company want to present Gallery Stroll in September?). There have been more than a few times when I've gotten off the phone with a business and just dropped my head on my desk. Rejection and failure isn't fun. I should get used to it. I can't believe some people do this for a living. If any of you sales people out there have pointers for me, please share.

Anyway, I’m really proud of our Gallery Stroll pullout in the City Weekly. I have the pleasure of designing it myself. Make sure you pick one up this week and come to the Rio Gallery Friday night if you can. We have a really interesting show. This is a collaborative watercolor class project that some students at BYU did. They didn’t want to just paint pretty landscapes so they came up with something DRASTICALLY different. Come and see for yourself.


charlotta-love said...

My last job out in Provo before I moved to Georgia was for a sales company. Let me stress that I wasn't part of the sales team but I just don't understand how people can push a product (in their case one they hadn't even seen or used) to people over the phone.

My only tip is to make it sound Tom Sawyer-ish. Not that they HAVE to give you money but they GET to.

We'll Call her "Lisa" said...

I actually had the exact same conversation with her, execpt I pretended to know who Willy Loman was and missed the great punchline.

She must have been so disappointed.

Ilene said...

What, you haven't read Death of a Salesman? It is really uplifting, let me tell you.

No tips for selling here. I used to have my mom do all my fundraising ploys for my activities as a kid.

love the cover. What is the DRASTIC bit? I want to know. Email me the secret if you don't want to ruin for your Utah fans.

laura said...

Nope, I haven't seen it or read it.

In fact, the only reason I know who Willy Loman is, is because in the movie Soapdish, Kevin Kline played Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman at a dinner theatre, and had to repeat his name a couple times for the hard of hearing audience. That was when Robert Downy Jr. came and asked him to return as his previous character opposite Sally Fields on the soap opera "The Sun Also Sets".

I love that movie.