Going south in the winter was going to take me to a pleasant, warm clime, or so I thought. Georgia in January was freezing cold.
Venturing into the world of advertising sales was going to give me a pleasant and enriching experience, or so I thought. My prospects turned as cold as the “Peach” state’s winter.
I was staying at FDR State Park in Pine Mountain near Warm Springs where Franklin Roosevelt had a winter home and visited the springs for their healing waters. The park was nestled in mountains with small communities all around.
Okay, enough of trying to scribble a scenic picture here; it was the sticks, one of those places where you wonder: how on earth do people make a living here?
The four days of sales rep training were long and grueling, eight-hour days of sitting across from my instructors while they filled my head to overflowing with the how-to’s of advertising sales, ad sizes, ad layouts, filling out contracts, tons of other paperwork, and techniques on closing a sale.
“Always be closing” was their motto. If I heard it once, I heard it a thousand times.
My instructors were a husband and wife team who’d been selling ads for the campground map publishing company going on 16 years. They took me “selling” on my last day of training; my job was to tag along and observe.
We covered over fifty miles, going from one small town to another, getting in and out of the car, going in and out of businesses and never sold a one ad.
When we got back to “Lukewarm Springs,” they gave me several hundred pounds of folders and paperwork, told me I did a great job learning all the ad selling stuff and said to just go on out there and find a campground and get them to sign up for their free maps. You can do it! Yay for you, Annie!
I was incredulous! Wait a minute! Bob at the main office in Florida said I’d be given campgrounds to contact. Bob said there were lots of jobs. Bob said I’d be so busy I wouldn’t have any down time.
They replied: Oh, that Bob, he should never have told you that. We don’t know why he says things like that. That’s just not true.
Tears came to my eyes and the wife said something about hanging in there and just go out and make the best of it. I looked at her with a weak smile; on the inside I said, “Boo for the campground map publisher, boo for Bob in the main office, and boo-hoo for me.”
The next morning they relented and told me there was a state park in the Florida panhandle that needed an advertising rep. But that’s a story for the next time. It just gets better and better!
(aka Tin Can Traveler)