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Sunday, April 29, 2012
Today after the meeting I went with Tim and his family for lunch and then over to see the Crows vs Port Power AFL (Australian Football AKA "footy" or aerial ping pong) game at AAMI Stadium. Footy can be loosely compared to football with the field goals, running and tackling and to basketball with the quick passing and movement. It's an extremely intense sport and very fast paced with high entertainment value.
At the end of the game the sun left a colorful display in the sky.
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Today I was chosen to drive for my team. Having never driven in Australia and being a few months out of practice I was nonetheless happy to do it. I figure I've had plenty of practice driving on the left side of the road on my push-bike (bicycle). Upon stepping into the van I immediately found things to be quite a bit different. First, the parking brake was kind of hidden but probably this isn't too unusual. Next I went to shift into gear but the gear shifter was at a weird angle and on the wrong side so it took me a second to locate it. As I went to turn out I reached for the turn signal which just turned on the windscreen wipers - the turn signal lever is on the right side of the wheel. After getting under way everyone was on edge thinking that maybe the American was not the best choice to drive a van full of people on the left side of the road. Sure enough, we did have one incident - an Aussie truck driver swerved out into the intersection, blocking several lanes at once, and stopped. I first tried going around but found that he had something else in mind. I had to slam on my brakes as the driver came two lanes over into mine and stopped. No matter, I had been paying attention and given myself plenty of room to stop, now just to convince my passengers of that...
On turf I found many people had already been knocked - this generally makes things more difficult. I eventually found a guy who invited me to go over his bill and, upon his satisfaction with the product, he signed up. After another couple hours of nothing but appointments I talked a girl into signing up over the course of many rather harsh objections. Every time she came at me with "maybe another time" or "lets not do this" I just informed her of more aspects of the electrical industry and my role in getting her a reduction on her expenditures. Finally she signed but it's hard to say if she'll stay once her husband finds out...
On the drive back Ben had to do my paperwork because, as the driver, I'm no longer required to do paperwork!
Today I won another 6-pack during the channel meeting and I drove us to turf. One of the newbies today was my trainee, Aggy. Aggy was a really good speaker and perfect for the job except for the fact that she was medically incapable of doing it. We got out on turf and I knocked a few doors in front of her but eventually she just couldn't take it anymore so I let her sit in the park while I continued on. Apparently she gets back and heart problems so walking around for even a short amount of time causes her serious pain and even illness. I went ahead and knocked a few more doors throughout the day and she eventually just went home. At the end of the day I was surprised that I still had no sales - I felt like I was really on my game but then that may have been the problem. I was using a lot of smiling, eye contact and excitement with the customers and, off course, too much of this tends to creep people out... I decided this was probably the case when I started talking to a lady and she just stared and backed away slowly. I went ahead and had a snack to calm me down a bit and at this point I managed to get a sale but unfortunately there just wasn't enough time left to finish strong. On the way back nobody did my paperwork so I had to stick around at the office a bit and do it myself. Back at the hostel Breadtop was closed early again so I missed out on yet another after-work treat... not the best day.
This morning I applied for my Australian drivers license and, after getting my temporary license, went to work and made three sales - two before 3p. The first was a nurse who was just happy to save a couple bucks. The next was a lady who worked from home selling party stuff and had just signed up with Alinta the week before. I impressed upon her just how much better my deal was so she cancelled Alinta to sign up with me. After a few hours of setting up appointments and getting mild responses I found a guy who was indifferent to the situation but willing to hear me out. He didn't handle the bills but, upon hearing that I could reduce his rates, he let me check his meter number and sign him up. As I finished the vero call his wife called and started yelling at him for his insubordination. He tried to call it off but I told him that it was already done to which he responded that he was actually fine with that since he was saving money. After getting back to the van Brendon gave me a giant lollypop full of little lollypops for making the first sale today.
He also gave me a six pack for being the first one to hit kpi (three sales in a day). After picking everyone up I drove us to the pub for Friday night drinks. After hearing that we might have some fun stuff in store for the nigh I called my Korean roommate William to switch shifts with him. At the pub Matt decided he had lost a bet by not making sales today so he streaked across the highway... I walked in with Danny to grab a drink while everyone else waited patiently for his return. After having a drink, some chips and some bread I finished off Jess's chips and manager Matt decided it was time for our free cocktail towers - several one meter (three feet) tall towers full of cocktail.
After consuming those most people started heading home so I caught a ride with Matt and his roommate/cousin, Nick. Since Nick couldn't drive I was nominated to drive us into the CBD. Nick's car kind of reminded me of my old Nissan - decent acceleration and low to the ground, great for drifting!
Today I woke up really late, went to the office to get my bike, and rode it to the Botanical Gardens to meet up with some mates from work.
After the meeting today I rode back to the hostel, got groceries then worked and made pancakes with Peer. After making variations of pancakes, using cheese, ham and maple syrup, we went out on the balcony with Danny to relax while waiting for a response from Roozbeh. During this time I did my laundry and eventually we ended up heading over on the bus. At Roozbeh's place we caught up a bit and played cards (spoons, dirty 7s, etc) and Peer did a magic trick he learned at "Steiner University" where he could "smell your card."
This morning at work I got to pop a balloon and won three drinks. After the channel meeting we loaded up into Jess's van and went to turf. When we arrived I walked over to a couple people, gave them some helpful advice and, in return, they gave me a coke. The first sale I got today was to a lady who was hangin out front with her friend. While I was signing her up the friend wanted to sign up too so she called her carer but the carer was already talking to a LUMO rep from my van! My second sale was a Filipino guy who had to go to work so I finished signing him up later with his brother. While walking around I ran into a TRU Energy manager who explained that his group was on a road trip to my area. They were walking my turf but he politely offered to move to a different area since there was really no sense in trying to sell the houses I had already been knocking. After a while I managed a last minute sale to a lady with three kids. She was looking for work so I gave her the number to call about working with us and pitched her the job details. Back at the hostel I called Peer over and Melonie came by for a drink as well. Next Danny joined us so we all had a couple drinks then Danny and I made hamburgers.
According to Danny Brendan's girlfriend got into a fight with Matt last night which resulted in her getting kicked out of the barbie. She was spying on our company for TRU so that they could poach Lumo reps and when she confronted Matt about this he lost it.
After eating we all headed over to Roozbeh's - we were even able to get our Korean roommate Willy to come with this time. On the way I talked the bus driver into giving us all a discounted pass for a total of $12. When we got to Roozbeh's we all had snacks and played some cards while, after just a few minutes, Willy began to fall asleep and ended up being miserable for most of the visit. At about 2a got a cab back to the city which ended up being just $20 split between the five of us!
Today I went in for manager training at 10:15a then, after the channel meeting, we all hopped in Jess's van again. On the way to turf we played a ISPY (a game where you find what's on your card and punch the person next to you) for the second day in a row. On turf I started making appointments and had a promising start but by three I still didn't have any sales (though I did have a guy with bad credit who just needed to wait until his wife got home). At 5p I finally made a sale to a young Maccas employee with plans to attend TAFE for early childhood development and another sale to a guy I had met up with at the beginning of the day named Joe. Joe is an aspiring singer/dancer who wants to get on X-factor. He wanted to get my card and talk later but I explained that I couldn't come back so, after considering that he had heard good things about Lumo on the tele, he signed up. After that I ran to the guy with the bad credit and started signing up his wife but apparently it was too late to do a manual sale so I told her I'd try and get to them tomorrow.
Today after manager training I was back to driving for my team and had to train another rookie, Connor from Ireland. Right off I made a sale in front of my trainee to a lady running a daycare who said her bill was $800. Being I was able to save her $150+ per bill I grabbed her meter number and signed her up. For my next sale Matt promised me a third balloon for making two by 2p. Unfortunately the next customer was a bad credit even though she was clearly pretty well off. The second sale ended up being to a lady who had just got back from shopping using her meter number. Finally, my third sale was with a TRU energy customer who had a debt with them and clearly needed the savings in order to pay it off. My last customer was another bad credit and my main appointment after 6p bailed as I was getting back... but I ended on three sales so "happy days".
Today after manager training I won a balloon with a $20 voucher in it. After driving my team out to turf I trained a newbie named Joanne who made four sales the day before. It was a slow start but by the end of the day I had four sales! My first customer was a young girl who had bad credit and the first sale was a guy who was late heading out to work but still signed up. The next sale took me about an hour to finally secure since the woman wasn't sure if she had recently switched but, after confirming her retailer was still Origin, we went ahead and filled out the paperwork. My third sale was a guy who owned one of the local restaurants (Noodle Box) in the mini mall where we've been stopping for lunch everyday so I told him I'd give it a try. Next I spoke to four people who were already signed up with Lumo then tried a few appointments, including one that Joanne forwarded me. Out of time I began to head back but stopped at an appointment from the start of the day. He wasn't home but as I turned to leave he and his girlfriend showed up and I sold them almost instantly - turns out his girlfriend was actually a happy customer of ours before and just hadn't gotten around to switching over in their new place. The guy was in the Aussie army and explained that he was kind of jealous of US forces and the respect they get back home - apparently Aussies don't really get as much appreciation for serving their country. After finishing up I ran back to the van and we went picking everyone up. It was pretty late but we still had to drop off something that one of the newbies had forgotten, pick up a walksheet that our manager Brandon had forgotten at a customers house, and stop for petrol (gas). I ended up being late for work at the hostel.
Today we came in early since the channel didn't meet expectations yesterday. We also left early and were out on turf at 11a. With the extra hour we were expected to meet a target early and I expected to meet KPI today for my bonus. It looked like I would easily pull it off before long at all and my second door was a sure thing.. until I did the credit check. Many of the first people I talked to wanted to sign up but couldn't because they had bad credit. After a while it was just ridiculous - I should have had eight sales easy but all were bad credits. I finally made one with a customer who initially stated she wasn't going to do anything with her power. After I explained the savings she went ahead with it and, unlike all her neighbors, she actually had good credit. After signing her up I continued on looking for just two more. I got a few more bad credits - note that they all had to be convinced to go ahead with the offer before I could even find this out... Finally I had one appointment that seemed like a sure thing and after getting another one who wanted me to come back in 15 minutes to finish up I went back to her. Unfortunately she wasn't answering the door when I got back so I had to run back and finish on two. My second sale was with a guy who needed a job so I gave him the number for an interview with us.
Back at the office we all got on costumes for the awards night (my team was cowboys and indians) and headed over to the usual pub. Before heading over Matt had some contacts that make your eyes look interesting and after failing to put them in even with my help he let me put one on my own eye.
At the pub we took some photos and did awards then I quickly pulled out the contact because it was starting to make me want to tear my eyes out of their sockets. We eventually headed out with me following and, to Matt's surprise, keeping up on my push bike. We got some Yiros (Giros) then everybody just started doing their own thing so I went to another place with Jason from work and ran into Peer. Eventually I decided it was time to redeem my hotel stay that I won a few weeks ago.
It was a pretty impressive place (almost five stars) so I got into it. I soaked in the tub a bit then grabbed a robe out of the closet and layed out on the giant queen sized bed. At about 3a Matt called to inform me that a bunch of them were coming to check out the room. At about 3:30a they showed up and started drinking the minibar. Meanwhile my disconnected toenail became the focus of the room as Harry, who studied medicine, explained that I should remove it. Matt pulled out a pedicure kit (that he carries around with him for some reason) and trimmed the nail away for me in one full sized chunk. At this point everyone was fairly grossed out and pretty much decided they were ready to leave.
Today I woke up at 8a and went to work at the hostel. At 11a my first shift of the day ended and I took a nap. Around noon I made pancakes and got some rim tape for the new tyres I still need to put on my push bike. At 2p I started my final shift and at 4:30p I found out I was going to a wedding in 45 min so I got groceries, finished my laundry, took a shower, ironed my shirt and packed some stuff for the night. After Pillar picked me up I finished putting on my belt and combing my hair in the car. At the meeting hall I did a quick shave and we all ate.
After the meeting today I went with Pillar and others to a home meeting where we made dumplings from scratch. Following the meal we also had some fondu with fruit (apples/strawberries/bananas) and a chocolate fountain. Pillar then took me to my hostel and, after I did some hostel work, Yannick and Peer showed up to go to Roozbeh's for Peer's last night in Australia. Willy came again and at Roozbeh's we had some drinks, chips/yogurt and started playing cards. I ordered a Dominoes pizza with garlic bread and we played a game of Kings Cup. After a while William left and soon we ran out of snacks and drinks so the rest of us headed out as well.
Today we went back to Daveron Park and I made three sales. The first sale was to some teenagers living on the dole and the final sale was with a guy named Travis. Travis was really into cars and wanted to check out Vegas so I told him about the Fremont Experience and, after I finished signing him up, checked out his caddy. Back in the city I rode my bike to the Rosemount bar for a few drinks with the team in honor of Dermot leaving SA for Sydney, NSW. I bought Amie a drink since she wanted one and I owed her for some food she bought me a while back. After some stories from Matt and Dermot's mischievous adventures in Thailand I ended up giving Dermot my bandana to cover his face because he couldn't stop sneezing.
Today I won a box of NoDoz from a balloon and we headed out. On turf I started making sales right off and by 2p I had three sales - it was so easy that I almost had to beat the customers off with a stick! Each sale was a simple conversation about rates and saving then straight to the paperwork. The first guy was a pensioner who had just got off the phone with AGL and was frustrated that they wouldn't help him. He had plans to go fishing on ANZAC day and just wanted to get this taken care of so, of course, I obliged. The next few were more pensioners who just wanted to save a bit on their electricity as well. Most didn't require much convincing at all, I just told them about the reduction and asked for a place to lean while I filled out a couple peices of paper, simple as that! At 5p I was on five sales and had plans to double that score during game time but after a couple bad credits and a few uneventful appointments I was still on five. Still an awesome day and a great score to end on before the day off - eight sales in two days! Back at the hostel I did a couple hours work then headed out to the cinema with an Irish lad named Stephen to see the midnight showing of The Avengers. It was $20/ticket (standard in Australia) and cost us $20 in buses and taxis but totally worth it! After the movie we walked back about four kilometers through a park and down Rundle Mall so we wouldn't have to pay for a taxi again - got back at 4a.
Today I popped two balloons for Tuesday's two by 3p and one of being in the first eight. I won a $3 scratchy and a $50 voucher! After driving to turf I worked with a trainee named Mike. Mike has been involved in fundraising for charity before so he had some experience in sales. After knocking a few doors with him I made my first sale to an independent artist. Somebody left thousands of dollars of painting stuff to her one day including some unfinished work for her to complete. Since she has done hundreds of paintings and sold most all of them for profit. My next sale was also before three - I had pitched a guy who was fully into the product but just not willing to sign for it but fortunately his neighbor, who had been eavesdropping a bit, had actually heard of Lumo before and wanted to sign up. My next two sales were neighbors and both were on payment plans yet had good credit and brought me up to four sales by 5p. The rest of the time I mainly ran into people who weren't concerned with saving money on electricity - one guy even told me that he made plenty of money and didn't mind paying higher rates but thanked me anyways. After my appointments I went back to the van and ran into the newbies, Mike and Richard. Both had a sale each which reflects well on Brendon and myself as trainers. I ended up running over to the take away shop and getting a $4 burger and heaps of delicious chips (french fries) for $3.50 - enough to share with the whole van. Back at the hostel I did a quick detail shift then ate while watching Blade with Danny and others from the hostel.
Today I popped a balloon with a free load of laundry but since I get free laundry at my hostel I gave it to someone else. Out on our new turf for the day I was training Mike again and the third house we went to had a gate that took some work to get through and then another gate after that. Mike insisted that we should just move on but I just told him how much easier this was compared to hopping the fence. Our efforts proved worthwhile as the guy inside was totally into the idea of signing his mom up for the reduced rates. After that, Mike headed out onto his turf and I continued on for another few hours. It wasn't till 4p that I got my next sale and only because a girl was in a cooldown with AGL and only after we called in to make sure she was able to cancel with them. It took about 45 minutes explaining everything in detail to get her to cancel with AGL then another 15 minutes to get her through the signup but, in the end, she was more than sold on the offer. After a bit I realized that the turf had a lot of tense people so I focused a bit on deference and got a couple better responses. Though, I found that this got me caught up talking to people who weren't actually in any position to sign up but rather just enjoyed the conversation. This wouldn't usually bother me but since I was running out of time to get my third sale (entitling me to a $200 bonus for the week) it was a bit stressful. At the end I was on two, one sale short of my bonus - for the second week in a row! What's really something is that this time I did it with four days instead of five! If only they didn't move us to completely different turf on both Fridays I surely would have made the bonus...
Today I got a smart phone (Alcatel OT-990) - it has internet, GPS, Skype and lots of other stuff. After returning to the hostel I played around with my new tech for a few hours then went to David's. When I arrived David pulled out a letter for me which contained my new drivers license!
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Today Pillar showed me around Brisbane. We paid $5.20 and took the bus to UQ (University of Queensland), QUT (Queensland University of Technology), Southbank, and a couple other sites.
After walking around all day we took the bus back which was $6.20 this time... Brisbane buses are expensive and they don't give student discounts. Back at Pillar's parents' place we had dinner and headed out to the airport.
Monday, April 9, 2012
We also saw Dingoes, Camels, Giraffes, a Rhino, some Zebras and a guy taking his pet Cheetah for a walk.
Throughout the day we saw three shows - a Croc show (performed in part by Steve Irwin's family), an Elephant show and a Tiger show. Aside from Crocodiles, the Croc show also had birds flying through the stadium and bird based performances. The elephant show consisted of elephants being bathed and fed while a guide lectured on various aspects of the Elephants' lives. Finally, the Tiger show was a demonstration of the Tigers' training regimen.
Sunday, April 8, 2012
Today I spent all day getting ready for Brisbane off and on. At 6:45p I caught a bus to the airport and when I got there I started into my Australia book again. As usual it just so happened that I picked up reading right where the author is going to the same place as me. I read about Brisbane and Queensland in general then got on the plane to Brisbane. A couple hours later I got off the plane and met up with Mindy and Warrick from the church. They took me back to their place and gave me an assortment of things to eat before bed.
Today I had brekky with Mindy and Warrick then we went to Warwick. After the couple hours drive we met up with the others then I went with Pillar and Troy to Leslie Dam. On the way Pillar and Troy got lost so the American had to step in with a working GPS to guide the Aussies through the outback. Finally we arrived at the dam and took some pictures but had to hurry since the others had lunch ready and were waiting for us.
I tried to climb up a rock but this time I wasn't so successful as I usually am. I scraped my leg and hurt my ankle but still managed to climb up on the rock.
Back at the house we had sausages, rice, salad, watermellon, buttery desserts and banana bread.
After lunch we went out and played with remote control airplanes then I tried cracking a bull whip. To our amazement it cracked three times in one go as I cracked it with my gangly arms.
Next we went over to Kangaroo Point for a view of the city over the river.
Back at the house I found on Facebook that my nephew Beau Joseph Leon had just been born on Friday!
Friday, April 6, 2012
Today I went to Victor Harbour and Port Elliot with a few friends from the meetings.
After about an hour we arrived and walked out across the causeway to a little area with a Penguin Center and lookout. We stopped under a tree and I climbed up for a better view.
Next we climbed up a cliff and got an even better view only to find that there was actually stairs around the bend...
After taking a few pics we headed back during which time I managed to lose my Lord of the Rings hat to the ocean due to the ridiculous winds going over the causeway.
Back in the main park we had some rice, chicken and delicious spring rolls. After that I was still hungry so I had a Bratwurst with Sauerkraut. Finally we headed out to Port Elliot and played soccer overlooking huge waves coming in from the open ocean. Back in the city the hostel put on a barbecue so I had a few snags (hot dogs) with onion and sliced peppers.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Today I spoke with Roozbeh about signing him up with Lumo and at work an Aussie coworker gushed over my accent a bit reminding me that I do actually have one here. Before we left the office today Matt offered a reward for first sale so at 11:30a (a half hour before we even go to turf) I texted in my sale to Roozbeh as the "first sale of the day."
Matt was completely dumbfounded but excited that I had gotten a sale so early. As the day continued I went on to make my personal best of four sales which, including my odd sale from earlier, put me at five sales. On the way back my manager bought me a six pack for having such a crazy good day and I let my teammates have a few while I filled out the tons of paperwork from all my sales. Today was a good day.. apparently someone else did even better though - one of the new reps walked up to a house and said, "hi I'm from Lumo" to which the customer said, "I've heard of you and would like to sign up, come in."
As if that wasn't good enough the guy asked about signing up some other properties and the reps trainer says, "..well, how many other properties do you have?"
The guy responded with 38 other properties... that's one heck of a bonus.
Today we got put on bogan turf... I was pretty excited because I figured they would be the kind of people looking to save a couple bucks. Right off I discovered that these weren't just any bogans - these were the most feral yet snobby bogans that one could ever have the misfortune of attempting to sell to. Most either slammed the door in my face or refused to talk about the reduction. One guy showed me his bill but then as I was getting ready for the vero call he brought up concerns on his unpaid bill. I told him he would be fine as long as he paid it but he wanted it in writing that his service wouldn't be interfered with by the transfer to my company. I explained that he would still need to pay off his overdue bill to keep service to his property but this just pissed him off. He told me that he had a mental condition and that I had better just leave.
I also got a guy who looked funny through the screen door and after a sec I realized he was naked. He got up, put on some boxers and came to the door to tell me to leave... I wasn't the only one dealing with ridiculous people today - Danny was just walking down the street and a random guy just ran up and punched him in the face. He now has a painful shiner that will probably be black in the morning.
It was definitely not a very hospitable place to be; many of the houses were boarded up and the foot paths (sidewalks) even had dead animals on them.
Nobody was making sales today and to add to this unpleasant condition it started to rain. The thunder we had been hearing all day finally stopped threatening and so with flashes across the sky and rain of varying intensity I tried my best to duck from house to house after finishing on one sale for the day.
Back at my hostel I dried off and worked for a bit while Danny made us some eggs and bacon.
Today we started a bracketed competition for a trophy with $100 in it. Danny and I were matched up and at the end of the day we tied 2-2 so we'll have to go again tomorrow - at least we both qualify for manager training tomorrow. Today was another rough day - nobody was even remotely interested all day but in the last half hour I got two sales to a couple easy going types tucked back in a cul de sac. Today Danny and I tied again - Danny made two sales AFTER 6p... both were lucky last minute sales. Back at the office Danny grabbed my grocery list so that I could go work at the hostel while he got all the stuff - pays to have a work mate as a hostel mate!
Today I went to work early for the manager training and out on turf Danny and I competed again. With one sale by 2p I was on track for a great day but it wasn't till 5:30p that I got another and then it was too late to do any more. Everyone screamed as I announced my two sales since that meant Danny had won with three sales. We all had a couple drinks on the way back and at the hostel a girl named Delphin gave me some pasta before my shift. I was still pretty hungry during my shift but fortunately the bar tender had a couple platters of satay and spring rolls that hadn't sold so he let everyone have a go at them.
Today was St Patties day and I am in a hostel FULL of Irish. After working at the hostel this morning I went to Bread Top with Payer the German and got some of the most delicious bread in the world! I've decided to stop there after work everyday from now on. At this point we ran into Ricky, who we hadn't seen for days. Turns out his late night partying and drinking, as well as sleep deprivation, resulted in a heart attack. Unfortunately for Ricky this means no drinking today or any other day ever again.
After a few drinks with the guys on the balcony I headed over to James' for his party. There I met some nice people and ate some great food. One of James' friends, Marty told me about his travels in New Guinea where he noticed people would just disappear due to being killed in tribal vengeance or beaten to death by overzealous kung fu fans. Oh, and crocs almost ate him alive. Marty offered to set me up with a cool woofing experience living in a yurt with a beautiful view and picking grapes and gave me his email.
After a while I decided to head back and meet up with Danny at the hostel. When I got back Danny was waiting for me in order to go to the Irish pub. On the way to the pub I decided to pull out some cash and noticed that my second deposit had gone through - I now have over $1000 in my account.
At the pub Danny couldn't get in because he didn't have valid identification so we went back to the hostel and had a few drinks there as some of our coworkers showed up.
Today I worked for the hostel for 2.5 hours then went back to bed and crashed. Unfortunately I still had another shift and they had to come interrupt my rest for another 1.5 hours.
Today was no good for sales. When you show someone lower rates and they say no because they think it's going to be more expensive... you just can't win. After ending my day with no sales (six sales total for our five reps) we all hung our heads in shame and headed back to the office. It was a good time for a couple drinks but as Danny reached to grab them from the boot his facial expression shifted. He handed me a boiling hot drink and looked at me helplessly. I decided to drink it anyway and Danny followed along as to not have his Irishness questioned even though he strongly disagreed with the situation. Back at the office we headed over to the pub and I ordered some chips. After eating mine I finished off Emily's Parmy then went to Coles with Danny for groceries.
Today was great for sales. We were put back on our turf from Friday and I enjoyed two sales before 3p and another one by 5:30p. After making my sales I met a rep from a competitor, Simply Energy. He was from Ontario, Canada and eager to talk to me about the differences between our companies. He assured me that he wasn't poaching but later I found out that everything he said was likely just that. After picking everyone up Craig handed back a couple Longneck (750ml) bottles of Coopers which we thoroughly enjoyed on the way back. Back at the office we all went down to the pub where a couple of our team bought chips and shared. Amy bought more chips for me and Danny then a Parmy for Danny which he didn't really want so I ate most of it. After enjoying the abundant food supply we went to Amy's and played Call of Duty for a couple hours.
This morning I got to pop a balloon for making my two sales by 3p and won a free night in a 5-star hotel. This is definitely one of the better prizes. Later I trained another rep when we got to turf and had him feeling pretty good about talking to people. After he went off on his own I continued on my way making appointments and feeling pretty confident but at the end of the day I only managed to make two sales. One guy bought only after I went over all the numbers with him for about a half hour so that probably didn't help. The other sale was to a previous customer's mom and we had to drive all the way out to her place to make it happen. After work I spoke with a friend who decided to start his own channel with TRU - he wanted me to join but I explained that I wasn't comfortable with such an unethical move. On the way back to the hostel I enjoyed some Breadtop and made cheesy egg/bacon crepes with Danny.
Today we got some new reps and I was put in charge of training a guy named Matt. Matt was completely nervous and incapable of talking to the customers so I told him to just use repetition until he got the hang of it. Throughout the day I had a couple interesting sales and no-sales. My first customer wanted to buy but backed out of the credit check because she didn't want it to effect her business. Apparently having your credit checked actually damages it... strange. Another customer was not going to sign at the door but I talked her into doing it anyways. My second sale was a guy who had just switched to origin but I sold him on our year-long consistent rates. He actually had some information for me on a job that pays $30/hour just 20 min from my hostel so I got that off him. My last sale was a guy who successfully moved from Liverpool to work at the mines. After knocking a few more houses and checking in at my appointments I met up with my trainee and we waited for half an hour to get picked up. I still stopped at Breadtop on the way back to the hostel where I found that I had burned through another adapter. Fortunately I still have one more left that works. While folding linen with my roommate and hostel coworker, Raphael (from France) he told me about his experience picking fruit and explained that my current job is definitely an impressive start for a backpacker (picking fruit can be pretty gruesome). After linen I did the dishes then made egg, cheese and bacon sandwiches with Danny. Finally, we both got a drink and hung out in the lounge for the rest of the night. Oh, and got my third paycheck today - up to $1473.23 now!
Today I made three sales and could have easily made more but some random guy came out and talked to me for about a half hour. He was nice and had some interesting stories about going to court and his friend being the judge but I could have made more sales had we not chatted for so long. Back at the hostel I had another Breadtop snack and headed over to the Grace Emily to meet up with Danielle and Aaron. Aaron is heading out next week to America to backpack for a few weeks.
Back at the hostel the French guy, Raphael was wearing my shorts. He asked to trade for them and offered me some Billabong shorts in exchange. I was so confused but just went along with it anyways. I figured it was worth the trade since I didn't really care about the shorts and it obviously made him very happy. After working at the hostel I finished early and met a guy from Zimbabwe. He told me about his job as a physical therapist and how he had just moved on from working for a complete jerk during his visa probation period. Now that he is working for real money he has come to a philosophical crossroads. Where he comes from putting food on the table was the main goal but now that he is prosperous his ambitions are becoming something more than he or his family back home had ever previously dreamed of. This inevitably brought us to the discussion of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs; an interesting psychological system outlining what most people seek as they achieve higher levels of social and economic success. In the end we went inside and met a guy who broke his hand while punching a wall... or as he put it "a wall ran into my fist."
Today I worked 2.5 hours for the hostel, took a break, then worked for another three hours. During this time I folded linen while watching TV in the lounge and Danny made us lunch. At the end of my shift I grabbed my push bike and headed over to babysit Cruz so David and Zsusha could go to the movies. As it turned out Zsusha was tired so, after a glass of wine and a tasty lasagna dinner, David and I went to see Margin Call - a dramatization of the GFC (global financial crisis). After the movie we got a couple Storms (Hungry Jack's version of the Blizzard) and headed back.
Today I woke up late, ironed my shirt and went to the meeting hall. Afterward we ate at Copi diom and I went back to the hostel for a bit before heading to Mawsom Lakes via the train for tea at Pillar's place.
Today at work I sold to a guy who has a three month road trip planned for Queensland up to the northern tip. He built a custom off road vehicle with a bed, shower, storage, etc. His plan is to take the most hardcore roads all the way up. After that I spent the next few hours talking to a few people who wanted me to come back the next day and one lady who had me spend a half hour talking to Lumo so I could get her the correct discount because she was too old to figure it out. I didn't have to do this but I got her from 5% up to a 15% discount so it was worth it. After that I was able to make one more sale with an Alinta customer who wasn't in a contract. Back at the office we all went for some pub grub and Matt took Danny and I to the side. He wanted to talk to us and make sure we weren't being tricked into being poached. I assured him that I was not interested in switching companies because that would be risky and unethical.
Today I shot at people with a Nerf gun all morning. On turf I was dropped off in a rich neighborhood where everyone had "Do Not Knock" stickers. The people I did talk to were a bit snobby and wouldn't listen. At 5:30p I was still on no sales but managed to get a double property and even came close to a third sale after that. Unfortunately vero was closed and I forgot that I could do the sale manually...
Today I got eight bills and only one sale. It was a more pleasant day than usual but still disappointing. Danny made eggs and bacon again while I was working tonight and after I had cookies and milk with the Korean guy, William.
At the office today I was sleeping in a bean bag until the last possible second. Out on turf it was another day of trying to convince people that "I'm not like the 10 reps that came before me" but I still managed two sales. One to a guy who was just easy going as can be and another to an old guy who was not sure what was going on but liked the sound of it. He was a real nice, oddly fun old guy and I was glad when I figured out I could actually help him out. He had been with us before so I was just switching him back and making sure he was actually benefiting (it was close because he was with simply but I made it work in his favor). I signed him up, checked that he wasn't getting any termination fees, got his rates and wrote down steps he could take to save a little more with our company. After that sale I tried an appointment where I had already explained on the bill where they could save heaps. The husband was home this time but he just wasn't interested in hearing me out so I had to end my day on two sales.
Today was rough. I got put in a hilly, ultra rich neighborhood full of snobs who wouldn't even open the door. I'd knock and they'd yell through the door, "not interested, go away."
It was a beautiful place though, great landscaping and surrounded by big hills rising above it all.
On the way back I was again told to keep quiet by my manager. As disappointing as it is to not to make sales all day - being talked down to by an arrogant teenager is just awkward. No big deal though, I didn't really feel like talking anyways. Back at the hostel I did a couple hours cleaning and went to sleep.
After working in the hostel this morning I went to the office to meet up with the others for go-carting. After passing a football, playing a game of ping pong, and some target practice with the Nerf guns we all headed to the go-cart facility. On the way Matt had a couple beers and started messing with people on the street. At first he waited until we stopped at each light and yelled to people that they "dropped their pocket" which resulted in them looking for their pockets on the ground while gripping their pocket. After a while he decided he was bored of this (after tricking about six or seven total strangers) and pulled out a bottle of water. He proceeded to squirt Jess with it then at a light got out, went back to the other van, sprayed everyone in the car and their windscreen (windshield). He then pulled out their windscreen wipers and ran back leaving the other van in a ridiculous state with the wipers waving awkwardly away from the windscreen. At the go-cart place we started off with a bit of laser tag during which I had my laser covered with my finger the whole time and couldn't defend myself. Next we waited as a group of kids raced with a few Alinta reps we had run into earlier. After a while it was our turn so we all hopped into our go carts. I found myself spinning out and at one point Matt came around a corner and T-boned me at full speed. He got his share of bad luck though as he got stuck twice throughout the race. It took some getting used to because these go carts had such a tendency to drift but eventually I was cutting corners and accelerating just like home. At the end I was neck and neck with another guy from the office so as we approached the final turn I eased in front of him unintentionally causing him to crash straight into the barrier. After go carts we went to the pub and played some pool then Amy took Danny and me back to the hostel. There I grabbed some stuff and headed over to Davids.
Today I woke up an hour early due to daylight savings. I went to the meeting hall and afterward worked at the hostel. After work I met a couple, Lars and Samantha from Canada. Lars has been working in Freemantle as a TA (tradesman assistant) making $1500 a week. Some cleaner friends of his got him in through a job agency and he got himself transferred over to the workshop to try his luck as a TA. He found it was very simple factory work with just a little welding patch work here and there. I also met an Aussie who works in a zoo and after a bit they all headed out so I finished my laundry and had a drink with Raphael. Out on the balcony we met up with our Russian roommate, Igor who has been learning English in Australia for the last six months. We all went in to make some pasta, rice and eggs then back out for another drink.
Today I realized why my sales were failing - I've been too imposing. Here in Australia overconfidence is frowned upon and humility is rewarded. They even have a name for this phenomenon - tall poppy syndrome. If you become too arrogant then you become the "tall poppy" and your mates will have to cut you down to size. For example, you don't want to say "I was great" but rather "I did okay."
After seeing that rookies were doing better than the experienced reps a lot of us tried figuring out what we were doing wrong.. I decided to figure out what the rookies were doing right. All I could think was how modest and humbled they were at the door of a customer.. so I pretended to be nervous and awkward at the door. This is actually pretty easy considering that most people make you feel uncomfortable at their door anyways. In short, it worked. I made two sales to people who otherwise might not have even spoken to me. Others who would usually slam the door heard me out and tomorrow I hope to get back to meeting the KPI (key performance indicator).
The German guy, Peer (Payer) came back today while I was watching Batman in the lounge. He had a good time in Melbourne selling Aussie food but still has no money because he spent it all. Apparently this overspending is a habit that he has developed in Oz. In three weeks Peer is going back to Germany - a full 5 months before his visa runs out. He says that he is tired of struggling to get by and referred me to a point when he actually slept in a train station for two and a half weeks because he didn't have any money.
While we were out on the balcony I met a guy named Jimmy from Nepal. He's a hairdresser and, after traveling to India for five years, he came to Australia and lived in a place called Newtown (just outside of Sydney) for five years. Jimmy is finishing the qualifications for being a hairdresser here in Australia so that he can continue traveling the world with more "universal" qualifications. According to Jimmy the royal family in Nepal was murdered and now some "Maurois" (terrorists) are dictating his country. He says they kill innocent people who speak out and that he almost became a statistic himself.
Today I made four sales using my new technique. After getting dropped off I sold to the first person I spoke with and the second person I spoke to ended up buying from me later in the day. The third person I sold to was a guy who had switched four times already just trying to get a better deal on his power. After I told him about the price cap and offer to match/beat any deal, he was sold. The last person I sold to didn't need any convincing - she had just gotten an $80 bill from AGL for one month of power. She literally asked me to give her something to sign before I even got halfway through my pitch.
After my usual Breadtop fix I went to work at the hostel and, while cleaning a couple rooms, I met some Swiss fellas. We talked about life back in Switzerland - the expansive middle class and the secret missile facilities in the Swiss mountains. Definitely an interesting place.
Today I won two balloons for making one of the first sales and two before 3p yesterday. After prizes we went to turf and I was assigned a trainee - Melanie from Northern Ireland. Vero was down all day so I had to do manual sales for the first two sales. I made a sale in front of her with a guy and then that guy took us to his dads house across town so I could sell to him as well. The old guy was something else - totally eccentric, Hungarian and loved touching... I had a good laugh as the old guy flirted with Melanie on more than one occasion. He was also very interested in English grammar and insisted on trying to teach us even though he obviously struggled a bit himself. He called Melanie's English "double dutch" and mine American - which, of course, I couldn't disagree with. After the sale he gave Melanie a bunch of books for learning English grammar and we walked back to turf. I made one more sale with Melanie to a WOW addict and gave her that one then continued walking turf. After a couple doors I had to let her go on her own so I could get my third sale in since it was already 5:30p. I managed one last second sale and ended up going over the info with the customer until 6:40p.
Today I made two sales. The first one was a bad credit, but after that I made two in front of Melanie then sent her out on her own. At this point I had one more sale that flopped due to conditions out of my control and, after being rejected for the remainder of the day, had to move to appointments. Nobody there was willing to sign either so I ended up on two sales for the day. After the day was over we headed back to the office, changed my shirt, and started on the free drinks that were being provided for awards night. We continued at Brunswick bar with a tab of over a few hundred dollars then awards were given out. Kiwi (Jessie) and Amie were honored for being the dude/dudette of the office and a couple others got best manager and stuff. After awards Yannick showed up to say hi, we jumped into a van with drunken driver Matt and he took us to PJs. On the way Matt passed around a bottle of Jeiger and at PJs everyone had a couple drinks then I headed back to the hostel with Yannick.