Selling Meat

Promised more on this one...

Once upon a time, I sold meat off the back of a small pick-up truck. Yep. Not a whole lot of people know about this one - until now of course.

It was an attempt to change up my career back in the early days. I had been working as a waste hauling sales rep and, though the work was okay, I had little respect, if any, for my manager. And the work was not overly fulfilling as a result. Not a good fit.  So I struck out into the world of meat peddling. High-end stuff! 

The original idea looked good as I rode with a “seasoned’ rep who ran his route, delivering frozen filets and assorted meats to enthusiastic and expectant customers.  It looked like a good gig:  you’re your own boss, you go home when you’re done, you earn commissions on results, you ride around and meet lots of different people, and you get to wear jeans and a t-shirt – no more suit and tie! 

I even hit pay-dirt in town a week or so in, having hit upon an Electrolux dealer/owner who offered to buy out all the meat on my truck if I would deliver it to her mom in Perry County.  Uhhh…Yes! Setting records my first week! Nice start.

Yet, I didn’t feel right about my pitch and process – hitting up unknowing retailers to try to offload the “extra” supplies I had.

It happened a few days later. I walked into a jewelry store. The owner went ballistic on me once I started my pitch. And I went ballistic right back at him, defending my role and approach. He was wrong in the way he treated me and backed down a bit. I left.

Yet a day or two later, while pitching retailers in a nearby town, I hit the low point, coming to grips with the reality of my altercation with the jewelry store owner. He might have been wrong in his attitude toward me, but I felt deep-down that he was right as well. I was interrupting his business (though I’d always wait to be sure customers were taken care of), but I was there, in his business, with no intention of buying and every intention of selling. Once I fully grasped what I already felt, I stopped at a payphone – yes, this was a few years ago – and called my wife and said, “I cannot do this anymore.  I’m coming home.” She knew. 

If you sell or sold meat off the back of a truck at one point, you may have made it work in a good way, much like my “seasoned” trainer did. It just wasn’t for me. Didn’t feel right and certainly didn’t leave me fulfilled.

It’s important to have some passion for your role and to feel good about what you do and why you do it. It matters that you leverage your strengths in the process as you’ll find it easier and certainly more enjoyable and fulfilling. 

A few weeks later I found my next career and stayed 15 years in the printing industry with a great team, excellent owner support, and an opportunity to truly serve clients.  It was a great ride that offered me the experiences, relationships, and opportunities that led me to coaching and training – the best, most fulfilling and energizing role I’ve had to date.

And yet…I sure learned a lot by selling meat off the back of a pick-up truck.