More mail about Kirby Vacuum sales. You may wish to read the Introduction to Kirby sales, and Kirby Mail.
I just wanted to drop you a line about Kirby. Please put this on your wonderful site.
I worked for Kirby in late 2001 after getting laid off from a great job working for the newspaper after 9/11. I was looking for any job, and if you remember how unstable the job market was after 9/11, I was happy to find anything.
I answered an ad in the paper (the same paper I had been laid off from) for 100 people needed immediately, great benefits, great base pay. I called for the phone “interview” and was told to show up a warehouse the next day. I showed up and was offered a sales job without the interviewer even asking my name; and told to show up the next day for training. When I showed up the next day, I found out I was going to be working for Kirby.
The training consisted of 3 hours of someone showing how to do the demonstration. At that point I was told to come in the next day and to wear a tie. When I showed up the next day, I meet the rest of the sales team, and we sung the Kirby song (a direct rip off of the Tupperware sales song). And listened to the stories of the salesmen who had sold Kirby’s the day before.
Then I was to ride along with one of the experienced sales people, to see how they do it. Strangely enough, we never got into a single house to even do a demonstration.
The next day I was given my own Kirby, and a list of “appointments” to go do demonstrations. I was amazed that I was able to sell the first one on my first demo to some hung over guy. I think it ended up selling for $600, their old vacuum, and a list of about 20 “referrals” of friends and family.
The way that the payment works is if you sell for under $1000, you get $50, and if you sell for $1000 or more, you get everything over $1000. So if you sold one for $1250, you would get $250. If you had to toss in a extra bottle of shampoo to closer the deal, the cost of the shampoo would come out of your profit (and at no discount).
You don’t get paid to do the demo, you just tell people that you get the $25 so that they don’t think that you will be high pressuring them. When you were not on a demo, you would walk around door to door, and sign people up for a drawing for either a free vacation, or a free carpet cleaning. I think the Kirby company gave out one vacation a year, and somehow everyone “won” the free carpet cleaning. I hated going on the prize winning demos, imagine going from thinking that you won something to then being pressured to buy something. Most of those ended up with me being thrown out of the persons home.
One of the weird things I learned about Kirby is that the people that can afford a Kirby, won’t buy, and the people that can’t afford it (but have OK credit) would buy these things.
I hated the phone call to the boss. I would call the boss, and he would make me say horrible things to the customers, like “Don’t you think I deserve to get paid for my time”. We could never call him and say that they couldn’t afford it.
The vacuums that we would get as trade ins would be cleaned up and resold to local vacuum shops. I did very well from a sales standpoint, but I was getting screwed when it came time for my paycheck. I left the company when my boss told me that financing fell through on a sale to a family friend, when I know that they still have it to this day.
If you have any questions please ask. And don’t print my name.
Dr. Irving Jordan (not his real name)
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June 27th, 2006.