Triumph of the Salesman

So we were told the numbers for our current campaign and it turns out I’m the number two guy… in North America.

Who loves ya, baby?

Don’t ask me how.

There is an Arts Marketing branch dealing with theater in nearly forty major cities in Canada and the US.  And, God knows how, but out of three possible categories, I was number two in two of them for this week of the campaign.

Again, don’t ask me how.

I’m currently reading I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett, the last of the Tiffany Aching books.  In it she points out something about magic that I think is applicable.  She knows magic works, but doesn’t know why it works the way it does.  If she tried to figure out the why, it would stop working.

That’s how I feel about my current situation.  I’ve been called in to talk about what I think it is that has kept me on the top of the board for two months straight, and my honest answer has had to be this: I Don’t Give A Crap.

Seriously.  I don’t.  I don’t care about sales.  When I’m talking to someone on the phone I’m interested in talking about theater.  Get them interested in the shows I’ve seen and the shows I want to see.

If they want to get tickets from me great, but I feel just as good if I hear they already bought tickets or if they’re definitely going to see some shows because of what I said, but not enough to warrant one of our packages.  I’ve talked people out of more expensive options when I discovered something cheaper that would suit them.  And those who really can’t afford any kind of package, but still love theater I remind them about things like the Student Rush tickets that are sold just before the show begins (first come first serve half hour before the show).

Really the only time I think about sales as sales at all is when it comes to people who were interested in the season, told me to call back, and then are never there when I do so.  I have one woman I’ve been playing phone-tag with for the better part of a month.  Every once in a while I get through, but she’s in some new inconvenient location (restaurant, museum, airport) and I have to schedule another call back.

Another woman – a friend of a subscriber – was supposed to get tickets and I was going to help make sure they sat together.  It was hard enough to reach her, and once I finally did she either brushed me off (I can’t talk now – click) or blew into the microphone and hung up.

Geeze.  That was new.  It also bugged the hell out of me for days.  I had to go back to the first subscriber and find out what her friend’s deal was before I even considered calling her back.  It worked out in the end, but stuff like that bums me out.

It also reminds me that, no matter how much I want to simply talk theater and help out, there are always going to be people I piss off just by calling them.