How to Spontaneously Combust in Front of 70,000 People

A helpful guide from an awkward idiot

J.J. Pryor

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Two microphones hanging in front of a black background
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

I’ve been told I’m a terrific salesperson. The thing is, I really shouldn’t be. I’ve certainly never felt like one. If the god of sales is Alec Baldwin’s Glengarry Glen Ross, I ought to be his brother Stephen in a poor telenovela imitation.

I can be awkward. I can be overly direct. I can be expressionless in the most emotional of times. I’m usually honest to the point of wondering why the term TMI isn’t spelled JJP.

But for some reason, I can sell. And I have my autopilot to thank for that.

My second sales job was at this odd little startup company in Taiwan. Their main product was these paradoxically cute home security cameras. The odd role came with an insanely cool perk — I got to fly all around the world to tech shows featuring our adorably disturbing merchandise.

The position involved late-night international phone calls, occasionally posing as a Dutchman (don’t ask), and knowing every single aspect of the cameras inside and out.

Being the awkward individual that I’m prone to be — I completely memorized a 3-minute sales pitch to physically show customers how the funky little devices worked.

I memorized and repeated it so much that I could spout it off to anyone at any given time, without deviating from a single point or feature. I was on autopilot mode at the click of an internal button.

Perfected pitches meant no unexpected hitches — or so I thought at the time.

It’s the winter of 2013. We fly in from Taiwan to Honolulu for a 12-hour layover. We take the bus to the beach. A hopeful gruff stranger in a trenchcoat loudly asks my coworker if he’d enjoy some fellatio. He politely declines.

There’s a reason my coworker is called Handsome Jack.

We later find ourselves on a rich stranger’s yacht drinking beer until the flight to the mainland. The stranger does not offer us fellatio. I find Honolulu and my decision-making stranger than I expect.

We land in Vegas the next morning where I make three discoveries:

  1. A sun-drenched desert can still be freezing cold.

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J.J. Pryor

3.01 Mil reads | Ex-pat | Ex-Head Product | Ex-cuse Me | PB&T creator | Top 100 Writer | jjpryor.substack.com