By Peter Schwartz
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Being a salesperson is not an easy job.
Your job and, in many cases, your salary hinges on convincing somebody to buy your product. It takes someone with a special skill set to do this, and the best of them can sell ice to an Eskimo in the winter.
It’s a job that’s not for everyone. I once sold tires at a retail store and absolutely hated it. It was the worst job that I ever had Now my dad, may he rest in peace, was a great salesperson. He had a wonderful personality and always believed in what he was selling.
If he were alive today, he would have laughed about a phone call that I received last week.
Actually, it wasn’t intended for me, but for someone else in my family.
The Caller ID read “New York Mets” when I answered the phone at my home. The person on the other end asked for Bradley Schwartz, my eight-year-old son. At this point, I’m thinking that maybe I signed him up for Mr. Met’s Kids Club and maybe he won something.
As my curiosity increased, I told him that I was Bradley’s father and asked about the nature of the call.
“This is (let’s just call him Joe) from the New York Mets’ ticket office, and I’m calling to talk to Bradley about season tickets and partial plans for the 2014 season,” said the ticket rep.
Well, my day had just become a bit more interesting!
I then had to tell this guy that Bradley is eight years old and probably isn’t in the market for a Mets ticket plan. I asked him how he got Bradley’s name and he said it came from the coat drive in December. He said Bradley was nice enough to bring a coat to Citi Field in exchange for a voucher good for two free tickets to a Mets game.
Bradley didn’t exactly hop in our van and drive to Flushing from Long Island. Our whole family went and we all had to fill out forms in order to get the vouchers. Did they call my wife? No. Did they call me? No. Did they call my in-laws? No.
They called an eight-year-old!
Does this look like someone who would be buying season tickets?
After I told Joe that he had been trying to reach an eight-year-old, there was dead silence on the other end.
I mean, if this was dead air on WFAN, the producer would have to call engineering for help. I really thought he was going to hang up, so I told him that my name is Peter and that I take my family to a few Mets games each year, and that he can talk to me about the ticket information.
Sticking to the script, the relieved sales rep forged on with his sales pitch.
“Well, Peter, my name is Joe and I’ll be your personal ticket representative for the 2014 season,” said the rep who clearly thought he had found new life in this sales call.
Joe asked me when I fell in love with baseball and I told him it was probably when I was four or five watching games with my dad. We watched many games on television and also went to a number of games in person. I told the rep I had fond memories of those early years of my life.
“That’s awesome,” said Joe. “That’s exactly how I got into baseball!”
Just who is writing these sales scripts?
Anyway, the guy continued with his story about where he grew up, where he went to school and what baseball team he worked for before coming to the Mets. At this point, I’m just waiting for him to get to the point. Just tell me what kinds of plans you have, how many games and how much it costs.
But this phone call would take another turn.
“So Peter, how long have you been a Mets fan?”
Now it has become abundantly clear that I’m going to have some fun with the rest of this phone call. I had to tell this guy that I’m a Yankees fan.
Dead silence … again!
“Well, I can see where this call is going,” said Joe.
At that point, I have to keep the phone call going. I have to figure out a way to prevent the guy from hanging up the phone.
I don’t want this call to end so I tell him the truth. My wife is a Mets fan, so before Bradley was born in 2005 we had to compromise when it came to what teams he would root for. That deal also applied to Jared when he was born in 2010.
I told Joe that since my wife roots for the Mets and Rangers and I root for the Yankees and Islanders, we had to cut a deal. So I took the Islanders and she took the Mets. We’re both Jets fans so that wasn’t an issue.
Easy solution to the problem right?
I was able to get the ticket rep to calm down and take a breath. I told him that we go to multiple Mets games each year. I also told him that since I lived in Queens until I was 12 and then moved to Long Island, I’ve probably been to as many Mets games as Yankees games in my life and maybe even more if I tallied up my ticket stubs.
“OK, that’s great to hear,” said Joe. “Well, since you’ve been to so many Mets games over the years, that brings me to my next question. What is your favorite Mets memory?”
Amazingly, this phone call was getting better and better. I felt so bad for this guy that he called an eight-year-old about tickets and then he found out he was talking to a Yankees fan. Can this get any worse for poor Joe?
It was about to.
Since Joe threw me a softball, I was going to hit it out of the ballpark. I told him that my favorite Mets moment was when Mike Piazza flew out to end the 2000 World Series.
There you go — I channeled my inner obnoxious Yankee fan even though everyone who knows me would tell you that’s not my style.
But in this case, I just had to. The only question left was Joe’s reaction. Would he be so distraught that he would just put an end to his misery and hang up, or would he press on?
Well, Joe began to laugh! He actually thought my answer was funny and he really was a good sport about the whole thing.
Joe would go on to finish his sales pitch. He did a good job, however the Schwartz family will not be purchasing a Mets ticket plan. I just couldn’t commit to the amount of games that were in the plans. My family and I will frequent Citi Field this year, but as in the past, we will do so when we can fit it into our schedules.
I invited Joe to check back in with me during the season, especially if a plan that fits my family’s needs is created.
After the phone call, I told my son about the phone call and he thought it was funny. So, I asked Bradley, “What would have happened had he picked up the phone and spoke to the ticket rep?”
He thought about it for a moment and said he would have asked how much the tickets were and then checked his wallet to see if he had enough money to pay for them. If he did, he would have bought them for the family.
Great answer, Bradley!
As for Joe, I hope he does well selling tickets this season. Being a salesperson can be a challenge. Selling Mets tickets might be one of the most challenging jobs in sports.
But as we found out last week, it can also bring a smile to your face!
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