When you work in face to face sales long enough, your mind becomes saturated with whatever synapses are required to process information accurately and rapidly under pressure.
You learn to read microexpressions, fire off your witty objection-killers, and relentlessly close.
And in kiosk sales, you do this for 8-11 hours a day, 6 days a week.
- Over time, your guts are scooped out and replaced with gears and servos.
- Your brain is fried, freeze-dried and crushed into powder only to be molded again with a little bit of agony-juice.
- Finally, your wounds are cauterized with a James Bond-esque laser cutter, leaving you good as new.
The result is a phenomenon I call Demon Eyes.
All good salespeople that specialize in face to face sales have Demon Eyes.
When you work in sales long enough you can spot it from a mile away: the plastic, vacant stare of a ruthless bank account killer.
Some people achieve this sooner than others, though if they do it’s likely because they’ve already got a lifetime of manipulation behind them.
How I discovered the Demon Eyes phenomenon
I’ll never forget the first time I saw Demon Eyes.
I was in Harrisburg at the York Galleria, a small neighborhood mall in a grimy part of town.
Despite the “low quality” clientele, we made a lot of money in that mall.
But the REAL killers of that mall were the Dead Sea salespeople.
Back when kiosk sales first started getting popular, the main selling point of most of the cosmetics products were that they had Dead Sea minerals in them.
Renowned for their purported healing properties, the Dead Sea cosmetics brands like Seacret and Ahava were the pioneers of the kiosk sales industry.
In this industry, it’s generally known that people who work in cosmetics make much more money than those that work in hair. The reason for this is that the cosmetics lines have a wider range of products and can build bigger sales.
Not to mention the fact that these days there are products that put 24 karat gold and even diamonds in their products.
Anyway, back then we had a skin care kiosk down the hall from where we were set up. Most of the people working there were in their first season, just like most of the people that were working at our company.
But their regional manager clearly had been in the game for several years.
Though she was only 5’4″, it felt like she was at least two feet taller. She had massive green eyes and would give customers this look like they were a rat running through a grass field and she was the hawk about to swoop down and eat them.
This girl had absolutely no fear and would do some outrageous stuff to get the attention of customers.
Back then, the way they used to stop people was to offer a sample of hand lotion.
The Dead Sea salespeople would carry a bottle of lotion and try to put some on the hands of people walking by, then bring them to the kiosk to “show them how it works” and give their pitch.
But not the manager. She had a different strategy.
She would point at customers and say “EXCUSE ME, SIR” and then she would drop the bottle of lotion on the floor.
And not on accident, either. It was clearly intentional.
These poor rednecks in York would then pick up the bottle of lotion and hand it to her. That was the beginning of the end.
Never make eye contact with the kiosk people – much less the ones with Demon Eyes.
Sometimes she would stop customers by doing a full split in front of them.
She had no shame at all.
She knew everyone was watching her, yet made eye contact with NOBODY except the customer she wanted to stop.
The thing I’ll never forget about this girl was the look in her eyes.
They were so big, so open, so full of life and yet so empty at the same time.
Not only that, but once the customer was gone, her face would instantly shift from animated and engaged back to neutral.
You could still sense her power, but it was almost like she had turned the volume down.
But as soon as another customer came along, she’d come back to life and her eyes would light up again.
I remember all of us watching this girl with nothing but admiration at how she managed to command so much power in the mall.
I’m not saying she made every sale, but she was fearless. And you could see it in her eyes.
Angels are overrated – be a Demon
Fast forward a few years and I felt myself naturally coming into some of the same habits.
I’d be speaking with one of my coworkers in a neutral tone, and then as soon as a customer walked by I would transform into an ungodly creature, hell-bent on feasting on the entrails of my innocent enemies..
It sounds strange to say it like this, but I felt something change between my eyes and my brain.
Demon Eyes feels like radiating beams of energy blasting from behind my eyes out into the world.
The world seemed small and insignificant to me when a customer was in my sights. And the longer I did this job, the more permanent this condition became.
Well, maybe I shouldn’t say permanent. Maybe automatic is a better way to put it.
- I didn’t have to “try” to engage the customer anymore. It just happened.
- I didn’t have to “try” to pump myself up to sell anymore. The pump radiated from me.
- I didn’t have to “try” to be loud, outgoing, boisterous and dominating. It all just became part of who I was.
It wasn’t that I couldn’t turn it off if I wanted to. I could. But the default setting was to on.
Once a Demon, always a Demon
I thought about this the other day when I got to work. A new girl had started there and she asked me how long I’d been doing the job.
I said, “Too long.”
She goes, “Yeah, you look like you’ve got a couple years under your belt at least. It shows in your eyes.”
A salesperson attains Demon Eyes when they are crushed into dust and rebuilt from scratch again and again.
When you’ve seen everything there is to see, heard every objection, and been pushed to the brink by obnoxious customers over and over again.
It sounds like a blessing, but sometimes I wonder if I’ve lost part of my humanity.
But that’s what evolution is, right?
My mind flashed back to the original Demon Eyes girl that I met in York.
I wonder where she is and what she’s doing.
If she’s still in a mall somewhere selling cosmetics or if she had managed to get out of the game.
Maybe she has a family in Tel Aviv, complete with an unsuspecting husband and little Half-Demon Babies.
- Did she realize that she changed after working for as long as she did?
- Did she even change?
- Was she always like that?
Maybe she was.
Shoot, maybe I was too.
Maybe I just didn’t have an arena where I could let the demon out.