A day in the life of a sales rep

Related Articles Going from Science to Sales Zeiss sales representative John Morreale's days are long. Morreale, who studied biology as an undergraduate, took his first job in sales at Biochem ImmunoSystems, a hospital instrument company, and moved on to LabCorp, before finally landing a job at Zeiss in 2003. Edyta Zielinska tagged along for a day of calls. 5:00 a.m. - "There's a lot more work involved in sales than people realize," says Morreale. He starts early, preparing

Edyta Zielinska
Feb 28, 2007

Zeiss sales representative John Morreale's days are long. Morreale, who studied biology as an undergraduate, took his first job in sales at Biochem ImmunoSystems, a hospital instrument company, and moved on to LabCorp, before finally landing a job at Zeiss in 2003. Edyta Zielinska tagged along for a day of calls.

5:00 a.m. - "There's a lot more work involved in sales than people realize," says Morreale. He starts early, preparing quotes, writing E-mails and making a mental list of the 7-10 people he'd like to visit today at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, one of his biggest accounts.

<figcaption> Credit: COURTESY OF EDYTA ZIELINSKA</figcaption>
Credit: COURTESY OF EDYTA ZIELINSKA

7:15 a.m. - Morreale gets his 3-year-old daughter ready and drives her to day-care. The flexibility of the job makes it easier to work family life into work duties.

8:00 a.m. - The trip from his Orange County, NJ, home to Einstein, in the Bronx, takes a little over an hour. Morreale's territory extends from northern New Jersey up into northern New York State. With an average commute of 3-4 hours, Morreale turns his car into an office on wheels, calling clients, making appointments, and listening to "Discover Your Sales Strengths" tapes while driving.

9:30 a.m. - It's time to negotiate with a customer on a tight budget who is shopping around. Some of Morreale's negotiating and sales skills came from his previous sales experience, but most came from his manager and mentor at Zeiss, George Lunney, who trained him.

11:00 a.m. - On his way to another appointment, Morreale bumps into a customer in the hallway, who launches into a problem she's been having. "When I turn the microscope on, it makes this really interesting sound. It's like, eerreeeeee," she demonstrates. Morreale knows exactly what the problem is: "We'll get you a new bulb before that one goes."

11:08 a.m. - Morreale hustles through the labyrinth of corridors to his next appointment - a new customer, and a potential sale. The customer knows what he wants - to be able to look at protein and gene expression in several cell types, both on 96-well plates and on slides. Morreale starts quizzing him on the kinds of images he wants for his experiments. Morreale's knowledge of optical components lets him offer solutions that will fit this scientist's needs and his budget. Before preparing the actual quote Morreale estimates the initial microscope will cost between $35,000 and $50,000, with the possibility of add-ons down the road.

12:00 p.m. - He grabs a quick lunch of an egg salad sandwich at the closet-sized cafeteria on the first floor.

12:25 p.m. - Morreale runs upstairs to meet with Ulrich Erben, a Zeiss technical support specialist who is working out a glitch on one customer's brand new microscope. The customer is more than a little annoyed. Morreale is sympathetic: "When you buy a brand new Mercedes, you expect to be able to drive it right away." Morreale and Erben spend the next two hours working out solutions, and Morreale takes personal responsibility for the issue.

2:30 p.m. - He checks in on a couple of clients he had on his flexible "mental list" of people to visit that day, making appointments with some, and clearing up easily fixed problems with others.

2:50 p.m. - Morreale takes out his satchel of tools and starts assembling a customer's brand new microscope from its various components. Having restored a 1968 Mustang Convertible in his earlier years, putting together microscopes is easy for him. He says he enjoys the chance to build and tinker that this job affords him.

5:30 p.m. - On his way out the door, Morreale gets stopped by a customer. He drops by her lab to clean and align her two very old microscopes.

6:15 p.m. - He leaves the building ... and heads to the wrong parking lot.

6:30 p.m. - He arrives at the right parking lot and heads home.

7:45 p.m. - Morreale gets home and has dinner, and hangs out with his two daughters and wife until bedtime.

9:00 p.m. - Back to work at his home office to prepare his new client's quotes, make appointments with support staff, and respond to 20-30 accumulated E-mails.

10:30 p.m. - Sleep. Unless there's work to do, Morreale tries not to stay up past midnight more than a few times per week.