Let’s face it, Dwight is a complete dweeb. He has virtually no people skills, and at times seems seems mentally ill (e.g., believing his computer has become sentient, killing his neighbor’s dog believing it is a werewolf). It is almost impossible to have a normal conversation with him. All the salesmen I have dealt with have tried to make me their best pal, but Dwight seems to be unable to develop a normal friendship. How then are we to believe that he is Dunder-Mifflin / Scranton’s #1 top salesman?
He has been shown to be inhumanly dedicated to his job.
I’m thinking here of when he and Jim went on a sales call together (season 3) and Dwight goes into his whole spiel about never getting sick, never taking holidays off, etc…
I don’t think it’s so much that he has people skills - it’s that he’s incredibly persistent and extremely reliable. That makes sense, since Dunder Mifflin markets itself as being more accessible than a big box paper chain; Dwight being ridiculously on top of things makes sense in that regard. He’s also apparently been at the company for a while (he’s been there longer than Jim, who I believe had been there for five years at the beginning of season 1), and built up all those contacts we see him burn through in the episode where he challenges the computer system.
We also see that he excels at selling stuff when he gets a job at Staples, despite the fact that he initially comes off as creepy.
If memory serves, he also makes sure to sell the product that’s right for the customer; he won’t try to load someone up with stuff they don’t need just to pad his commission. I’m sure that this helps him get a lot of repeat business.
Besides, most customers only see the tip of the iceberg that is Dwight’s craziness. They might think he’s a bit odd, but honest trumps odd.
The totally insane crap he does always turns out to be brilliant in a sales pitch.
At one point, he was pitching dunder mifflin paper to some executive guy, and the guy mentions that he can get the same products cheaper from a different company. Dwight seems distracted and makes a phone call, right there in the middle of the conversation, while Jim has a “wtf?” look on his face trying to pitch the product.
Dwight set his phone on the table and activated the speaker, revealing an automated “please continue to hold” voice from the cheaper company’s support line. Then he calls dunder mifflin, and Pam answers the phone immediately. He said something like “that’s the difference between their company and ours,” and that was enough to totally nail the sale.
So yeah, he seems strange and creepy sometimes, but he’s still a brilliant salesman.
I see your point that most salesmen seem to have very sharp people skills, but I can accept the idea that people can accept some weirdness from someone that they feel is a dedicated expert in the field. Example, when I need advice/products concerning my backyard pond, I go to a place where the guys who work there are pond fanatics to the point they are geeks and borderline bizarre. I wouldn’t necessarily want to be their buddy, but when it comes to ponds, I trust them more than anyone and I will buy the products they recommend.
Mesquite-oh pretty much nailed it. My wife was in sales for about 20 years, and I’ve come to accept that the office misanthrope is often the most successful salesperson (and, no, I’m not talking about my wife:)). Obsession and dedication seem to be more important than people skills, so, yeah, I totally buy Dwight as the top salesman.
What they said. Also, look at it the other way around- the fact that he’s a great salesman justifies his long-time presence in the office (Office?) If he was just a wacky misanthropic geek, he would have pissed off the wrong people long ago. Even Michael would have lost patience with him eventually if he wasn’t a top producer- Michael came from sales, right? A similar dynamic is a work for Angela- she is extremely offensive in many of her interpersonal relations, but she’s a more than competent accountant- witness what a big deal it was for her to have missed a filing deadline in S3.
True, but small clarification - Jim didn’t have a wtf look on his face - he knew what was going on. It was part of the sales pitch that the two of them always did when they were a team.
It also depends on what you’re selling. A stockbroker with Dwight’s personality would starve (would you trust him to handle your money properly?).
But since Dwight is selling tangible goods, people don’t have to trust you as much as long as the product is delivered as promised. If you pay him $20 for a case of paper, and get the paper for $20 a ream, and like the price, then you’ll be willing to listen to him again.
He’s also pretty ruthless, at least before Angela softened him up. Remember an early episode where Jim was all excited that today was the day he always did his biggest sale of the year–and got 1/4 of his yearly commission all in one day? And the Dwight pulled it out from under him and got the sale instead? That’s Dwight having no people skills and being a killer salesman.
There are people skills and then there are weasle skills.
He has a close relationship with the Boss. Who is able to steer larger accounts to Dwight, which mean larger sales.
He gets the Glengarry Glen Ross leads.
There’s no explanation at all for Michael or Dwight and a few others. They’d have lost their jobs during their second week of employment. They’re completely ridiculous. But then there’d be no show.
Nitpick: Wasn’t it Kelly who answered the call? I remember because I think she immediately launched into her babble mode.
Yes, it was Kelly. Which is even faster than having to go through a receptionist.
Companies, especially poorly run ones, put bizarre people into important roles all the time. You should come work for my company if you want to see a cast of crazies.
The explanation is that they are in Scranton, PA, not Manhattan or even Stamford, CT. They make it clear in several episodes that many of their clients are turned off by slick corporate types. Michael is a horrible manager and strategic thinker, however, he is able to connect to the type of people who live out there in Scranton. Contrast this with Ryan who has the slick MBA vibe, however can’t make a single sale.
And to nitpick it entirely to death, it was Jim who made the call, not Dwight.
So, except for the fact that Dwight didn’t make the call, the call wasn’t to Pam, and Jim wasn’t shocked, Mosier’s original statement that Dwight called Pam and shocked Jim still stands.
I think we might have just written the next staff meeting scene…
ha! Thanks for the good laugh this morning
There were actually two phone-calls made. One was to customer service at a big paper supplier. They were put on hold while Jim talked, and the customer could hear they were on hold. Then Dwight moved in for the kill by calling Kelly. They weren’t put on hold. They weren’t directed through a receptionist. They went right to her and her bright, cheerful, helpful sounding voice. The contrast was so sharp that after Jim’s spiel (Dwight never said anything), the customer was sold.
Still not buying it. But I’ve been through this before in CS. I’ve been working in offices for fifteen years and seen my share of crazies. But Dwight and Michael would be gone in an instant in any real-world office. You probably don’t agree, but that’s fine – it’s a sit-com. Explanations aren’t really needed.