Everyone should have at least one sales job in their lifetime!

The title states it clearly: everyone should have at least one sales job in their lifetime. Debatable, isn’t it!?

“Sales guys are scam artists.”
“Salesman are unethical.”
“I hate sales people.”
“I’m definitely not good at sales.”

I’m sure we’ve all heard, or said, something like this. Funny thing is, if you’ve said this, you are basically “selling” the reason why you hate salesmen. Welcome to the “Art of the Sale!” The question is, how can someone say this if they’ve never been in the sales industry before? Do they really feel they have a legitimate argument if they have no experience? It’s like fans that gripe about referees or umpires: if they’ve never been one, how can they logically criticize until they “step up to the plate”?

Sales guys get such a bad rap, possibly because of the “used car salesman” approach or the “door-to-door vacuum sales person”. To understand sales, you have to realize that every sales job is different:

Right after graduation from college I took a job with a copier & printer company doing “cold calling”, door-to-door sales. I was given no leads, no referrals, nothing – just thrown out there cold turkey. As I look back at that experience I can easily say that I learned so much; it’s not exactly what I’d want to do for a life-long career but was a step in the right direction. I also learned how important creating business relationships can be in generating new business. Just before I left that job for a better, more life-long option, I made a sale to a client for over $50,000. Why? It wasn’t because I knew all there was to know about the product; it wasn’t because I lied to them about what they were getting; it definitely wasn’t because we had the “best price in town.” It was primarily because of the friendship we had developed. It’s amazing what a few rounds of golf can do for a business relationship – it’s almost like taking surprise flowers to your wife! Clients like to be “wined & dined” and be taken care of. Everyone likes to have friends.

So, the whole point of this article is to prove the aforementioned statement: Everyone should have at least one sales job in their lifetime. If you really want to understand what motivation is, what commitment is, what hard work is, what creating win/win situations is – get a sales job. If you want to learn about the power of confidence and belief, the importance of setting and reviewing goals frequently, the influence being nice to people has on your success, and the psychology of why people do (or don’t do) what they do – get a sales job!

More to come…any thoughts?

Comments

  1. Christer Edwards says

    I had a full blown sales job for… about a month. I couldn’t stand it! I can honestly say it was one of the most miserable times of my life and I honestly wish it had never happened.

    I left with a deep disgust for the company I worked for. I felt like I was paid to rip people off. I HATED going to work. Like I said, it didn’t last for more than about a month.

    I guess I’ve filled my quota. I do think you have a good point. It can be a good learning experience but, from my side I’d suggest getting it over with early!

    On the other hand I very regularly “sell” people on the non-profit Open Source Education work that I do. I LOVE it and the biggest difference between the two is that I’m not paid a cent for this work.. makes me think sometimes.

  2. says

    Great comment Christer. I’m glad you “got it over with early!” The point is made again, however. Certain sales jobs can be miserable and non-rewarding – others can be really fulfilling. Sounds like your 1st opportunity was a great “learning experience”. Like you said, you very regularly “sell” people on the non-profit Open Source Education work. This seems to be a much better “sales job” because you believe in what you are marketing. Too bad you don’t get paid for it somehow. Those are the best sales jobs: the kind you would do for free because you know what you are providing is really beneficial to people. Jobs like this are hard to find but when you do it can be a life-long career.

    My wife was a teacher for a few years at the middle-school level. Crazy age but she loved the challenge. We talked alot about the psychology of sales and influencing people. We came to the conclusion that a teacher is a “sales job” too. She had to be prepared with a “sales presentation” every day. She had to have answers to “tough buyer questions.” She had to resolve “buyer concerns” all the time. Even worse, she dealt with a second party – the irritated parent! What I learned about this was that “sales” is basically anything that has to do with a “presentation of ideas, products, services or knowledge that influences others.” Whether it’s teaching, selling products, helping others find solutions to computer issues, or whatever, it’s all about the presentation.

    I make my point again: Everyone should have at least one (if not more!)sales job(s) in their lifetime!

    Somebody please prove me wrong!

  3. says

    Anyone doing what we do is in sales no matter what way you look at it. You are selling yourself, your site, your products etc. Its all about branding and selling yourself as the brand. Once you can do that then you are on your way.

  4. says

    It’s true, on the internet (and I guess in normal life as well) you are always selling yourself. While no one likes the stereotypical salesman who always is trying to “win you over”, general sales techniques in your everyday relationships can definitely go a long way.
    In SEO, it is important to sell yourselves to the search engines and the people who come to your site. you have to give them what they want to get what you want.

  5. Rosalinda Sheaffer says

    The article is very interesting and very true. One way or another we are all sales people weather we are aware of it or not. I had a long career in banking and we were given classes on how to cross sell the bank services to our customers. To this day I find myself cross selling to our customers that buy our Antique Advertising items at the antique shows we sell at. Invariably I can sell at least other items by showing them similar period items that may mean an additional $200.00 sale that we may not have had if I had not done that. Selling can be fun if you approach it in a knowledgeable non pushy way. I find pushy sales people to be a turn off and I will walk out of the store without buying anything. It all comes down to how you treat people! I like to treat people the way I like to be treated and that works great for me.

  6. says

    I would agree there are different forms of sale. I would say online sales is an easy non threating approach because you are giving the customer the choice to buy from you. I personally have had sale people feel like I am the worst person in the world if I don’t buy there product. Also I have worked for companies that all they care about is numbers and not whether or not the product can actually benefit that person.

  7. Barb says

    I never thought of my previous positions as sales, but, while working as a waitress, to improve my tips, I always tried to sell desserts, appetizers, or another drink. One day, I even had a customer ask if I would be interested in working for him in sales. Later, working in customer service for a metal stamping company that was unable to manufacture/ship the customer requirements on time, the customer told me that he kept his business with my employer due to the working relationship we had developed.

  8. Tobey says

    Who likes sales? not me. At least that is what I thought until my mentor told me that we are always doing sales.
    While talking with someone, you are selling whatever you are saying. When you puchase an item whether from the internet or the store, you are selling yourself. Yes, you are the one purchasing the product but you sold yourself on the idea of the item.

    I’m selling candles through a website my husband developed along with our mentors. Seemed like a good idea at the time. Now my husband states he isn’t going to sell candles. I understand what he means but he has already sold candles by developing the website, talking with both of our family and friends about what he is designing, etc. He states it is up to me to bring in the sales. That’s okay. I sell all the time.

    Selling, difficult, No. Not when I realized I am selling something, time, energy, ideas, etc. every moment of the day. I’m selling even when I clean my home. Right, you might say. Yes! There are products to be purchased for the cleaning of my home, going to the store, talking with strangers, etc.

    So selling made easy is something we all do, consciously or unconsciously.

    Tobey Craft

  9. Linda says

    Its interesting to think that you are ALWAYS selling something even if you are not in a sales position for your job. I am a teacher, so I have sold to my parents who I am at the begining of the year, I am selling all day to the children, then to their parents when I speak with them.
    We do this with people or friends that we talk to.

  10. Ruby Clifton says

    Sales is probably the most exciting of all the careers. It is in this field that you get to interact with people from all walks of life. The Sales career enables you to view the world in a broader perspective and prepares you to face any challenge in life. Sales training should therefore be made mandatory for everyone.

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