Sales? Really….really?…

July 9, 2011 at 11:39 pm Leave a comment

At 14 years old, and on my way to becoming she who must be reckoned with, my mother sat me down to ask my opinion on a matter of great urgency. She needed to know what I thought of her going into….dare I say it…..sales!

You see, she had spent her life, after secretarial school, climbing up the corporate ladder until she was now in the lofty role as Senior Manager at the insurance company she worked for -well respected, professional,  with a staff in the teens. She was a somebody!

As she looked out into the future, and saw my brother (younger, chronologically), and myself approaching the university years, and knowing that the question in our home was not are you, but which university are you attending – she realised that my dad and herself could not afford this with their present income situation.

Something had to be done – and with her gregarious nature, and work ethic, combined with several years of networking (although back then it was called being neighborly), sales was the answer.

But wait – Sales! Really?….Really? What would everyone think?

How far have we come from there, I ask? Is sales still viewed as being that which must be explained?

Yes indeed ! With my 20 years of sales experience, and 8 years of sales training experience, I have annotated sales reps in 3 Main Species:

  1. The Blowfish. These are the ones who need to amplify their role, because what they do is above selling. As soon as they are asked the dreaded ‘what do you do question – they inflate. The answer may  sound like, ‘I’m a BDE – Business Development Executive’…Me – I’m a’ Snr Account Executive’…..Well – I’m an ‘Account Manager’; ‘I’m a Fitness or Lifestyle or xxxx Consultant – or my favorite….’I’m not in sales – I’m in Marketing’!
  2. The Ostrich. These guys put their head way down deep in the sand. You see – they really aren’t in sales. What they do is not as lowly as trying to disturb people to buy stuff. What they do is of great importance, and follows along the lines of, ‘I’m not here to Sell you anything – I just need a few minutes of your time to discuss your business’, or ‘I am conducting market research on…..’; or ‘ the last thing I want to do is to sell you something, I really just want us to have a conversation…’
  3. The Eager Beaver. This esteemed group are in Sales and Proud of it! They have the quotas, & the pitch books, & the suits & Vision Boards to prove it. They wear out a pair of shoes every 3 months! They have the value statements and the impact questions in the Sales Call Planner at the ready! They probably are well equipped with their BAs – perhaps even MBAs – and know that sales is their foundation to bigger and better and brighter futures – perhaps, even in Marketing!!

Of course, our wonderfully succesful capitalist society exists on supply and demand, buying and selling – whether you are a blow fish, an ostrich or an eager beaver – go forth and sell something!

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Oprah, Larry, Matt, Charlie & Barbara…. Sales – the Job that Everyone needs to have, at least once …..

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