Sales | A Humbling and Heroic Profession
The profession of sales is often associated with great levels of business success, but also a stigma. It’s unfortunate that while sales is such a necessary component of commerce, the people who are tasked with its execution – salespeople – are often misconstrued as swindlers.
In the words of Mark Cuban, “[Sales is] the most important job in every company. There has yet to be a successful company that has survived with zero sales.”
With that being the case it is unfortunate that such a comparison exist between the heroes of companies and dishonest criminals.
What’s-more, being a salesperson can be a humbling work. For most salespeople, their income is a direct reflection of their ability and the outcome of their efforts. When working on commission, feedback for poor performance can be swift and devastating.
Feedback of lackluster performance can be hard for most people to hear, but in the case of lesser performance as a salesperson, not only is that feedback felt emotionally but in the bank account. As a result, there is no kidding yourself, either you performed or you didn’t, the indicators of success and failure are very black and white.
In the well-rehearsed telling of his early career, as a door-to-door salesperson, David Ogilvy was known to say, “No sale, no commission. No commission, no eat.” With the same intensity Ogilvy would go on to remind the staff of his advertising agency, “We sell, or else!”
With respect to the necessity of sales, Ogilvy was also an advocate for quality salesmanship over the quantity of sales calls.
And as far as Cuban is concerned, there is a nobility to the craft. For him the best salesperson is,
“The one the customer trusts and never has to question. The best salesperson is the one who knows that with every cold call made, he is closer to helping someone. The best salesperson is the one who takes immense satisfaction from the satisfaction his customer gets. The best salesperson is the one who wakes up early every morning, excited to come to the office, get on the phone, and let people know exactly why he loves his product, job, and clients.”
Dave Ramsey would tell you that a great salesperson is a servant first and foremost.
As natural servants, it is no wonder that successful salespeople often make accomplished leaders. Not only do they have a refined capacity to persuade and inspire others to action, but they find satisfaction in helping others reach fulfillment.