Editor’s note: This blog post is part of our ongoing series of True Sales Tales.
I have been in sales quite literally my whole life, but up until the last few years I–like many others I am sure–didn’t view sales as any kind of noble profession to aspire to.
When someone goes to a university and becomes a cardiologist, for example, and that person stands up in front of a group of people next to you and announces their profession, and you stand next to them and announce, “I’m a salesperson”–who do you think gets the most attention? (And I don’t think it’s just due to the overwhelming popularity of Grey’s Anatomy).
I began my sales career very early, at age 6 to be precise, in Vienna, Austria where I was born. My single mother worked hard to support the family, and I knew that she loved a beer at the end of a long day. So I would stand in front of our apartment building and sell little icons on cards to pedestrians–total strangers–about to cross the street. My sales pitch was that I needed a couple of schillings to buy a beer for my mother. I made enough every day to go buy that bottle of beer (definitely a different time and a different country!) so my mom had it every night when she came home.
Even then I had a vague understanding that I had some kind of gift for sales, but it was certainly more of an instinct than a honed craft.
This trend continued. When I was a little older, I was sent to boarding school. Not having a lot of money or possessions, I immediately organized a system of trading items with other students, which became quite a trend. A little later, when I was a teenager, a friend and I as a team began selling Italian-designed shirts and sweaters, at a very popular cafe.
I eventually entered university to study theology, the result of which was my attainment of a Master’s Degree. But to be brutally honest, I was still selling–in this case, I was selling the religion I believed in. I was very, very good at it, and converted many people. But I was never proud enough to ever refer to myself as a salesperson. It just wasn’t seen as an honorable profession.
Today I am very convinced that I and my company are doing great things for salespeople. We’re changing the world, in fact revolutionizing the world. Because I’m so self-confident about the life I have built, which includes my beautiful wife and son, and all the deep relationships I now have, that I can say, “I am a salesperson and I’m proud of it!”
But I traveled a long road to get here,to be able to take this view. Along the way, I began to see how very valuable salespeople are; that companies cannot survive without them; that the business world would in fact not go on without them. This is what inspired me to develop a CRM that truly empowers salespeople.
Today salespeople still aren’t viewed by many for their real value. Which of course leads salespeople to consider themselves not as worthy as they really are. When someone has a deficit of value in their lives, they often try and compensate for that lack of value with other things. But of course this never works.
So here is the question I would pose to salespeople everywhere: Have you realized how valuable you really are?
When you do, you will have added real meaning to your life. You will be just as happy to be a salesperson as anyone in another profession that they are proud of. Not only that, you’ll be a better salesperson because you’re happy doing it.
Of course you won’t be happy if you don’t want to be a salesperson and would rather be doing something else. That’s another story. But if you really want to be a salesperson, then act like one. That means, really learn the sales craft, and do it for all it’s worth.
And lastly: say it loud and say it proud: I’m a salesperson!