I had the pleasure of working with two salespeople this week, and I respect them both immensely.  At one point, our conversation moved to why salespeople are so nervous about being called salespeople.  That concept has always been puzzling to me: My father was an amazing salesman and he made me proud to be called a salesman.

 

The fact is, there are good lawyers, and bad lawyers, but we need people from time to time to help us interpret the law.  There are good police, and bad police, but we need people to help enforce the law.  There are good salespeople, and bad salespeople, but we need people who can ask us questions we aren’t asking ourselves, problem solve, and move us past our fear of change.

 

I wrote something a few years ago, after I had to listen to someone berating the industry I care so much about.   I wrote this because I was trying to articulate why the profession of selling is so vital to so many.  If you have ever had a crisis of confidence, or you have questioned the value of being a good salesperson, this one is for you.  Don’t bother even asking me:  If you like it – print it – and put it up as a reminder…

 

“Who Am I?”

by Robert L. Jolles

I prevent financial tragedies every time I find a way to get you to finally believe that your retirement and children’s education are more important than a seven day cruise.

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I save lives every time I persuade someone to stop putting off “what if” and purchase an item that protects themselves and their loved ones.

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I assist companies each time I am able to get a decision maker to look at the “big picture” and make decisions that reflect total costs to the customer.

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I looked you in the eye and asked you some disturbing questions.  It upset you, but your anger towards me saved your life and the life of others on a road you would have been too drunk to drive on.

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I’m the person in the store.  You felt put off by all my questions but wound up with a solution that not only saved your business that day, but saved your job a year later as my product expanded along with your business.

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I’m the person who changed your mind about skimping on a document that later was responsible for bringing you your biggest customer.

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I’m the kid standing in the rain outside your door at home.  By creating a commitment based on shear pity, I took some of your money that later saved a tiny piece of land in a small natural paradise.

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I put up with the stereotypical fallacies that have portrayed me as a buffoon when, in actuality, I was the only one who provided for the future of your family when an early death might have meant devastating and dramatic changes in your loved ones worlds.

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I could have taken no for an answer and sometimes I wish I had.  I could not because I had seen the personal tragedy of procrastination.

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I have empathy for your fear of change because I have similar fears.  The fear of the unknown sometimes outweighs the pain of the present.  It is my job to move you past these fears and get you to take action in an ethical manner.

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I may not be apparent to all, but I exist in everyone’s soul.

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Who am I?

I am a salesperson.

 

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