Sales is not considered a prestigious job by any means. In fact, people who work in sales oftentimes find that when they tell someone what they do for a living, they get a condescending response like “Oh, why?” or even “Didn’t you go to college?” or “Not really using that degree, are you?” Aside from wanting to physically attack the person who talks to them like that, salespeople sometimes feel ashamed having to tell people what they do for a living, which isn’t a good thing. In fact, if you meet someone who works in sales, you should thank them for doing what they do instead of treating them like crap or questioning their life choices, here’s why.
I was working for a company as a sales rep. a few years ago, and was getting a lot of help on tough customers from our “processing” department, which was basically like sales support. We would get a customer on board and then hand the deal off to processing. The money we made was dependent on them, and if they did a good job then we would make more money. One time I thanked them for working so hard to get some really tough deals pushed through. One of them responded to me by saying “No, thank you for bringing business through the door.”
I didn’t really appreciate that concept until I left sales for a time, and worked in an office on marketing while around me a team of salespeople made cold-calls all day and stressed out trying to close new business. It was only at that point that I realized that without those people putting up with the customer’s complaints, attitude, and stress, there wouldn’t be any money coming in to pay my salary. Or the salary of management, company ownership, secretaries and so on.
So the next time you look down your nose at a salesperson, you may want to think about what type of business it is that employs you and pays for your work. Unless you work for the government, your company relies on salespeople in order to write your paycheck. Even if you work at a non-profit, there are people in the organization working to get money coming in through the door for you, and you can rest assured that they are selling someone on something to keep the lights on. I know that the perception of salespeople won’t change overnight, but let’s at least try to acknowledge the vital role that they play in a capitalist society, and more importantly, let’s remember that they are also people just like you.
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