A previous blog mentioned that colleges & universities are finally getting around to offering Sales & Selling as a major. I said it before, ‘bout time. It will be great to have grads coming out of school with the intellectual capacity to understand what happens in sales. True, they will know about sales. Yes, will know about selling.
But that’s all they will know. In the words of Paul Harvey let’s get to the “rest of the story”. Let’s talk about the “sales things” they can tell you in school but you can’t possibly understand – until you do it for a living.
10 things about sales they don’t teach you in school:
1. You don’t punch a clock in sales.
The great ones make it a life style & are “always on”. Evenings, weekends, holidays, etc.
2. It’s lonely out there.
If you are a commissioned salesperson nobody will care that your prospect “said they would buy” or “is getting ready to buy”. Your boss does not care that you are sick. We are measured by results. Closed sales. Period.
3. Sales is NO PLACE to get your needs met.
If you are looking for friends join the Peace Corps or a bowling league.
4. You fail more often than you succeed.
Repeat: You will fail more often than you succeed. If you are working, prospecting, hunting for opportunities more people will tell you NO than tell you YES. Get used to it.
5. When someone says they want to “think it over” they really mean NO
“Think it over” does not mean YES. You can’t cash a “think it over”. If you trust people that say they want to “think it over” you will have skinny kids.
6. If you are not comfortable talking about money you will starve.
Your job is to sell products/services at profitable margins. This requires discussions about their money & where it will come from
7. Your colleagues in other departments think you have the life (& will begrudge you)
They may not tell you, but they do. When you are out of the office people naturally think you are screwing off. It’s not true (unless it is). You will never convince them otherwise. Stop trying.
8. It’s OK to be competitive & want money.
If “for the money” is not in your top 2 reasons to be in sales get another job.
9. If you don’t see yourself “worthy” in front of high level decision makers you are in trouble
High level decision makers are important. They make things happen. They are busy. They don’t have time for “social calls” or “idle chit-chat”. Stop talking to Carl, the clerk – he can’t make a decision to save his life!
10. If you are not completely comfortable with the word NO you will struggle – seriously struggle.
Back up to #4. You won’t 10 for 10 every week in sales. This rejection kills some salespeople. I have seen some incredibly intelligent people drop out of selling careers because they could not stand to be told NO.
Spend two weeks on the streets shooting with real bullets & you will realize these 10 things (& many more). Sales is a great career. But it’s not easy. It’s not for everyone.