For a kid still in high school I was quite gabby and unreserved. An uncle who was visiting remarked that I was smart talkative and not very studious. Judging my qualities he remarked that I would turn out to be a sales guy. I had the works to be one but the man had a smug smile on his lips. My parents took that as a back-handed compliment and said with exasperation in their tone “How can anyone call our son a sales person? We will make him an engineer for sure”.
Few years back I was addressing a group of topflight sales guys working for the most celebrated multinationals in the country and I asked them a simple question. “When you guys were in high school, how many of you wanted to become a salesperson?” No one raised their hands. I was not surprised! That is the perception of a salesperson in our minds. Nobody ever dreams of becoming one and yet 60-70% of graduates and post graduates end up in this very profession. As a matter of course in our country only the doctors, engineers, lawyers, bankers and CA’s enjoy the character of a professional and if you don’t make the cut then you can be a salesperson. The image of a typical sales person is a thirty-something guy who grapples with any weather wearing a tie, carrying a briefcase and running from pillar to post to sell things.
Let’s look at sales in its rightful form. What is a sale? The typical MBA answer would be
“Contract involving transfer of the possession and ownership (title) of a good or property, or the entitlement to a service, in exchange for money or value. “. Phew! Haha !
For me sale is a simple “yes”. A sale is all about getting a yes out of someone. For instance if you need an appointment with someone, you cannot proceed until the concerned person agrees. If you make a presentation to a client, it is rendered fruitful only when they give a nod to your solution or even in relationships a simple yes from your significant other can send you over the moon.
As kids when we tried to convince our parents to let us go for the school picnic their “yes” was paramount. As youngsters a night out’s consent came with lots of promises and commitments, much like the promises of an insurance agent who promises life cover, great service and peace of mind. Come to think of it, selling is an important part of our lives. We are endlessly convincing our parents, children, friends, clients and colleagues for a “yes” from them at some point or the other. By that logic we all are sales people selling our ideas, business, time, beliefs and even god!
Selling is the most natural profession to human beings. It is creative, instinctive and out of box. Unfortunately our education system strives hard to kill this instinct in us. Our system is good at putting us in a box. That’s the reason we don’t have any MBA program that allows a specialization in sales or any sales/business development oriented programs in our country. The logic behind this is deep rooted. Since childhood we have been dyed in the wool of beliefs like we get what we deserve and we deserve what we get. One must never ask for anything. Asking is a synonym to begging. On the contrary, the real world functions by “asking”. A very famous commercial has rightly quoted ‘pooch daala to life jhinga lala!’ You don’t get if you don’t ask. How about doing it with pride? Especially if we are confident of what we are trying to sell and it’s going to add value to the buyer.
Salespeople move the economy; they dictate top lines and make things happen. All departments in an organization work because sales people do what they do.
All our achievements are attributed to our ability to convince people along the way. Wherever you are; whatever you do you are selling all the time. Even the prime minister travels across the globe to convince other countries on how their consortium with India can be a beneficial and opportune one!
It’s a beautiful profession that’s equips one with all that they need to know to start their own business. It conditions you for “success and failure” in the true sense and makes you realize the importance of being resilient. It teaches you to never to quit and never to back down. Honest and hardworking sales people are blessed with huge social networks, they are dynamic, smart, adaptive, flexible and most empathetic beings as they know how to think from others point of view.
So if you are people’s person and their thoughts intrigue you. If you don’t like the mundane and enjoy challenges and wish to have a dynamic life where you get to be a part of people’s growth stories, if you my friend are a storyteller and enjoy listening to them too! Then you have all that takes to be a great salesperson.
Let’s raise a toast to this beautiful profession called “sales”
PS: My uncle was right. I did start my career as a sales guy. I still sell. I sell ideas. And I love it.