Sell Baby Sell

Here is a note I received for my podcast this week:

Dan, I have been in sales since the late 80s, but never considered myself a salesman. It was the career that chose me when I needed a job.  I’m tired. My self-esteem is probably at an all-time low. I have been relegated to again looking for sales positions that pay what I need to sustain my current lifestyle. I feel I am truly living Henry David Thoreau’s quote “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation”.

When you say you don’t want to be in “sales” you imply you don’t want to have to work that hard or be paid for “results.”  No one should be expected to be paid for their “time.’   Ultimately we are all paid because we are selling something.  Whether you are a teacher, pastor, librarian, receptionist or computer programmer, you are “selling” what you do.  That’s the only way to expect compensation.  Selling in its purest form is simply sharing enthusiasm.  If you see a great movie and tell 20 friends – you are selling.  If you go to a wonderful restaurant and then spread the word – you are selling.  We all get paid for sharing our enthusiasm.  What you need is to find something you are so passionate about that you want everyone else around you to experience the same benefits you are enjoying.

To get this next job, you are “selling” yourself.  To keep a job you are “selling.”  To start your own business you are “selling.”  To get paid for anything you are “selling.”  Don’t back away from selling.  Just find that “fit” and you’ll find your self-esteem, confidence, boldness and enthusiasm will all skyrocket.

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8 Responses to “Sell Baby Sell”

  1. Jason Garey Says:

    Amen, Dan. Great post!

  2. Jay Laws Says:

    My Marketing 101 college professor made the statement that “90% of all millionaires started in selling”. Don’t know if that’s true, but it caught my attention. I was devastated though, I thought salesmen wore plaid sportscoats and were slick talkers – the used car type on TV (sorry Dan). Being purely money motivated at the time, I decided to do sales for a while then enter something more “dignified”. It’s now 30 years later and I’m still selling. I enjoy my work more than ever although it did take many years as I never viewed myself as a salesperson. Yes it takes practice and perseverance like anything worth doing. But what a great life. I have autonomy, use creativity, serve people by problem solving and get paid for my results. I went into selling for the $$ but stayed because I love what I do. Stephen Levitt comments in Superfreakonomics, “people should do what they love…because if you don’t love what you’re doing, you are unlikely to work hard enough to get very good at it.”

  3. ale Says:

    good post.

  4. Roy Says:

    You all missed the boat on this one.

    Change every instance of sales to computer programmer, would you lecture him for not wanting to be a computer programmer? No, you would encourage him to find his passion, look for what he was meant to do.

    Read it now:
    Dan, I have been a computer programmer since the late 80s, but never considered myself a programmer. It was the career that chose me when I needed a job. I’m tired. My self-esteem is probably at an all-time low. I have been relegated to again looking for programmer positions that pay what I need to sustain my current lifestyle. I feel I am truly living Henry David Thoreau’s quote “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation”.

    Now, would you lecture him on how great it is to be a programmer? How many things have been created because of his knowledge? And how you love programming, the creativity, and serve people by problem solving and getting paid for the results.

    Come on everyone, let’s help this guy figure out his passion and a way out of what he is doing. Find what he is wired for, and let him fly with Aristotle.

  5. Scott Says:

    Wow, I never thought Dan would actually post my thoughts – I am the salesman. I have to agree with Roy somewhat in his analysis of my situation, but a little more background is probably needed: 23 years in sales / customer service, 8 different companies, laid off 4 times. I’ve been in the pharma, consumer health, veterinary, and aviation industries. I was passionate at many of the positions I held and I did well, but the constant downsizing / rightsizing and lack of any loyalty by many of the organizations I worked with for many years has beaten me down. It has made me lazy and apathetic to the whole sales process. I’m in a funk, and I’m tired of being “the new guy”.

    OK, maybe I’m feeling sorry for myself, but I am taking action steps to rectify my situation. My saving grace is that I do own two very small but successful part-time businesses, 8 and 14 years running, so I know I can “sell”. I have absolute passion for them, but both are in somewhat declining industries. I believe I am an entrepreneur at heart, and although at one time I had visions of taking one or both businesses full time, I do not have the stomach to take that leap in today’s economy and endanger my familiy’s welfare.

    I want to be truly passionate again about my work and have the people I work with and customers to perceive this, to take a challenge and run with it, but I don’t want to trip and fall because I am always looking over my shoulder wondering what Big Brother is up to and what might happen, as it has with such frequency in the past.

    My journey will continue, and although I will not be disillusioned into thinking I will quickly find that “perfect” job, I will strive to get the passion back in whatever I do.

  6. Dan Miller Says:

    Scott – thanks for jumping in here. And thanks for allowing me to use your question as the basis for making a general point. Incidentally computer programming is not a basic skill that everyone needs. If a person is doing that and doesn’t like it he/she can walk away and never look back.

    That’s not true for “selling.” Selling is foundational to success in any endeavor. But you can find a selling model that fits your unique personality. I never pick up the phone to make a sales call, I never go out knocking on doors, etc. But I speak and write continuously – and those things then drive people to my websites where they spend money. I can “sell” even though I’m basically an introvert because I have systems in place to sell 168 hours a week.

  7. Kip Eden Says:

    A sale is a transfer of enthusiasm and we cannot transfer that which we do not have. I am also in sales and I understand the frustration many in this profession feel during these uncertin economic times, however, what I have discovered is when we set clear goals and determine the activities needed to get us there we can rise above the chaos around us. We must demonstrate our determination when we are most discouraged and draw from our inner spiritual strength. It is a time to look outward and discover how our skills will benefit others. Like the late Jim Rohn said, “people do not attend seminars for failures”, and they do not buy from discouraged sales people. When I was at my low after being laid off by my company last year I was motivated by the book, “Failing Forward”, by John Maxwell. Now go make a difference and sell something.

  8. Marie Says:

    Thanks Kip, that book sounds like something I should read.

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