Bravery, Cowardice, and the Sales Process


I know the economy is getting better. Seriously. I’m getting more and more sales calls.

Unfortunately, I’m not a buyer of anything. I don’t employ people who need training. I don’t have commercial real estate space that needs evaluating. I don’t plan on buying enterprise software to manage my staff.

The only reason why any salesman would contact me is to gain access to the people I know who buy things. That’s you. My readers. My clients. My friends.

And those salespeople can kiss my ass.

Now listen, I’ve grown to appreciate sales professionals who do their jobs properly. The best salesman is an amazing sight to behold. He has an impressive mix of self-confidence and selflessness. I can help you, he tells me. It’s the single most important thing to me in the world.

And for that moment — if only that moment — he means it. And I believe him.

A great salesperson is patient and waits for me to ask for help. He offers best-in-class solutions and won’t rest until my problem is solved. And I love sales people who are brave and have integrity. They don’t go for the ask right away. They know I’ll go elsewhere if the relationship doesn’t feel quite right. They allow me to think through my options and ask probing questions.

The opposite of bravery is cowardice. The worst salespeople lack confidence in themselves and in their products. They want to lock you down before you have a chance to come to your senses. Unfortunately, I’m seeing more men & women who are desperate to meet some kind of quota. Those are the people who are in the wrong job and should read this blog — not because of the access to a sophisticated audience — but because they need career advice.

If you are a sales person who is struggling to meet expectations and you are cold calling a Human Resources/career advice blogger to talk about your crappy recruiting solution, you’re in the wrong job. And you won’t get access to this audience. But I can give you a free pass to The Ladders.

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