Who likes salesmen? We come in all kinds of sheep’s clothing–car guys and gals, Best Buy vultures, time-share hawks, pushy multi-level-marketing types who want to be our “friends.” All kinds.
A good friend who is not in sales reminded me we all are in sales, even if we are just selling ourselves. A therapist has to “sell” her services, whether it’s by word-of-mouth by helping one person who recommends them to another or putting an ad in the local yellow pages. A restaurant owner is always selling his service and food by creating an enjoyable atmosphere–and decent food. Even my dentist has to “sell” his practice to get new patients.
One could argue that a lot of professionals whom we wouldn’t at first glance say are in sales actually have to do things that look an awful lot like sales.
I’ve never been comfortable calling myself a sales guy because I, too, have a less than stellar image of what sales people are like. And I run into sales people all the time that reinforce the negative stereotype that I have about the trade. But whether I like it or not I’ve earned a living as a sales guy for almost my entire career and when I look in the mirror I have to admit that I belong to a profession I often think poorly of.
And I spend a lot of time in my interactions with people trying to distance myself from those stereotypes for fear of turning these people off. Ironically, they are customers and I am there to sell them. How’s that for a screwed up paradox: I don’t like being a sales person yet I am acting as a sales person trying to sell a customer on doing business with me.