I am not a salesman. I suppose I could be if I worked at it but I don’t find it very engaging. That’s not to say that Sales is a bad career or that sales people are bad. If you believe in your product or service it can be a fun challenge with a lot of financial rewards. There are a lot of lessons you can learn about yourself and life in general by learning the art of the deal.
After just a week at small direct-marketing company I could probably write a couple of pages on what I learned. A lot of it was simply coming to understand my own reactions and thought process and learning to steer them. Since I think that the latter is important I’ve compiled a short list of ways to do it.
Things I Learned from a Week in Sales
- It’s easy to agree with objections in the heat of the moment. Don’t.
- People are much less likely to commit to a product or conversation if you aren’t committed yourself.
- A lot of your first impressions of peoples attitudes and reactions are wrong.
- It’s essential to control your inner chatter. Not only is it distracting but it’s usually wrong and can destroy a lot of potential.
- A lot of people don’t really know what they think much less why. They’re simply reacting to the perceived contours of what you’re saying.
- Blood sugar levels matter a great deal.
- Being healthy helps you be good with people.
A lot of this is common sense stuff. I chose to call it learning because there’s a difference between knowledge and experience.
Sure the above observations could come from any kind of interaction. But there is a quality to business and professional interactions that drives the point home more clearly. Probably owing to the fact that you can’t opt out of paying attention to your own reactions, or simply write off miscommunication as being ‘just one of those things.’
All in all I had a good time trying out a new venture. I think that it is especially important for artists, writers, and the like to leave the comforts of Bohemia once in a blue moon. I definitely have a slightly less cynical view of businesses than I did before.
I think understanding the workings of humanity behind corporations and their clients will help me be a more insightful writer.
Is there a career or experience that you think would challenge you and refill your creative wells?