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Unchosen profession…

I listened to Bob Perkins, Founder of the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP) earlier this year.  He related the story of his son.  Bob is one of those industry titans – founding an organization that helps thousands and thousands of people in the sales profession.  He spoke at the Colorado AA-ISP Chapter meeting and I was there!

His topic was, “Why would anyone go into sales?”  He offered excerpts from AA-ISP research:

Most deals are lost…

Most prospecting doesn’t convert…

And 57% of sales people surveyed do not believe they can make their quota

Bob applied these facts to his son, who reluctantly found himself in a sales role a few years back.  Knowing his son and being an expert in the sales profession, Bob said he didn’t think his son would succeed; didn’t have “what it takes”; said his son “wasn’t very good”.

But Bob’s son hung in there; believed.  He adopted a repeatable selling process; practiced; tried, failed, and tried again.  Maybe he followed the actress Mary Pickford:

You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.

Soon, Bob was his son’s guest at his first President’s Club recognition trip.  Bob said he thought that was probably a fluke.  Not long thereafter, Bob’s son was the #1 sales rep at his company.  Now Bob believes, too.

Sales is what we do when we can’t do anything else.  My Mom wanted me to be a doctor.  I was amenable right up to my sophomore year in college and organic chemistry.  That’s when my academic advisor asked, “Gary, what’s your second choice?”

Not that selling is bad – anything but.  Bob Perkins shared:

Sales people earn a doctorate degree in the anthropology and psychology of people.

Not to mention the perks of travel, trinkets and treasure for those who succeed.

Yet from a pros and cons standpoint, every pro needs to be earned.  Bob Perkins emphasized what sales reps must focus on:

People over process… Not networking but contacting… not leads but contacts… of which most are cold…

As Bob’s son proved, process is also key.  Sales professionals must master – and continuously improve – repeatable tools, tactics and techniques.  Just like six sigma and quality manufacturing principles.  More on that in a minute.

Sales people believe in Allen:

Allen’s Axiom

When all else fails, follow instructions.

We may not set out early in our career to become a sales rep, but many of us find ourselves in that role sooner or later.  And when we do, our answer to the question, “Why would anyone go into sales?” includes (among many other things) the personal and professional satisfaction of mastering business acumen; communications skills; the competition; and the recognition that comes from a job well done.  Plus, we get to be there along the way meeting great people and working with great companies.

I was there when Christopher Galvin led Motorola’s pursuit of the Malcomb Baldridge Award.  I sold them the human resource system they needed for attaining six sigma and quality manufacturing on a global scale.  I was working for Integral Systems, at the time.  Integral Systems was Dave Duffield’s second company, following Information Associates.  He went on to found PeopleSoft; and then Workday.  Dave is another industry titan and I was there, too!

Sales may be an unchosen profession but for those willing to hang in there; willing to believe; we get to be there!

GAP

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my past posts too: www.TheQuoteGuys.com

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