For The Joy of Sales

Find a job you like, and you will never work a day in your life.

Teachers, career counselors, and motivational speakers have shared this nugget from antiquity with students, job seekers, and dissatisfied workers. It is sage advice. Having spent four decades in the sales profession, I can attest to its validity for salespeople.

For some people, sales is a calling and then a career. For other people, sales is an entry-level position into business. After the trial period, it may become a launching pad for something else. For some people, sales is a proving ground to see if they can make it in the marketing field. For Liberal Arts Majors, Sales is a way to assimilate into a world they may not have planned to join. How people arrive in this profession doesn’t matter. Sales is an exciting career for those who want to risk the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat in the business world. For most people, there is no greater challenge in business than succeeding in the role of a rainmaker.

Sales offers a way to serve others, solve problems, and build relationships. Some sales positions offers the opportunity to travel to places most people would not visit on their own. This broadens their perspectives. Sales demands that salespeople set aside their own biases to see the world in others’ terms, which results in personal growth. This transcendent quality of sales is reinforced as salespeople become part of a team that creates value for their companies and customers. Value creation is a meaningful experience for everyone. Salespeople have the privilege of experiencing this daily.

Sales allows salespeople to test their mettle. If salespeople have a compensation plan that involves an incentive for performing, they are paid what they are worth. Sales is the one true meritocracy in business. That’s why it motivates salespeople. There are no participation awards in sales. There are no third-place trophies. There is no simply going through the motions. Order-takers soon discover their companies and customers want more than a warm body in a hot territory.

The starkest reality and most exciting dynamic of sales is that salespeople are paid to make sales, not calls.

Salespeople must produce or perish. Some people are intimidated by this reality, and that’s okay. There are many other ways for those people to create value for their companies. Those people who make sales a career understand the reality of producing and are motivated by the challenge.

Whether Confucius, Mark Twain, or a Princeton Professor coined the opening quote doesn’t matter. It is sound advice. Finding something that is enjoyable to do and doing it with great pride and effectiveness is a prescription for success in any profession. It is absolutely true for salespeople.

Tom Reilly is literally the guy who wrote the book on Value-Added Selling (McGraw-Hill).

The Greatest Motivator of All

The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. (Mark Twain)

Your why empowers you to sustain any what you may encounter. Why fuels your passion. The day you discover your why is the most liberating day of your life. It allows you to abandon all of the non-why stuff. This enables you to focus on your true purpose, your why.

For salespeople, your why is to create value. Selling is a function of creating value. When you solve problems for customers, you create value for them. When you create value for your customers, it generally means you create value for your company. This is your why. Everything else is noise.

Passion sells. Enthusiasm is contagious. Knowledge is power. Your knowledge of how you create value inflames your passions. Share that passion with your customers. Let them feel the excitement of the value you create. Infuse your sales conversation with this enthusiasm.

If you have chosen sales as a career path, focus on your purpose, your why. Do not allow yourself to be distracted by all of the noise that will confuse you. Your why is to create value, not just move inventory. Your why is to make a difference, not just a deal. Your why is to help the customer find solutions, not just buy products.

Your why simplifies your life. If what you are doing does not fit your why, why are you doing it?

Tom Reilly is literally the guy who wrote the book on Value-Added Selling (McGraw-Hill).

Next Value-Added Selling public seminar is December 14-15, 2016. It is presented by Paul Reilly. Call to reserve your seat. 636-537-3360 or visit www.TomReillyTraining.com.

MISSION, MEN, ME

How do you set priorities?

All schooling does not happen in traditional classrooms. For most students, their real education does not begin until their formal schooling is out of the way and they encounter the real world with real-world problems. My educational experience has been much the same.

I studied at two great institutions of higher education and graduated from both with undergraduate and graduate degrees in psychology. I value that learning and have used it for most of my career. There was another institution of learning in which I spent four years—the United States Army. During my service, I had the privilege of attending leadership schools and subsequently leading troops. What I learned from this experience had a profound effect on me.

I learned a priority system which business and political leaders could benefit from: Mission-Men-Me. Notice, the top priority is commitment to the mission—getting the job done. Locking in on mission and locking out distractions is how leaders prevent mission creep and accomplish results. Next, attending to the “men” (people) means taking care of those whom leaders have the privilege of leading. We learned simple things like the troops eat first and never position your troops in formation with the sun in their eyes. These commonsense acts reflected the next and most important sense of priority—leaders must subordinate themselves to their mission and people. Leaders rank third in order of importance.

The willingness of leaders—military, business, and political—to subordinate themselves to the greater good of their cause and to their people is the hallmark of true leadership. This presumes a measure of humility that is in short supply these days.

Whether you manage a sales territory, a sales force, or a company of employees, your sense of self must follow your commitment to the mission and the people you serve. Then, you will be an effective leader, of sales and people.

Read and comment on this article at www.TomReillyBlog.com.

Tom Reilly is the author of The Humility Paradox (AMAZON).

Next Value-Added Selling public seminar is December 14-15, 2016 and is presented by Paul Reilly. For more information, visit www.TomReillyTraining.com.