My first career in banking was safe. Steady, safe, but uninspiring. At a bank, however, you meet people from all walks of life. No matter who I met, sales people always stood out. They always seemed to be having fun. They seemed so free –I wanted that too.
1988. I go for it. I traded in my bank suit for an outside sales job. My friends, my parents, were horrified. They thought I’d lost my mind, giving up such a reliable job – for this.
It wasn’t easy, defying norms and ‘learning on the fly’, as I developed my sales experience. In 3 years, I had worked for 8 companies. I’d been fired, bankrupt, discouraged, depressed, underpaid and overworked. Reality was sinking in. I was NOT a natural at sales. Perhaps my friends and family were right.
Something about sales just didn’t align with me, my value system. Still, I wasn’t willing to give up that dream of freedom. So, how was I going to make this work? Between jobs, totally demoralized yet determined to figure this out, I threw myself into every painful, detailed exercise I found in the book “What Color is Your Parachute?” Finally, something paid off. I realized I didn’t just want to sell. I had to help others develop too. Eureka! Sales in training and development! This was in alignment with my values. Selling while empowering those I’m selling to – it’s so obvious now.
1992. Newfound resilience. I returned to sales at a private college. I still can’t tell you why I was promoted to manager of sales, but this is where my freedom began. I was a natural here because I truly believed in it. My next employer hired 8 sales people with the goal to keep only one. I was let go, but the day I started my next job, they sent me flowers and asked me to come back. It turns out the sales I made stuck. You see, I truly partnered with clients to better ‘be of service’ to them. I was genuine.
I took all of these lessons to my next private college adventure and stayed for almost 20 years. It was there that I met Jaq, who truly helped me refine my sales strategy, further aligning my skills with my values. I was a great student and soon I saw my sales grow. Integrity was very important to me. I didn’t have to push people into making decisions. I saw the greatness in each individual. I was there to facilitate the best decision possible. This made me proud. I was well paid and winning awards! I was finally free. This genuine approach to sales is what made me a GREAT sales person, an effective trainer and an inspiring leader.
Can you relate? What’s your story? I know you’ve worked hard to get where you are, today. Today, you have positioned yourself to markedly change and impact lives. You know that being highly effective in sales would increase the value you give exponentially. Ready to make that crucial decision?