What is a Salesperson?

A salesperson is often a pin on a map or a name on a monthly report to the sales manager, an enigma to non-salespeople, a bookkeeping item called “cost-of-selling” to the accountant, a smile and a wisecrack to a receptionist, and a “glad handing”, sometimes flattering vendor connection to the buyer.

Many salespeople today need the endurance of an Olympic athlete, the brass of a showman, the craft of a wizard, the tact of a diplomat, the skills of an orator, and the brain wiring of a computer.

They must be impervious to insult, delay, indifference, dislike, anger, scorn, being misunderstood, and be razor-sharp, even after exhausting and often nonproductive encounters.

They must have the stamina to sell all day, respond to e-mail, return phone calls, drive great distances to the next appointment and maintain high energy when meeting the next prospect or customer.

Salespeople fantasize that the product or service could be better, the prices lower, the commissions higher, the competitors more ethical, the goods or services more promptly delivered, the manager more sympathetic, the advertising more effective and the customers more receptive and understanding.

But they are for the most part realists who accept the fact that most of this may never be.  Yet the well trained and those with modern selling skills are also optimistic, so they make sales anyway and are frequently the highest earners in their company.

They live or die by the daily report, a monthly quota, an annual goal, and often ever changing policies.

Those who travel great distances beyond a commute, toil the days away in tedium – – on planes, trains and in cars.  They often sleep in cheerless hotel rooms, dine in below-average restaurants, and prepare sales reports prior to retiring.  Each morning they hoist the dead weight of last year’s sales record and this year’s quota and go forth to do it all over again.

Yet despite all that, most salespeople are absolutely certain that tomorrow will be better.  The great among them seek new means and methods to improve their skills and maximize the return on their efforts and there is nothing they would rather do, or anybody they would rather be – – than a salesperson.

So here’s to salespeople.  They make the wheels of industry hum – they bring new ideas, systems, products, labor and money-saving ideas to the marketplace.

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