You can call me an account representative, you can call me a customer service manager, you can call me a territory manager, you can call me a solutions specialist, you can call me a sales executive, you can call me anything you want, but don’t call me a “salesperson.”
I am absolutely amazed at the names people come up with to avoid using the title of “salesperson.” The length that someone will go to eliminate the title of salesperson when describing what they do, has almost become comical. I sense there are those working in the field of sales that suffer great embarrassment being called a salesperson.
Selling is the world’s oldest profession. I don’t care what product or service people represent, it needs to be sold before it can be delivered. Selling has been around since the beginning of time. Just like any other occupation, there are those who are honest and honorable and then there are those who are dishonest, incapable and everything in between. I challenge you to think of any profession that doesn’t have its scoundrels and misfits. The world of selling is no different. However, we tend to receive more criticism than other professions, probably due to the number of salespeople in the world. We are more visible and represent a larger proportion of the workforce. People deal with salespeople every day and have more opportunity to experience unprofessional behavior.
Another compelling reason for the negativity associated with salespeople might stem from the lack of professional training available to those in the industry. Sales training is a seven billion dollar a year industry, but most salespeople have never been trained to the degree of other professionals. A doctor will study for as many as ten years before practicing medicine. An attorney will study seven to eight years before representing a client. Salespeople just open their mouths and they believe they are qualified to sell a product or service. They may receive some training along the way, but they never enter the profession with any semblance of the training and skills of other professionals. Sales programs are not generally offered at the college level and some people are looking for what they consider an easy entry into the work force. They often choose sales because it doesn’t require years of formal education.
Several years ago I attended my twentieth year high school reunion. In high school I excelled scholastically, socially and athletically. I was recognized as someone who would achieve great success in life. I really enjoyed catching up with many of my friends at the reunion and sharing stories of the “good old high school days”, as well as the past twenty years that had come and gone so quickly. Everyone was anxious to learn what we had achieved in our lives and for some it was a pleasant surprise. However, I don’t think anyone shocked the group quite like I did when I introduced myself as a salesperson. Actually, I saw a look of sadness and disappointment fall upon the faces of many. Now, I had attended the top rated business graduate school in the nation, was earning a lucrative six figure income, participated in executive management with men twice my age, traveled regularly on the corporate jet, and dealt with senior executives in my industry on a daily basis. However, when I introduced myself as a salesperson, I know there were those who pictured me standing on a street corner holding a cardboard sign.
Selling is an honorable profession. Doctors diagnose illnesses and then seek to deliver a cure while providing comfort to their patients. Attorneys provide legal solutions to their client’s problems, giving them peace of mind. Salespeople discover the needs, wants and desires of their customers and then help them achieve their needs. Salespeople are much like doctors and lawyers in discovering problems and providing solutions. I can’t think of a more satisfying profession than sales. Salespeople can make a significant difference in the lives of their customers and can be the source of great satisfaction, not only for their customers, but for themselves as well.
I’m proud to be a salesperson. I tell everyone what I do and always refer to myself as a salesperson. You can call me anything you want, but I will always be a salesperson.