Tim Huffaker 2017I’ve only known one person in my entire life that planned a career in sales.  

He was one of my classmates at Thunderbird School of Global Management. Not only did Bryan want a career in sales, he insisted on being paid a commission.  As I interviewed with several major corporations, my focus was job security and a nice fat salary. Bryan thought I was nuts, and I couldn’t comprehend why he or anyone else would want to accept the risks associated with commission income.  In defense of his position, Bryan told me that receiving a commission was the only way a company would pay him what he was worth. He was focused on the reward and all I could see was the risk.

A few years ago I had the opportunity of visiting a small village on the banks of the Amazon River, a few hundred miles down river from Iquitos, Peru.  It was an incredible cultural experience, one that I will never forget. Our group had arranged to visit the elementary school, the only school in the village, to have an exchange with the children.  We ask them many questions through our interpreter and gained insight into their lives and aspirations. Those children wanted to become teachers, doctors, nurses, farmers and fishermen. Not one of them said they wanted to be a salesperson.  I asked specifically if they wanted to become a salesperson and they looked at me like I was crazy. Even in the most remote areas of the world, a career in sales has no attraction.

I believe professional selling is one of the noblest professions.  Selling is the one singular profession that drives the world economy.  Nothing happens until something is sold. As a result of a sale, raw materials are acquired, transported, engineered, processed, manufactured, packaged and shipped.  Every aspect of our economy is tied to the sale and purchase of products and services; it all begins with the sale. As a salesperson, you impact not only your own financial well-being but that of the world.  As a salesperson, you are not dependent upon others to generate an income. You are an independent creator of wealth. You are capable of selling for any company and you can write your own paycheck. You don’t have to depend upon someone else determining your worth, you create your own.

Commissioned salespeople create the wealth that those people working in other careers can only dream about.  A career in sales is hard work, requires consistent effort and a significant amount of training to truly be successful.  The best salespeople are in the top five percent of income earners. Many salespeople make a greater income than doctors, lawyers, managers, business owners and entrepreneurs.  I don’t know why more people aren’t driven toward a career in sales, instead of just falling into it as an occupation of last choice. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity I took to pursue a career in sales.  It has not been easy, but it has certainly been worth it. My career in sales has been filled with over-night travel, long days, late nights, study, learning, practicing, discouragement, success, satisfaction and consistent effort.  Selling isn’t for the lazy or the weak or those void of hope. Selling isn’t for everyone, but for those who choose to embrace it, regardless of how they arrived, it is truly worth it.