When I entered the business world and actually got to know not only some really excellent salesmen (and women) and developed an appreciation for the ways they contribute not just to the bottom line but to their customers' operations, my respect for the sales profession grew and grew. The best sales professionals have a bit of nobility to them, doing what's right for the customer, even if it costs them or their employers in the short run. They build trust and personal bonds and actively help their customers succeed, bringing far more than a shoeshine and a smile. The best sales professionals are all problem-solvers and dedicated to their customers. They deserve the big bucks they earn.
I will never forget a conversation with a former colleague of mine at Columbia University who left teaching to take a job in business, where he was in charge of marketing certain big ticket products for a major company whose name you would instantly recognize. He spoke movingly of his deep admiration for the dealers of his company's products, many of whom were self-made millionaires. "They created entire businesses out of nothing," he said with awe in his voice, selling and servicing important tools that made life better for millions. We commiserated over the deeply flawed views of business and entrepreneurs (and life itself) so common in the academic world he left and from which I was departing. Both of us quite voluntarily, I might add.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
On the Value Added by Excellent Salesmen
A conversation elsewhere about sales reminded me of this essay written a couple of years ago by Thomas Lifson of American Thinker. Below is the relevant excerpt.