What attracted me to sales in the first place was the freedom the job offered. I could come and go pretty much as I pleased, work on the things I wanted to work on, and even sort of set my own goals and use the methods I wanted to achieve them. Of course I had to make sure these things didn’t contradict the company’s policies and practices, but that has never been hard since every company I’ve ever sold for wanted the same things I did: more sales from more customers to produce more income. I soon found that if I produced those things, all of us would be happy.
But the personal freedom of sales turned out to be just a side benefit to the job. The real source of gratification turned out to be the senior partner of freedom, which is personal responsibility. Selling makes you free to set and pursue your own goals, but holds you responsible to yourself for doing so. When salespeople accept that responsibility, they have taken the first step on the path to satisfaction and success.
Another constant in selling is the need for salespeople to communicate with prospects on a human level. Advancing technology may make some transactional sales functions obsolete, but as long as people make the decisions about what to buy or not to buy, there will be an important place for salespeople in our economy.
And selling will always be a fun thing to do. It combines many of the positive stimulating forces in life: learning new things, facing different challenges, and meeting a wide variety of people. You get to make a pretty good (or even a very good) living and you can take most of the credit for your own success. Above all, you get to take some interesting risks, which adds plenty of spice to your life.
Creativity is a risk-taking enterprise. To endeavor to make something new is to take risks on several levels. Risk might be defined as the ability to fail. You may spend hours, days, even weeks on the project but fail to conceive an idea that’s workable. Even if you do create one, you may fail to complete it satisfactorily and have to abandon it. Even if your idea comes to fruition, you may fail to find a market for it. Even if you sell it, your idea may not produce the results your customer expected. Every one of these potential failures wounds your ego and your pocketbook. With all these ways to fail, why try?
Because not every idea fails and the ones that succeed reward you tremendously. The risk/reward ratio is actually stacked in your favor. What’s even better, you will improve the odds of success as your professional capabilities grow.
Dave Donelson distills the experiences of hundreds of entrepreneurs into practical advice for small business owners and managers in the Dynamic Manager's Guides, a series of how-to books about marketing and advertising, sales techniques, hiring, firing, and motivating personnel, financial management, and business strategy.