Salespeople: The Lies and Truths

As Marlon Brando said in an interview for a rare show on June 12, 1973 after the height of his Godfather majesty, “There was no difference between what I do on-screen and what all of us do every day. The difference is I do it as a profession.” The same applies to sales. “Living life without selling, is like getting a Business Degree without studying accounting.”

What we could ALL learn from a Resilient Salesperson

Some of us used our persistence skills to convince our parents to buy us a new toy; others by painting smiles on our parents’ face, after a hectic day at work, with childish funny reactions; and others by asking their parents witty questions. Remembering our childhood, the end result doesn’t hold the importance anymore. What holds it, is the process of becoming resilient and getting used to the “NO” or the easy “yes”. As much as we love, miss, and want our kids to live a better life, it is very important to know the lessons we are teaching the new generation with our easy yes. Remember that we cannot control the world, and the real world is out of free gifts.

When I decided to take my first sales job, lot of people started fearing the idea of me knocking their doors with a new briefcase. Close friends thought I would lose my integrity and trustworthiness to become a new fox. But I was enjoying the challenge behind it and touching its impact on my personal development.

In fact there are more lies told about sales than truth told about the real world.


Sales, in its most basic definition, is understanding the clients’ needs and delivering the product to meet them. And in that there are three factors, first the economy (demand and supply), second the structural part that goes along the process of selling, and finally the psychological, the battle of wits, personality, and emotional intelligence.

Lessons to Learn

1. Success consists of going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm: In the movie “A Good year”, Albert Finney asked his grandson to cheer up after losing against him in a tennis game, saying: “You’ll come to see that a wise man learns nothing from winning. The act of losing, however, can elicit great wisdom. The trick is not to make a habit of it.”

While closely examining sales people, It is very likely to see them leaning while going out of one door. They then bend back, obviously standing up straight, full of energy with bright eyes, just to knock  on a second door. There is magic behind these people. They keep moving irrespective of the hundred objections they face every day.

Successful salespeople are described as happy losers. As one good salesperson told me in one of our coaching sessions, “I always tell my clients, “No” is my second best answer.”

2. Putting your heart in it: unlike how they describe salespeople as foxes trying to act smartly for winning the deal. Resilient salespeople are hedgehogs, they focus on understanding the clients’ needs, analyze it while searching for a match with what they provide before moving IN or OUT passionately.  They are visionary people and have a very good understanding to the importance of selling only when it’s a win-WIN situation. When they believe that their product brings the required added value, expect to see them then on your door every day, fighting all challenges and objections raised by clients that became warriors of being sold to, unless they hear a Logical NO.

3. A bad day for the ego is a good day for the soul: No resilient salesperson could have ever made it through his profession, if he wasn’t able to leave his place in the morning, suited and booted taking all needed energy, confidence and materials for a new day, for a new start while leaving his ego behind. As Jim Collins put it in his book “Good to Great” while describing Leadership Level 5 “You can accomplish anything in life, provided that you do not mind who gets the credit.” This is why we are called the unsung heroes.

4. Empathy but Not Sensitivity: Psychiatrists understand other people extraordinarily well, but unlike the rest of us are not restrained by sharing what their patients feel. Instead they enjoy targeting the weaknesses and pains that they have perceived with an eye directed towards solving the root problem. This is exactly how clients perceive us before buying-in our proposed solution.  Imagine all people living with empathy, standing in others’ shoes as if it’s the only one. Hope someday we join, and the world will be as one.

5. Listening: Ask hundred salespeople the secret for their work, and ninety five will say “listening” and understanding clients’ needs. It’s about what the customer wants, not what you have. Envisage the world with people listening and understanding other’s needs. Envisage what such piece of art could affect the society, the economy, politics, and the nation. Winston Churchill, in his famous speech said: “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”

Zen of Sales

We dislike the fact how people perceive us as a fast-talkative closer, graduates who took a job, any job because we had to. This is obvious, even organizations started to change the sales’ job titles in order attract new hires, and missed the fact that it all ends up in selling, irrespective of the position, title, profession or your class in the society.

But it is difficult to describe what you can learn from a sales job, what you can build as an understanding, way of living, and way of prosperity.

Salespeople are a power in the society and in the public economy. They earn their money hardly and spend it cheerfully. They introduce more new goods, push for old goods and the first to order new ones. They start more new businesses while enjoying the insecurity behind, and creating new opportunities. They were described as the most happy wives or husbands because they are fully aware that behind any problem lies an opportunity. They are the most rational people. They take nothing personal, and lose none of their temper, better than any classes we know. In many ways they are a tribute unto themselves.

If somehow we could harness that energy, where people relate to people, listen without judging, stand straight just after being bent, and careless for being given any credit, I assure that we can change the history of economy, politics and nation.



Managing Partner
Founder of HEED, a sales management consulting firm focused on aiding companies to structure, transform or optimize their sales by integrating science into selling.

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