How many kids grow up wanting to be a salesperson? My name is Chris Pawar and I definitely I wasn’t one of them!
When I graduated college, in the mid 90’s, I believed my destiny was to be a creative advertising genius. In my mind Sales was a job one held their nose and did solely for money. I accepted my first job, doing inside sales, because they’d also give me a small amount of ad work. A year later I took on a similar job with more pay still with hopes to get my big break at an ad agency.
A big opportunity eventually came but in the form of a sales job with a software company making twice my salary. Any sadness at abandoning my goal to work for an ad agency was quickly outweighed by my love for technology. In fact, so excited was I at the prospect of learning software I willingly took the risk of being discovered for who I really was, a non-salesperson.
From there I would go on to earn enough money to make even trying a creative job less and less practical. Still, despite the commission checks and better jobs I would win over the years, I continued to hold on the belief I was an impostor.
This was to be reinforced over several years aided by the volatility of my numeric sales results. Even as I claimed to look for greater pay and responsibility, secretly (even to myself at times), I would evaluate both my current and future roles in terms of how long it would take to be discovered as a phony. Then, one day at a large sales meeting, I was shocked to see my name at the top of the sales results. By then, even I knew I had some selling ability, but I never thought I was THAT good. After all ranking that high was surely was for someone more skilled and harder working than me!
The point of my story is NOT that I had finally become an expert. Instead, that day, I realized something more important: sales is a game with no permanent winners or losers. There I was, a rep that put in a decent but not ridiculous amount of effort, ranking higher than 100’s of other salespeople. Since that fateful moment, I’ve concluded that success in sales requires a combination of skill, hard work, and luck. Through research into Psychology and Philosophy, I would later realize that sales is an occupation, not an identity.
Still, many of us play the game, convincing ourselves that rankings and commission checks really matter. In doing so, we act accountable to external arbitrary measurements, instead of our internal long term happiness. Unfortunately precious few salespeople realize how little external accountability they possess and how much internal accountability they ignore.
So, what does all this have to do with selling more stuff? When I took accountability for my own happiness (internal accountability) and got more realistic about my results (external accountability) I was happier and more able to sell. When I took the time to fix how I felt about myself I noticed an undeniable improvement in how customers felt about me. And, ironically, when I stopped needing to prove how good I was, I performed more consistently with better results than ever. This blog is about the lessons I’ve learned and continue to learn. I hope you enjoy reading it enough to visit again!
INDUSTRIES I’VE WORKED IN:
- Real Estate
- Information Technology
- Medical Devices
YEARS OF EXPERIENCE:
- Almost 25 years – mostly in sales, some in training
- Enough time to have both sucked wind and kicked ass