Did you know there is a segment of our population that thinks salesman are evil-spawn? They honestly think these people live only to suck as many dollars out of their customers as possible. This surprised me when I was first faced this lovely misconception. Early in my career I worked as a salesman of high-end travel goods. I was a “certified travel goods specialist.” Yes there is an entity somewhere out there that certifies travel goods specialists. I knew my stuff and knew there were people that could benefit from my knowledge. For example, I can tell you what plugs you need for each country or why you need a fancy suitcase. I was good at my job and took my work relatively seriously.
We aren’t actually all that bad. Some of us just want to help
Sales itself was not actually that bad, with the exception of one thing: customers. Customers specifically who treated me as less than human. Apparently, people raise their children with the notion that all salespeople were only out to lie, cheat and steal all the money they could. Having never worked in direct sales, I was caught off guard by the customers. People who would refuse my help, cast doubting glances at my statements, or worse double check my information on their smart phone. It is hard to not be take offense. I genuinely only wanted to sell people what they needed and liked the idea of saving people money and hassle where I could.
It is time for a paradigm shift. It’s time for sales professionals and business to say “I only want to help.” Let’s undo the notion and let the people know that we are here for them. We are not the evil spawn of demons. Salesmen and women everywhere can start today. Start by being knowledgeable and always doing what you say. Most importantly, avoid lies and half-truths at all costs. If we do this, if we try just a little harder, we can start to see our customers treating us more like Apple Geniuses who they seek out instead of the evil demon spawn they see us as now.