Open letter to the novice salesperson, desiring to thrive

Dear Novice

Here’s three tips I want to share with you as you embark on this adventure called selling.

1: Yours is not a desk job – quit benchmarking with it

The two are as different as light is from day. Unless you explicitly look for it, information about selling is not as commonplace as that of desk jobs. This is because, the desk job has been studied again and again and again, because the environment it operates in is almost lab-like; it’s controlled. Desk jobs are traditional jobs; the kind that has a steady salary, hours and benefits. Remuneration is already determined and changes are the singular preserve of the employer. The structured nature of the corporation the desk job is to be found in, implies that protocol be observed. Sellers like you, on the other hand, cut a different path. They build capacity to learn then earn; and experts will tell you that ironically, even when you thrive, joy will always be found more in the learning than the earning. Sellers do not have confined geographical limits they operate in and their environment is certainly not a controlled one. Sellers are not caged to an income or corporate title. Nothing stops a seller (except himself , of course) from meeting the CEO of any firm for instance; a limited few in a desk job have such access.
When you compare yourself with one in desk job, it’s an exercise in futility.

2: The learning curve is steep

No matter how many days, weeks or months you spend in class being taught, nothing will shield you from the hurricane force winds of rejections that must hit you if you are to build the necessary capacity to thrive. And no, there is no perfect moment to “get out there”. Responsible parents will do anything to shield their children from harm; yet they accept when the children contract measles, chicken pox or mumps. And the sooner it happens, the more relived they are; they know it must happen and is the only way to build the child’s immune system. Likewise, for the seller to build his own immune system, he must constantly seek opportunities to be “infected” with rejections, embarrassment and lost sales opportunities. Avoiding or delaying this will result in stunted growth or even “death”.

3: Three tips Dr. Ciano shares on how he injected life into Uchumi

First, have a problem-solving attitude
There’s blind man on Kenyatta avenue who expertly taps his way to a music shop about 200m from him and two flights of stairs up. I can only imagine the number of times he must have attempted the trips before perfecting it. A problem solving attitude is what will get you (as it does an entrepreneur) to thrive; the realisation that you are flying blind but walking in faith. The destination (your goal) may be clear but the path is non-existent-you craft it.

Next, have courage
Hold your empty gun as if it’s fully loaded-have the confidence of a con artist without being one.

And finally, never feel poor because you don’t have money.
This last one is especially critical for those building their income from scratch. Country artist Dolly Parton, progresses this when describing her rags to riches story: one is only poor only if they choose to be.


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