This week I had a skype conversation with a friend across the pond. He said something that stopped me cold, and made me re-evaluate right then what I thought about Sales.
He pointed out that Sales is probably the only profession in which most of the work you do is going to end in ‘failure.’
Woah! Now I’m no pie-in-the-sky idealist, far from it, but I’ve never thought about Sales that way before! There’s some truth in the statement: accountants, engineers, software programmers, grocery store baggers, lawn mower guys…everyone else I can think of can say that the work they do will achieve a successful result almost all the time. Things will get created, fixed, tended to. Only in Sales does it seem to be that the odds of success are very low: say 20-30% for pretty good face-to-face selling, 1-2% for direct mail, and so on.
Here’s the real flabbergaster, for me anyway: are most salespeople thinking like this? Thinking about this? That their efforts are pretty much going to result in failure all the time? Jeez. Going around thinking that everything you do is a waste of time.
I’ve never thought this way, and I’m not going to start. Success, to me, is getting feedback. Yes or No, but not I’ll Think It Over. This thing works, this other thing does not. Failure in selling is not doing the activities.
How do you think about Sales?