Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Trey Jackson and the Anchoress both cite their least liked profession as "retail selling" and Trey adds "I agree with the Anchoress: Retail sales. I've done it. It's horrible. As is any kind of sales." I think this a sad commentary on the reputation "Sales" has in American life.

Almost everything we do depends on our selling skills, from personal relationships to getting someone to read our blogs. Most folks think of sales as "getting someone to do something they don't want to do" rather than "helping someone to do something they really want to do." We see the typical salesman as that annoying tele-marketer, a used-car salesman, or perhaps an insurance agent. We don't think of salesmen as that really helpful waiter or other person who helps us so well that we don't realize we are being "sold".

I wish schools did a better job identifying and teaching selling skills. Most colleges lump selling with marketing (if they mention it at all), and most "sales training" is misguided efforts to teach manipulative techniques that have little to do with successful real-world selling.

Good salesmanship requires a number of skills, from listening well to being empathetic to having a certain level of knowledge about what is being sold. It's a shame that so many folks get a bad taste of salesmanship early in life and don't learn to appreciate its importance.

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