Salespeople are Consumers too: Why it's Important to Maintain Your Decorum (even when you want to be an asshole)

I have been working in sales for about a year and a half now, and it never fails to be an adventure.  That’s why I love it.  The rest of my life is nothing to sing about…err, write about, so I need that daily adventure out into the business world to conquer some terrain and talk to new people.  However, it never fails that roughly 1 out of 5 people I talk to think its ok to be an asshole to me because of what I do for a living.  It makes me glad that I spent the first year of my sales career at a car dealership, where it was more likely that 3 out of 5 customers thought it was ok to be an asshole to me.  When you combine that year with the 3 years I spent working at a call center and getting cursed out by strangers over the phone, I became pretty resilient as a professional.  I laugh that shit off like nobody’s business and make my own snide comments in my head as I walk away with a big smile on my face.  But there is another side to this story that I bet most people don’t consider.

My current endeavor in outside sales takes me to countless different types of businesses every day.  I sell only commercially, not residentially.  That means that, when I enter your business, I’m usually not only looking to sell something.  I purposely target businesses I am interested in and could potentially see myself patronizing…depending on how I’m treated.  Last week, I stopped at a cute little wine shop and had a great conversation about red blends.  I gained a new business prospect as well as a delicious $15 bottle that I only paid $10 for.  The next day, I met a new restaurateur and had the greatest time talking to him about cooking Mexican food (something I happen to be good at).  I was able to provide the service he needed, and, as soon as his place opens to the public, I will be there with a margarita in my hand.  Those are just a couple examples.  Discovering the hidden gems in my community is my favorite thing about my job, and I will return the kindness by referring my friends and writing positive online reviews.

Now let’s talk about those assholes I was referring to earlier.  I’m talking about the ones who refuse to even have a 5 minute conversation with me.  When I go into a business that hasn’t sent in a lead, I’m not going for a hard sell right away.  That would be a suicide mission.  My goal is to have a conversation, gain a contact, and find out more about the business.  The inspection and information I offer is completely free, so, when I run across that 1/5 that rudely chases me away claiming they have never had an issue, it makes me think they have something to hide.  This is especially true of restaurants.  After some of the things I’ve seen, I take food safety more seriously than ever.  So, yes, I will go away and I will never come back…especially to patronize you.  I’ll take my money to a business that I know is not only clean and safe but friendly. 

Until next time…remember that your professionalism and basic human compassion is always on display and it will undoubtedly affect your bottom line as well as your reputation. 

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