Salesperson Quits Job After Reading Article Explaining Why He’s a Loser


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Last Friday, a colleague sent me an email asking me to share some Tweets she had composed. I replied that I would be glad to, but only if I could edit them. To use a musical comparison, she had sent me a dirge, and I wanted to communicate something up-tempo. With the weekend approaching, I thought, why not something, you know, meringue!

The sentiment in my reply was admittedly coarse, but in that crucial instant before clicking send, I had an unsettling epiphany: I am a hypocrite. I’m negative about negativity. Of course, I quickly forgave myself. It had been a long week, and her Tweet, “why are your sales going dark?” followed by a link to her blog, was in lock-step conformity with the daily stream of ways-salespeople-screw-up content that creeps into my email inbox. A tiny taste:

“Uh-oh! Why Is Your Customer Cheating on You?”

YOU are The Weakest Link. How to Stop Sabotaging Your Sales

Don’t Ask If You Aren’t Going to Listen

Behave This Way and You’ve Lost Your Meetings

The Real Reason They Are Beating You Down So Damn Hard

Stop Choosing to be a Loser

Clean up Your Damn Mess First

Five Reasons Your Deal Isn’t Closing

Hey, slow down! Curb Your Enthusiasm To Make More Sales

Not that anyone even needed to write that last essay. My sales ebullience had already been crushed.

Look, I’m not demanding that words like Rainbows and Eternal Happiness appear in every biz-dev blog title, but come on! Compared to reading these articles, I’d derive more joy from being alone inside a dank, windowless room, listening to Pink Floyd.

Ineptitude. Shaming. Goading. Futility. Check your RSS feeds. It’s all there. Wormwood that flavors the stew of professional selling “self help.” Dig in! Here’s a spoon.

To me, our self-castigating vitriol seems bizarre. Imagine how other professions might disparage themselves:

Accountants – Four Reasons You Can’t Do Simple Spreadsheet Math

Cardiologists – Your Surgical Techniques Suck – and What to Do about It

Social workers – How Do You Get Professional Counselors to Shut Up and Listen?

Medical researchers – Why Your Study Won’t Cure Cancer

Fortunately, these fields tend to offer more positive introspection – one way of ensuring newcomers are attracted to join.

I know, I just pushed a touchy button: finding the next-gen top sales producers. Scary to think how young men and women who are considering a career in sales might perceive all this dour messaging. One possibility: “Hey, how do I land a job as an Account Executive? Others can abuse you, and the self-flagellation looks like so much fun!” – though that impression seems doubtful.

A recent article in Forbes reported that by 2025, millennials will comprise over one-third of the US workforce, and that just over 25% of millennials believe that high pay is important. If this is true, why on earth would a newbie be attracted to enter the sales profession? How about you can save the world, or work from home? Oh, yeah. There’s that. If Mom and Dad will give up the space.

The sales profession embraces egalitarianism. For many positions, if you possess a high school diploma or GED, and can pass the interview, you can get hired. Voila! Sales Rep! No license required! No certification or peer review, either. Unlike CPA’s, Registered Nurses, physicians, dental hygienists, and lawyers, salespeople are not qualified by any governing authority (real estate agents, securities brokers, and some financial services professionals are exceptions). That might explain the preponderance of remedial content aimed at salespeople.

But it doesn’t explain the stinging condescension that infects the sales blogosphere. Don’t Waste Your Prospect’s Time by Asking Stupid Questions. Wow. Yet another dirge. A different tune, maybe, but the background vocals are the same as all the rest. “You’rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre a loooooooooooooooser!”

How about, Ask provocative, interesting questions, and your prospect will beg – just beg – to dance with you!

That’s more like it! Meringue! Have a party!


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