What Every Leader Can Learn from a Salesperson
Imagine this is your job description:
Must interrupt people, usually unsolicited, and try to get them to change or be interested or, most importantly of all, part with their money. Will need to constantly prove yourself, and the people who hold all the cards will often treat you with arrogance in return.
To be successful, you will need to stay committed even though you’re regularly rejected. You’ll have to get used to leaving messages that go unreturned while you try to read between the lines of the silence. You’ll have to make awkward conversation with strangers at Starbucks, clamor for an introduction by a well-connected friend and, when faced with an intimidating obstacle, get past your fears and go forward anyway.
For those whose jobs involve selling of any kind, you don’t have to imagine it; this is the unwritten part of the job description.
It takes a special kind of courage to be afraid yet relentless, intimidated yet willing, continually rejected yet steadfast.
Why do they do it? The cynic might say it’s another way to make a buck. But the ones who live with them know that the best ones do it because it matters. They do it because they believe in the impact of what they sell. And it builds their courage. It makes them alive.
We need more people who have courage and are alive in this world, who are willing to put themselves out there to fuel the engines of our economies, our communities, our progress and our personal lives.
The next time you’re tempted to ignore that LinkedIn request, not return the call or deflect with a quick excuse, stop yourself. When the kid down the street asks you to support her soccer team, take her seriously. And when your friend from high school sends you the invitation, show up, give, buy, refer and encourage.
Because whether it’s inconvenient or not, we need more door knockers, more askers, more people in our community with courage.