A number of years ago, I was in sales. As I’ve said in previous posts, I was not particularly good at it and ultimately left the field. I’m sure I made all the usual excuses for my failure. One of those was that I just wasn’t “cut out” for the work.
Now that I’m older and better motivated, I suspect I’d probably do better and last longer. And the reason is that selling is a learned skill. With proper training and desire, anyone can sell. Jill Konrath points this out in a recent post, where she laughs at her inability to catch a taxi in New York City.
Now, Ms. Konrath is no bonehead. She simply didn’t have the right knowledge and, as a result, kept doing things wrong. After all, when you come from Minnesota, as she does, you may not know that you can’t successfully flag a taxi whose roof light isn’t illuminated. And if you keep stepping off the curb to engage an off-duty cab, you’ll ultimately get discouraged.
As she points out, learning what to do is the antidote to continual failure. It’s a matter of training, not blind instinct. You learn how to counter objections so they don’t leave you flat-footed and speechless. You learn how to pique a prospect’s curiosity so that she gets back to you. You learn to respond to the competitor who keeps eating your lunch.
Of course, it helps to have a congenial personality and resilience. But knowledge is key. And, as Ms. Konrath says, once you learn what to do, the fear and frustration go away, and “everything changes.”