Did you know that at one point in my life I worked as a sales representative for a greeting card company?
That’s right, the woman who would prefer to be at home grooving to her own beat had a job dragging samples and order forms around her three-state territory convincing store owners to buy the products that she represented.
In spite of the job being a lousy fit for my personality and energy level, I was moderately successful at sales. Early on in my career as a sales rep I figured out a few basic principles that helped me focus on what mattered– that is, getting things done.
Here is what I learned:
- Getting buyers to feel comfortable with their decisions requires the insight of a family therapist, the explanatory powers of a college professor & the enthusiasm of a family dog.
- No one gets everything that they want. That is why dealmaking requires negotiation– which requires stepping outside your comfort zone and adapting to each unique situation.
- Details make it happen. Chit-chat and generalities, while pleasant, are pointless when it comes time to sign the contract.
- Every person you meet could be your next lead, so be polite and listen actively, at least for a little while, to everyone.
- Say “thank you” to the buyer no matter what happens.
Why, oh why, am I thinking about this topic today?
Well, it is because as I watch Washington NOT find a way to make reasonable deals about managing national finances, I am taken back to my days when my paycheck was tied to my ability to get things done. Sell more cards, make more money.
And while I was not always enthusiastic about all the deals that I made when I worked in sales, I did make deals. Lots of them. Because I knew that was what was expected of me. It was part of the job.
So as a way to help our poor [overpaid] Senators and Representatives learn how to focus on what matters and start making sensible deals that are not tied to unrealistic party lines, I have shared my five principles of salesmanship.
Perhaps if all of these Washington jackweasels would apply my principles to their discussions about the impending sequestration they would be moderately successful at their jobs. And get some things done that benefit all of us… not just their oversized egos.
14 thoughts on “Of Salesmanship And Sequestration”
Actually, your list sounds like a pretty good guideline for almost any interaction.
Totally agree with you on our esteemed senators and representatives. It seems people are more interested in appearing to win and screwing the other side than making real progress.
Zazzy, I will never understand how it has come to be that compromise is so difficult for people who gravitate toward politics. The rest of us understand how to get things accomplished by bending & going with the flow. So why don’t they get it?
Well, my basic rule of politics is that anyone who wants to be in power should be no means be allowed to be.
You may be on to something there! 🙂
Amen! Maybe they didn’t learn in the sandbox! Perhaps we should tie salary to number of bills passed. That would be interesting.
Kate, I love your idea! I always had a sales quota, so I see no reason why the Senators & Reps couldn’t have something similar. Might get them motivated to do the right thing.
I love your commonsense approach AND the fitting expression jackweasels. I would just like to say that their paychecks NEED to rest on their ability to do the job, which involves negotiation and compromise. Bah, humbug.
Margaret, thank you. These people and their whining get on my very last nerve. I end up yelling at the TV “just. fix. it.”
Excellent rules to follow in every aspect of life. And, thank you.
robin, I may not have been the best sales rep, but I did learn a thing or two that translates to everyday life. And into political life as well.
Hey -I actually had a greeting card company (and was in sales of one sort or another for years)
Your salesmanship list is wonderful – and accurate for productive solutions.
Maybe everyone in the Senate, the House, and the Executive office should have to copy it 10 times neatly by hand.
(and put them on the same health care, earned vacation schedule, and pay scale as teachers…maybe that would help get things done)
philosophermouse, no kidding? Another greeting card rep! How amazing.
I like the copy it 10 times idea. Maybe on a chalkboard like Bart Simpson is made to do? And as for all of your other ideas– sound great to me. Anything to get the ball rolling and deals made.
Yeah my company was Bear Mountain Designs. I sold to resorts, bookstores, gift shops, and boutiques west of the Mississippi. Small scale, but my designs, my company, my efforts so it was fun.
And Bart might teach them a thing or two?
That is way cool that you had a card company w/ your own designs. I worked for a national company & was always east of the Missippi– although my states changed every so often. It was a somewhat mixed up job.
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