Selling: the oldest profession on Earth

Selling: the oldest profession on Earth

< Back to Articles | Topics: Trends


Peter Skakum, President, Tangent Strategies Inc.

Of all the professions: law, medicine, accounting, military, politics, engineering, teaching, entertainment or professional sports … there is arguably none more rewarding financially, emotionally, intellectually, mentally and yes, even physically than the profession of selling.

Selling is the oldest profession on earth and for good reason. It satisfies.

Salespeople are the quintessential self-made men and women. Salespeople create, deliver and leverage opportunity, globally. They are the primary business developers in every company and are depended upon to deliver profitable growth and sustainability.

The most successful salespeople are salaried professionals, respected, admired and welcomed into virtually every home and office. The most successful salespeople sell without pressure or manipulation. Logic is their resource. They do not troll for pain or demand immediate buy-decisions. They guide and advise. They recognize and anticipate need and satisfy it. They are a patient, tolerant and congenial amalgam of psychology, anthropology and business savvy. And, they like people.

Of course selling has its bad apples. Every profession does. However even the bad apples earn their keep by teaching us all how not to sell. If you’ve met a bad apple or employed one you know what I mean.

Principled women and men who have learned to sell well are highly sought after. They can and do write their own ticket. The secret to hiring and keeping talented and admired salespeople is no secret at all.

Employers fortunate enough to recruit top tier salespeople do so by asking themselves two simple, but insightful, questions:

  1. As a buyer, what would cause me to respect, admire and do business with a salesperson?
  2. As a salesperson, what would cause me to accept an offer of employment and remain loyal to that offer for years to come?

Men and women called to a profession generally dedicate their lives to that profession and either establish their own companies or remain committed to the companies who first hired them. Transience is limited and for good reason. EQUITY. Salespeople and astute employers recognize the accrued equity-value of mature customer relationships - relationships that cannot become mature if salespeople are resigning or being let go from a company every other year. Equity is a currency professionals understand and trade in. It is extremely difficult for competitors to attract customers away from a tenured, equity-rich salesperson,
someone who has been loyal to his employer and customers for years.

As buyers we bond with salespeople with whom we have established equity, with whom we have come to know well and trust. As salespeople we cultivate bodies of business, sources of recurring revenue from which we, our employers and even our customers benefit. Equity between seller and buyer is a foundation upon which wealth accumulates and is sustained. Companies who are continually firing and hiring salespeople cannot sustain equity and do so at their peril. Employers who complain they cannot find good salespeople to hire and retain are usually the architects of these problems. And as the word on the street gets out, self-respecting salespeople give such companies and employers a wide berth.

On the other hand, astute buyers, whether they purchase on behalf of corporations, governments, their families or themselves, understand that the more open they are to the options and opportunities introduced by salespeople, the more sound their buying decisions will be. Buyers value salespeople who advise, guide and deliver qualified opportunity to grow and succeed.

Selling done well is one of the most pleasing and rewarding social and commercial enterprises. It is a partnership between buyer and seller that builds strong economies, comfortable lifestyles and stable societies.

< Back to Articles | Topics: Trends

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