At the start of the first day of class my Entrepreneurship professor in business school said two things to the class.
The first was, “if you don’t want to do sales every day, all day, then don’t be an entrepreneur”. Then he asked everyone that was in sales to raise their hand. After about a third of the class raised their hand he said, “90% of you are not truly salespeople, you’re order takers, because you don’t have a quota and you aren’t getting rejected every single day”. I’m paraphrasing, of course.
While harsh, there’s lot of truth to this. Entrepreneurs are salespeople and salespeople are entrepreneurs. They put their success and failure out there for everyone to see. A lot of other roles in an organization can take cover behind things like shared goals and muddled metrics and a lack of a direct cause and effect on revenue. Salespeople can’t. They have an individual goal, with clear metrics and a direct impact on revenue. Like the entrepreneur, salespeople put themselves on the line.
So why doesn’t everyone want to be a sales person?
Because . . .
It takes guts to only have HALF your salary guaranteed
It is sucks to be rejected on a daily basis
It’s hard calling up people you don’t know and asking them to meet you
It’s scary asking strangers for things
It’s uncomfortable challenging people
It’s tough being held accountable to black and white metrics. You can’t hide from the numbers
It’s not easy having your results constantly compared, in the open, to your peers
It’s not easy losing
It’s tough being fully accountable for your own success or failure
It’s not fun doing something where you can fail so quickly after be successful
Not everyone likes being in the spotlight
Most people don’t want to be in sales, because it takes GUTS! It takes guts most don’t have.