up to last week’s post I am using a very real story to share my thoughts on
life as a sales person. It is not a pleasant story, rather one that involves
the divorce of a couple, based in part on two very different approaches to
sales. This is the story of James & Melissa: Part 2.
Melissa has grown a truly successful
career in sales. She is, by all accounts, an ‘A’ level sales person. She has
made the necessary sacrifices to advance her career through continuing education
and sales training. She’s willing to look in the mirror for ways to improve.
When a deal does not go her way, she explores the reasons why, rather than
making excuses. As she began to open up recently about her reasons for
divorcing James, I learned more about his approach to sales (or lack thereof)
and how this bled into their personal lives and marriage.
James never believed in educating
himself on sales techniques. Instead, like with his work it seems, he thought
he knew it all. He always has to be the smarted person in the room. When he was
turned down for work, rather than understanding the reasons why, he simply
shrugged it off and commented about the prospective client being too dumb to
hire him. It seems that he’d get a taste of success from time-to-time and even
a referral or two. He never took a deep-dive look into this small amount of
success, but became arrogant with an expectation that success would always be
available to him regardless of his approach to sales. Unfortunately, as it
seems, the few successes over the past fifteen years have been overshadowed by
the many losses.
As I’ve learned, James has taken the
same approach to his personal life as he has with his career, and again must
always be the smartest person in the room. Melissa shared that he would, at
times, criticize her for the extra effort she was putting into her career.
While she’s clearly been the consistent bread winner, there’s also been an
increase in jealousy by James. Melissa is continuing to be rewarded with new
business and James is struggling to make sales.
James’ lack of success, in my opinion,
is directly due to his unwillingness to grasp what it takes to be a real ‘A’
level sales person. And because of this unwillingness, coupled with jealousy of
his wife’s success and his arrogance, he is on the losing end of not just his
career but now his marriage. Could this all have been avoided? Maybe.
Sales people, especially an ‘A’ level
sales person, choose not just a career but a way of life. Sales people cannot
be jealous of others success. Sales people cannot be arrogant. Sales people are
certainly not the smartest people in the room. And, sales people cannot blame
anyone else for a loss.
No one really knows for sure what goes
on behind someone else’s closed doors. Relationships, especially marriages, are
very private on so many levels. But, when you witness the self-destructive
behavior of a subpar sales person, it is not surprising that personal
relationships, like marriages, struggle too. Being an ‘A’ level sales person
means you understand that there are up’s & down’s in any relationship, and
it also means you have the patience and maturity to handle the up’s &
I feel bad for James and Melissa. No one
wants to watch someone else suffer through a life altering event like a
divorce. The only thing I can do is hope they both come out of this situation
in okay shape. I’m sure once the sting of her marriage being over subsides,
Melissa will be fine. She has the knowledge and confidence of success on her
side. She is an ‘A’ level sales person and she will use her experiences to
continue her career and personal growth. I hope James too walks away okay from
this change in his life. He must admit his mistakes, he must change his
approach to dealing with people, and he must be willing to accept that he’s not
the smartest person in the room. If he can do this, he can turn his business
around, and he can then get his personal life back on track.
Being close to this situation has
reminded me of what I have and what it has taken to achieve my own level of
success. It has been a reminder that I must be careful in my relationships and
how I approach sales. I’m reminded that putting a client’s needs before my own
will pay dividends. And, most importantly, I’m reminded that I’ve chosen a
career in sales which is a part of my life. My career has an impact on my wife,
children, family and friends, and I cannot take anything for granted.