I manage a large team of sales people. One thing I am regularly working with them on is the idea that they have to prove themselves worthy before customers will trust them. They don’t start off on parr with regular people, as humans, they start off in the hole, as sales people. They have to fight to get up to being treated as a regular human.

Why? Because some sales people have earned this negative characterization. It’s a shame all sales people have to pay the price for the errors of a few, but that’s just how our culture works. Sales is one of relatively few professional jobs where there are literally no objective qualifications and standards. One doesn’t have to pass a test to call himself a professional sales person. There is no peer review. Nothing. (Exceptions, of course, being things like real estate.) The measure of a good sales person is in the results obtained. Fair enough, I say, if a bit one-sided. But it opens the door for a lot of questionable decisions made in the interest of short term gain. In the long run the results will reveal the truth, but along the way damage can be done, not just to the individual, but to the profession as a whole.

The good, ethical salespeople have to operate in an environment of built in circumspection and find ways to establish trust and rapport in spite of it. That’s a challenge, though those who do it well are compensated well.

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