There are salesmen and then there are SALESMEN. Having been one, and a successful one at that, I have observed how other successful salesmen operate. "Success breed success," they say, but I believe that some salesmen are born and don't have to be taught. To them it just comes naturally.
Let me make a distinction here. A store clerk who helps customers locate the rack of Polo(r) sport shirts is not a salesman. A salesman is one who engages skeptical people and convinces them that they cannot live without whatever he or she is selling. That's my take on it. I'm sure you have yours, but you get the point even if you may not totally agree with mine.
Before I became one, I observed salesmen from time-to-time as they worked their magic on customers. I marveled at the way they methodically disarmed prospective buyers of their defenses and seduced them into signing on the bottom line. The thought occurred to me that they were probably just as successful in charming women into their beds.
On the day I signed on to be a salesman, I thought back to the time when the seed was planted. It was sort of weird how it happened.
My wife, Colleen, and I were teaching in a school south of Chicago. I had gone to a large clothing store in the Chicago area to buy several pairs of my favorite slacks. They were on sale that weekend. As I was looking through the stacks, picking out the ones I wanted to purchase, I was approached by an attractive lady who asked, "Are these slacks really all they are cracked up to be? To me they are awfully pricey."
"In my opinion they are well worth the price," I replied, "and you won't beat this sale price anywhere." I proceeded to point out why I believed them to be a superior product.
She listened attentively and commented, "You've sold me. Now help me pick out several pairs for my husband."
I said, "Certainly. Give me an idea of what he needs." And with that we began.
Together we made several selections, but she chose the ones most suitable. She thanked me for my assistance and walked over to the pay station. The cashier took the slacks from her, rang them up and asked for the name of her sales clerk. She turned and pointed to me. The cashier smiled and said, "He doesn't work here."
She responded, "Well, he darn sure should because he sold me on these slacks."
After she left, the cashier came over to me and asked me if I wanted a job. I declined, telling him that I was happy where I was. However, the seed was planted and I knew that I would look into sales if I ever needed to find work.