#880 We Eat What We Kill

That’s a rather dramatic and graphic way to describe those of us who make our living in commission-based sales, but the intended meaning is pretty clear.  In a commission environment, if you don’t sell, you don’t eat.

However, it isn’t just commission sales.  My chiropractor needs to drum up business, so does the yoga studio owner.

Eat what you kill environments are rife with pressure.  It isn’t like a civil service job where you’re servicing the public, and the level of service is understood.  The crew that picks up the recycling in my neighborhood gets paid the same whether I have one cardboard box curbside or twelve.

My local road repair crew doesn’t have to go out and find the business to get paid; they have to show up and work.  It isn’t like that for salespeople and entrepreneurs.  We have to go and find the clients and then face stiff competition and be able to set ourselves apart to be chosen; in order to eat.

Let me tell you a story about this kind of pressure.  Years ago, I hired a young guy who thought he wanted to be in sales.

His name was Joe, and he was about 25 years old.  Joe was learning B2B sales, making cold phone calls, knocking on doors, and going to networking events.

One Monday morning Joe asked to see me before the weekly sales meeting.

His complexion was ashen, which emphasized the dark circles under his eyes.  The kid looked like crap.  I thought he’d lost a pet or had a family member in distress.  I said, “Joe, please sit.  Tell me what’s wrong.”  As he took his seat, he said, “Frank, I hardly sleep anymore.  I’m stressed out.  This morning I even noticed a clump of hair on my pillowcase.  Frank. MY HAIR IS FALLING OUT!”  I said Joe is that what has you worried?  That you’re going bald?”  He said, “NO!

I’m not sleeping, and my hair is falling out from the pressure of this job!  I’m sorry, but I have to resign.  I can’t take the pressure.  I’m gonna go back to school.”  I said, “I’m sorry to hear that, Joe.  You seemed to be coming along well here.  Tell me, what do you want to go back to school to study?  He said, (And I swear this is true) “I want to be an emergency room nurse.”

I looked at him deadpan and said, “So, holding someone’s life in your hands is less pressure than selling?”  he said, “Absolutely.”

Own your sales gene…

Frank SommaComment