Thursday, April 17, 2008

Death of a Salesman

The main "point" of yesterday's post was derision at the pathetic BBC attempts to maintain "balance" by bringing in prejudiced self-interested salesmanship, but there was casual personal line thrown in at the end. So perhaps a little aside about the nature of salesmanship. It's personal again, look away now if you are not interested, or if you are easily sickened by shameless self-promotion.

Much of this blog is inevitably a sales pitch for myself. Somehow I claim genuine expertise and experience in a strange combination of data analysis, customer insight, problem solving, financial transaction processing, project management, data modelling, systems architecture, information warehouse, application design, direct marketing, internet technology, marketing infrastructure, campaign management, etc. But even more strangely, I genuinely like it too.

But, and this is not good for the personal sales pitch, I do not like sales work, at least the low level petty transactions such as those of weekly Apprentice tasks. One reason I've mentioned, that short term tasks encourage dishonesty. But a second reason - it comes down to percentages. In our line of work, most of the time we must succeed, otherwise we'd be sacked. Most of our interactions with other people have a positive outcome, they keep the operations flowing or move the project forward. By contrast, in most sales jobs, most of your individual interactions do not have a "successful" outcome, if you judge "success" as most sales managers seem to. We can look at the bigger picture of building up brand image, but only a small percentage of salesman interactions result in an immediate sale.

So basically we all like to win, and we choose the environments where we are most likely to win.

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