Selling is a profession that attracts hundreds of thousands of men and women to its ranks each year. Have you ever wondered why so many of us become salespeople? After all, selling is ain’t easy. There are many jobs that require much less energy and don’t generate nearly as much stress.

A good 80% of the salespeople throughout North America that spend endless hours trying to convince existing customers to buy more and prospective customers to change loyalties will tell you that sales is darn difficult.

One reason selling is such a popular profession is because it doesn’t require a college degree. Highly successful salespeople run the gamut from high school dropouts who excel to those who fail even though they hold a degree from some of the nation’s top universities.

Another reason so many of us end up in sales is because of the freedom the job offers. No sitting behind a desk all day. No waiting until a specified time of the morning or afternoon to take a break. No specific time to start or end the work day. There’s no doubt about it, sales does offer a lot more flexibility than most jobs.

I chose the sales profession largely because I wanted to work in a profession that placed no limits on my income potential. In my first job after graduating from college, I received the highest evaluation among my coworkers, yet I only received a 5% raise in pay. While I did receive the highest raise relative to my coworkers, I knew that at that rate, I would never reach my personal income goals.

Sales promised to pay me in direct proportion to the results I produced.

While sales does offer each of these advantages and many more we could all add, more salespeople are starving to death than just about any other group of professionals I can think of.

Let’s explore why this is the case.


Just because no professional degree is required to become a salesperson doesn’t mean that salespeople don’t need to be educated. This is where many struggling salespeople are missing out: they simply go out into the field and wing it. They fail to take the steps to master their craft.

Is this true of you? Are you too dependent on a “quote and hope” approach to sales?

How many sales books have you read this year?

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How many sales seminars have you attended this year?

How many salespeople have you interviewed who are far more successful than you are?

If your answer is none, none and none, then I rest my case.

In the free enterprise system, competition is the engine that makes the system so vibrant. Few salespeople are without strong competitors, competitors who are doing their dead level best to see to it that you fail. This system is both invigorating and depressing, depending on whether you’re on the winning or losing side when the order is placed.

Zig Ziglar used to ask in his seminars: “How much commission does your company pay on a sale you just barely lost compared to a sale you just barely made?”

Just barely miss the sale and you earn zero commission.

Just barely make the sale and you earn full commission.

Your knowledge of how to overcome objections, deal with pricing issues, persuade and convince customers to do business with you and your company and smooth the feathers of an angry or irate customer can make the difference between zero commission and full commission.

How do you learn how to do these things better than your competitor can do them? You study. You read. You get serious about your profession. You stop merely hoping and praying for things to turn around for you. Instead, you work on your game.

The great Jim Rohn used to say, “Salespeople that take their job too casually become casualties.”

Tiger Woods has a coach. Tiger Woods practices every day.

Tiger Woods is by far and way out the very best golfer the game has produced. He is a super star. He is super wealthy. He has great natural talent. Yet he still seeks the advice of a coach and works harder on his game than many players who are far less successful than he is.

Go figure!

If you’re not working on your game, you will never achieve your full potential as a salesperson.

How often to you practice new sales techniques?

How often do you seek new ways to overcome the objections that are standing between you and selling a new customer?

Who has more intimate knowledge of your best prospect, you or your competitor?

I promise you this: you’ll learn something of value from the worst sales book you’ll ever read.

Don’t ever allow yourself to become content because when you do, that’s precisely when one of your competitors will come out of nowhere and outsell you.