Sales: Not my kinda thing

Getting a sales job was accidental. In fact, I was certain I would never, ever get into a sales job. I hated talking to people, I hate the idea of selling something to people. (I still do). I am lazy and hated having to hit targets and be stressed about not being able to hit targets. I am also certain that a sales job would not be anybody’s ambition or a dream job. It wasn’t mine, and still not mine.  But guess what, I have been stuck with all kinds of sales jobs for the past 10 years. 

Why Sales?

So how on earth did I stumble upon my first sales job? I dropped out of college and it was either some admin job that paid me a basic of $1600 or a full-commission based sales job- selling credit cards. I chose the sales job because I didn’t want to settle for $1600 (less CPF: $1280) and I wanted to push myself to be less lazy. And right now, I can safely say that, was the best decision I ever made in my life. 

As much as we all say we hate sales, it’s really part of our everyday life. When you try to convince your friend to have dinner at MacDonald’s instead of PizzaHut, that’s sales. When you try to get your girlfriend to choose you, instead of the other person, that’s sales. It’s all about selling yourself, your ideas. Even now that I am an entrepreneur, running a small Food and Beverage Business, I am still doing sales. It is exactly because of my prior experience in sales, that helped me in this business in so many ways that I never could have imagined. 

Why not Sales?

The main reason why most people hate sales is because of rejections. We all fear and hate rejections. We hate hearing “No”, “No”, “No”. We are emotional and egotistical. So each time someone says “No” to us, it’s like our world is falling apart. (Or so we think it is.)

Another reason why I hated sales is that I really dislike the idea of the pushy, aggressive salesperson trying to force something right into our face. For the customer, saying “no” might be hard to do as well. It becomes uncomfortable for both the customer and the salesperson. I disliked salespeople trying to sell something to me. Salespeople are mostly avoided. So I didn’t want to become that person. 

So, why Sales?

Sales give me the potential to earn a lot of money. It was only when I saw the money, did I change my mind about sales. My first love was money.  And it is still money.

At the same time, sales teach you all the soft skills that you ever need to do any kind of job well, that your school would have never taught you. Sales help you become a better person. It pushes you. It helps you communicate better, more disciplined, more driven, more sociable, more approachable. The list is never-ending. 

Do I love Sales now?

The answer is still yes and no. Sometimes I love it and sometimes I hate it. I hate it but both unfortunately and fortunately I did well at it. All I know is when I see a horrible salesperson, I just wish I could tell them exactly what to do, in order to make me buy from him/her. I am very affected by salespeople with poor attitudes or those who are lacking in the skills set to do sales. 

As long as you’re surround by people, you can’t avoid sales

Are the Sales Trainers provided by your company really Sales Trainers? 

Why are so many insurance agents, property agents, credit card agents, beauticians and all kinds of other people trying to sell you something at every corner of the streets in Singapore, so annoying? Have they not been trained at all? Obviously not. If not, they have been trained by people who were never salespeople in the first place.

I would never ever listen to a trainer who cannot do the sales in they had to be on the field. They were trained theoretically as Sales Trainers. Or, there is something very wrong with their sales managers who care only about the targets. But they don’t teach you exactly how to hit the targets. 

This is a problem I have observed in my previous companies. Even a large MNC like DHL (where I worked), hired inexperienced people to manage their sales teams. I could never work with a superior that cannot walk their talk, yet all they can do is chase you for the targets and the numbers. And so I left DHL, even though it was a comfortable place that I could grow old at.

The Beginning

My entrepreneurial journey taught me that I could create a culture that I want to work in. That I couldn’t find the book I want to read, I could write it. That if I didn’t like something, I could try to change it. That if something bothered me deeply, I could do something about it.

I know there is something clearly very wrong with the sales teams in Singapore. If any salesperson tried to find answers about how to do good sales in Singapore, you probably wouldn’t find it. Because the top salespeople are too arrogant and competitive to share it with you. Why would they help their competitor? If you tried to seek help from your manager, you might get scolded or he/she might not even be able to help you. 

Sharing Sales Ideas

What I can do, is to share my experience on how to survive in sales for 10 years, how not to be the hateful, annoying salesperson, how to earn money from doing sales that don’t feel like selling. By doing this, I hope that I would meet less annoying salespeople on the streets of Singapore, receive less annoying cold calls from salespeople who just don’t listen to me.