It’s the holiday season. Get ready to spend way too much time with your relatives. Most families contain a few stereotypical characters – The Creepy Drunk Uncle, The Crazy Cat Lady, The Religious Zealot, and The Unimpressed Teenager.
But are you also a stereotype? Are you “My Son, he’s the [cough] sales guy” member of your family? What I’m asking is, as a salesperson, does your career choice make your parents proud?
My Story as a Sales Guy
“How much money are you making?” was sort of the holiday refrain that I would hear from my family, especially my father, during family get-togethers.
“You know there are more important things than money,” cousins would comment, somewhat out of the blue.
Throughout my career, I am pretty sure they never actually got what I did, or why I did it.
Sure, I was making good money and doing so at a relatively young age, but that wasn’t what it was all about…
Family, especially parents, tend to view their children as an extension of themselves, instead of seeing their offspring as individual people. So if mom and dad would never consider a job in sales, and deem it meaningless, then it’s hard for them to merit your own career decisions.
Cue Ben Affleck
Remember that scene in the Boiler Room, where Ben Affleck’s character berates the new trainees at his firm? His point is, the sales life isn’t for everyone and your friends may not get why you love it. But if you do want to work your butt off, and get rich doing so, then who cares what your friends or family think.
During his eloquent tirade peppered with expletives, he says, “Parents don’t like the life you lead? F you Mom and Dad. See how it feels when you are making their f’in Lexus payments.”
Now, I’m not suggesting you rub your wealth into their face as a reason to be proud of you. But perhaps they should start to understand that part of the reason you do what you do is to make money and provide for your family, them included.
Just like I’m proud that my parents worked hard to give me a good life, I wanted my dad to see that I was just trying to lead by example and be a great provider, even if my career path didn’t align with his.
Sales, It’s the Life for Me
Sales movies and the stereotype of the sleazy sales guy hasn’t helped the image of a salesperson. But there is a softer side of sales, and THAT is what you need to show your family.
For me, sales is about helping people. We don’t tie people’s hands behind their backs and force them to buy what we are selling. Instead, we educate them on their options and help them find solutions to their problems.
What we are selling helps others fulfill their dreams, reach their goals, and realize their aspirations. The world needs salespeople, and we need them.
Not only do we help individuals in getting into that new car they have been eyeing, but we help companies as well. Most of the products I’ve sold in my career are ones that will save a company money. And I was that person to show them how they could save some cash and be more efficient. We are making the wheels of commerce turn, people!
This holiday season, let’s give the gift of enlightenment to our family. Let’s show them why we love our sales jobs, and why they should too. It’s an honorable profession and I’m proud to say I’m a sales guy. Now maybe I can get my dad to agree…