Thursday, January 17, 2008

Is sales work hard?

Tom Hopkins, a fairly well known sales "guru", claims that sales is the highest paying hard work and the lowest paying easy work he knows of.

I personally do not feel that sales work is my "cup of tea". The idea of needing to talk to proportionately WAY more "no's" than "yes's" does not really appeal to me. I am one of those people that thrive on being liked. It is hard for me NOT to take a "no" personally.

Tom teaches that anyone can learn to sell, and that it is not really pivotal on personality. That may be true (or not) but ultimately the question probably comes down to whether or not you think becoming a pro in this field is worth it.

Mary Kay or otherwise, sales is the one profession that truly has an unlimited earning potential. It is just the nature of it. You are genuinely only limited by yourself.

Most of you that leave comments are obviously of the variety that have embraced sales. But what was your journey? How did you become the sales(wo)man that you are? What do you do to improve your sales(wo)manship? What helps you when you feel you are in a slump? Do you ever doubt your ability? If so, how do you reaffirm yourself?

If you don't think you could ever "do" sales, you are wrong. You may (like me) have little to no DESIRE to learn... but to say that you CAN'T is inaccurate. Like Auguste Gusteau in Ratatouille said, "Anyone can cook" the same (I think) is true for sales. ANYONE can sell. Do you want to?


  1. Off topic... Aruna has woken up and overtaken you ;)

  2. That is WAY off topic!!!

    That's ok... at least she can go back to lurking!

  3. I have to agree--anyone can learn sales. I am by no means a "salesperson." However, I am getting better at sales. I used to take things very personally as far as rejection and the "no's" and now I have a different attitude. When I ask someone about MK and they say no, they are not rejecting me as a person. They are just rejecting my product. If someone wants to make it personal by making a rude comment with the no, then they have a personal problem that is probably reflected in their day to day interactions with people in general. It has taken me some time to get past that, but I have found that most people are friendly--even if they don't want to try my product. ;)

    I'm still learning, but I'm willing to learn and do the work. I'd love to be able to work on my own terms. :) My husband even tells me that sales is the best way to gorw income potential.

  4. I wish I could learn sales - my skills at that and marketing suck big time :(

  5. I think it helps to truly believe in the product you are trying to sell. It also helps to think like the customer or put yourself in their shoes. I think about things that appeal to me when I'm shopping and use that to appeal to my customers. Of course, everyone is different, but I have found that my philosophy helps me with my confidence when presenting myself.

  6. To expand upon David's point, I believe anyone can TRY to sell anything to anyone.

    Having the skills to actually persuade them to buy is not quite so intrinsic though and requires training.

  7. My very first "sales" job was when I was in college. I was a credit solicitor for Sears. (Those pesky people who ask you to fill out a credit app when you walk in the store.)

    I had an hourly pay rate (and a decent one at that), but was told that for every completed app I had I got an extra quarter.

    That was all I needed to hear! LOL

    I got hooked on sales. I liked being in control of my paycheck.

  8. As far as anyone being able to learn how to do sales, I agree. The operative word is "learn."

    I have read books, attended seminars, listened to tapes/CD's and studied online to learn more about sales and marketing. I still read books and study all I can. Why? Because I can always learn more.

    I also read and learn all I can about my product or service, as well.

    It's not easy, and it's not for everyone, but it is a highly rewarding field if you enjoy doing it.

  9. I recently attended a workshop taught by Gloria Mayfield Banks. Not only was it great but she was fabulous and gracious with her time both during the workshop and afterwards. That was my first time meeting her and I did not see any of the negatives that some talk about in regards to her.

    She talked a lot about selling and said that it is something that you must become skilled at it. Many consultants dont do as well as they could because they dont want to seem "pushy". In an effort to avoid being pushy, many consultants overlook the basics of selling. But GMB says that we should approach our sales as persuading women to buy what they "want" and "need", not convincing women to buy what they "dont want or need". That is the difference between being pushy (like the sales girl at the mall who will try to get you to buy everything because she knows she will probably never see you again) and building relationships through sales by selling products to customers based on what they say they like and what they say their needs are.

    Why should you try to sell someone the complete miracle set with all the bells and whistles (pushy) when all they say that they want is a good cleansing routine and a little lip color? During the SCC the consultant will go over all that is available and educate the customers on skin care and what each product does, but at the individual close we should listen and offer products according to what she wants and go from there. Having someone buy from you under those circumstances is not pushy but rather it is good salesmanship and it builds relationships.

    It makes it easier for me to approach it this way. I am comfortable with selling because I know I am not being pushy and I take time to find out what a customer's needs and wants are. That allows me to show and sell her a product that she will buy again, and again from me, thus building that relationship.

  10. at the risk of sounding cliche, I am not great at "sales" either, I hate asking anyone to buy anything and I hate taking money from people, but... I love this product. I believe in this product. I absolutely love conducting classes and facials. I love that a person can see how they look and see how they feel and then if they want the product-great, if they don't great. I will not talk someone into purchasing the product if there isn't a desire because they will just end up resenting me.

    Just like shades and shay, I have learned more on how to close a sale from seminars, books, etc... but it is nice that we can demonstrate and I find if a person likes the products you don't have to give a "sales pitch".

    I would not want to try to sell something that was sold simiply by passing out a catalog or just talking about it.

    I beleive that we are all sales people, it just might not involve selling a product. We sell ourselves all the time. If you find a great sale going on at a store, you will call your friend and "share (sell)" the info. If you find a great recipe, you may tell all your friends, you've just got to try this, it's so yummy, these are all types of selling and it is something we all do all the time.

    I just feel that if you really love and believe in something it doesn't seem so much like sales and some people have a personality that is so big, you buy into them not what they are selling and then others don't have the same personalities and then I guress things would be much harder.

    To borrow an old MK says,
    "Attrack not Attack" !

  11. This is an experience I had that I learned alot from. For many years, I never did individual closings at my parties. I had the "free for all approach". Finally, I decided that if I were going to be a good director I better be using good techniques. The reason I would not do the individual closings is did not want peoople to assume I was "one of those pushy sales peopel". Well, the first time I decided to do individual closing I asked the guests if it would be okay!! They said, sure... So as nervous as I was, first guest... second guests.. until the last guest when I learned the most valuable lesson I think I ever learned.

    I asked her if she enjoyed the evening, with tears in her eyes she looked at me and said, more than you know, she said, "I have never looked pretty, not even on my wedding day, you have made me feel prettier than I ever had and I can't thank you enough". (She had very problem skin) I would love to get started on the skin care and some color. You mentioned you would do a payment plan. (I offer in some cases 1/2 plus tax and the rest on a certain date). She wanted to do that. She then went on to say, thank you so much for deciding to do the individual closings tonight because I really wanted these products but my friends all have money, if you didn't do the payment plan, I couldn't get it but I would have been too embarrassed to ask in front of everyone and would have left with just a lipstick or something. So for whatever reason, thank you. I can't tell you how good you made me feel about myself.

    I can tell you, I was in tears. I loved being able to make someone feel that good and then I started thinking, how many other people have I not given the courtesy of privately speaking to me because I was so very worried about what people MAY think of me. I learned a valuable lesson that day. When I talk to them individually, I don't pressure them to buy, I just find out what they thought and then if they don't want anything, it is very easy to say, "thank you for coming and if you ever want anything please don't hesitate to call me".

    For all that time, I realized as gracious as I was trying to me, I was more worried about me and what people would think of me, I hadn't been thinking about them.

  12. I find it curious that Shay regularly carries on about how good she is at sales and how much she loves it. Yet she is unemployed and has failed at multiple MLMs. Seems like someone is telling tales!

  13. Anonymous,

    Your comment is very close to being deleted. Please do not attack individual members here. I will allow it for now, because I know that Shay will enjoy the opportunity to answer your inquiry, but in the future, if you have a QUESTION or are CONFUSED about what may appear to you to be a contradiction, please be careful to phrase it that way.

    Also, please use the nickname feature so that we can separate you from other anonymous users. We all value anonymity here, but keeping more than one anonymous user using "anonymous" as their screen name is impossible. Thanks.

  14. mk4me,
    you are so right! Many times we cheat ourselves out of sales because we are so busy worrying about what others think of us. When in actuality we should not be thinking of ourselves at all. This goes back to understanding that we should not focus on ourselves and not to take things personal.We are the ones who are in our own way sometimes. We have no idea what is going on with the people at the skin care class or with any potential customer.

    Your experience almost mirrors mine with classes. I used to wonder why I always did so much better at facials. I too later realized that at classes I was cheating myself, because I did not want to "bother" them or have them think that I was going to push them into buying from me by talking to them separately. But I was only thinking of how I thought I was being viewed.

    At facials there is no one else there for the customer to worry about and she can spend as much or as little as she wants without feeling like she is being judged. As a result I always sold more.

    At classes its easier for a woman to say she just doesnt want anything rather than saying she would like the color 101 but just cant spend the money right now. If she talks to you individually she can find out her options, like having a class to earn her product, or being a silent hostess, or using a lay a way plan if you have one. But unless that happens, we as consultants will think she did not like the product, and she will go away and not think of us again because the lines of communication were not opened up for her to contact us whenever she does get the money.

    A customer may not want to say or give a credit card # out in front of others, she may not want to let everyone know that she cant get what she wants until next thursday. She may even "want" to spend a lot but wants to avoid someone else asking for them to pay for theirs as well:) There are numerous reasons for individual closes. They are private and you can better assess someones needs.
    When you assess the needs of an individual one on one you can increase your sales.

  15. foreverpink--I love GMB! I have not met her. Lucky you! I've not heard anything bad about her. I admire her because she is a businesswoman. She has her MBA so I tend to think she knows what she's talking about. Plus, she's very entertaining. I have a couple of cd's of hers. My favorite is Booking. It is more about handling objections when interviewing, but it's very good.

    I find that with sales, I can learn and learn and learn, but the real lesson is in doing. A lot of sales is about having confidence in oneself and just doing it. The more you do it, the more you learn about yourself and your own abilities.

  16. shades,
    Yes we had a great time with GMB! She is so funny and entertaining. I had read (back in the early days of PT) a lot of negative comments about her on PT. But of course they were knocking all NSD's then.

    She talked about booking, sales and boosting your confidence. She also says the same thing you just said, it takes practice in order to get good at sales, interviewing, everything. You just have to do it over and over and then you will be better each time.

    She often talked about how she is dyslexic and how she had to overcome that disability just to learn how to read, and how she was a battered woman, but she did not let that stop her. Many critics say that NSD's only tell these sad stories to get people to sign up, but this was a closed event, consultants only, so there was no recruiting going on. No one can say that she only said those things just to get people to sign up with MK out of the emotion of it all. She was very sincere.

    We learned a lot about sales and booking and had a ball. I would send you all a pic of us, but I dont wanna out myself just yet!

  17. Dave -

    Thank you for leaving the comment up. I have no problem defending myself. :o)

    Anonymous -

    I find it amusing that you cannot ask such a question without hiding under total anonymity - not even a nickname, but that is fine. I do not lack the courage to answer you.

    I am not "unemployed," as you so eloquently put it. I am a homeschooling mom. I feel that the best way to raise my children is to be home with them and further their education, not working 40+ hours outside of the home.

    As far as "failing in multiple MLMs," - I am not sure where you have gotten your information. I have been in several companies that closed (not my fault - sorry!) and I was involved with a few MLMs that were simply not a good "fit" for me.

    I do not consider stints I did at any of the companies I was with to be "failures." I was sorry to see the ones close that did. I learned a lot from every one of them. I was never stuck with inventory. I never bought inventory I did not sell. I SOLD every thing I ordered. Period.

    Now that I have answered the question, I have one for YOU, Anon -

    Let's say that everything I have said about my sales experience is a total fabrication. Let's say I was lying about every single thing I have ever written on this blog or any other.

    Why do you care?

    What part of your life is so boring and dull that you have the time to care about what someone comments on a blog? Not even on my OWN blog, but someone else's? (I can understand it if you were commenting on MY blogs, but here???)

    Just wonderin'. :o)

  18. mk4me -

    That was an awesome story! (((((HUGS)))))

  19. cudos to you shay! there were some companies that didn't "fit" for you and you made a decision not to continue. You were not a "quiter" or "lazy" or a "failure". You were simply smart enough to know it wasn't working for you and moved on.

    And, I have never done it and don't even know if I could but, imho, homeschooling has to be a tough (but rewarding) job. Choosing not to work outside the home doesn't make someone and less of a person than someone choosing to work 40 hours out of the home, it is a personal choice.

  20. GOOD MORNING!!! Here is my take on sales. When you wake up in the morning and leave your house you are selling yourself. When you go out to a job interview you are selling yourself.

    Sales is a great way to increase your income and you do have control over that. Any kind of money chaning is sales. It doesn't have to be money changing either you like some you sell it to your friends a TV show, a movie, a song, if you go to church and you think that yours is good you tell people. It is a sell.

    I like MK and I am not by any means a pushy sales person I share it and if you like it then buy it if you don't that is OK. Not everyone is going to like it however I think most will. I just sold the whole line to my step mom. She had tried it before and didn't like it back in the 70's and now she is pleased with it. I think that it has improved and with the improvement it sells.

    I like making people feel better about themselves and maybe that is why I am in the hair business too. I do want my MK eventually to take over that because I have a bum shoulder and it is going to quit working. So I am slowly building up my MK and when I say slowly I mean slowly.

    With sales I don't think that you can take it personally when someone says no. You just move on.

    MKShay I want to Kuddos to you for homeschooling your kids. The way the schools are going I often think that I would like to however I don't know that could. My sister in law home schools hers she has them in other activies like the county live stock show that and sports so that they can still be around other kids. So I think it is GREAT.

    Well have a good day.

  21. I love homeschooling. It is NOT easy, but I love it. I learn right along with the kiddos. I think it keeps me young! LOL (You don't realize how much stuff you forget after 30 years....)

    It is also a commitment. I have had a FT job offer (completely out of the blue from a friend of mine)that I turned down. I feel the best way I can raise my kids is to be home woth them and help educate them.

    HOWEVER, I know homeschooling is NOT for everyone. I don't look down on those who choose not to homeschool, by any means. I just know that homeschooling is the best option for US.

    30 years from now, it won't matter what kind of job I held or what kind of benefits package I had. What will matter most is the relationship I have with my kids and (future) grandkids and the education I helped them get.

    Thanks for the kudos, everyone! :D

  22. One of the draws of "doing sales" is that your paycheck is not dependent on your boss' good will. Here's an article from the about personalities and raises:

  23. I love Tom Hopkins his books helped me when I sold lab equipment!!! I have to tell the lurkers look at some of the occupations that some of the women in MK have had on Intouch and other sites MOST of them had not sold a thing in their life!!! Allison Lemarr never sold anything and Dacia W. was a schoolteacher.
    All it takes is drive, no offense but Dacia and Allison and even Rena Tarbet are nice looking but they are by no means beauty queens so the excuse of I dont look good enough is not an excuse not to do MK either. Hang in there.

  24. I will have to check out Tom Hopkins and his books!



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