Selling Is The Transference of Confidence
Why do those who "have it all," i.e. athletes, movie stars, musicians, and other celebrities do drugs and why do so many salespeople hobble along in their careers barely scraping by despite Forbes and Glassdoor listing "business development" as one of the top 5 most promising jobs of last year.
(I first wrote this on 2/1/10 when a celebrity died of an overdose. I updated it on 2/2/14 , 7/20/17, and...and...and. I won't even get into Jim Belushi, Whitney Houston, Tom Petty, Joan Rivers, Michael Jackson, Prince, etc.
While this post is on a sales and marketing website, understanding the role confidence, faith, and hope play in all areas of our lives applies to all of us, in anything we do. Please take this message to heart to not only sell better, but to live better.)
So Why Do Celebrities Do Drugs and Sales People Need Hugs?
To answer the question in the title, it's because sales people and celebrities tend to have a poor self-image, low self-esteem, and poor attitudes.
But Wes, celebrities are rich and famous and have assistants and managers and staff and travel in style and get front row seats to concerts and games and sales people get travel accounts and corporate credit cards and get to eat out and expense their mileage and make unlimited commissions and not even work that hard. Why are these people suffering from poor self-images, low self esteem, and poor attitudes?"
Proper Expectations Are Never Set
Once celebrities reach the upper echelon of stardom and financial success they look around and think:
- "Is this all there is?"
- "Is this what I dreamed about my entire life?"
- "Why are people screaming when I just go to the grocery store?"
- "Why can't I just go get a pizza and a beer without people staring at me and freaking out?"
- "If everyone knowhow I'm really not that smart and how insecure I am and how lucky I got and how I'd pay to play music/play sports/act they wouldn't let me bum a stick of chewing gum from them let alone crash their wedding or sign their foreheads with a Sharpie®."
And then they start doubting the intentions of everyone around them.
They don't know who to trust because everyone wants a piece of them because expectations and boundaries weren't set:
- "Hey Star, sign this for my friend."
- "Hey Star, I used your name to get a reservation at the trendy club."
- "Hey Star, can you loan my mom some cash. She's in a tight spot."
- "Hey Star, can I stay in your guest house for a while. You know, just until I get back on my feet."
- "Hey Star, you don't mind picking up the dinner tab, do ya? Luv ya, Man. Great game last night, by the way. You're the best ever! GOAT!"
Salespeople have the same problems when they are successful, and the opposite problems when they fail, which is far too often...
- "Hey Chump, that phone won't dial itself. Start smiling and dialing if you want a job here next month."
- "Hey Chump, the last gal who had this territory was over quota 7 quarters in a row before she got promoted. What's wrong with you?"
- "Hey Chump, your request for a new chair has been denied. Besides, you have more energy on the phone when you stand."
- "Hey Chump, you need to sharpen your pencil if you want us to buy from you."
- "Hey Chump, stop calling me. We love your competitor and will never buy from you."
- "Hey Chump, we want expedited delivery for free, a free extended warranty, and we want to make 12 payments with zero interest or we'll order from your competitor."
Life Is Hard Enough Without Thinking You're Alone
At the Air Force Academy we studied the great military leads and two lessons stood out during my time there.
First, is that the purpose of war is not to destroy the enemy, it's to take away his will to fight.
And that leads to the second lesson: Synergy is real, namely the whole is greater than its parts.
Air Force pilots have wingmen (who should never fly solo).
Sailors have "swim buddies" and Navy SEALs are "Teams."
The Army lets new recruits enlist and train together in the "Buddy Team Enlistment Option."
And the Marines are quick to let you know that there are no "ex-Marines" only "former Marines."
"Once a Marine, Always a Marine."
When you have someone going through a tough time with you, you're more likely to stay the course, keep the faith, and endure.
This concept of being better together goes beyond the military.
In business we hear that "two heads are better than one."
Many of the great corporations were formed by partners such as HP, Apple, Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson.
And there have even been major studies that show married couples live longer than single people. (Maybe God meant it when He said "It is not good for the man to be alone."
I don't know many celebrities, but being in sales since 1997 and sales training and small business consulting since 2006, I can tell you there are some lonely, dejected sales people and entrepreneurs out there.
So "be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
Even the celebrities under the lights and sales people under the thumb of an overbearing manager.
Now go give someone a hug...then go sell something,