“We’re adding a little something to this month’s sales contest. As you know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Anybody want to see second prize? Second prize is a set of stake knives. Third prize is, you’re fired.” (quotation from Glengarry Glen Ross … not ‘a movie’ but ‘THE movie’ about salesmen and selling.

Blair Singer, motivational speaker and coach had this to say in this quarter’s Motivated magazine. “I remember my first sales position. I was terrified to get out of my car and make a sales call. I was told that if I didn’t sell something soon, I would be fired. The next day I made 68 cold calls and sold nothing. But I won the biggest sale of all – selling me to me. I overcame my fear and re-established confidence through shear immersion and repetition, going on to become number one in sales within months.”

“There’s nothing like the thrill of the hunt, he went on to say. The cold-call, a righteous pitch, lining up objections in the cross-hairs of my rifle and picking them off one by one; the close, the kill … the taste of blood. The must-use line in your next interview for a sales job. You have to admit there is a certain romance to SELLING when you see it described in these contexts. Like pirates on the high seas, selling stirs the appetite for plunder. Don’t have the belly for it … you’ll be walking the plank.”

Today there are still pirates on the high seas, although the romance associated with the pirates of old has long since disappeared. They are no longer the swashbuckling scalawags of Treasure Island and Pirates of the Caribbean. They are desperate, selfish, conscienceless killers.

Today there are still salespeople travelling the highways, although the romance of the traveling salesman has, like snake-oil, long since evaporated. Salespeople have become the most avoided business people in North America mostly because of the often, desperate, selfish, conscienceless selling attitudes and methods still taught and applied today.