The Great Irony

I’m rel­a­tively new to this sell­ing thing all things con­sid­ered. So, maybe this is just me being naïve. Or maybe it’s a rev­e­la­tion that will shock all of you, but I have recently dis­cov­ered the great irony of sales.

What I’ve always heard my col­leagues and peers in sales say is not unlike what The Sales Swami wrote in the ini­tial blog. “It’s all I’m qual­i­fied to do.”

I know that’s not true, though, because most of the peo­ple I have worked with in sales are amongst the smartest, most savvy, most busi­ness minded peo­ple I’ve met. And, they work harder than any­one else.  There are mil­lions of kinds of jobs out there. With that skill set they MUST be qual­i­fied to do SOME­thing else, right?

(At this point I assume you real­ize we’re not sell­ing cor­po­rate real estate ads. This is REAL sell­ing. No offense to the ad people.)

And it can’t be for the love of the job. We all know that’s BS because this is not all that great of a job. The cold calls, the travel, the crappy hotels, the air­port Chili’s…. So, WHY do we do it? When I really think about it and dig a lit­tle fur­ther with other sales peo­ple, what I think we all believe is that when you’re in sales, you con­trol your own income.

You get out of bed, you bird dog a bunch of peo­ple, book sev­eral appoint­ments, man­age the deals, and even­tu­ally close business.

Clos­ing busi­ness is directly tied to your commissions.

It stands to rea­son, the harder and smarter you work, the more money you make. You con­trol your own income.


As it turns out we have NO CONTROL over our incomes.

Because INCOME implies that we GET the money.

Not just earn the money.

There are a bunch of peo­ple stand­ing in our way when it comes to GETTING the money. And the 2nd great irony — it’s not the prospects or clients.  It’s our co-workers in all the other func­tional areas of our com­pa­nies. The peo­ple respon­si­ble for build­ing, devel­op­ing, deliv­er­ing, imple­ment­ing and over­all mak­ing the shit we sold some­one actu­ally work in their envi­ron­ment.  Until that hap­pens, we actu­ally don’t get paid. We get spread­sheets with columns of num­bers of money we’ve earned.


Money I’ve earned.


The VP HR argues we don’t deserve bet­ter comp plan or base pay the next year because we’ve earned so much the year before.


Because last I checked money earned doesn’t pay for gro­ceries or mort­gages or col­lege tuition.

Ahem, yes, ComEd? Great. Hi. Thanks for putting me thru to an ACTUAL per­son.  I see that you’ve sent me another $237.89 bill for use of your util­ity. I do appre­ci­ate that. What I’m going to give you back is a spread­sheet show­ing what you’ve earned from me over the course of 2009. It will also show that I paid you 25% of each month’s bills. Now, I know that doesn’t seem right to you. And you may be con­sid­er­ing turn­ing off my power, but I’d like to show you why this works. You see, I, too, have a spread­sheet that shows how much I’VE earned. So, you see, I’m good for it.”

We’re not in con­trol of our incomes.

Which is the great irony of work­ing your ass of in sales.

Or is it just me?">

One Response to “ The Great Irony ”

  1. […] just your per­for­mance but the per­for­mance of all the other func­tional areas of the orga­ni­za­tion (as out­lined in an ear­lier post on Sales Swamis, The Great […]

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