Why Sales? A Robust Profession - 24th August 2017

In just a few weeks’ time, Paul Owen, our MD, will release his book: SECRET SKILL. HIDDEN CAREER. In it, he interviews 20 successful business leaders who started their careers in sales. Below is an extract where Paul explains why sales can be a robust career path even when the economy is in a downturn.

“Although I came to sales late in life, I have sold in both buoyant markets and struggling ones. Whatever the state of the wider economy, there is always work for successful salespeople. In fact, good salespeople are in higher demand, and therefore worth more money, when times are hard than when times are plenty.

When a market is on fire, almost anyone can make sales. Don’t misunderstand me – make the most of those times and sell, sell, sell, but you’ll really understand the robustness of your sales skills when a market starts to shrink.

Gerry Larkin – one of my favourite people in the world of property – is a wonderful example. From 1998 to 2005, Gerry was a successful media salesperson in the international property world. He was liked and trusted by all. Unfortunately for Gerry, soon after he set up his own property media company, the credit crunch of 2007/2008 finished off his young business. Even his good name in the market was unable to generate the cash he required to be successful.

He returned to his former employer to offer his services back to them. They’d have loved to have had Gerry on their team again, but the market was so bad, they simply had no funds to offer him his old job back. The robustness of his sales skills now kicked in.

He said to his old employer, ‘I recognise the problem you face. I know how hard the market has become, believe me. What about this idea? I can work from home. I have my own phone line and my own computer. You do not need to pay me a salary, but you agree to pay me commission on any sales revenue I generate. You only incur costs if I make you money and you’ll always be in profit on my work.’

His old boss could not refuse. Six months later, Gerry had generated more revenue than anybody else on the sales team. He was offered a job on an employed basis with a salary, plus, of course, the commission due on his revenue. He remains, five years later, the most successful salesperson at the company.

Gerry’s sales skills kept him earning money even when no employer was able to employ him.”

The book “SECRET SKILL. HIDDEN CAREER. The myths you’re told and the scandal you’re not” will be available in September 2017 in both paperback and e-book formats.