“Working in sales is an honour” – Lara Morgan - 8th June 2017
Lara Morgan was interviewed by Paul Owen, our MD, for his forthcoming book: SECRET SKILL. HIDDEN CAREER. The myths you’re told and the scandal you’re not. 20 successful business leaders who started their careers in sales were interviewed for the book.
From borrowing a suit from a friend for her first client pitch to selling her company for £20 million, Lara’s story is an incredible one. Yes, founded on grit, hard work, business savvy and a healthy dollop of charisma but also one based on an experience of sales early in life.
Aged 18, Lara took her first steps into sales as, having seen her father’s company go bankrupt, she had to provide for herself.
“I sold myself out of being poor and would recommend it as a career to anyone.
“I had no sales training whatsoever. I was completely ignorant. As far as I was concerned, I was just going out and having a conversation. Because I was oblivious of what I should be saying, I kept my mouth shut and people told me what they needed.” The secret of so much sales success: listening rather than talking.
At 23, Lara left her sales job and set up her own business, Pacific Direct, providing luxury toiletries into the hotel and hospitality industry. That’s not say that she stopped selling when she left a role with “sales” in the job title.
“I’m still learning sales now. I still make mistakes. Each mistake gives you the opportunity to learn and not make that mistake again.”
Lara believes young people are missing out on a amazing place to learn business and she’d love to see more people consider sales as a career. Part of the problem is that people leave the British education system knowing nothing about it. “Sales should be on the curriculum along with finance and marketing. It’s a no brainer.”
Contrary to the commonly held stereotypes surrounding sales, Lara remembers her first impressions. “I quickly learnt that sales is actually about understanding somebody’s problem and presenting a solution to take that pain away. It’s common sense.”
But what happens, Lara continues, is that “most people have challenging experiences of sales that leave them feeling manipulated. The public perception of sales is what you see. Car dealers. Estate agents. You don’t see the attractive side of selling. Done properly, it’s about a professional exchange of ideas and challenges.”
If you can effectively meet the challenges sales conversations present, Lara argues you are accelerated into a position where you can “earn more money than you would in any other profession in the world. There is no ceiling on your earnings. You could earn more than your boss and that’s a good thing.”
On the flipside, you can’t just swan in on day one and walk away at 6pm with £1 million in the bank.
“Sales offers the opportunity to earn incredible amounts of money but you need to work very, very hard to earn it.” To be successful in sales, it’s important to be able to keep going when things get tough as they inevitably will. As a leading triathlete, Lara draws a comparison with the sporting world, “Good sportspeople and salespeople have get up and go. They’ll fail and they get back up because they’re so hungry to win. That resilience is essential.”
As well as hunger and resilience, what else does Lara look for in salespeople?
“People that understand the value of money and the hard graft required to earn it. If you have two people who are equally smart doing the exact same job, it’s the one that puts in the most hours and is most persistent that will be more successful and earn more money. It’s down to you the amount of effort you put in and what you get out – see your name at the bottom of the sales leader board? Do something about it.”
Ultimately, sales takes a lot of hard work and determination. If you’re able to bring that in abundance every day, you’ll earn not only a great deal of money, but freedom of choice.
“Working in sales is an honour. If I wanted to retire at 40, I could. That choice is such a privilege.”
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.