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The Dichotomy of Sales - Natural or Acquired?

October 22, 2019


Published on LinkedIn on October 22nd, 2019


How many of us have said “I’m not a salesperson and I can’t sell for my life”.?


How many of us are successful in driving sales for our employers but when it comes to seeking job opportunities, we don’t know how to hunt or sell ourselves?


We are not borne with sales skills.  It’s an acquired skill and while some of us are more natural at it than others, we MUST sell to succeed in life.


Consider this:


-       When we are on the hunt for a significant other, we are selling ourselves.  We gel our hair, put on nice clothes, and we adorn ourselves with trendy accessories to get noticed.  We put on our swagger to convince the other party that we indirectly or directly like them and want to convince them to get to know us.  This is selling.


-       When we are in a job interview, we are selling ourselves.  We are trying to convince the interviewer that we are the best person for the job with whatever arguments we will put forth for them to hire us.  This is selling.


-       When we are with friends or family and we want to convince them to embrace our idea, we creatively build our arguments to get them to see things our way.  This is selling.


While Sales is a formal profession and many people make a successful living out of it, what most people fail to realise is that ‘sales’ is not a job function but rather, a basic life skill.  Sales as a profession is a choice we make based on how good we are at it and whether it best fit our personality and comfort level. 


Let’s look at a strange anomaly that I’ve noticed in many successful sales professionals.  Under the right conditions, many salespeople perform optimally and they become top sales performers for their employers.  They possess excellent hunting and farming skills and are looked upon as an expert in their profession.  Put these same professionals out of a job and they struggle to sell themselves to look for their next career move.  They suddenly lose the creative ability to systematically hunt for new job leads outside of the traditional job boards or Linkedin and they try to cosy up to headhunters who most times can’t help them when they are desperately seeking a job.  Their panic and fear inhibit their ability to relate their past sales experience to looking for a job which is a sales job in itself.


We must always remember that we are always in control of our destiny and we must always stay creative and be persistent to get what we want.  We will always fall while we try to walk or run and that’s okay.  That’s the journey we all must take to get to where we want to go. 


A hunter who always has food on the table doesn’t need to hunt anymore and will lose his natural ability to hunt.  We must not take for granted that what we have now will endure forever and we must always be prepared to look for our next meal as needed.  A hunter will hunt and consume his meal and will always be prepared to seek his next meal in order to survive.  


In the end, what makes us any different from a hunter in the wild and a hunter in modern life?  


This is the real question that each of us needs to answer within ourselves.


About the Author:


Peter Hum is the Founder and Managing Director of StrateValue Pte Ltd, a leading boutique business management and Asia market entry firm based in Singapore. With more than 26 years of international business and global telecommunications experience, Peter has held successive career roles ranging from technical, marketing, sales, executive management, and serial entrepreneurship across Asia and North America. He specialises within the fields of Telecommunications, Business Analytics, Enterprise Software, and Digital Services. Peter has provided strategic and operational guidance to senior level executives in some of the largest multinational organisations in the region.

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