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  • Brett Zalaski

Selling With Grace

Matthew 7:5 translates: You hypocrite! First remove the beam out of your own eye, then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother's eye.


This isn't a test of how religious you are. We accept all kinds here at Empowerment of a Salesperson. This is a statement of intent as a salesperson, though...intent to be the best representative of ourselves and our team that we can be. The problem? We'll always be the one most getting in our own way. Not the team we sell for. Not our teammates on the sales floor. Our worst enemy will always be ourselves.


We spend a lot of time critiquing. We critique our training. We critique our fellow sales reps. We critique our team's performance. We critique our ticket packages. We critique our leads. We allow our tenure to be an excuse. Our lack of sales is never our own fault.


I believed all that myself. When I was starting my sales career at CEB, I was the last person in my start group to schedule a meeting. Three months in, I was last on my team in visits scheduled. I had to be on the chopping block. And it definitely wasn't my fault. My leads stunk. My training stunk. Everyone around me was luckier than me. Etc. Etc. Etc. Here's the problem with that logic...the more I focused on the shortcomings around me, the less I focused on the two most important people in the sales process: myself and the prospect. And, as important as the prospect is, we can't truly help them until we effort to be the best version of ourselves that we can.


So I took a step back. I pushed myself to learn about my product. I pushed myself to learn from my peers who were kicking my ass in terms of results. I pushed myself to make more calls than anyone on my team. I pushed myself to be creative in the way I engaged and informed my prospects. And that switch from negativity to pro-activity saw me going from one of the worst on the sales floor (of almost 750!)...to one of the best. In 3(!!!) months. And I got promoted to a full-time sales role in only 10 months.


The plank in our eye, from the scripture above, is what we lack, or what colors our vision when we don't look in the mirror. It's what we lack in product knowledge, sales technique, acceptance of excuses, etc. It means we tend to pass judgment on our managers, peers, team, etc. without first looking in that mirror. The Biblical definition of 'grace' is, '...the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and bestowal of blessings.' We can't receive God's grace without first embracing our shortcomings and embracing our personal growth. Whatever you believe from a religious standpoint, again, isn't important here. It's important to understand the core of that message is true in sales. To become a great salesperson, we need to embrace that we will always be in constant need of improvement. That we may not be able to control what our prospects say, we can control the quality of service that we provide them.


And guess what? Accepting we are in constant need of improvement is way more fun. If we accept sales as our profession, constantly trying to improve in it, like we did when we played sports or grew in our education, is a really enjoyable journey. Testing ourselves, growing ourselves, and pushing ourselves gives us purpose. Blaming everyone else creates a hurricane of negativity that often spirals out of control. As the quote to the right says, we'll always make mistakes. Sales is a profession of imperfection. But the more we choose to embrace our shortcomings and grow in our journey, the more we'll enjoy the ride. And make no mistake, the privilege of making a career out of selling sports tickets, literally providing our clients with moments they'll remember the rest of their lives, is a blessing...no matter what your religion.