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How I Found A Calling In ‘Sales’

It was around age 25 when other men around me would already have long ago started their careers in their chosen professions that I stumbled across an interview with an entrepreneur and for the first time in my life heard the words ‘sales’ and ‘marketing’.

You see, at home, my parents would never talk about politics or business. In fact, even though I grew up with both parents until the age of 16, I do not remember any conversations we have had. All I remember is that we never really spoke about anything substantial or meaningful like personal feelings or our ambitions or simply how we felt.

Conversations were dull, superficial and not satisfying at all.

That memory is something that has stuck with me ever since. The imprints of those boring and sad years linger over me and I find it challenging to strip myself of the effects this kind of environment has had on me.

Coming from a household where transparency, needs and ambition were literally non-existent, I haven’t had the slightest clue about life and what I wanted to do.

In fact, I never even considered working for money.

Both ‘work’ and ‘money’ were concepts so far away from my everyday reality, that I was only concerned with school, sports, friends and girls.

Coming out of university I made my living working as a private security guard.

The pay was low, the hours were bad, the environment was debilitating and I just recently had become father of a beautiful daughter – not a way to live life I thought.

While I was struggling to keep up morale in this dead-end industry, I was able to get an internship at a state-owned enterprise which was – unfortunately – just yet another frustrating experience of being bullied at work.

Still to this day I find it hard to understand how my boss back then could be such a douchebag in leadership and people’s skills. But that’s a story for another day.

During this time in my life, the above-mentioned interview was published. The founder of a publishing house that specialized in success literature, business administration, marketing, and sales became my first encounter with the field of business and economy.

His company published CDs and DVDs and books by trainers and speakers and they were the first to introduce me to the concept of personal marketing and the importance of being able to ‘sell yourself’ to others.

I began to immerse myself in the topic and found several experts who were teaching the subject of sales in their books, seminars, online courses, and in live training events. And I enjoyed it.

For me it was a fascinating journey to learn from the stories of these great salesmen and apply their wisdom to my daily life.

My first opportunity came around when a friend of my former wife invited me to become a network marketer and promote a supplement company. The meetings were fun and I enjoyed giving presentations and inviting people over, but I never really liked the idea of making money off of my friends.

Besides that some of these companies seemed outright fraudulent and after a few bad experiences I quite the industry of network marketing a few years later for good.

Next up was insurance.

I got a chance through an acquaintance to call clients of an insurance company and book meetings with their insurance broker. It was me alone in a small room with a staple of paper with client names and phone numbers on it and a phone. That’s it. I was paid by appointment and the brokers would pay me personally. Again a bit shady but this time at least it was a serious company.

The next gig was an actual paid job with full contract and everything.

From which I got fired two weeks in.

For asking too many questions about their business models.

One of the founders got scared that I would copy their strategies, go into business for myself, and become their competitor.

That’s when he fired me on the spot.

Another weird experience all while having to support a child with a wife that stressed a lot over these difficult times and eventually left me.

But I really wanted to be a salesman and I wanted to pull the trigger on deals and win contracts and make money.

So I kept looking for jobs.

After some time a golden opportunity came.

It wasn’t golden in the sense that it made me rich. The salary was meager.

But the job was rich in opportunity to test my knowledge, gain valuable experience and proof to myself whether I’d be able to succeed in this field or not.

And succeed I did.

But first I had to experience a moment of truth between myself and I.

On my second day I went to the bathroom and cried alone.

I was so scared of cold calling a stranger in a business I didn’t know and offering him my products (toilet paper as it happened to be) and I feared I wouldn’t make any sales and lose my job again, so I went to the bathroom before making my first call and I wept and I sobbed.

This behavior acted as a relieve system to vent of some of the pressure that built up inside of me.

Then I got out of the bathroom after I cleaned my face a bit. And I started to make my first calls.

Sales came in.

People were happy to talk to me on the phone.

My boss was very happy and extremely helpful in getting many deals across the finishing line.

We had a lot of fun together making sales.

And that’s how I got started in sales.

Soon after and through the encouragement of a friend I saw an opening as a Key Account Manager, applied and got the job.

Those three years have been some of the most rewarding in my life.

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