Becoming a Rainmaker

Becoming a Rainmaker

I was in my early twenties and I was thrilled to have my own car. I could not believe it. I was a recent university graduate, and I already had my own brand-ne-e-w, sky blu-u-e, Monte Carlo.

I was so proud of myself and I felt that my career was really moving forward. I’d been given a job as the salesperson for Liquid Paper in the Ottawa area, Canada’s capital, and to support my activities, I had been given a company car. (Did I mention it was sky blue?)

My friends were excited for me and shared my new status with three of my university professors.

“Oh, dear,” they said to my friends, “Paula has become a sales rep. That’s too bad.”

It was the first time that I would hear of the stigma around salespeople.

Unfortunately, I was going to hear about this stigma for the rest of my life. I have often joked at speaking events that I am going to dedicate my life to getting rid of the dishonour that swirls around the sales profession, my punch line being that I intend to live until I am 150 years old.

Almost everyone has a story about how a really insensitive salesperson turned them off when they were making a major purchase, such as a car or a house. These stories make it appear as though there are sleazy salespeople in every car dealership. Some car companies run ads that play on these negative experiences and state that consumers will have a much better experience, and feel better tended, at their dealership.

Negative attitudes towards salespeople are everywhere and so it is not surprising that Sales Saboteurs are likely to rear their ugly heads, in whole or in part, when business professionals become responsible for new business development within their own firms. Or when they put up a shingle with their name, and reputation, on it.

When they become the brand.

Business professionals do not want to be associated with these nasty, negative stereotypes of salespeople. Their fear of being associated with this group grows quickly, even as their dependence on building sales and generating their own business revenue becomes more important to their financial picture.

Exposing, or “naming” these Sales Saboteurs is the best way for business professionals to move forward, and away, from the dangerous impact of these negative images of a role that is fundamental to their success.

As a business owner. As partner of their firm. As a rainmaker.

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