The Wolf of Wall Street: It’s Our Fault

Jamie Shanks
Jamie Shanks

Wolf of Wall StreetHaving seen The Wolf of Wall Street recently, like many of you, it made me think about our sales industry. If you haven’t seen the movie, don’t worry, there are no (major) spoiler alerts here. The only real spoiler alert is that our profession was portrayed in a very, very bad light.

Who’s to blame? It’s us.

Is it any really surprise that sales as a career choice is something that’s frowned on by society? Our reputation precedes us. Think about growing up – what did you want to be? Most of us get our career choice ideas directly from our parents and teachers. There wasn’t any course in grade or high school that taught sales or even discussed it. None of your teachers encouraged you to get into the “sales profession”. It’s still not even considered a real profession by many in society.

And for those of you that actually chose sales as a career, what did your parents say? I’m sure they weren’t too pleased. It’s that thing you do when all other options have been exhausted.

Here’s the crazy part: Entrepreneurship is (finally) getting its due respect. I’m seeing sections of our overall society and the mainstream media accept entrepreneurship as a career path. But, what are entrepreneurs? They’re sales people, of course! This simple logic can’t be understood by most.

Back to where the fault lies. Movies like The Wolf of Wall Street work to reinforce those horrible and negative images of sleazy snake oil salesmen from decades ago, and the “wink and a gunshot” sleazy car salesmen stereotypes we all associate with anyone who sells cars for a living. And then movies like this come along and it makes the common man think that even the “respectable” professions on Wall Street are corrupt and full of conniving liars. Bernie Madoff, anyone?

Society has now gotten so sick of some sales people that the entire industry of telemarketing is now under massive amounts of government legislation. Do Not Call lists, when to call, who not to call, etc. are all considered part of the norm. Direct Marketing companies are probably losing or pulling their hair out now (likely both).

What’s the Solution?

The solution is we have to change; each and every one of us. It’s not enough that we “tell” buyers/prospects that we have their best interest at heart, it’s now time to show it.

I believe that Social Selling is a great way to demonstrate care and value. Let’s face it, buyers no longer need any one of us to do research about products/services, find reviews, talk to past clients, etc. It truly is the dawn of the new buyer. If you haven’t accepted this, you’re missing an enormous opportunity.

Create and give value first before expecting it in return. That’s what it’s about.

The Bottom Line

Want to learn how to create and give value to your customers so they don’t run for the hills when they find out you’re just another sales person? I can help. Feel free to pick a time in my calendar below to have a chat. Remember, social selling isn’t difficult; it’s just different.

To learn more about Social Selling check out 10 Steps to Becoming a Social Selling Machine or 9 Steps to a Winning LinkedIn Profile for Sales Professionals. For tips, tricks and more rants, we could always set-up a time to chat using my below schedule …

Amar Sheth


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