Aside from the hard leg work, the roller-coaster of emotions, frustrated expectations, market confusion, ever-rising quotas and messy politics inside and outside the company – sales people deal with a lot of various stresses in their lives. Sometimes, on a very bad day, all things from all sides go wrong at the same time. It is no secret that there is a lot of employee turnover in sales. Most just can’t take the demands and, frankly, there are better careers out there.
But being in sales has benefits to it. But they’re like buried treasure – one has to labor and dig up a lot of dirt before getting to the gold. One such benefit is – allow me to call it – the Nth Sense. But most would call it: intuition or gut feel.
For the purpose of this article, the Nth Sense is defined as an individual’s ability to accurately detect sincerity or deception without knowing exactly how. Of course, a lot of jobs offer this. But this skill is most emphasized among people whose work involves deciphering the truth. And one of those jobs is sales.
Good sales people (at least those that I work with today) don’t force or manipulate clients to buy their products. That practice shrinks one’s client base and is bad for long term business. This is an even greater concern for the Christian sales person, the subject of this blog, who have higher personal standards for work.
Sales people have to deal with this work of deciphering people on a daily basis. A lot of our clients will say ‘yes’ to us just to get rid of us. And when the time comes for our clients to act on that ‘yes’, most will do the opposite. A week or month later, the sales person is left scratching his head as he sees his sales report filled with red, negative numbers.
The frustration is magnified especially when a lot of investment had gone into a runaway client. Losing returns on investment or having a slow return is frowned upon in our world. But the good sales person can only smile despite of it, learn from his lesson and then move on with his life. That pretty much composes a normal month for us in sales.
But as the years go by, something develops in us. A skill is slowly uncovered and refined. One calm day, we just realize, that we can read the message behind the ‘smiling yes’. Suddenly, we become sensitive to eye movements, small facial twitches, tone of voice, hand gestures and body movements. We become surprised in our ability to ask the right questions to see if the client is serious or not. One day we wake up and find that we’ve become better in investing our money, time and efforts on the sincere clients. We learn to ignore those clients who pretend, and pursue those who are true – regardless of how things may appear initially. This skill can only be acquired after years in sales and business. It’s something that diplomas and schools can’t give. And it is the sales person’s jewel that he will carry for the rest of his life.
I’m sure you can see the application of this Nth Sense in life. But I would like to center on the help it provides for Christian sales people. The Nth Sense is God’s gift to us; born out of hardships and disappointments. It is a weapon against the many “ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing” that plague the world today. It keeps the Christian from becoming a blind follower. It keeps us from becoming mindless, hateful fanatics. It helps us to identify the genuine Christians, and those who are in church for the wrong reasons. It also aids us in choosing our friends well. The Nth Sense is a quick tool to provide a vital initial assessment of a church or a member before we pour out our all. This way, we know how to focus our limited resources with accuracy. Once we’ve identified the genuine people of the God of the Bible, then we know to whom we should create partnerships with. When we find that a brother or sister has triggered our Nth Sense, we utter a prayer asking for wisdom from God. And as we use it through the years, we wield it better and better.
We quickly know who to partner with, whom to disciple, and who to keep our distance from.
The Nth Sense saves the Christian a lot of needless heart aches and discouragements. And for the Christian sales people, it is good to know that even in this line of work, God is working for the greater good.