The Problem With Sales, The Problem With Me

Last night my stuff came up big time when an advertising salesperson decided she didn’t like my answer and went around me directly to the client who asked me to represent her. It should’ve been no big deal. I mean, people do things all the time that aren’t nice or ¬†professional, exhibiting their own issues and insecurities.

If I had taken a step back, I would’ve seen that. Some people want desperately to make the sale – it’s not just their income, but their self-worth that’s wrapped up in the outcome. I know that, and I knew it when I flew off the handle, but it still wasn’t easy for me to see as clearly then what I see now.

And then I felt terrible for letting my stuff get the better of me.

All our lives, we are working to shed the ills and obstacles we were born with or perhaps even brought here from another life. You can think you’ve made it, put the problems of the past where they belong, tucked away way back when. And then someone says something or does something that brings up all the old junk.

For me, it’s about not being heard. It’s like a switch is flipped and all of a sudden I feel all the old yuckiness of being a teenage kid with big ideas who someone’s making fun of. Sound familiar? What’s your trigger point? Because everyone has one.

We look like adults but somewhere deep inside is a scared little kid trying to speak up. For some people, this state is the one they live in constantly. For others, it’s a place to retreat to when things are off-kilter and you don’t even notice.

If I had written this blog last night, I would have railed against the whole sales funnel. But it isn’t about sales. It isn’t about anyone else. It’s about me. And that’s the hardest part to own.

Sales is a fact of business. It’s a fact of life. There are people who do it well and people who suck at it. And they suck at it only because they don’t believe in themselves enough to do it smoothly and artfully.

At its best, sales is inspiration to invest in oneself. At worst, it’s a race to win.

I’ll admit, the salesperson I was peeved with was not doing a good job at it. She didn’t get the answer she wanted from me, so she shoved me aside and went to my client. She complained that I wasn’t answering her. She tried to get the client on the phone directly.

Why should I care? I shouldn’t. I should have just let it go and shrugged it off as desperation on her part. I should have opened my heart to her and felt sorry that she doesn’t see what’s right in front of her.

Instead, I wrote a letter to her boss.

On the one hand, bad business behavior deserves calling attention to if only to try to amend it for future successes. But really – this woman is just trying to prove herself in her work environment. It’s not cool to kick me out of the way, but it’s a move that I shouldn’t take personally.

Any time we find our haunches rising and our feelings getting rankled, it’s time to take a deep and close look at what lies behind the reaction. Mine was driven by wanting to be heard, by not wanting to be ignored. I can admit it, though I feel somewhat silly saying it loud here on the blog.

Yes, that’s my issue. I become a little girl when I think I’m not being heard. I don’t do it consciously – it just happens. And it’s something I am trying to merely observe and accept rather than actively pursue.

But change takes time, and lasting change takes deep meditation, patience with oneself and an open heart to the world. I’m on that path. Some days, I stumble off into the woods.

Last weekend, when my family and I hiked through nearby woods, my eldest son stepped off the path into the fallen trees and fallen leaves and played a big game of pretend. In that context, it was fine, even adorable.

When we do it in our daily lives, as adults, it’s not so cute.

Here’s to hoping today is a day of bigness and wholeness and big hearts and open minds.

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