Since the terrorist attacks that shocked and devastated our nation last month, so many thoughts, emotions and feelings have raced through my mind.
As did I, I'm certain you shed tears and said prayers for the victims and their families and wondered what might happen next. But as we've awoken from the terror, we've realized the sun does continue to rise and we must continue to live. And the best things we can do are to be thankful that we're alive, become closer with our loved ones, get straight with our God, and be true to ourselves by living life fully.
I've always believed that selling is the greatest profession in the world. Today, during the aftermath of this tragedy, I believe this more than ever.
The pictures and stories of people helping people after this tragedy move us all. From the rescue workers literally searching for survivors bucket by bucket, to companies and employees donating their earnings and pay to the recovery efforts. The genesis of all of these acts is to help a fellow person. And it's this genesis - to help people - upon which selling is founded.
Thankfully, life isn't comprised primarily of catastrophic events and the heroic acts witnessed during these most dire of times. Life is instead a progression of common activities that, unfortunately, often aren't rooted in helping people. Sometimes we get so caught up in making a living that we don't make a life or honor the true genesis of life: helping and sharing with people.
Fortunately for us, selling is about helping people. We're in the people business and we're only successful if our customers are successful. This is because a professional salesperson makes a sales call for one reason, and one reason only: to be of service to the customer.
Now, more than ever, our customers need our help - not only from the benefits resulting from our products and services, but also from the strategies, knowledge and expertise we can share with them to help their business in this most challenging time.
Think about the irony of how salespeople are compensated. Top salespeople can earn an extraordinary income. But in order to do so, they literally must have helped thousands of people along the way. It's impossible for a successful salesperson not to also be successful at helping others. For this you should hold your head high.
But when we hear about the massive layoffs occurring at companies across the country, the growing recession, and the dismal economic prospects for the foreseeable future, it's difficult at best not to become soured.
As a professional salesperson, however, when you contemplate these negative possibilities, I urge you to consider your opportunity - and your obligation - to help minimize these potential negative effects. How do you do this? By selling your pants off and helping companies meet their challenges!
At the most basic level, what causes a recession? The answer is a lack of sales. How many professions other than selling directly result in sales being made? Not many. Therefore, I challenge all sales professionals, now more so than ever, to do everything they can to help jump-start the economy.
Consumers are fearful and it's "buyer be ware" everywhere. You must ease people's fears, uncertainties and doubts, and help them buy. Doing so will help protect your future, their future and the future of our economy.
Remember that after you die, you're judged not by the money you have in the bank but by those who continue to benefit from having known you. As a professional salesperson, by selling your product or service with absolute dedication and integrity, you're giving back to your customers who benefit directly from your knowledge, expertise and effort.
And just as importantly, you're doing all that you can do to help the nation's economy and protect the futures of fellow Americans. That's a heroic fact.
Roy Chitwood is an author, trainer and consultant in sales and sales management and is president of Max Sacks International, Seattle.