The poor old salesperson is a much maligned race, and most of the time they only do the very best they can for the company they work for. Most people, if they aren’t salespeople, owe their jobs to salespeople. Nothing is worth ANYTHING until somebody sells it. In the States, a factory will stop to cheer a salesperson who has secured an order which means work and jobs for all. Here, a salesperson doesn’t dare to set foot on the factory floor!
A barrister on TV recently described himself as a salesman. A salesman could, by the same token, describe himself as a barrister in as much as he pleads the strongest possible case for his company. Just as a barrister will not defend a client he knows to be guilty, salespeople must believe in their company and their product. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t slightly dicey barristers who have a shrewd idea that their client is dodgy, or that that there aren’t salespeople who represent less than scrupulous companies – and while I hold my hands up to be lily white and say that there are companies and products that I wouldn’t sell, it doesn’t mean that the sellers of expensive kitchens, or timeshare, or hand grenades, have any influence on the product, its price or its consequences. Even if you stretch a point to say that the salesperson is of equal responsibility in the dishonest company, he always seems to get unequal blame. When the managing director, the designer, and the accountant have done their worst, it often happens that the salesperson genuinely and innocently believes that they are promoting good companies. It is often, in fact, the salesforce that spots a scam and goes on to blow the whistle and indeed in the case of commission- only, pay, the salespeople in the affair are often more of a victim than the customer.
My own personal soapbox is that everyone in a company should be a salesperson and learn to enthusiastically promote and sell the enterprise they work with. The power of persuasion is something we should all learn for the sake of our jobs and our private lives.