“Everybody’s in sales.” I’ve spotted this quote hundreds of times in books, podcasts, and company powerpoint presentations. The statement is 100% true. I spend crazy cash on iphones from the Apple Store because I’ve never met one grouchy Apple employee. I break diets at Chick fil A because when I tell them “Thankyou,” they always say “My pleasure!” And I always get my car fixed at the Firestone in Brentwood, TN because they cut up and laugh with me like I’m a human and not just Customer #1,022. Even if none of those employees “sold” me a product, they definitely “sold me” on doing business with them.
I know I’ll never be able to “quit sales,” but I did quit my career as a salesman. Here’s why.
I’ve done relational selling for some incredible organizations. The leaders treated me with generosity. I fostered friendships with my co-workers. And I made good money. Yet every time I hit the 18 month mark in any sales role, one definitive thing happened. On Sunday night, I began to dread Monday morning.
At that point, I would start my mental gymnastics routine. First, I would verbally and mentally repeat all of the reasons that I should be grateful. Statements like this: “Be thankful. You live in America, Rob.” “People in other countries would kill for this opportunity.” “Suck it up, and act like a man. Provide for your family.”
When the pep talk failed, I’d pray, “Lord, give me wisdom. What do I do next?” After I prayed and breathed deeply for a few minutes, I’d get some peace, but I still felt a gnawing sinking feeling of discontent that began in my chest and extended slowly to my gut.
I cycled through this mental gymnastics routine daily to motivate myself, and it left me emotionally exhausted. By the time I slowly pulled into the driveway of our house at 5:30 or 6pm, I was drained- no matter who I worked for, what I was selling, or how awesome the company was.
I heard a quote once. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but it resonated with me. “Most millionaires become millionaires by doing something they love.” My translation reads something like this: “I can be ultra successful when I work really hard on something I love.” I don’t know how much money I’ll make from songwriting, but I could write songs and work on music for 18 hours a day. I won’t because my wife would kill me. But here’s the essential difference: Instead of counting down the hours until I can leave work, I now have to intentionally stop myself from working to spend time with my family.
I understand sales is not like this for everyone. Many of my friends work in cubicles, factories, schools, and restaurants. I have tons of friends who sell professionally, and they love it.
I’m not suggesting my life as a template for your life. I’m just telling you why I walked away. Everybody’s selling something, so I can never really quit sales. But I’m hammering the last nail in the coffin of my career as a professional salesman.
I’m now a songwriter.
If you’d like to join me to see how this year goes, please connect with me on Instagram. If you’d like to listen to some of my music, subscribe to my youtube channel. Thanks for joining me on the journey. I hope to see you soon.