When we first enter the world of commerce, we are told how to conform and are expected to do so. When I began my career in sales, I had no clue there were two systems based on two very different worldviews with two entirely different outcomes.
I was told my mission was to work in the sawmill so I could fund the work of the kingdom. If possible I was to very discreetly share the gospel with coworkers and lead them to Christ. No one told me that we could be a lot more effective at this if we ran the sawmill. It was understood that we were to submit to the tyranny without succumbing to its values. So I entered the world of sales much like many of you did, through what my friend Dennis Peacocke calls, Pharaoh’s School. It was there they taught me the ways of Egypt, the ways of the flesh or carnal nature. I wanted to learn God’s Way but instead I was taught by reputable companies the subtle ways to appeal to a person’s pride, or their greed or their love of whatever the world has to offer. In short, I was taught how to appeal to the very side of human nature we are called to disdain.
In the years that followed I struggled to find the Father’s WAY for succeeding in sales. I knew I was called to the business arena and I could see the fundamental flaws of the established system of selling. I had learned twenty ways to close a sale but what I really needed was one good way to open a relationship. I’d been taught how to create artificial need but what I needed to know was how to simply uncover the genuine need that already existed and meet it. Instead of finding a plethora of Biblical resources to help me along my journey, all I could find were a few Egyptian versions with Bible verses taped on them. It looked good, but the results were about the same as before.
Then one day it all changed for me. I took a job selling copiers in a city I had just moved to. All I knew for sure was that I didn’t want to sell copiers, but it seemed that it was the job God had opened up for me, so I took the position and began my new sales job. On the first day, the vice president of sales told me his expectations. He said, “We don’t expect you to sell anything your first month, but we expect you to sell two copiers your second month and four copiers per month thereafter.” What he didn’t tell me was that no new sales rep had ever made six sales in their first ninety days. He went on to explain, “We expect you to sell one out of four or one out of five demonstrations that you do. The national average is one out of four.”
That meant that I was supposed to accept a seventy-five percent failure rate, and I wasn’t happy about that. I reasoned, “What farmer plants four rows of corn and then prays to God that just one of them will come up?” I picked up my Bible and determined that I was going to study His word to find principles and strategies that I could apply to sales. If the Father really had a better Way, I was going to find it and adapt it to the selling process. Instead of selling one out of four copiers, I purposed to sell one out of one! The next day at the branch office my new boss asked me what my goals were and I told him that I intended to sell one out of one copier demonstrations. He thought I was nuts, but it was too late, he had already hired me! I searched the Scriptures, especially the book of Proverbs for eternal principles and enduring strategies that I could apply to the selling process, and then applied them to the best of my ability.
Ninety days later at my first quarterly sales review, I had to stand up in front of a little over twenty of my peers and project my sales accomplishments on an overhead projector. I said, “I’ve been here for ninety days. In fact, this is my ninety-first day. I’ve done X amount of calls leading to twenty-two copier demonstrations and I am pleased to tell you that I also have twenty-two sales!” I had succeeded in selling one out of one copier demonstrations for a total of three and a half times the number of copiers I was given as a goal – A goal, which I never saw achieved. Not only was this phenomenal but it was unprecedented in my sales career. The difference? I had found the Way to successfully incorporate Biblical principles into the selling process. Suddenly, my results were dramatically better. Yours can be better too.