Professional salespeople have one thing in common: they love their work. They are hooked on the mission in “commission.”

These people are on a mission. They are not “working”; they love what they do. If you were to meet them on a social level, they would have you talking about their product or service because they’re convinced theirs is the best there is.

As paradoxical as it may seem, those salespeople who earn the large commissions are not doing what they do for money. They are in love with what they are doing, although they would probably not do it if they were not earning the money. Strange, isn’t it? Yet it’s true.

There’s an oft-told story about Ben Feldman, one of the world’s greatest insurance salesmen, that poignantly expresses what I am describing here. Feldman was speaking to a group of insurance agents at a conference. When he had finished his speech, a young insurance agent asked the old pro a question: “Mr. Feldman, why do you keep selling insurance? You’ve been doing it for years. You’re a multi-millionaire, you obviously don’t need the money.”

Mr. Feldman replied, “Don’t you think what we are doing is important?”

Most religious missionaries have similar, very deep-seated convictions with respect to their faith; they attempt to convert everyone and anyone to their way of thinking about their particular religion not because it’s their job, but because it’s their conviction.

Dr. Herb True said, “A salesperson is any person who is attempting to have his idea accepted, adopted or approved.” If you accept Dr. True’s definition, missionaries would certainly qualify as salespeople: they truly believe what they have is the very best. They will talk about the benefits of their idea to anyone who will listen. And although they constantly come up against obstacles—sometimes seemingly insurmountable obstacles!—they seem to overcome the obstacles and keep on going. Rejection only fires up their engines.

The professional salesperson is much like the missionary. When she hears the word, “No,” she realizes she has not caused her prospect to want what she has. She knows she has not yet explained her idea effectively. If she had, she would have made the sale.

Are you hooked on the mission in commission?

Talking to people about what you have is not good enough. You must cause them to want what you have. You must sell them. However, before you sell them, you must make certain you have completely sold yourself—intellectually, emotionally and physically. When you’ve done that, you’ve found the mission in commission.


BOB PROCTOR is Publisher of Networking Times.