You miss 'em if you don't take 'em
Shoot Your Shot
Disclaimer: This week's edition has zero references to turkey, football, or shopping online.
As many of you already know, I am a salesperson at heart.
I love everything about selling.
From figuring out what I offer and clarifying who that helps, to crafting a strategic plan with targeted messaging to help my ideal audience solve their biggest problems, I simply can't get enough of sales.
It's simple, really.
Learning to sell has brought me an abundance of the 4 things everyone wants in their professional life:
It wasn't easy.
I didn't find success quickly.
Over time and with the help of a couple of mentors - Thanks Aaron & Thad! - I figured out how to be decent, than good, then great at sales.
Proof positive that anyone can do it.
Anyone can learn simple sales strategies and sell their way to a better life.
And when I say "anyone."
I mean you.
Now I'm not here to tell you that you should drop your dream job goals and become a salesperson.
No. Not quite.
What I am here to tell you is this:
No matter what type of work you dream of doing, you will require sales skills to be successful.
In fact, as I know 99% of you reading these words are educators, I am 100% confident in saying that "You are already a salesperson!"
So today I want to share a bit of my origin story - not my "bit by a radioactive spider" origin story.
More like a quick glimpse into how I got into sales, and what sales has done for me.
I humbly share this with you as an example of the power you can have over your future if you choose to join me in admitting that being a salesperson is a good thing.
And that learning to sell well, can be life changing.
Let's dive in.
My first corporate job landed me in the Global Services Division of IBM at the tender age of 22.
I started as a technical support call center agent working the overnight shift.
I hated it.
Time away from my friends.
Resetting passwords for grouchy clients.
But, as I was taught to do as a young man growing up in the rough and tumble hockey rinks around Toronto, I put my head down and worked hard every shift.
As a result, I started to climb the corporate ladder quickly.
Call Agent to Sr. Manager in < 3 years.
Leading global teams, hundreds of staff, Fortune 100 clients.
I was on the executive path, but it wouldn’t last.
In 2009, without warning, I was laid off from my job along with thousands of other IBMers.
Something about a global financial crisis, blah, blah, blah.
No savings to draw from. No plan. No idea what to do next.
My buddies couldn’t relate. They were sales pros. Layoffs didn’t mean anything to them as they had skills that were always in demand.
One random Tuesday night, a sales buddy invited me to play hockey with his company team.
Stressed from being newly unemployed, I declined the invitation.
He insisted I play as his sales manager would be there, and they had an opening on their sales team.
“Networking opportunity” was how he framed it.
So, I played. And I’m so glad that I did.
The game was a fun distraction, but it was the locker room banter that gave me a new outlook that night.
The chatter around the room was full of positive energy and debate about – big deals, full pipelines, new opportunities, and massive commissions – these guys loved sales and it was infectious!
Energized, I jumped into the communal shower for a quick soak.
It was then that I saw an opportunity.
The sales manager was taking a rinse, too.
With the smell of Axe body wash in the air, and avoiding eye contact at all costs, I blurted out that I’d heard there was an open sales position on his team and then rambled off the top 3 reasons I thought I’d be good at sales:
1/ Call agent to Sr. Manager in < 3 years
2/ Managed hundreds of people globally
3/ Verifiable track record of hitting targets
He laughed out loud, said nothing, and left the shower.
I rinsed, toweled off, dressed quickly, and headed for my truck.
Minutes later he approached me in the parking lot.
“Did you really think it was smart to try and sell yourself to a naked stranger in the shower?” he asked.
I paused, tried to keep a straight face, and said “Absolutely! You miss 100% of the shots you never take, right?”
He laughed, shook his head, and said, “You’ve got balls, MacLean.” Then he got into his car and left.
Next morning, I got a surprise call inviting me to come in for a more “formal” and “clothed” interview.
1 personality test and 2 days later, I had a job offer in hand.
A 40% haircut from my IBM salary, but uncapped commissions.
I accepted on the spot.
Exactly 2 weeks after what would come to be known throughout the company as “The Shower Sale,” I kicked-off my sales career as an Account Executive and never looked back.
14 years, multiple promotions and $200M+ in closed deals later, I can still say that the biggest, and most important sale I ever made was that one in the shower back in 2009.
Until next week...
Whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways we can help you:
1. Career Clarity Consultation: Join 600+ teachers who learned how to stop being taken for granted at school and started new careers that provide the respect and balance every educator deserves. Click here to start now.
2. Classroom To Corporate Career Kit: A multi-step system using simple sales strategies and structures to identify, target, engage, and follow-up with your ideal employers to land interviews and job offers. Join 1,200 of your transitioning peers who have already started here.
3. Resume Rewrite + Cover Letter: If you already have clarity and know exactly who benefits from the work that you love doing - start here. If you cannot yet articulate who you help, how you do it, and why that’s beneficial to your employer of choice, consider Option 1 or 2 above.