When Old-School Meant Getting Good at Something

When Working for Experience Meant Something

Years ago, in the mid nineties, I worked with a bunch of old school sales guys. Now, so this post doesn’t become a memorial to those famous guys who are now passed on, we’re going to leave this story to experiences instead of name dropping.

The first sales gig I ever got was selling from stage. It wasn’t as simple as me creating a product and having a high price on it so I got on stage.


…first I had to help organize over 50 events.

Then, I had to go to Toast Masters and do a few speeches where they would strategically rip all my presentations to shreds with constructive criticism.

Next, my head of sales would send me off to over 100 trade shows to platform pitch our products and tell me, “Don’t come back until you’ve sold 10,000 units!”

They would drive us to a city with a load of supplies, make us set up a platform, table, booth and products, sell as much as we could over 3 days then truck it to the next place. Thing was, if you didn’t sell, you had no money for room, food or travel. Suffice to say, you had to get real good real quick.

After a year or so of doing that, they’d send you off to some corporate mixer where you had to try and suck up to the money guys at the party to get them to your next sales presentation. That worked about 5% of the time. Then you had to do the whole sales pitch and land it as if your job depended on it, because it DID!

Next, you were given your chance on stage. Buddy, you be best prepared if you had a funny, informative, short lecture intertwining a sales pitch and close at least 12% of the room if you ever expected to get that opportunity again.

Now, the next thing these guys would have you do is hold an event. You arranged it, you set it up, you sold the tickets, you got the media exposure and you did the selling at the event.

It was rough, stressful and tedious doing all these things. But, when the dust settled; you had cash in the bank, had a skill set nobody could take away from you and knew all the right and wrong ways to handle a sales situation…ANY sales situation.

We were apprentices, who became journeymen, who became masters at sales and marketing.

We knew that when times were tough, we could find a market, find a company who had what that market wanted, become THEIR sales guy and knock it out of the park on day one to be back on top of the income ladder.

Today, people take a course, read a book or listen to a webinar and call themselves an expert. Hey “EXPERTS”, you soil the reputations of veteran marketers and sales people and on any given day of the week, those journeymen and masters would mop the floor with ya! SERIOUSLY!

You want to be good at sales? Find the best sales guys out there and ask to apprentice for them. You want to be a master of marketing? Read and test everything you can for the next 5 consecutive years and figure out which strategies work the best…then keep doing that shit over and over again for yourself, THEN do it for others and actually GET results for them.

Expert and master comes from years of trial and error and successes and failures.

It’s not all win, it’s definitely not all glitz and you will burn out at least 20 times before you realize burnout isn’t necessary anymore.

Sweat through it, breath it and become it…but always live life and be there for your family and relationships the whole way. It’s those who are closest to you that are going to be your rock on the journey!

Now go do something!


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