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Coaches Diary: Recognising Sales As An Honourable Profession


Andy emphatically did not want to be a salesman and he was angry at his company for expanding his business advisory role to include winning new business; Coach Olivia Stefanino shares her latest casebook notes.

I asked Andy to describe his perceptions of sales people. With a look of disdain on his face, he explained that he found salesmen to be pushy and smarmy and yet again, he reiterated that he did not want to work in sales.

After some time exploring his negative experiences including a couple of occasions when he had been pressured into buying items that he didn’t really want I asked Andy if he believed that he was a good business advisor.

Upon receiving a nod in response, I then asked him if he could think of a corporate competitor that offered better business advice than Andy and his company. Frowning for a moment, Andy confessed that he couldn’t think of any better business advisors within his sector.

I then pointed out to him that if he and his company offered the best business advice, then he and his company had a duty to inform potential clients of that fact. Indeed, by not doing so, Andy would be letting down those potential clients who would be forced to use the services of an inferior competitor!

With his viewpoint now re-framed, Andy began to see that it was no good having the best product or service in town if no-one knew about it.

Next, Andy and I discussed the fact that everyone is a salesman at the end of the day. We all seek to influence others as indeed Andy does every time he offers business advice to his clients.

He laughed when I pointed out that he must already be an excellent salesman because his clients readily took his advice and as a consequence were increasing their profits accordingly.

Andy quickly began to see the distinction between flogging a product or service to someone who won’t benefit which is dishonest and providing potential clients with an “opportunity to buy.”

Good business is about providing customers with choice and informed decisions can only be made with all the facts.

And, as Andy concluded, if he were to remain ethical it was his moral obligation to inform his potential clients of the superior benefits of his particular business advisory service.

Finally, we both agreed that smarmy, pushy salesmen are neither good role models nor advertisements!

Olivia Stefanino is a leadership development consultant and executive coach, who works with blue chip organisations, SMEs and individuals. To find out more – and to download your free e-booklet “128 ways to harness your personal power”, visit


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