My wife subscribes to several women’s magazines, so a few are always lying around the house. Whenever I glance at the covers, I invariably see articles with titles like “Ten Steps to a Happier Marriage” or “Seven Ways to Reignite Your Marriage.” I always thought a more helpful article would be titled “Six Comments You Should Never Say to Your Spouse in Sales.”
1. “Did you close the deal?” Of course, we appreciate your interest in our closing business because it directly affects our family’s future, but we already have a very important person in our lives who asks us the same irritating question every day--our sales manager! Spouses play many different roles--friends, lovers, and caregivers--but they should never be sales managers.
2. “How did the big meeting go today?” The answer to this question is obvious. If we come home pumped up with adrenaline, the meeting went great and we will volunteer all the details from our award-winning performance earlier that day. If we don’t say anything about it, don’t ask! It will only remind us of how badly it went.
3. “If I were you, I would . . .” Maybe in a moment of self-doubt we’ll open up to you about a particular deal we are working on. Even though we vent our worries and frustrations, we are not asking for advice. We are only seeking your empathy to our plight and reminding you how hard it is being in sales. Maybe deep down we also want you to be a little scared. Knowing the big commission check won’t be coming may make you think twice before you spend money on things we don’t need right now.
4. “Her husband is a doctor!” This backhanded insult shows us you really don’t know what we do for a living. We work harder than many doctors, are more ethical than some lawyers, face fear like police officers, and are just as smart about the hard knocks of life as university professors. The future of our company, the livelihoods of all its employees and the welfare of their families, the vendors whom our company owes money, and the dreams of our investors are all dependent upon our success.
5. “Why can’t you stop thinking about work and relax?” Unlike other entitlement-based jobs, ours is based solely upon performance. We work in a Darwinian “survival of the fittest” environment. Someone is always waiting in the wings who would like to occupy our position as the top rep or to take our job. The strange part is that we are actually addicted to being in this state of perpetual competition. We enjoy the thrill of the hunt and the taste of the kill.
6. “Knock ’em dead, Tiger!” We don’t want to hear a superficial “rah-rah” speech as if we were eight-year-olds at a Little League game. We are in the fight of our lives every day and would rather hear a heartfelt “I’ll be thinking about you today.”