“Sales? That’s not a career option”
“Do you have to ring doorbells or hand out flyers?”
“…Your job can’t be hectic..after all you just have to sell
“Someone made a product; someone paid you for it…so what is it that you do?

 

Sounds familiar? If you’re in sales then you must have been at the receiving end of these comments on several occasions. There is a stigma associated with working in sales. When you were a kid you didn’t hear yourself or your friends say they wanted to be in sales. Doctors, engineers, software developers, nurses are all acceptable career paths. But sales? Not so much. This discrimination and disrespect are because of stereotypes attached to the sales profession.

 

 “Stay Away From The Salesman” Syndrome

 

People in sales are usually viewed as smooth talkers with hidden agendas. There is a ‘man-out-to-get your money’ vibe associated with them. We know this isn’t true but that’s the thing with stereotypes, they stick. But then there are those who have turned this stereotype on its head. People who took on a sales career and changed how the world viewed people in sales. One such revolutionary was Ross Perot.

 

Ross Perot: Ordinary Salesman and His Extraordinary Achievements

 

Born in 1930 to a working-class family in Texas, Perot didn’t come from privilege. He started working with his father from a young age at cattle auctions. Perot picked up tricks of sales while watching people trading in cattle. He then started out selling saddles and then moved to animals. During his early years, Perot did a lot of offbeat jobs from planting seeds, horse breaking to selling newspapers. It was his versatile experiences and interactions with a diverse group of people that made him an exceptional salesman.

 

His ability and skills gave Perot the confidence to start out on his own. Having worked in IBM from 1957 to 1962, Perot formed Electronic Data Systems (EDS). The company provided data processing systems and was making decent money. But it was when Perot took EDS public that the true worth of the corporation was known. Perot was now a millionaire. A few years later EDS had made enough to turn him into a billionaire.

 

Man On A Mission

Even today, businessmen and sales representatives speak of Perot with reverence and awe. The larger-than-life stories circulated about him add to his mystical persona. Take the instance of when Perot achieved his annual targets, assigned at IBM, in 3 weeks. The man was a genius and this was just one facet of his personality.

Perot was an ex-navy seal and remained an ardent supporter of the military throughout his life. On one occasion, he organized a rescue effort to bring back two of his colleagues who were held hostage in Iran. This instance might seem straight from the movies because it’s hard to imagine how one person could have a lived a life as interesting as Ross Perot.

 A Run For The White House

Speaking of the interesting experiences Perot had, nothing beats his run for the US presidency. Perot was a presidential candidate and a popular one at that. He ran for President in 1992 against George W Bush and had little to no political affiliations. Perot was the quintessential ‘outsider’ – a man who had no vested political interests except the goodwill of his country. Despite not winning the elections, Perot amassed 19% of the popular vote. Primarily because Perot was the embodiment of the American Dream. To Americans, and to the world, Perot was the man who made it big with sheer grit and ambition. Perot was a regular man who achieved extraordinary dreams.

 

This is why Perot’s lineage still lives on even after his death in July of 2019. His personality and ideas are all embossed in the minds of generations. It isn’t surprising that millennials also consider Perot a role model.

 

A Role Model For The Ages

 

Perot has left a mark in the world with his brilliance, philanthropy and humanitarian efforts. But his contribution is deepest in the world of sales. He disproved stereotypes and made salespeople hold up their heads with honor and pride. Perot helped management see the importance of sales functions in organizations.

 

Perot’s extraordinary life and his journey continue to inspire millions. He was a man who worked for the larger good, spoke his mind and led by his actions.

 

So the next time someone questions your choice of opting for a sales career, silence them with two words: Ross Perot.

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