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Professional Is as Professional Does

I’m a big believer in the dignity and worth of sales as a profession, and have always had a strong desire that it be perceived that way by its practitioners and especially by its clients. On the face of it, the notion of sales as a profession seems absurd. To most people, professional is not an adjective that springs readily to mind when they think of salespeople. The stereotype: out only for themselves, unqualified, dishonest…

Who is a professional? Some answers immediately spring to mind: doctors, lawyers, military officers. What they all have in common is that they have clearly specified paths to attaining their status, and sacrosanct standards and certifications by which they must earn the title of professional. Sales is a long way from that, and I’m not sure it will ever get to that point.

Yet, just as a printed certificate is no guarantee that someone will act professionally, I believe that one can be a professional by acting like one. Professionalism does not come from a certificate; it comes from conduct and action.

What does it mean to behave and act professionally?

  • Professionals put clients first. Do you look after the best interests of your clients, even if it will cost you a commission in the short term?
  • Professionals keep up with a recognized and growing body of knowledge.
  • Professionals act ethically at all times.

Do you personally want to be viewed as a professional? Do you want to improve the image and status of the sales profession? Act with these three things in mind, and you will be a professional.

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