A few days ago, Seth Godin made an observation: You never saw Steve Jobs in public when he wasn’t selling something. If you were watching Steve Jobs speak, he was pitching you.
You never thought Steve Jobs was too “salesy,” did you? You were never offended that he was trying to get you to buy something that he believed was going to create value for you.
You never thought Jobs should “just connect” or that he should “never be closing.” You knew he was trying to get you excited enough to buy a new phone, a new iPad, or a new computer.
Jobs was worth billions of dollars. But you never despised him for capturing some of the value that he created. You didn’t care that he profited personally and professionally because he sold you.
You never once wanted Jobs to stop trying to pitch you, did you?
I used to teach a Personal Selling class at a University. During the first class, I’d ask the students to come up with a list of words to describe salespeople. They’d come up with words like manipulative, selfish, greedy, and sleazy.
After they had compiled a nice list, I’d ask the students to raise their hands if they had parents who worked in sales. A little less than a third of the hands would go up. Then I’d ask them if the words they chose described their parents. They’d protest and say, “My mom isn’t like that! Her clients love her! She helps them!”
You will never be great at sales if you believe it is something you are doing to somebody, that you shouldn’t sell, that you shouldn’t pitch (when the time is right), and that you shouldn’t ask for commitments. Selling is something you do for and with somebody.
You aren’t the least bit unhappy that Jobs sold you. And you aren’t unhappy when Tim Cook pitches you either.