By Cosmos Sports | March 23, 2018Reading Time: 4 minutes
When looking to build a career, particularly in a highly competitive industry, you want to find a niche. Something that can help you distinguish yourself and stand out from the rest of the competition through the importance of sales skills. Something that once you’ve delivered for an organization, can help make you indispensable to them.
In this video, Cary shares his thoughts on why sales skills are the most important skill anyone can develop for their career. Regardless of whether you will be working directly in sales or not, Cary explains how appreciating sales for what it is can help you find success.
First thing I did work-wise was I went to Ottawa and they had this association with all these different sports governing bodies. Long story short at the baseball, hockey and basketball guys, there were no jobs there. So I ended up at the one that got the most excited which was Bridge Canada. You know Bridge the card game? I don’t know how to play it myself, but the first thing I ever did was sell tickets for a bridge tournament. And here’s one thing I learned. I didn’t sell any by the way, might have sold two. But the people in Bridge are passionate about Bridge. People are passionate about what they do, so be curious.
“the first thing I ever did was sell tickets for a bridge tournament.”
So anyway, I did bridge, did some short track cycling events, five pin bowling, and this was still while I was working with this other company and didn’t make any money. Then a hockey team moved from Cape Breton Nova Scotia to Hamilton. I applied to be the new Marketing Director; there were 300 applications, and I got hired. Really surprised. And I remember after like a month (which again I don’t recommend), I went to my boss and said “I have to ask you, why did you hire me?” He said, “well we didn’t meet anybody that could sell bridge and bowling and if you can do bridge and bowling and cycling you can probably do hockey.”
So got hired as the Director of Marketing and did that for a few years. Every time there was an opportunity I put my hand up. Some people left and I ended up being the President of the Hamilton Bulldogs at 30 years old. So I was the youngest person to be a President of a hockey team in North America at the time. I was the first employee of the Bulldogs and I was there for the first six years and I’m always happy that the team has changed a few times but is still here.
So a couple lessons. So one, the most important skill, the single most important skill for your career is sales. And you’re all in it by the way. So those people who say they don’t want to work in sales, too bad. Tough. You’re in it. Marketing is sales. Promotions is sales. If you want to be an accountant you get hired by selling yourself. What do you think coaches do? How do they get players to play well? Sales. How do coaches recruit? Sales. They call it recruiting because they don’t like the term sales and people are afraid of the word. Coaches are good salespeople. Mike Babcock getting Nazem Kadri to play really well means he’s a good salesperson. He may use a different word but that’s what it is.
“So those people who say they don’t want to work in sales, too bad. Tough. You’re in it. Marketing is sales. Promotions is sales.”
The number one skill in your career is sales and if you’re afraid of it and you use the words “I don’t want to sell” then good luck getting a job. Because the person that’s interviewing you knows that every single person in their organization including them is a sales person. It may take you until you’re 40 years old to understand that, but if you say I don’t want to be in sales, be prepared for a very different career path.
Is there anybody here that wasn’t a baby? Strange question I know. Anybody go from 0 to all of a sudden you were 16 years old? Babies are the best sales people in the world. Can’t speak. They’re born, they’re hungry they can’t speak what do they do? Cry. So let’s say they’re not hungry but they’re tired. So they’re tired, they’re crying, you give them food, what do they do? Still cry. You guys all did it by the way. Hate to break it to you, you all did it. Started selling when you were born. You’ve been selling you’re whole life. You want to convince your parents or friends or family that you want to stay out until to 2 o’clock in the morning, you’re not sending a press release. “Dad, cmon…” That’s sales. You’re convincing your friend that one team is better than another or that you should go to a club or a bar or movie, it’s all sales.
“You’ve been selling you’re whole life. You want to convince your parents or friends or family that you want to stay out until to 2 o’clock in the morning, you’re not sending a press release.”
Be really careful if you think in your mind today that you don’t want to be in sales. Be really really careful understanding what that does. Marketing is a form of sales. The only objective of marketing, the only one is sales. Toys’r’us and Sears just went out of business because they didn’t sell enough. Retail industry is challenged, newspaper industry is dying. But if they sell more they’re fine. If you can’t be part of that process you’re not going to be successful for a company.