Trying out my selling skills at 45

Most in my professional network since their early 30s wanted to give up sales. They complained of long working hours, hectic travel schedules, and pressure to meet targets every month. For most, sales was not the first choice.

They hated the respect and control that I exhibited as CFO. “You have a good job with no pressure to answer.” It is true that sales people have to answer anyone who is not in sales in their companies. Marketing may ask why a campaign did not translate into more sales, while a Finance guy like me, may question their approach drawing pessimistic scenarios of topline before the management.

I always believed “Sales” as “science” rather than “art”; an attempt to demystify sales profession. I am trying to answer this by getting into sales myself. A decision that can best be termed as ‘romanticism’ destined to result in a failure.

I am two months into the new job pitching Artificial Intelligence- something that even I do not understand well. Unlike relying on my own network, I am focusing on cold outreach. By any standards of rationality, a foolish way to start by cold outreach.

Today, I try hard to a revert from any of the receipients I email. I wonder, how could I be a sales guy if I fail at cold outreach. Why are relationships and references so important? And what about the relationships built on LinkedIn over tertiary reasons, with little relevance in future.

If sales is about relationship alone, how else could I have built relations in the industry I am currently working as a sales guy?

I have listened to podcasts on B2B sales and tend to spend majority of my workdays on LinkedIn. If it was not LinkedIn, I may not even have tried to be a sales guy.

I have questions with no answers to: Why did I not stick to one domain and a job? Why should my decision to transition across job roles not be termed as a mid-career crisis?

I have read blog posts on cold emailing and nothing seems to be working. I have tried smileys and hyper-personalized subject emails but none of them seem to work.

What future holds for me will be shared in subsequent posts. But for now, I have a lesson — Sales is not science alone.



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