I’d like to introduce you to Mike. Mike is a man who is deeply satisfied in his vocation. Yet, he is in a job that most people consider distasteful. In fact you could say, most would call it a job that no one would aspire to, and even fewer, respect.
But Mike believes that he is using his gifts and talents to make a difference and help others.
Did you guess what his profession is? I doubt it! Mike is a used car salesman. And I met him at a business function last night for my husband’s company.
How can that be?!! That a used car salesman impressed me so much that I absolutely have to tell you about him?!
Trust me! This is good….
Mike has two undergraduate degrees and a masters in Psychology. When he was deciding on a career, he determined that whatever he did – he would have to make a difference. Mamma was proud! He wanted his influence on the world to mean something. After college he worked for a month in a car dealership and sold the average amount of cars that salesmen sell, made a pretty good paycheck, but he didn’t really like it. Go figure!
So, he moved on to something else. After a short stint at another job, Mike reevaluated his opportunities at the dealership. He said he realized a couple of things.
“I looked back on that month of selling cars and realized that I had made a pretty decent paycheck. I was able to interact with people and help match them with a car they wanted, liked, or needed. And I realized that if I were to go back and put 100% in, I could really make a good living and make a difference. In considering the possibility of going back to selling cars, it was important to be all in and be the best. Nothing less would suffice.”
And so, Mike made up his mind and became a used car salesman. In his interview, he asked the manager what the highest monthly sales any one salesman had ever achieved. “Twenty-Seven,” replied the manager.
“Then I’ll sell 30!” was Mike’s reply. On the last day of the month Mike had sold 27 cars and just before closing within the last few hours of the night – he closed 3 more deals. He hit his goal!!
Although his perseverance and persistence were impressive, what impressed me most about Mike was his philosophy. He truly believes he is helping people. Refusing to take advantage of anyone, Mike tells his customers right off the bat that he isn’t there to sell them a car. He asks them what their needs are, what their interests are, why they are there. In response to the customer, Mike then helps to meet their needs, their interests and their budget. If he can’t help them, he tells them straight up. If he can, he becomes their friend as they recognize Mike is genuinely interested in helping them personally.
Intrigued by this man who had turned a career that most deem dishonorable, into a meaningful calling, I continued asking Mike questions.
As Mike shared, I thought of you! I wished you could hear him share his philosophies and strategies because we can all learn from them and apply them to our careers, our goals, our missions.
Here they are in a nutshell:
Do what you do because you love it and believe you’re helping people.
Use your gifts and talents to touch others. You can make a difference if you realize that in every job (even one like a used car salesman), and in every interaction you have the ability to touch other’s deeply for their benefit.
2. Give it your all
“Don’t just show up,” as Mike put it, “Show up and give your best.” At the end of giving your best effort is a feeling of deep satisfaction.
3. Push past discouragement and those who try to trip you up
There will always be hurdles. When Mike declared that he would sell 30 cars his first month, the naysayers were popping out of the woodwork. Sometimes self doubt is our greatest enemy. Whatever mask it wears, push discouragement aside and show it what you’re made of.
4. Listen to people’s hearts – evaluate their needs and be honest about your ability to help them
This should be number 1 on my list. When we reach beyond ourselves to genuinely help others – life is in its proper order. Even when things don’t go our way, a life lived with proper priorities is satisfying and rich.
5. Encourage others along the way coming up behind you.
Mike made sure to share his wisdom with others. As a top salesman, he trains other salesmen in the same principles he has applied. And though I think he should be hosting Ted Talks, he is impacting those around him. As we reach out to encourage others with the experience we’ve gained, we can spur others along to surpass us in their quest to make a difference. It inspires a snowball effect!
What impressed me most about Mike was his passion. He had raised the bar on what most people consider a mediocre job; and he was proud of his job. He had turned customers into friends and spurred others on to make a positive impact as well.
As we said goodbye, I realized that I had just met one of the hidden treasures in the world – a man who may not get the kudos others receive – but one who makes the world a better place by pursuing his passion – making a difference in those around him.
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