Sales Is Not a Dirty Word

College professors don't teach it, young people think it's, like, the worst. But learn it and you'll always have a job.

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GL Hoffman
"There ain't hardly no business done what ain't went after."

Too homespun? Aw shucks, then Trace Adkins should write it in a country song.

In my companies, I have been identified as—even accused of—being too close to, or enamored with, "sales." Whatever "sales" wants, I want, they say.


Which is why it makes me cringe when I hear young people act like sales is, like, dude, the worst possible place. Few schools even teach it, preferring to teach "marketing." Why? Because they can't teach sales, that's why. Can you just see it now? Some pissant college sophomore asking, "So, professor, how did you do in sales?"

It is really unfortunate. I guess this is why the business shelves are full of how-to sales books. We don't learn it in formal education, so we read any big-print sales book we can find. Just hoping to learn...just tell me what to say to make the sale. In my current company, we are 50 people in sales, and only two in marketing, and both were great at sales first.

Clearly, learn to sell your ideas, never mind your products, and you will never ever be without a job. It's the best career safety net, ever.

I don't mean you have to be in sales. But you should learn convincing-others type skills as early as you can. It's that important.

We higher-ups are good, but we don't read minds. Convince us you need a new whammerwidget for your department. Simply "what ain't went after" pretty much don't get done.

G.L. Hoffman is a serial entrepreneur and venture investor/operator/incubator/mentor. Two of his companies have traveled the entire success path from the garage to IPO. Currently, he is chairman of JobDig and his blog can be found at or at