A few years ago, in a South Bombay office complex, I saw a notice on a door – “Salesmen and interns not allowed.”
It left me wondering, why are we so hostile to salesmen and interns? Why do we treat them as a nuisance?
One thing to remember is that we all have been salesmen at some point in our life. When we seek a job, we are selling our candidature. When an entrepreneur raises funding, they are selling their shares. When a consultant persuades a client to hire them, they are selling a solution.
There is nothing embarrassing about being a salesman.
But sales gets a bad name when it is done to the detriment of the customer – by overpromising or by being too pushy. The problem is not with selling – it is with selling without integrity.
For far too long, sales has been equated with somehow arm twisting the customer to say yes, even when it does not serve them. That needs to stop. When done right, sales is a service – it ought to help a customer make the right choice.
And what about interns? Well, I have been an intern twice in my life – in the IPS we were called probationers but it was internship. And then I interned at McKinsey.
We all start as interns. And as long as we keep learning, life itself is an internship. That is what makes life fun.