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I Want to Be in Sales When I Grow Up! Ep #187

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I Want to Be in Sales When I Grow Up! Is the title of the book John Barrows wrote to teach kids that sales is a legitimate profession—and one to be proud of. I read my boys this book, and they finally understand what I do. It forged a new connection that we’ve never had before. Not only does it serve an amazing educational purpose—but John’s book gives back. 100% of the profits go to the World Wildlife Fund to help them save animals. What other purpose does John hope this book serves? Will he be writing more? What’s the next step in his journey? Listen to this episode of Negotiations Ninja to learn more!


Outline of This Episode

  • [0:34] I Want to Be in Sales When I Grow Up!
  • [2:28] Just who is John Barrows?
  • [5:03] Leverage the technology that’s available to you
  • [9:25] Technology isn’t replacing salespeople—yet
  • [13:14] Why John wrote a children’s book
  • [21:53] There’s a huge difference between sales and manipulation
  • [28:17] Don’t sell what you don’t believe in
  • [35:11] What’s next? Is John writing more?
  • [37:08] The Netflix of sales training
  • [42:35] It always goes back to the “why”

Why John wrote a children’s book

John admits that he doesn’t like reading. It’s just not how he learns. He’s one of those people that fall asleep a few pages in. He learns by doing. He thought he would be writing a book just to write a book and that it wouldn’t be genuine. So how did he end up writing a book?

When his daughter was 6, she started selling girl scout cookies. She knew he had a large social media following and asked him to share her link to buy girl scout cookies. He said, “No!” He told her that he earned that audience. Secondly, why would they buy from her over any other relative selling girl scout cookies?

So she asked him what she needed to do. So he helped her put together a pitch and wrote a blog post about it. The next year, she was selling cookies door-to-door, and they practiced objection handling—and he wrote another blog post. He felt like it was a cool journey. He was seeing it from a different perspective.

When you tell your kid you’re in sales, they don’t understand it. It’s not a concept that is as easy to understand as a doctor or a lawyer. So he decided to write a book for his daughter to introduce the concept of sales. Not only that, but he wanted to help her feel proud of what he did for a living.

Sales IS a profession to be proud of

It’s absurd that sales has become the default when you aren’t successful anywhere else. When you push someone in a position with very little training and force them to hit a quota, you’re telling them they’ll get fired if they don’t hit it. A good person will work the gray line to provide for their families. It gives the world a negative perception of them—and it isn’t even their fault.

If you teach kids that sales is a profession to study and be proud of from the beginning—they might not even have to go to college. John believes a college education is a great social education and a joke as a proper education (unless you know what you want to be at 18, but very few people do).

If you teach your children about sales, you give them the opportunity to start a business and get into sales to generate revenue to go back to school and pay their own way. Or you can remain in sales your entire life because you’re good at it and can provide for your family.

You’re providing a solution that helps someone—not pawning something off. The vast majority of salespeople are looking to help people and provide solutions to meet needs. He’s trying to shape the perception of what a salesperson is. People see things like Wolf of Wall Street and it ruins their perception. But people who are educated can say, “Well I know better.”

How does John define the difference between influence and manipulation? John shares what you should do if you don’t love what you sell, so keep listening.

What’s next? Is John writing more?

They aren’t pushing the book hard, but once John can work more on the business and has more passive income coming in, he’ll start doing more. Why not write “I want to be in procurement when I grow up?” People know nothing about these things as children. It’s such a great opportunity to use the same framework to educate about the professions that aren’t easily understood by kids. It gives them other options to consider than the typical route of a formal four-year education. He hopes to continue on this journey.

He’s also working on what could be the Netflix of sales training. What is it? How will it help sales professionals? Listen to the whole episode to find out!

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with John Barrows

Connect With Mark

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