I'd Rather Be Sailing, I Mean Selling!

If I had started this blog about 9 years earlier it probably would have been titled "Wanderings of a Wayward Gypsy Sailor," instead of Online Sales Consultant. (and if I had started it about 6 years before that...did they have Internet back then??? It would have been called simply Gypsy Wanderings.)

I have to admit that when I was first backpacking around the world, and then sailing around the Caribbean, I never envisioned myself sitting at a desk enthralled by the act of selling. In fact, I remember joking about working in cubicles on a roof top in Kathmandu with other travelers, as we sipped Darjeeling tea overlooking Thamel bathed in the late afternoon sun. We said, "ah I wish I was working in a cubicle, but someone has to live this life." Be careful what you wish for... now I'm many roof tops away from areas like Thamel, cities like Kathmandu, and places where it's normal to be bartering for bananas. It was on such roof tops that dreams of sailing around the world were born. Though the dream is not dead, it's on the back burner while I embark on a completely different adventure. Instead of living the sailing life I'm living the selling life.

Believe it or not selling has, for me, some of the same exhilaration as traveling and sailing. As I traveled around the world there was a "breaking in" period for each new location. Getting to know the area, meeting people, going from tourist, to traveler, and in some locations, going from traveler to resident for a time, was all a process. I had to be genuinely interested in a place to settle down for a month or six months and really unpack the backpack and make myself at home. Once I got to know it, and I got to know the people I'd get comfortable, and after comfortable I got restless and was ready to move on to the next place and go through the whole process of rediscovery again.

Selling has a similar twist. There's that period of getting to know the product. In my case working for a new home builder, that consists of knowing over 80 models in 14 different communities. I also had to build in a series of systems to track my progress, just another aspect of the breaking in period. I like to see quantifiable results right out of the chute so I had to take time to build the structure around my job. Then there's the process of getting to know the people. I think it might be the social aspect of selling that has kept me captivated over the past 3 years.

When traveling there was always a story behind each person I'd meet, and when I'd take the time to get to know other travels as well as the natives to the area, it made the experience so much more rich. It's not simply checking the block on a map, been there done that, but really creating a rich and full experience.

Likewise with exploring each person who expresses interest in the homes I sell, it's not just sending out a form letter for me and tracking the number of contacts I make in a day. Instead I like to get to the story behind that person, something I don't feel can be done with a templated, canned letter. I want to know why they are looking for a new home, what is driving their desire for change, how can I make our community relevant to their search? (and if I can't I want to be honest about it because I don't want to waste their time as much as I don't want to waste mine) Since each situation is a different kind of challenge it keeps it fresh with each person with whom I communicate. In a sense it's that same freshness of moving from place to place.

I never really thought about it much, but I've always been that person that people open up to. At parties I always end up on the couch listening to people's problems, as a bartender in college and while traveling I continued that trend. I realize that this early training in listening, and being genuinely curious about other people's lives is what led me to traveling, the sailing and now selling! This social aspect of my life has interwoven itself into each type of job or adventure I take on and I think that is what is drawing me to explore social media. But the more I get to know aspects of social media, the more I realize it's not just being on facebook, streaming on twitter and blogging here, to "check the block," but finding ways to make it more personal and interactive just as other aspects of my life always have been. That is the key I'd like to uncover in my wanderings of social media. I'd like to try to go from a tourist to a traveler in this social media sphere and maybe even eventually to a resident.

I know in the future I will go back to sailing and explore more corners of the world, but for now, I'd rather be selling.

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