Be a generalist and a specialist.

Aug 4, 2022 | Personal and Professional Development, Sales Development

The best career advice ever?

Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.*

Be a generalist and a specialist.

A generalist about what you sell and who you sell to.

A specialist in selling. How you sell. (And how buyers buy.)

In your sales career, you’re going to have a ton of jobs.

Boomers averaged more than 12 jobs in their careers. Millennials averaged 6 jobs just by age 26.

This means you’re going to sell a wide variety of products to a wide range of customers.

By definition, if you’re changing jobs every 1-2 years, you will never become more than a competent generalist when it comes to the products you sell and the customers you serve.

Even achieving that is not easy. Developing a level of expertise in new products and customers every year or two will require a tremendous level of active learning on your part.

However, the common thread throughout your career will be selling.

You have to learn everything about how to sell including how to:

  • Connect with another person.
  • Establish your credibility.
  • Build trust.
  • Be curious and ask great questions.
  • Listen to understand.
  • Be intentional about helping buyers achieve the things that are most important to them,

These are not matters of personality.

They are skills that need to be learned. And constantly practiced.

Since our knowledge of humans and how we tick is continually expanding, this requires that you must continually learn everything you can about:

  • Human psychology.
  • Decision-making.
  • Game theory.
  • Behavioral economics
  • Social psychology.
  • Relationships.
  • Curiosity.
  • Listening.

Try to learn something about everything and everything about something?

The “something about everything” is what you sell and who you sell to.

The “everything about something” is about how you sell.

Never stop learning.

*It’s a quote from Thomas Huxley. A brilliant 19th century British scientist. 

Download the first Chapter of Sell Without Selling Out