Willy Loman


What I learned from Willy Loman:

Willy is ashamed: He's not selling things like he used to. He hears people laughing behind his back. He's disgraced that he can't pay an insurance bill because his wife had to repair their refrigerator.

He tries to hide his anxieties — and his hurts — with jokes and bluster, but his wife, Linda, has noticed that he's had a lot of driving accidents. One day, she goes into the basement, and finds a little rubber hose leading from a gas pipe.

"Willy Loman never made a lot of money," Linda tells her sons amid all this. "His name was never in the papers. He's not the finest character that ever lived. But he's a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid!"

Willy Loman - Death of a Salesman

I never really intended to make Sales a career - just kind of fell into it and then before I knew it salespeople were paying attention to me and they said "Hey why don't you manage them?" and then I really had to learn what I was doing. Salespeople can spot bullshit a mile away so either you had better be solid to an extreme or have better bullshit than all of them. I figured there are too many of them to try to be better at it so the averages would work better if I went the solid route. I never looked back after that...

Willy didn't make that choice and things kind of caught up with the poor guy. He figured a smile, a story and a good shoeshine will take care of things and it does for a while. You can make a real good living with a strong work ethic, a smile, some great banter and drive - But then things kind of creep up on you and you'd better have something solid when the wolves come calling.

The wolves of age, responsibilities, expectations and circumstance will bite through your polished exterior into your very soul unless you have something solid to fend them off.

I love Willy - See him every day. In airports, at offices, in overheard conversations and snippets of stories told to lighten things up and create rapport with an endless stream of prospects.

Everyone is a prospect for something aren't they - Willy Loman I understand you. I love you for who you are - but you make me sad.

I sold like Willy and then realized I didn't want to be Willy.

So what did I learn from this Sales Life?

Solid Beats Bullshit.

That's what I learned from Willy Loman.

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