• Vicki Ravenel

The Most Despicable Business Advisor I Ever Had


I’ve been in sales my entire career; and, if you own a business or are in the process of creating one, believe me – you are in sales too. You may be the kind of person who never wanted to be in sales, never wanted to be in sales, and doesn’t believe you’re in sales now; but you are going to need to sell yourself and your business idea a million times over before you recognize success.

You’re here because you’re looking for advice and feedback on your business, regardless of what stage of development your idea is in. And you’ve come to a place where the advice will be solid and the feedback will come from experts who have experienced success and failure in their own businesses and can help you avoid some landmines.

In my career, I’ve had sales mentors who willingly shared their “tricks of the trade” and whose daily work lives closely mirrored mine. Their work hours were spent calling prospects, hustling to get meetings, studying the competition, and striving to build a network of both customers and industry experts. When they uncovered a successful strategy and were gracious enough to share it, I listened because they walked my walk and could relate to my sales journey.

But beware the “expert” who tells you how it should be done without ever having done it himself – the “expert” who encourages you to be assertive (read “pushy”), to go over and around your customer, and to be relentless in promoting your own agenda. In my career, I’ve had one of these “experts” as my manager and his instruction was the antithesis of all that I believe to be true in sales. Regardless of what you’re selling or promoting, sales is about building a relationship. It’s about doing what’s best for your customer, not for you. And it’s about keeping that buyer/seller relationship sacred. My “expert” manager had never been on a sales call. He had never carried a bag. His experience was unrelated to the job I was doing. Yet he was in a position of power in my organization.

I’m proud to say that I outlasted this “expert” and went on to have a successful career at that company. I stayed true to my sales philosophy of putting my customers’ needs first and ensuring that my solution would indeed benefit them. As I mentor less experienced sellers, which I’m often asked to do, I remember to first and foremost relate to their journey and to share my real-life experience of what’s worked best for me.