Conor Sullivan

Why Teachers Make Good Salespeople

There is a strong correlation between good teachers and good salespeople.

Before going into business, I was a teacher for six years, which meant I spent the month of August preparing for the upcoming school year. Even though I am not personally writing any lesson plans this month, the calendar made me think about the skills I learned as a teacher and how I apply those skills to the business world today.

There have been many studies found and articles published within LinkedIn, Forbes, and other credible sources about the many obvious skills teachers possess that translate to business: Organization, Public Speaking, Writing Ability, etc.

But I want to focus this article on specific, not often discussed skills that teachers possess:

1. Making Every Student Feel Like They Are Special

Whenever a student asked me who was my favorite student, I answered quite simply: “Every student is my favorite. Every student should feel special.”

Young people immediately show less interest if they do not feel appreciated, which can make life very difficult for a teacher.

The same goes for business. I make every client feel like they are special. I make them believe they are the client that I talk about at dinner and think about when I brush my teeth in the morning.

Therefore, every client is my favorite.

2. Convincing Someone To Do Something that They Need, But Do Not Necessarily Want to Do

I taught AP English Language and Composition for two years at an international school in Colombia. Each year, I needed to convince 80 students to study for the end of year exam all while knowing very well that approximately half of them did not plan to attend an English-speaking university and the other half simply did not enjoy English. Despite this, I made them all believe they not only should study, but that they wanted to study.

This has become very useful in my sales career. Every day, I learn about my prospects’ companies so I understand their needs. Why might they need an AI platform? An outside consultant? An outsourced business development service? And then, I convince them that they should buy that service because they need it.

3. Working with Stakeholders

I quickly found in my teaching career that a student’s stakeholders led to success. A coach, parent, sibling, friend, or significant other could often get through to students in ways I never could.

For example, basketball season was always my favorite time of year as a teacher. I developed a relationship with the coaches, and worked with them to make sure their players always put academics first.

Miss a homework assignment? Run a lap.

Fail a test? Miss the game that week.

These policies led to the highest GPAs of the year.

This same principle applies to business. Even though my client’s outsourced software development services benefit the CTO, I need to connect with the CFO to secure the budget. Similarly, even though a CEO of a pharmaceutical company may be the ultimate decision maker, I need to convince the head of HR to whisper in their ear that this is the right decision.

4. Becoming an Expert on Something Quickly

One of my favorite lessons I ever taught was a rhetorical analysis of Johnnie Cochran’s closing statement in the 1995 OJ Simpson case. Before we read and analyzed the speech, I gave my class an overview of the trial.

One day, one of my students asked, “Mister, how do you know all of that off the top of your head?” What my students did not know was that I read and researched a lot to get to that level. I made sure I could answer every question my students asked because if I lost credibility in front of a group of teenagers, chaos would reign.

This similar policy applies to business. At The Endurance Group, it is our job to act as teachers and deeply understand the industries, services, and products of my clients and anticipate questions a prospective customer may have.

As we discuss in our FAQ section, our company is able to sell complex products and services like drug discovery software and private equity due diligence consulting because of this ability. We promise to deeply understand our clients’ value propositions.

Are you curious how a former teacher could help your company? Let’s talk.