Salespeople are Happy Losers…

streetsmart1Sales people? They’re “those street-smart hustlers usually accountable for bringing in the revenues,” says Max Kalehoff.

He brings up an interesting insight on sales people from this month’s Harvard Business Review.

“Salespeople are Happy Losers. Whether they know it or not, they are like addicted gamblers; they are after the thrill. On some level, addicted gamblers know that they are going to lose most of the time, but they are excited by the outside chance of winning. Salespeople share that temperament.

They are pros at losing. They are rejected at least 90% of the time, I’d say.

Why would anyone choose that job? For the chase.

I assure you, salespeople are never going to be an endangered species. There will always be people who enjoy and want this job, just as there will always be addicted gamblers.”
Harvard Business Review, interview with psychologist G.C. Rapaille.

PDF here in case.

P.S. Another take is that some sales people are addicted to the idea that they can foment change with their products or ideas – whether it’s in the life of one person, or many. And they get a kick out of seeing that happen. That describes me, anyway. You?

About the author

Kim Klaver


  • I’d say both, Kim. but your “take” is likely the more predominant one, at least for me. Sure, nice to find the “leader” (not fond of that word in it’s often overused discriminatory context) that many seek to recruit, yet I’ll take product maniac difference makers any day (as long as they read your book) :-).

  • I agree with Judy. I think that part of the equation for NM success is that passion for your product, the belief that it will make a difference in everyone who tries it. But, I know the thrill enrolling a customer! It’s exciting. But the biggest thrill for me is when I get a call or email from a referral. That demonstrates that I’m honest to myself about the quality of my product.
    Libby D

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