Are You Jealous Enough to Succeed?

Jealousy, the “green eyed monster”, lives in the hearts of many sales professionals. Don’t think that it is something abnormal, it is truly human nature!

Whether it is jealousy about income, managerial attention, or one of the worst ones – jealousy regarding recognition, it exists in many professional sales departments whether it is outside sales or inside sales.


You can be the object of such jealousy, or you may have jealousy in your own heart. I can relate as we all have been there.  I won’t be critical, but I will advise what you might want to use the jealousy to fuel your everyday activities.

Used correctly this jealousy could help you as a catalyst to propel you to do the things necessary to be the best.

There is Always a “Target”!

I once work with a sales professional, I’ll call him John L, who was flat out just better than anyone else in our sales office. He dressed the part, he had the sales training, and quite frankly even his name was associated with being the best.

There was no one that had the respect of all the different functions or departments like this individual did. He had management’s ear, and if he suggested a change or program, it was probably going to be implemented.

Alas, no one was jealous of this individual, as he was the standard.  So it is not always the best that is the target.

The target for jealousy is normally someone who is “the upstart”, the individual who is breaking away from the pack and making individuals of like tenure and abilities look bad. This individual gets to be the target of professional jealousy, in most cases whether it is deserved or not.

What Can You Do?

A quick review of some of the reasons for the professional jealousy will shed light on the issue.  Professionals get jealous because of the following:

Management Attention -In sales it is human nature to covet managerial attention, as that attention is a limited resource. Your sales manager tends to focus attention on the individuals who are getting results. Even if you are wanting for assistance, if you’re not getting results, and don’t show the potential to get results, the attention to you may be scarce.


  • Get Your Sales Manager Involved In Your Business – From the simple ‘ride-along’, to negotiating and pricing.  Give him a ‘franchise’ in your operations and you will be surprised the level of commitment that can take place.
  • Schedule ‘status’ meetings with your manager – Don’t wait to be asked about key or major prospects, keep your manager up front and in the loop.  If you want the manager’s attention, tease out the attention by giving information and facts that provoke interest.  Always have something going!
  • Review Black Sales Journal 6/14/12 – 6 Simple Ways to Manage Your Sales Manager – This post will help you ‘manage’ your sales manager.  These points will work, if you couple them with doing the other activities that requisite to the job!

General Sales Success and Recognition– We’ve all been an office here ‘rising star’ changes the game.  This individual may put together a string of sales, land the big one, or gets the manager “knee-deep” in a string of new prospects that makes the manager feel needed. Note that the manager feels needed, not only because they’re being asked for help, but also they see potential and get a good feel for what’s going on.  Additionally, the more information the manager gets about your prospects, the more close to a sale situation he or she is in, and the more they will help you close the sale.


  • Be in the Top 20% - Pareto’s Principal would suggest that 20% of a sales force garners 80% of the sales production.  You have got to be there.
  • Read Black Sales Journal 8/22/2013 Be in the Elite – Crack the 20%!Realize that sales success is hard work, technique, and desire, and you need to be a sales leader, even if you are not the top producer.  Read this post and give it some thought!
  • Always be the Professional! – Remember that you have got to look the part as you seek to be in the 20% (see Persona below).  There are many sales professionals who a manager believes success is imminent, and just around the corner.

Income/Lifestyle – In this most measurable of professions, there are individuals who have been able to change their income, and resultantly their lifestyle and their family’s lifestyle in an amazing fashion.  The ability to work a compensation plan to perfection is what singles out sales professionals from many other occupations. Sales professionals used to measure success by some rather simple milestones, such as making six-figure incomes. Although this may still be a yardstick, there are many sales professionals whose six-figure incomes dwarf the theoretical threshold of $100,000.  They make enviable (notice that word) high six-figure incomes, buttressed by compensation schemes and benefits that include long-term compensation factors as well as other benefits.


  • Know How You get Paid! – Master your sales compensation plan. Read Black Sales Journal 9/17/2012, It’s About That Paper – Know How You Get Paid!.
  • It is All About How You Manage Your Money – I was once told that a man making $25,000 could live like a man making $100,000, and a man making $100,000 could look like a man making $25,000.  It is all in how you handle your money.  You know what I mean.
  • Act Like You Have Been There – Spend your money wisely with an eye toward the future.

Persona –John L, individual I mentioned to start the article had a sales persona, in concert with a aura of success.  In addition to looking and dressing the part, his vehicle was spotless.  There are things that you can do that will give everyone around you confidence in your ability and your decisions. When you add to it business maturity, your persona is enhanced.


In Sales, Some Jealousy is Healthy

Many of us are motivated by jealousy, even if we don’t know it.  If you are burdened by jealousy instead of motivated, then endeavor to use it to your advantage.

Just like in a good relationship, some jealousy is healthy.  I am talking about the healthy jealousy that pushes you to be the better (or even the best) and seek the appropriate levels of attention and recognition.

Your comments are welcome.  Always be the best.

Think You Got it Tough? Be the First!

Let’s revisit a true sales pioneer and trailblazer, Thomas J. Laster. His ability to deal with racial preference, racial discrimination, and acts of racial prejudice are legendary.  We cannot avoid giving kudos to International Business Machines (IBM) in their effort to promote diversity.


Amazingly enough, it is still not too late to be the first! Being the first is an important role in American society.  It is equally important in business.

I am going to use cite one iconic American company as an example. As a matter of fact, it is more than symbolic, because this organization took a leadership role.  This is a brief study in how an organization handles diversity.

A Leader in More Ways than One

In 1946 International Business Machines, also known as IBM, hired its first black sales representative. It was an individual named Tom (T.J.) Laster. This was well before the Civil Rights Act of 1963.  This act was also well before the Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier inprofessional baseball.  This was not a beauty products company, or someone selling durable goods products to the Black community, this was a business products company that was on the technical leading edge, and selling their product to basic ‘white’ America’s businesses.

The audience that Laster was something to was decidedly in the majority. If we think we see racial prejudice and racial preference, we need to recognize that we see nothing like this gentleman was faced with during his tenure as a sales professional.  A couple of years later, Laster joined the 100% Club, an honor for reaching his sales quota.  This was affirmation to many that this individual was a qualified and accomplished sales professional.

The 40s, 50s, and 60s were decidedly difficult time even dream of being “the first” in B2B sales, but someone had to do it.  Soon after Laster, IBM hired their first Black marketing representative (Lionel Fultz) in 1951, their first Black engineer in 1952 (Harry Cochraine), and their first Black engineering manager, (Calvin Waite) in 1956.  Lionel Fultz also was named branch manager in 1964.

This made IBM a leader in both business machines as well as employment diversity.  It also made Tom Laster a pioneer in the sales diversity situation.  He was willing, and obviously began destroying the racial perceptions that Blacks, or Negros as we were referred to in that time, could not handle the technical nature and business relationship issues related to B2B sales to a white business populace.  I would believe that partially as a result, many others Black professionals followed through the doors that were opened.

There was no greater a threshold in business sales as this one!  This was certainly important.  Although you probably won’t read books about it there is no doubt as to the impact.

Following this, IBM, assuming the leadership role again, penned and enacted its Equal Opportunity Policy through the Thomas Watson’s (the president of IBM) letter to his organization termed as Policy Letter # Four.  This September 21, 1953 letter directed his managers to “…hire people regardless of race, color, or creed.”  We wish it was as easy this declaration, but this was a start.

This is Significant, But Why is it Important?

I hope you see the significance in the story of Laster. He is truly a pioneer, and really knows what it feels like to be the first.  What is equally important is that you still can be the first Black sales professional in many organizations.

By the same token, you still can be that individual the changes everyone’s ideas about the abilities and work ethic of black professionals.  It would be nice not to worry about that, but it is significant.

I was not the first Black sale professional in the organization that I came up in. I was actually the third. I was the first Black sales manager, and the first Black vice president, senior vice president, and executive vice president.  I had some interesting experiences, which I try to share in this ‘journal’, but I am certain that many of these assertions would have paled in comparison to the stories that Laster could tell.

Be the Best

There are many small and medium sized organizations that have avoided, for whatever reason, employment diversity.  They could have avoided it because of their small size, or because they purposely have not hired Black sales professionals.  They may have other Blacks and minorities working for the company.  It does not matter what the reason might be, embrace that opportunity to work for and to change those organizations.  Show your stuff!

Your only requirement is to do be best that you can be at what you do.  By being the best, you increase your opportunities for success, as well as destroy ridiculous and erroneous racial perceptions.  Your success will be rewarded with a high compensation rate, but also in the pride you have in being the first!

Be the Best!  Your comments are appreciated.