You need a pretty strong self-image to stay in profession that must use euphemisms to describe itself. Nobody wants to deal with a salesman – or even a salesperson – so society is constantly assaulted with thinly disguised marketer-monikers as peddlers seek positive PR.
Over the years my business cards have held such titles as “Sales Professional”, “Sales Associate”, “Sales Representative”, and “Manufacturer’s Representative”. The latter is my favorite, as it doesn’t even CONTAIN the word “sales”, thus making the disguise complete. Then there are “Sales Team Members”, “Product Information Specialists, and “Customer Fulfillment Agents”.
In this world of enhanced titles, creating new ones must be increasingly difficult. That might explain the one I heard on the radio this week. A car dealer encouraged listeners to come in and visit with one of their “Automotive Relationship Counselors”.
Yes. Really. Automotive Relationship Counselors.
Now, being a car guy, I can appreciate the concept of a personal relationship with a motor vehicle. There remains a special place in my heart for my high school romance with a 1973 Datsun 240z. Then there was the love/hate thing with the ‘63 MGB, and my too-short fling with a Triumph Spitfire. My wife will tell you that back in college, I was in serious need of an Automotive Relationship Counselor to help me through a tough time with an old 1970 BMW. After a rocky relationship, I eventually killed her (the Beemer, not the fiancé).
But I digress. My point is that these people are not relationship counselors, automotive or otherwise. They are salespeople, and should not be ashamed to say so. As salespeople, the best thing we can do to improve our image is to stop insulting our customers’ intelligence, treat people with respect, and always conduct ourselves with honesty and integrity. In doing so, we will truly be professionals, no matter what is printed on our business cards.