If you truly know me, you’d know that I dislike sales. I can’t stand being on the receiving end of the sales talk, no matter how exciting the deal is. Never in my life had I imagine myself working in the sales industry. Ever. For me, it’s totally a nightmare.

My first job was a sales agent for this Makati-based company that partnered with UNICEF to entice individuals to sign up for its support-a-child program. It’s the pop-up booth that you normally come across inside malls. They’re the sales agents who convince you to sign up a form so that you’d donate your (normally) 500.00php a month to sponsor a child somewhere in the world.

As someone who just got out of college that time, I was fearless. I thought I could survive and thrive in THAT job, in THAT industry even though it is not in line with the course that I had finished. I took up MassComm in college. I had zero knowledge about sales. A fresh grad, and here’s work, magiging choosy pa ba ako?!

Also, I had UNICEF in mind. When I saw the job opportunity posting, UNICEF was the only thing that registered clearly. All the other tiny details, I ignored. So there goes a tip for you: pay attention to the details. No matter how minute that is. It was always a dream of mine to work for any UN-related agency. A year after, I got hired as a writer for UNICEF. Legit AF. (that’s how millenials say it these days, right?)

I barely lasted a month. On my (probably) second week, I quit. Makati was too far from my house. And I had some healthy talk with myself and admitted: I just wasn’t made for sales. Not for sales talk either. And I dread the word ‘quota’ especially that thing called… rejection.

That’s why I am amazed by those people who can close a deal effortlessly, those who are unafraid of rejection, or those who can smoothly sales talk strangers even though they have little confidence in the product that they sell. That for me is a gift. Think Will Smith in The Pursuit of Happyness or Leo diCaprio in Wolf of Wall Street. They’re really good sales people. And while I realized that it’s a gift, I am aware that it can be learned.

And that’s why I signed up for this short sales course at University of the Philippines- Diliman. Because I thought, why not. I’d give it a shot. Besides, everybody is doing start-up these days. Why not hear a totally different perspective.

My job as a writer has always offered me myriad chances to be creative all these years. Why limit myself to only that? So I tried something new.

Of course, I did not become a sales sensation overnight. Neither until now. But I’m sharing with you the most important concepts that I had picked up in my sales class at UP. And they are:

  1. Sales is not just about getting rich. Yup, cue Jessie J, because it’s not just about the money, money, money.
  2. Sales, what my mentors told us, is about building and nurturing relationships.
  3. Sales is helping others by providing a solution to their needs and problems. Our main goal as a sales agent is to influence customers to choose our product/ service/ solution over others because we can be trusted.
  4. And because of that, the customer, over the years, may not only be considered as a client, but perhaps can now be viewed as a partner, a collaborator or a friend.
  5. In short, in sales, you have to prove to your client that you are trust-worthy.
  6. Aside from that, other must feel your genuine concern for them, not because you want money or any favor from them, but because they can sense that you are there to help.

These are just some of my musings lately. I have to put them in writing before they go away.

I’d like to thank University of the Philippines Institute for Small-Scale Industries for organizing a class like this. For a non-sales person like me, it’s really a great opportunity to be immersed in the world of sales without having to enrol for an MBA. To the staff, Ms. Glen and Ms. Krystel, to Ms. Luisa.

Grateful, too, for my classmates who are experts in their respective industries. I learned a lot from you, guys! Of course, much appreciation as well to our facilitators: Mr. Orly Ballesteros, Ms. Michelle Ballesteros, and Atty. Rochelle Marie Roxas.

Sharing some of our pictures below.

UP 24TH CEST grads
Our gradpic! CEST Batch 24.
Mr. Orly Ballesteros, owner of Ex Link Events
ms rochelle
Atty. Rochelle Marie Roxas
ms michelle
Ms. Michelle Ballesteros, owner of Ex-Link Event
sunflower up
Sunflower babies