With drunken breath, my sales manager once mumbled: “Selling can be a complicated task, but at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter since you are helping a lot of people by pushing them to buy our product!” I was reassured by his comment, which appeased all my doubts…momentarily.
Which is why I’m writing this open letter seeking an answer to all my queries, Mr Belfort. You are probably one of the most proficient salesmen in Wall Street history, but also one of the biggest fraudsters to have ever existed.
I have to agree that working as a salesman does have its advantages. The experience has built my confidence, my words and expressions have become silkier and convincing a potential customer to buy the product still feels incredibly rewarding, even months after the first day. I can see why you were so passionate about it. But beyond the simple yet gratifying mechanics of the job, the ethical questions kept arising in me with every customer I was selling to.
This sentiment grew exponentially as the months passed. I even achieved an inverse relationship between my level of expertise on the job and my ethicality. The better salesman I became, the more crooks, twist and turns I was able to deploy in my speech to tip the balance even more in my favour.
I’m actually struggling right now, Mr Belfort. After reaching peak form in my selling capabilities some months ago, I soon reached a glass ceiling, and even a decline. The source of this decline? My consciousness acting on me before and during a conversation with each customer. I was no longer convinced by the fact that I was helping each one of them. There might always be the possibility that one of the items I was trying to sell wasn’t as advertised and I could inflict potential damage on both the seller and most importantly, the customer. Damage that I feel I shouldn’t be blamed for since I was only trying to do my job. Damage that would also hurt segments of people I also belong to.
My ethical question still meanders in my mind. Should I just become like you, the next wolf of sales, and receive a higher monetary reward for my services? Or should I just leave the world of sales for a while, or find a project I actually believe in?
Pietro Vigilanza from Venezuela lives in Rotterdam since two years and studies IBCoM