A Salesman’s Job is to Overcome Resistance

I’ve never had a soft spot for salesmen.  I think Donald Trump is hardening that gut reaction in ways I never would have guessed.

I don’t know about anyone else but I find that this election cycle has put me in an entirely new state of mind.  I’ve never been a particularly political person.  When I have conversed about politics, more often than not I have chosen to play Devil’s Advocate because I wanted to hear what someone’s point of view really was — not because I agreed or disagreed. I’m not moved by ’sides’ or ‘parties’– I have always been moved by the ideas and implications and the unintended consequences.  But, I always want to know what the person’s ideas are.

Some of the most argumentative discussions I’ve had have been with close friends; friends whom I tried to get to clarify their position.  I did so by taking the other side of the argument. They often thought I was really arguing with them.  I know.  I’m a regular pain in the butt.

I really want to see Donald Trump be a success.  If he is, the entire country will benefit; if he fails, we all fail with him in one way or another. The rational part of me says that the first 10, or 20, or 30 days in a new job are rough at best;  at the job of President they are astronomically difficult.  I and much of the nation would have been happy had the new President proceeded a bit more judiciously — with greater forethought, with side effects thought out and anticipated, and with guidance from those who have been through transitions before.  So far I haven’t seen any of that and that saddens me.

It’s maddening to me that I let Donald Trump get under my skin. I don’t have to wait to figure out how I feel about him.  He has a lifetime of actions upon which to base a valuation.  But aside from that, while my religious faith is complex let me summarize one point by saying that I have always felt myself a stranger and a pilgrim in a foreign country.  I may be native born but there is another kingdom wherein dwelleth righteousness and I seek that country.  And I find it maddening that so many people were taken in by a really good salesman, it’s obvious that he’s still trying to close this “presidential deal”, and he’s having a hard time getting the American People to agree with the terms of sale.

And that — the role of Salesman President — is what’s really on my mind.

I don’t know your experience of sales people; but in my life it has seemed to me that salesmen care about one thing. (in their profession — I’m not making personal character claims here)  A salesman wants to close the deal. They get paid for closing deals.  No closed deals and (essentially) no pay.  It’s a life of immediate fulfillment.  My own personal experience of salesmen has also been one of untruth mixed with truth.  The salesman will always try to get you cornered so that his/her previously worked out answers for every objection will turn your reticence into agreement; but the fact is that I don’t always want to be sold.  Sometimes I want to walk in the door and LOOK.  I don’t want to buy.  And when the salesperson starts to sell I turn off.  It seems to me that Donald Trump is always selling.  He IS the consummate salesperson.

I can’t remember the background of every single president in our history but I honestly can’t recall any of them whose pre-presidential occupation was sales.  I wonder what kind of adjustment it must be for a person who has never worked for someone else, who has always been his own boss, and who lives for the “Close” to enter upon a short-term job where closing is less important than continuation.

After all, isn’t continuation what government is all about?  Someone else started the nation,  those in government are nothing more than caretakers and continuers.  Those in government don’t have to change the whole system; they have to find ways to make the system that exists adaptable to the changing conditions in the world around us.  That’s hard.  I know it’s hard.  I think there is a reason that most of the people who have served in the Executive Branch of our government have come to their positions after a lifetime of public service — it’s  state of mind.

Of course for The Closer, for the Salesman just continuing things doesn’t do it for them.  They want to make a deal.  They want to be in there deciding what is on sale, and what it’s going to cost, and what the terms are.  That is the real high.  That is the thrill.  That is what they live for.  (well, that and the commission)

I’m sure that Donald Trump is going through a difficult time right now.  He’s obviously subject to flattery — and he has repeatedly shown a vengeful response to those who mock him.  He’s going to have a tough 4 years if he can’t learn to cope with mockery and humiliation because in my lifetime there’s never been a President who wasn’t ridiculed and made fun of.  Heck, Trump ridiculed the departed President and his opponents mercilessly.  He surely can’t think that having played that sort of hand that people would bow down be all smiles.  He’s a smart man, he keeps telling us, surely he could anticipate a reaction.

The thing about salesmen though is that they all have to have a pretty high opinion of themselves.  A salesman has a lot of doors closed in their face; they lose a lot of deals;  you have to be tough to be a successful salesman.  So ego is always going to be a big deal with a salesman.  We see that playing out day by day. The early morning tirades are historic and cliched already.

The man has a lot of challenges ahead of him.  He is resistant to the issues of ethics and disclosure that americans have come to expect. I’m reminded of the New Testament verse that it’s hard to kick against the pricks. — He hasn’t learned that there are going to be people who are going to aggravate him and mock him and provoke him — and that he will only ever make his situation worse by insisting on his own way, by kicking against those things that are goading him.

Personally, I don’t know why anyone wants the job of President.  It’s a no-win situation.  You’ll never make even the majority of people happy.  Of course there’s a lot of prestige that goes with the job, and a lot of money — and I’m not talking about public salary.  But it’s a job that you have to want pretty badly, and you have to pursue it with great vigor.  But having gotten the job what are you?  An employee.  An employee of 350 million more-or-less average people. I don’t know how well that goes over with a salesman with a huge ego.  I don’t know how you adjust from living in a gilded penthouse to living in a WHITE house, not even a white house on Pennsylvania Avenue.  After seeing photos of his home it’s no wonder that there were reservations about how much time he wanted to spend in public housing; for all it’s perks, the White House is a far cry from his penthouse.  The same applies to his airplane and a number of other details that go along with the job.  Being President will seem to him like a step down from the life he has enjoyed.  Not only a step down, but a humiliating one at that because people are always hounding him.

No…. It’s a tough job to begin with. I suspect it’s an even tougher job if your prior role in life didn’t involve coloring between the lines; living within other people’s expectations;  being constrained by longstanding practices and policies.

I don’t like this guy.  I don’t have to wait to make up my mind about that.  He has shown the world his character or lack thereof over a lifetime.  But I don’t want to see him fail. To do so would only mean ill for this country.  But I feel sorry for him.  I really do.  He’s like a petulant child fighting against all the rules and whether or not he’s been able to avoid accountability for breaking them in the past I’m not sure he’ll be able to do so now.  I hope he does a good job, but right now he’s his own worst enemy.

Yup — I can’t remember another President Salesman — It’s got to be tough to be him right now.  The learning curve is brutal, and there are hyenas all around to take a chunk out of him every time he moves.  Not a job I want.  I know I would have gone about things a lot differently than he way he has chosen, but previous presidents did not see the kind of current negativity being poured out at his doorstep.  And what he doesn’t realize is that “he did it his way.”  And that is what people are upset about.

Thanks for stopping, I’ll be here again tomorrow, why not stop and say hi!


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