How I Became an Accidental Salesperson – Carson Heady

As I sat down to prepare for my fifth and possibly final book, I couldn’t help but reflect on my journey. This book, the culmination of my sales career, would be different. It would be a series of stories that captured the essence of my experiences and the lessons they taught me. With each story, I hoped to offer insights that would inform not only aspiring salespeople but anyone navigating the unpredictable waters of life. The first story, the one that started it all, was about how I became an accidental salesperson.

After graduating from college, like many others, I found myself unsure of what path to pursue. For years, I had worked at a community grocery store, content with the simplicity of life and the time spent with friends. Little did I know then just how fortunate I was. However, a change was on the horizon. My best friend and girlfriend at the time were moving to St. Louis, and without a clear direction in mind, I decided to follow suit.

I transferred to a new location of the grocery store chain, believing it was time to spread my wings and explore new opportunities. It was during this period that I realized the importance of connections and the adage, “It’s all about who you know.” My friend’s aunt played a pivotal role in helping me secure an interview for a customer service position at her workplace, a play that I thought would be my next step.

To my surprise, the role turned out to be an intense sales position. I had never considered sales before, and the concept intimidated me. Yet, here I was, thrust into training for a sales role alongside eleven other individuals. Only two of us were from outside the company, while the rest had retreat rights and could return to their previous roles. The odds were stacked against us.

Throughout the training, doubts crept into my mind. I confided in my parents and my friend’s aunt, expressing my uncertainty about whether this was the right path for me. The trainers and managers didn’t mince words when someone wasn’t cut out for the role. Despite their optimism about my potential, I questioned my own abilities. However, with nowhere else to turn, I decided to persevere and give it my best shot.

The training journey was far from smooth. Just when we were nearing the end, the call center shifted its focus, and we had to start the training process all over again. It was a rollercoaster ride of stops and starts, testing my determination and resilience. With every setback, I questioned whether this was the right fit for me. But I remained steadfast, battling doubt, nervousness, and fear.

Finally, I graduated from training and entered a call center with low morale. Many of my colleagues doubted their managers and the direction they were being led. The veterans of the call center constantly whispered their reasons and excuses for not giving their all. However, I made a conscious decision early on that if there was a number next to my name on a report, it would always represent my best effort, regardless of the circumstances. I refused to let external factors dictate my commitment and dedication.

I still remember vividly the moment I secured my first sale. I read off the script, closed my eyes, and awaited the customer’s response. When they said yes, it was like a rush of exhilaration. It felt like developing a muscle that grew stronger with practice. Over time, I realized that I possessed certain gifts that suited the sales environment. I could talk quickly, listen attentively, and assess people’s challenges, articulating the value I could provide. I also quickly grasped the intricacies of the playing field—the payment structure, the goals of my managers—so I could deliver exceptional service to customers while creating a system to benefit my team.

In my first month, I emerged as a top sales representative in the office. It surprised many of my peers, who witnessed my regular walks to the sales board to update it with my achievements. The attention, both positive and negative, invigorated me. With each passing quarter, my paychecks dwarfed what I had made during my years at the grocery store. I achieved recognition and accolades, earning a place in the top five percent of reps in a Fortune 500 company. Trips, gifts, and the sense of accomplishment became a part of my journey.

Through this experience, I learned that I had paid the first installment of an ongoing cycle of dues. I had embraced my role as a salesperson, and it was in that world that I flourished.


About cvheady007

I am a Christian, Husband, Dad, workaholic and author. Biography Carson Vincent Heady was born in Cape Girardeau, MO, graduated from Southeast Missouri State University and moved to St. Louis in 2001. He has served in sales and leadership across Microsoft, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. Carson is best-selling author of the Birth of a Salesman series, the first book of which was published by World Audience Inc. in 2010. He released The Salesman Against the World in 2014, A Salesman Forever in 2016 and Salesman on Fire in 2020. He is also featured in Scott Ingram’s B2B Sales Mentors: 20 Stories from 20 Top 1% Sales Professionals. Carson is a 7-time CEO/President’s Club winner across 5 roles at AT&T and Microsoft and National Verizon Rockstar winner. He has been recognized as a top social seller at Microsoft and is consistently ranked in the top 25 sales gurus in the world on Rise Global. He is included among the Top 50 sales authors on LinkedIn. With over 330K social followers, Carson has also been interviewed on over 30 sales and leadership podcasts, by such luminaries as Jeffrey & Jennifer Gitomer, Jeb Blount, Brandon Bornancin, Sam Dunning, Larry Levine, Darrell Amy, Scott Ingram, Thierry van Herwijnen, Jim Brown, Sam Jacobs, Luigi Prestinenzi, Donald Kelly, Marylou Tyler, George Leith, Pat Helmer, Eric Nelson, Ron Tunick, Jeff Arthur, Mary Ann Samedi, Jean Oursler, Andre Harrell, Marlene Chism, Bill Crespo, Matt Tanguay, Josh Wheeler and Chad Bostick. He has also co-hosted the Smart Biz Show on EG Marketing Radio. His articles have appeared in several noteworthy publications such as SalesGravy, Smash! Sales, Salesopedia and the Baylor Sports Department S3 Report. Carson lives in St. Louis, MO, with his wife Amy and daughters Madison, Sidonia and Charlotte.
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