When I was growing up, the Christmas holiday season meant watching the classic movie “It’s A Wonderful Life” every year as a family.

For those who have not seen it, the famous third act and emotional climax involves the character George Bailey determining his life is no longer worth living due to a progression of terrible mistakes and highly unfortunate breaks. 

However, before taking his life by plunging off a snowy bridge, a guardian angel named Clarence shows George the unforeseen consequences of a world without him, including the sheer devastation, loneliness, and corruption of his closest family and loved ones. 

Why is this on my mind after all this time?

As the holiday seasons come and go each year, I can’t help thinking how sales professionals, when at their absolute best, resemble Clarence. And how Clarence leads George to the revelation that his life is not only worth living, but his future is a precious gift.

When we are selling, we meet prospects at what I’ve always believed is a precious moment. A moment when the idea of change for some reason or another is being seriously considered. 

Oftentimes, our prospect is just as frustrated, hopeless, overwhelmed, or beaten down as George. The beauty is that we are sometimes fortunate enough to be the voice of hope, optimism, positivity, and potential.  

So with responsibility and care, how do we create a true believer?

Just like Clarence, we must help our prospects come to their own conclusion, enabling them to see clearly just what the consequences of a decision, good or bad, will be. 

And, just as George could never have been convinced his life was worth living by arguing, telling, or lecturing, we cannot either for a successful outcome.

Clarence put George in the center of the action, and in doing so created emotionally visceral experiences and visions that would reach the deepest part of him, compelling George to truly believe there is a better version of his future. 

I believe this is what we as sales professionals do when we are at our best, oftentimes simply through the questions we ask and the vivid images they provoke in the mind of our prospects.

Precious moments, powerful questions, and our belief in a better future.

For these reasons, we should take pride that it’s a wonderful life in sales.

*Originally published via LinkedIn under the title “Its a Wonderful Profession” December 2020

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