Can a Computer Scientist Become a Master Saleswoman?

“Welcome, Bonnie”, said my new boss on my first day. “I just want you to know that I hired you because I believe in you.

That’s comforting since this still seems like the craziest harebrained scheme I’ve ever come up with.

What’s the job? It’s like nothing I’ve ever done before. In fact, if you had told my childhood self that this is what I’d be doing in midlife, I would have run in terror.

I am going to learn to sell cars.

Yes. It’s true. I was a computer scientist and then I was an amateur chicken farmer (with ten hens in the city) and now I am going to learn to sell cars.

What can I say? I like variety.

The Project

Why am I doing this? Let me explain.

On the board that describes my vision, you’ll find this sentence:

“Become a master saleswoman and a master networker”.

It’s an important part of the vision because if I can do these things then I can teach other people to do them. That’s important because if you want a particular kind of life and occupation, it helps a whole lot to have good sales skills. That holds true whether you are trying to sell your skillset into a dream job or if you’re trying to sell a product or service.

I want to teach you how to do that, but first I have to learn it myself.

Sales & Marketing

What do you know about this topic? If I ask you this question, could you answer?

“What’s the difference between sales and marketing?”

Sales differs from marketing, but not so much as we often think. Sonia Simone of Copyblogger recently posted a good article about the relationship between the two. You still need both, even if you are doing business entirely online.

You could say that marketing builds the relationship between the business and the prospective customer. Marketing makes the first impression and builds trust.

Sales gets into the details. What does the customer need? How can we solve the problem?

Network marketing is a great training ground for learning about this and that’s exactly what I’ve done recently.

Now I want to know more.

Why Cars?

I took a job with an auto sales consultant this past week. It’s not a dealership; it’s a business that helps people figure out the best car and financing option for their situation and then matches them up with the right vehicle.

Why auto sales? It’s certainly not because I love cars. I’ve only owned a total of 3 cars in the last 30 years and one of them was inherited.

I chose auto sales because I’ve done a lot of networking and met a lot of people. I’ve noted that auto sales consultants and brokers really know their marketing and sales.

In fact, I bought my most recent car from a broker and it was the best car-buying experience I’d ever had. It wasn’t an adversarial relationship. The broker was on my side.

I want to learn how brokers do this. They build relationships with people, find out their problems and offer to solve them. Once the sale is complete, a good salesperson follows up and stays in touch. They make themselves a community resource.


Are you wondering what this is going to be like? Can a computer scientist/amateur chicken farmer learn to to sell cars? Will she be able to talk to human beings? Will she bring chickens into the office?

Stay tuned. I’ll tell you all about it. In fact, sign up below for the mailing list and get the whole saga in your inbox, as it happens… chickens and all.

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