“I’ll be honest, Sean. I don’t think sales is for you.”

As I reflect on this piece of “advice” from a potential employer about 27 years ago, I think about how misunderstanding what “sales” truly means can hold us back from achieving our highest potential in any business, including expedited trucking.

Here’s my story and how I believe the lessons learned can also help you be more successful in your career in expediting.

What Sales is NOT
In 1995, I was a seminary student looking for a job to support my new wife and me when I saw a classified ad in the newspaper.

(You know…where we used to find jobs in the mid-1990s.)

The ad called for sales reps for a recreational equipment retailer that sold pool tables and other high-end game gear.

“No experience necessary.”

I applied and was called in for an interview.

During my interview, the manager saw on my resume that I was a graduate student.

“What are you studying?”

“I’m studying to get my Master of Divinity.”

“Wait. You wanna be a preacher?”

“Most likely.”

He winced.

“I’ll be honest, Sean. I don’t think sales is for you.”

“Why not?”

“Sometimes, you need to tell the customer there’s only one pool table in the warehouse like the one they want, even if we have dozens of those tables back there.”


“You’ve gotta create urgency to nudge them to decide on the spot. Otherwise, if they think they have time, they’ll walk, and we lose the sale. Then they’ll buy from someone else.”

“So, you’re saying I need to be prepared to shade the truth to make a sale?”

“Yeah—and I don’t see how a future preacher would ever be comfortable with that.”

“You’re right.”

That was my first impression of “professional sales.”

It was about deploying tactics and tricks to manipulate people into a purchase, whether it was right for them or not.

No trust; just transactions.

No desire to build a long-term relationship.

No consideration of the customer’s best interests.

The Revelation
Fast-forward to today.

I didn’t finish seminary or become a preacher.

Instead, I set out on an odyssey where I’ve tasted a variety of careers—from high school English teacher and track coach to high-flying dot-com entrepreneur (with the epic dot-bomb failure) to truck salesman to freelance writer to magazine editor to executive ghostwriter to business owner, consultant, and sales coach.

But the common denominator among all these roles?

I had to learn how to sell.

As it turned out, sales IS for me.

But not in the way that manager had defined it for me 27 years ago.

In fact, I’ve come to realize that sales is for ALL of us.

Whatever position we’re in, we’re all selling something—an idea, point of view, proposal, product, or service—whether we want to call it “sales” or not.

“But wait a minute!” you’re thinking. “I’m a driver (or owner-operator); I’m NOT in sales!”

Actually, you are.

Think about it.

  • When you lease onto a carrier, you’re selling yourself as a good fit to represent their brand.
  • When you’re looking to drive for a fleet owner who has an excellent reputation in the industry, you’re selling yourself as the driver they want on their team.
  • When you’re negotiating pay on a load, you’re selling yourself as worthy of the higher compensation.
  • When you’re working with brokers, you’re selling yourself as someone who can make them look great to their clients when they send attractive and profitable loads your way.
  • When your truck breaks down, and you need the service advisor to move you up on their priority list, you’re selling yourself as a person of influence who can make them look like heroes to their boss.
  • When you’re looking to trade in your current truck on a new one and want to get the maximum value, you’re selling yourself as someone who takes meticulous care of their equipment.

In each of these instances, you’re selling. You’re persuading someone to say “Yes” to your request by showing them how it’s in their best interest to do so.

Selling is Serving
The key is learning how to sell to the right person, in the right way, with the right motives.


By doing the exact opposite of what that guy said to me as a seminary student.

  • Be honest and trustworthy.
  • Earn people’s trust (not just their business).
  • Deliver consistently on your promises.
  • Focus on building long-term, high-trust relationships with your employers, customers, vendors, and partners.
  • Uncover and serve their best interests. Always.

Bestselling author and sales guru Zig Ziglar put it best when he said, “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help other people get what they want.”

That’s it.

That’s sales in a nutshell.

  1. Know what you want – whether that’s better loads, higher pay, or faster service.
  2. Then figure out how to help those people get what they want in the process of helping you.

The Bottom Line
When you understand that sales is about serving others, not manipulating them, you’ll discover the key to building a business in expediting that succeeds for the long haul.