You’re a Walking Billboard

Never again,” I told myself. “I will never attempt to sell another product to anyone. I’m not a salesperson. I’m not good at it. So stop.”

The first time I uttered those words I was working a summer job selling knives between college semesters. The second time I was selling Mary Kay cosmetics as a young wife. The third time, six years ago, I’d become a distributor of a natural supplement.

The irony was, I wasn’t all that bad at selling. I didn’t mind getting up in front of people and talking. I found that I actually had some persuasive abilities, especially if I felt passionate about my product.

The problem was, it was scary. It was scary because of what I was telling myself about being a sales representative. It was scary because I was working on commission. It was scary because of how I felt people perceive salespeople and, by extension, me.

So I quit. I quit despite the fact that I was making money. Despite the fact that I was learning very useful tools that would benefit me in myriad ways. I quit because it was hard. And, because I didn’t understand what sales really is.

When you think of salespeople, what images come to mind? The slick car dealer? The pushy telemarketer? The glib door-to-door sales representative? Unfortunately we’ve all had those experiences, which is why sales gets such a bad rap.

Yet selling is really just the art of persuasion.

When you are absolutely convinced about the benefit of something, and your passion influences someone else to become convinced too, you’ve made a sale. For example, if you grew up in a loving home with two parents who stayed committed to each other through good and bad times, chances are you were sold on the benefits of marriage.

Or let’s say you love the company you work for and you sing its praises all the time. They treat their employees well, have excellent compensation and great opportunities for upward mobility. So, you convince your friend that she ought to apply.

That’s sales.

Once I understood that, I came to realize that I’ve been selling my entire life in some form or fashion.

And so have you.

I also came to realize that God’s purpose for me was directly linked to what I’m selling. And the same is true for you.

That’s because we’re selling a way of life.

Have you ever stopped to consider that you are a walking billboard for Christianity?

Everyone who meets you forms an impression, not just about you, but about what you stand for. If you claim to be a Christian woman, then your every word and action either advertises that or it doesn’t. That doesn’t mean, of course, that you need to park yourself down on some street corner and start preaching. It doesn’t mean that you need to go door to door peddling your beliefs. It doesn’t mean that you need to plaster your social media accounts with scriptures and memes that promote God.

It does mean, however, that people are noticing. They are noticing how you and I live our lives. They are noticing whether we live the way we intend. They are noticing whether our words and actions are aligned.

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

Our purpose is to glorify God through everything we say and do. We are His representatives here on earth—representatives for a way of life that the whole world longs for. Whether it knows it or not.

So what if we approached Christianity in this way, as sales representatives? Would that help us live it differently?

In order to do that though, you must understand some core sales concepts:

1. You have to be clear about what your product is

So what is a Christian? Is it just something you profess to believe or are there requirements for living? What does it mean to be a Christian woman?

To get to know your product well you must ask yourself:

  • What do I believe?
  • Why do I believe it?
  • Am I living what I believe?

Think about it this way. I advertise myself as a therapist and coach. That means that you have a certain expectation of me now. You can expect that I’ve been professionally trained, that I know what it means to be a therapist. You can expect that I am being governed by a set of rules and guidelines and that I’m being held accountable for following them.

Christianity is no different. If you’re going to be a representative for this way of life, then you need to know what God’s expectations are for you. You need to submit to His authority and you need to expect that He will hold you accountable for your actions.

2. You have to be able to explain the benefits of your product

Perhaps when you think of a product you only think of something tangible that can be purchased. But a product can also be an outcome or result. So what do you believe the byproduct of Christianity is? What benefits come from being Christian as opposed to not being Christian? Can those benefits be realized any other way? If you don’t know, then others won’t know either.

3. You must understand who your customer is

Your customer is anyone that God brings you into contact with. He or she may not be in the market for Christianity right now, but that doesn’t mean that the way you live your life doesn’t make a difference.

“…having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (I Peter 2:12)

Your customer is also your husband. It is your children. It is your fellow Christians, your friends, your colleagues. They’re the ones who are affected the most by how you live.

4. You must be committed all the way

“Only to the degree you are sold can you sell.” (Cardone, 43)

Are you sold on Christianity? Or does the grass seem greener at times on the other side of the proverbial fence? It’s hard to be convincing if we ourselves don’t always act like we’re convinced that God’s way is the only way. It’s hard to sell Christianity if people see us behave in unchristian ways. In unloving ways.

5. You need people skills

Christianity is about two primary things: loving God and loving others, through our words and our actions. (Matthew 22:37-39)

That means interacting with others. When Jesus came to earth, He didn’t hide Himself away. He talked. And talked. And talked. His message was constant and consistent. And backed up by thoughtful, loving actions. He had immense capacity to convey compassion, empathy, encouragement and hope. He related and connected with people, as must we. We do that by practicing:

6. You have to handle objections

“…always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;” (I Peter 3:15)

You must be absolutely convinced that Christianity is the best way, the only way, if you hope to be convincing. Because people will doubt you. They’ll argue. They’ll be disdainful and dismissive. They’ll label you when you take a firm stand on moral absolutes. They’ll call you a hypocrite when you don’t fully live your convictions.

And they’ll be right. We are, after all, human.

So how do you answer them? Do you have an answer ready? Can you defend your beliefs?

7. Be aware of the close

In sales, the close is the moment that a prospective buyer decides to purchase. With Christianity, God does the close every time. “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him;” (John 6:44) If and when God does that is entirely up to Him. But remember, not everyone who encounters Christianity is going to buy. That’s just the way it is.

Your goal as His representative isn’t to convince anyone to become Christian, but to show them what Christianity is like.

8. You do receive a commission

What is commission? Is it always monetary? A commission, in actuality, is just something you receive as a direct result of your efforts. People who are paid a wage may vary in productivity yet be paid the exact same salary. But commission correlates 100% with how hard you work. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid. Instead of thinking of commission in terms of money, think of it as a reward for your efforts. When you work hard to achieve something and you are successful, you’ve received a commission. A commendation, a promotion, a new friendship, a new attitude, a lower weight, better health—these are all commissions. And what you receive is commensurate with what you put into it. (Galatians 6:7)

So what is commission from a Christian perspective? First of all, here’s what it’s not:

  • It is not earned salvation. That is a gift from God, called grace. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
  • It is not a competition of who can convert the most people to Christianity. You can’t convert anyone, nor can I. Only God can do that.
  • The Bible speaks plainly and often about the rewards for Christians. It talks about:
  • Inheritance (Colossians 3:3-24)
  • A crown of life (James 1:12)
  • Eternal life (Romans 6:23)
  • Treasure in heaven (Matthew 6:20)
  • A crown of righteousness (II Timothy 4:8)

There are rewards in this lifetime as well. We are healthier. Our relationships are healthier. We experience joy and peace of mind. We learn attributes that help us to be self-disciplined, patient, persevering and resilient. We experience true happiness.

9. You must take action to produce a result

Selling Christianity can be hard work. It’s not for the fainthearted, that’s for sure. We live in a world that is increasingly hostile to God and His Word. So being an effective representative for Him means you will face a lot of resistance—maybe even in your own home.

The key word here is work.

You must work hard. I must work hard. Not to push our beliefs on others but to be constantly making sure that our beliefs are being reflected in what we say and do.

So are you selling Christianity to everyone around you? Are you a sales representative that glorifies God and His way of life?

Am I?

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