18 Thought-Provoking Quotes About What it Takes to Be in Sales Today

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Emma Brudner
Emma Brudner




A salesperson from 50 years ago probably wouldn't even recognize their profession today. What do you mean you don't knock on doors? What the heck is an "email open rate" and what does it have to do with my job? "Social selling" doesn't mean chatting on a golf course? If Willy Loman was magically transported into 2015, he would be very, very confused.

Sales has evolved significantly over the past few decades, and the pace of change doesn't look to be slowing any time soon. This means sales reps today must be continuously learning and refining their skills to stay relevant and at the top of their game.

Fortunately, there's no shortage of resources to help salespeople succeed in this brave new business world. Reps who want to further their knowledge can turn to books, articles, blogs (ahem), webinars, social networks, conferences, and several other channels. 

This year's INBOUND will assemble some of the sales world's most insightful thinkers to share their perspectives on what's next for the profession. We've assembled 18 enlightening quotes on modern sales from the likes of Daniel Pink, Jill Konrath, Trish Bertuzzi, and Matt Heinz below. 

Like what you see? Each of these thought leaders will take the stage at #INBOUND15. Register today, and soak up their insights in person when September rolls around.

Daniel Pink, author of Drive and To Sell Is Human

1) “Any time you're tempted to upsell someone else, stop what you're doing and upserve instead.”

2) “The purpose of a pitch isn’t necessarily to move others immediately to adopt your idea. The purpose is to offer something so compelling that it begins a conversation, brings the other person in as a participant, and eventually arrives at an outcome that appeals to both of you.”

3) "If the person you’re selling to agrees to buy, will his or her life improve? When your interaction is over, will the world be a better place than when you began? If the answer to either of these questions is no, you’re doing something wrong.”

Jill Konrath, author of Agile Selling and SNAP Selling

4) "Today our products and services have pretty much been commoditized and prospects realize they can easily get something similar from somebody else. So as a salesperson you’ve become the primary differentiator in the sales process. Products and services can be replicated, but you can’t."

5) "If you’re not [learning], you’re falling behind. Somebody else is getting better as you’re becoming less valuable. I see so many irrelevant salespeople I want to cry. They stopped learning."

6) “How we sell is more important than what we sell."

Marcus Sheridan, founder of The Sales Lion

7) "Great content is the best sales tool in the world."

8) "We have a dearth of thought leadership because everyone is afraid to take a stand."

9) "The current model of sales reps, especially in the B2B space, will be practically extinct. The reality is most companies don't need sales reps like they used to."

Trish Bertuzzipresident and chief strategist at The Bridge Group

10) “Buyers won’t engage with sales reps who pitch product, but they will give access to trusted advisors.”

11) "Bring who you are as a human to your buyers." 

12) "It's the 'cold' that's dead -- not the 'calling.'"

John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Selling

13) "Today's sales professional has to help customers discover ideas and challenges they aren't even addressing yet rather than simply showing up when they express a need."

14) "Marketers think about things like ideal customer profiles, value propositions, reputation, authority, and education -- those are things that today’s salesperson must both understand and participate in the creation of."

15) “The sale is not complete until the customer is so happy that he or she confidently makes referrals.”

Matt Heinz, president of Heinz Marketing

16) "Social tools are great. Email still works. But the phone remains the most important tool in the sales professional’s communication arsenal."

17) "Filter everything you’re doing, saying, and pitching through the customer point of view and you’ll improve just about every metric you care about today."

18) "There’s a big difference between negativity and rationalism. I prefer to use the latter to help me anticipate, address and react to obstacles in my path to success."

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Topics: Sales Quotes

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