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Gregg Morris wrote this series for the Amsterdam News supported by New America Media and the Gerontological Society of America with sponsorship from the Silver Century Foundation.

For 16 years after she graduated from Hunter College with a major in political science and a minor in psychology, Michelle Johnson’s sales career at Newsday in Long Island was nothing less than promising and she came to consider it an art form.

“Account management in sales means that you’re selling a product and in this case it was advertising,” says Johnson, 52. “So, I was selling advertising space. I first started out selling at retail and then I was promoted to major accounts like National Grid, MTA, accounts like that, and then I was promoted to national accounts, like Ford, Chrysler, Mercedes.”

Her annual salary ranged from $60,000 to $80,000 and in a good year,” I could go up to about 120 grand,” says Johnson. “A true sales person has many, many skill sets. It’s not just selling. It’s listening, I mean really listening, proactive listening, It’s convincing people to do something but the art of the sale is convincing someone to do something and at the end of the day them believing fervently that they thought of it. That’s the art of the sale. l think that sales is a beautiful thing if one follows the art.” – READ MORE

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