Teaching like a salesperson
Since I've been doing freelance Graphic Design and Illustration work since I was 19, I've learned a lot about the entire process of doing business. I learned that in order to make money, I had to understand what people wanted, how to price things, how to listen to people, how to work on assignment. I learned sales. I even took "Principles of Salesmanship" at my local Community College to help me get better at my interactions with clients.
So when I needed to make a career change from my in-house corporate Graphic Design job, in 1996 (because I had learned how wonderful a steady paycheck was!), I thought about sales. I had been offered jobs in sales many times, and considered myself first and foremost a Graphic Designer and Illustrator, but many of the people I worked with thought that I would be a great salesman. So that's what was in my mind the summer of '96. I even started with a company that did investments. I got my Series 63 (if you sell Mutual Funds, you know what that is). But it wasn't for me, and I knew it. So I kept looking, and one day I stumbled into the Art Institute of Phoenix.
I asked for a courtesy interview, just because I was curious about what was going on there. I've always been curious about new buildings in Phoenix! They were starting a school, and they suggested that I become a teacher.
If you don't know about places like that, it may surprise you that they hire people like me, instead of "real teachers" (you know the people with the PhDs, who walk around saying "harumph, harumph" and wait for their retirement, after tenure). AIPX is a technical school, and their goal has always been to teach people professional skills so that they can get a job in their chosen field. And they're GREAT at that! And since I'd spent all of my adult life doing Graphic Design, especially on the computer, I was a perfect fit for the school. I taught Photoshop, Illustrator, and Quark. I also taught drawing and Graphic Design classes. And I did it like a salesman.
A good salesman knows his product, and believes in it. I was (and still am!) so enthusiastic about Graphic Design that it was easy for me to talk about it. I had mentors who helped me with my public speaking skills, and how to write a syllabus. I have a friend who is a professional voice actor who helped me with adding some humor to my presentations. If you went to High School in Phoenix in the '90s, you may remember me from the video "the Magic of Perspective" - I was the guy with the mullet.
I would present my classes as if I were a salesman. I would introduce Photoshop to people as if I were doing an old-fashioned "informercial", and had a lot of fun with it. I would show how fast and easy it was to use Photoshop. And I'd even say, "But wait, there's more!" And I really meant it, and I still do.
In 2001, I left AIPX to pursue my goal of doing training sessions, both for companies and on my own. I started teaching at Glendale Community College, and for various training companies in Phoenix, and for individuals. I had a website that explained it all.
I'm one of those people who loves to go places and meet people. And I know that my product or service will help them, so I'm not shy about talking about it, but I'm a good salesman, so I know when to shut up.
Because of my background in sales and public speaking, I have great respect for people who do it well. For those who don't, I try to just look away, 'cause it can be awful. Sales is the best-paying job in the world, and it includes things that you may never have thought about, like being a teacher, a trainer, a coach.
So, while some people call me a teacher, I know that I never was. Not a real teacher. I'm a salesman, and proud of it. How can I help you today?
Go visit my website here> BradHallArt.com
Posted by Brad Hall