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The two sides of sales – and why it is important to everyone

Lead Summary
By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist

You have no doubt heard this statement before: “He (she) is just a salesperson.” In my 71 years on this old planet, I have learned that “just a salesperson” is a statement expressed by those who don’t understand the importance of sales.

Sales (and the concomitant choices of goods and services) make the world go around. Sales choices give you, the consumer, all the power you ever need to live a good life. Companies of all sizes know this.

Executives have been bending over backward recently to say they are aligned a certain way on social issues, hoping this alignment will bring them more sales. This is a fool’s exercise since the country is about equally divided on social issues. While you may make some people happy by stating a social position, you will just as likely cause half of your customers to boycott you. But the entire motivation is sales, not some great moral epiphany.

And if you, as an ordinary citizen think the companies really care, I have got a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn. All they are doing is trying to curry favor.

The worst thing that can happen to a good or service you need is to have the government take it over. Often they do this in the name of efficiency, but name me one time a government took over any good or service and it cost less in two or three years. I am waiting – name one.

The car tag office is a great example. A horribly run, overpriced service. Schools are another. Since they can force you to pay taxes, they don’t feel the least bit answerable to you – they don’t have to sell you anything.

Maybe some of these things need to be run by governments, but a way to make them efficient is thusly. Let’s take the sales of car tags. If, for instance, every four years your state put the car tag selling function out for bid – let the other 49 states bid on coming in, taking over the offices and running your services for you, I’ll guarantee you the price will go down.

Likewise with schools. You might not have to go so far afield here. Let other counties and cities in the state bid on running your schools every few years. You’ll be amazed what the savings will be.

This has already been done in Hillsboro with the fire department. Now, I know some of you like this and some of you don’t, but here is the key. Next time the fire services contract comes up for bid, find other bidders to come in and bid on the services, don’t just negotiate with the current contract holder. Maybe Wilmington or Chillicothe or Washington Court House would like a piece of the action.

The biggest waste and most monopolistic chunk of our economy – 20 percent – is healthcare. More government will not help this (it hasn’t to date). Transparency will. The last administration got the ball rolling on transparency in hospital pricing and, thankfully, this one seems to be continuing to carry the torch. But look at how the hospitals are trying to hide and obfuscate the mandate to publish prices. What are they hiding? Bloated fees. When we get transparency here, the prices will go down for sure.

Want to see an economy with no salespeople? You don’t have to look far. In Cuba, the government has set the prices of everything since 1959. Look at some current pictures of the condition of the buildings and the condition of the automobiles. This is what happens when the government says salespeople are not needed.

If you are a salesperson, hold your head high. If the breadwinner(s) in your household are salespeople, give them an extra scoop of ice cream tonight.

Freely allowing choices and sales makes for a great economy.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at

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