Would You Rather Be a Doctor or Salesperson?

Would You Rather Be a Doctor or Salesperson?

Saw these average salaries quoted in USA Today last week:

  • Physicians are the highest paid salaried employees in the U.S.: $187,876 a year.
  • Pharmacy managers are second at $149,064 per year.
  • Third are patent attorneys at $139,272.
  • Fourth are medical science liaisons at $132,842.
     

When I was growing up, my parents wanted me to be a doctor – or a lawyer. They argued that I’d make lots of money, have job security, and would have a highly respectable career.

When I was in college, I was working towards my doctorate in psychology. After I received my B.A., however, something happened – I took a summer job in sales. I intended to go back to school, because I thought “sales” was beneath me. I still wanted to be a doctor like my parents wanted me to be.

But something else happened that summer: I made almost $47,000 in commissions (it was a commission only position), and suddenly the thought of going back to school for six more years, incurring hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans, and then working 80 hours+ as an intern wasn’t so appealing.

In fact, as I looked around at the top sales reps in the company I worked for (a financial services firm with 25, full time, commission only sales reps), I saw that the top performers were driving Porsches, owned beautiful homes, and were already saving for retirement. And they were in their twenties….

And here’s another thing: most of them had never even been to college.
 

To be clear – at the time, I wasn’t a top producer, and like most of the other sales reps at the company I soon became stuck in just getting by. It was at this point that I had to make a decision:

I could put in three to six months of studiously learning and perfecting the craft of sales – and this included working harder than I ever had, rigorously follow my scripts (rewrite and personalize them when and where needed), record and listen to myself daily, and commit to doing everything I could, each day (weekends included!) to get better – or I could quit, apply for loans, and hope I got into graduate school.

One path would lead me to top production in sales where I could make literally hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, take vacations whenever and wherever I wanted, and give me complete job security (I could work for whomever I chose once I became a top producer), and the other path, well, consider:

If I chose to become a doctor, I would be looking at years of rigorous and demanding school work. More years as an intern and then resident (at a city that might need new doctors), and hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, before I made a dime.

In addition, If I became a surgeon, I would work crazy hours most of my career, be on call at all hours of the night and weekends, be completely responsible to my patients and those working in my office, and I likely wouldn’t be getting my Porsche for many years.

For me, that choice was easy to make. I choose a career in sales. But not just an average career, I made a commitment to becoming a top selling professional.

And because I was willing to commit the time, energy, and money needed to excel, I became a top producer in that company in 90 days. Nine months later, I was the top rep out of five branch offices, and 16 months later I was promoted to sales manager.

Related: The Three Keys to Handling Objections

And please don’t mistake this story as me trying to impress you. Instead, I’m trying to impress upon you that if I could do it, you can do it, too.

Sales have been a great choice, and I’m forever thankful I made it. But the decision that allowed me to be so successful was to commit to learning the craft of sales. It’s something I teach every week when training, and I write about it in my new book, “Power Phone Scripts.” It’s in the first chapter on the “Ten Characteristics of Top Sales Producers.”

If you have decided that you’re probably not going to become a doctor, but you’d like to live like one (with less stress, by the way), then make a commitment to your craft. Start by investing in my new book and then do what I recommend.

Believe me, if you do, this will become one of the wisest decision you’ve ever made.

Mike Brooks
Sales Strategy
Twitter Email

Mike Brooks is founder and principle of Mr. Inside Sales, a North Carolina based inside sales consulting and training firm, and author of the award winning books on inside sal ... Click for full bio

All the Talk of an Accelerating Economy and Rising Inflation Just Doesn't Add Up

All the Talk of an Accelerating Economy and Rising Inflation Just Doesn't Add Up

The biggest news for the markets this week came from the Federal Reserve. On Wednesday, it released the January Federal Open Market Committee meeting notes and they were interpreted as dovish by some and hawkish by others as analysts raced to divine insight from the text.

The recent data isn’t supporting the narrative of accelerating global growth and inflation while equities continue to experience higher volatility.  What does it mean for stocks, bonds and yields? Glad you asked! Here’s my take on why all the talk on an accelerating economy and rising inflation just doesn't add up when you look at the data.

Equity Markets — A Relatively Narrow Recovery


The shortened trading week opened Tuesday with every sector except technology closing in the red. The S&P 500 fell back below its 50-day moving average after Walmart (WMT) reported disappointing results, falling over 10% on the day, having its worst trading day in over 30 years.

Walmart’s online sales grew 23% in the fourth quarter, but had grown 29% in the same quarter a year prior and were up 50% in the third quarter. We saw further evidence of the deflationary power of our Connected Society investing theme as the company reported the lowest operating margin in its history.

Ongoing investment to combat Amazon (AMZN) and rising freight costs — a subject our premium research subscribers have heard a lot of about lately — were the primary culprits behind Walmart's declining numbers. To really rub salt in that wound, Amazon shares hit a new record high the same day. This pushed the outperformance of the FAANG stocks versus the S&P 500 even higher.

Wednesday was much of the same, with most every sector again closing in the red, driven mostly by interpretations of the Federal Reserve’s release of the January Federal Open Market Committee meeting notes. In fact, twenty-five minutes after the release of those notes, the Dow was up 303 points . . . and then proceeded to fall 470 points to close the day down 167 points. To put that swing in context, so far in 2018, the Dow has experienced that kind of a range seven times but not once in 2017.

Thursday was a mixed bag. Most sectors were flat to slightly up as the S&P 500 closed up just +0.1%, while both the Russell 2000 and the Nasdaq Composite lost -0.1%. The energy sector was the strongest performer, gaining 1.3% while financials took a hit, falling 0.7%.

The recovery from the lows this year has been relatively narrow. As of Thursday’s close, the S&P 500 is still below its 50-day moving average, up 1.1% year-to-date with the median S&P 500 sector down -1.0%. Amazon, Microsoft and Netflix alone are responsible for nearly half of the year’s gain in the S&P 500. The Russell 2000 is down -0.4% year-to-date and also below its 50-day moving average. The Dow is up 78 points year-to-date, but without Boeing (BA), would be down 317 points as two-thirds of Dow stocks are in the red for the year.

Related: We're Back to “Bad News is Good News” and “Good News is Great News”

Fixed Income and Inflation — the Coming Debt Headwind


The 1-year Treasury yield hit 2.0%, the highest since 2008 while the 5-year Treasury yield has risen to the highest rate since 2010, these are material moves!

What hasn’t been terribly material so far is the Fed’s tapering program. It isn’t exactly a fire sale with the assets of the Federal Reserve down all off 0.99% since September 27 when Quantitative Tightening began, which translates into an annualized pace of 2.4%.

As for inflationary pressures, U.S. Import prices increased 3.6% year-over-year versus expectations for 3.0%, mostly reflecting the continued weakness in the greenback. The Amex Dollar Index (DXY) has been below both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages for all of 2018. The increase in import prices excluding fuel was the largest since 2012 and also beat expectations. Import prices for autos, auto parts and capital goods have accelerated but consumer good ex-autos once again moved into negative territory.

Outside the U.S. we see little evidence that inflation is accelerating. Korea’s PPI fell further to 1.2% - no evidence of rising inflation there. In China the Producer Price Index fell to a 1-year low – yet another sign that we don’t have rising global inflation. On Friday the European Central Bank’s measure of Eurozone inflation for January came in at 1.3% overall and has been fairly steadily declining since reaching a peak of 1.9% last April. This morning we saw that Japan’s Consumer Price Index rose for the 13th consecutive month in January, rising 0.9% from year-ago levels. Excluding fresh food and energy, the increase was just 0.4% - again, not exactly a hair-on-fire pace.

The reality is that the U.S. economy is today the most leveraged it has been in modern history with a total debt load of around $47 trillion. On average, roughly 20% of this debt rolls over annually. Using a quick back-of-the-envelope estimate, the new blended average rate for the debt that is rolling over this year will likely be 0.5% higher. That translates to approximately $250 billion in higher debt service costs this year. Talk about a headwind to both growth and inflationary pressures. The more the economy picks up steam and pushes interest rates up, the greater the headwind with such a large debt load… something consumers are no doubt familiar with and are poised to experience yet again in the coming quarters.

The Twists and Turns of Cryptocurrencies


The wild west drama of the cryptocurrency world continued this week as the South Korean official who led the government’s regulatory clampdown on cryptocurrencies was found dead Sunday, presumably having suffered a fatal heart attack, but the police have opened an investigation into the cause of his death.

Tuesday, according to Yonhap News, the nation’s financial regulator said the government will support “normal transactions” of cryptocurrencies, three weeks after banning digital currency trades through anonymous bank accounts. Yonhap also reported that the South Korean government will “encourage” banks to work with the cryptocurrency exchanges. Go figure. Bitcoin has nearly doubled off its recent lows.

Tuesday the crisis-ridden nation of Venezuela launched an oil-backed cryptocurrency, the “petro,” in hopes that it will help circumvent financials sanctions imposed by the U.S. and help improve the nation’s failing economy. This was the first cryptocurrency officially launched by a government. President Nicolás Maduro hosted a televised launch in the presidential palace which had been dressed up with texts moving on screens and party-like music stating, “The game took off successfully.” The government plans to sell 82.4 million petros to the public. This will be an interesting one to watch.

Related: Warning: Suppressed Volatility Ultimately Leads to Hyper-Volatility

Economy — Maintaining Context & Perspective is Key


Housing joined the ranks of U.S. economic indicators disappointing to the downside in January with the decline in existing home sales. Turnover fell 3.2%, the second consecutive decline, and is now at the lowest annual rate since last September. Sales were 4.8% below year-ago levels while the median sales price fell 2.4%, also the second consecutive decline and this marks the 6th decline in the past 7 months. U.S. mortgage applications for purchase are near a 52-week low.

Again, that’s the latest data, but as we like to say here at Tematica, context and perspective are key. Looking back over the past month, around 60% of the U.S. economic data releases have come in below expectations and this has prompted the Citigroup Economic Surprise Index (CESI) to test a 4-month low. Sorry to break it to you folks, but the prevailing narrative of an accelerating economy just isn’t supported by the hard data. No wonder that even the ever-optimistic Atlanta Fed has slashed its GDPNow forecast for the current quarter down to 3.2% from 5.4% on Feb. 1. We suspect further downward revisions are likely.

Looking up north, it wasn’t just the U.S. consumer who stepped back from buying with disappointing retail sales as Canadian retail sales missed badly, falling 0.8% versus expectations for a 0.1% decline. Over in the land of bronze, silver and gold dreams, South Korean exports declined 3.9% year-over-year.

Wednesday’s flash PMI’s were all pretty much a miss to the downside. Eurozone Manufacturing PMI for February declined more than was expected to 58.5 from 59.6 in January versus expectations for 59.2. Same goes for Services which dropped to 56.7 from 58 versus expectations for 57.7. France and Germany also saw both their manufacturing and services PMIs decline more than expected in February. The U.K. saw its unemployment rate rise unexpectedly to 4.4% from 4.3%

The Bottom Line


Economic acceleration and rising inflation aren’t showing up to the degree that was expected, and this was a market priced for perfection. The Federal Reserve is giving indications that it will not be providing the same kind of downside protection that asset prices have enjoyed since the crisis, pushing markets to reprice risk and question the priced-to-perfection stocks.

Lenore Elle Hawkins
Twitter Email

Lenore Hawkins serves as the Chief Macro Strategist for Tematica Research. With over 20 years of experience in finance, strategic planning, risk management, asset valuation an ... Click for full bio