Thursday, August 12, 2010

Teacher or Salesman?

In this picture I am showing the farmer the improvement in his soils going from tillage to notill. You will have to click on the picture and see the enlargement to get a better idea on soil quality.

Soil quality pays long term but that doesn't matter if you go broke getting there. I see that as a problem of adapting any new measure.

It takes a keen eye and mind to be an innovator who actually profits from his adaption to stay financially alive. Some of the best people are not financially successful and the rich seem to have so may problems.

I was reminded this morning reading an email from China of my teaching trip there in 1985 as a Citizen to Citizen Ambassador. Our mission was created from Deng Xi Peng's disire to make China as successful as America in agriculture. One of his staff thought that American youth groups in agriculture was an advantage for our country so 100 or so people like me were selected to go teach agricultural education as China had none.

The mission was a failure. We had one interpretor in our 30 day mission who could translate English to Chinese well enough they could even grasp what we were trying to say. I am sure a little good came out of our mission but you couldn't put your finger on it.

I was driving this morning to take a tissue test result and some radish seed to a farmer when I passed the house of a younger farmer who is a master salesman. He did it for a major company and now does it for a major seed company. I thought about the difference between a teacher and a salesman.

I came down to this conclusion. A teacher is able to communicate learning to another who doesn't know that learning. The student is able to master what the teacher taught.

A salesman is able to take a product that is necessary for a process or enhances that process and promote the product. He is able to convince the customer that this product will enhance that process and is able to close the deal. Closing is a huge process in selling but involves teaching and trust before the customer buys it.

That leaves me to be a teacher. I am not selling anything here but I need products that make my ideas of innovation happen. They are closely linked yet far removed in some ways. There are many great teachers who are good sales people and vice versa but they are different occupations. The gift to teach is great, the gift of selling is financially greater.

All of us are worker bees in this process as we all have to get certain things done. How you do that work is dependent on how you manage it from teacher to salesman to student to buyer.


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