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Everyone underestimates sales because no one likes to be sold and sales tries hard to stay hidden


Customers will not come just because you built a product. You need to sell it. And You-need-a-great-distribution-plan-or-your-company-will-fail.

We don’t like salesmen because their priority is persuasion, not sincerity. No one likes being sold. But we only react to obvious and awkward salesmen, the bad ones. Great salesmen sell without you even noticing you’re being sold.

Sales works best when hidden. This is why job titles related with sales, have nothing to do with sales.

  • account executives: sell advertising
  • business development: sell customers
  • investment bankers: sell companies
  • politicians: sell themselves

The most fundamental reason that everyone underestimates the importance of sales is the systematic effort to hide it at every level of every field in a world driven by it.

Everyone wants to believe that we make up our own minds, and sales doesn’t work on us. But everybody around us is selling.

Apart from the product, your company needs to sell to investors and employees. There are equivalent lies for these markets to the lies that the company tells about it’s product. To employees: “this company is so great that everyone will want to join it”. To investors: “this company will be so valuable that all investors will want to get shares”. Selling the company to the media is necessary for selling it to everyone else.


  • Zero to One, Peter Thiel

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