Jesus, the Salesman: 13 Traits that Convinced Me God Loves Marketing


I’ll start by admitting that I want this title “Jesus, the Salesman” to catch your attention.

It’s not a trick, though. I actually believe that Jesus was a salesman.

In fact, until I realized that the core principles of sales and marketing could be found in the Gospels, I never fully bought into sales and marketing as anything more than necessary evils required to make a broken world go round.  

And I’m writing this because most good people I meet believe that very thing about sales and marketing: it’s an unfortunate necessity. In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have to engage in such worldliness.

And sadly, it's good, high-integrity people like this who often have the types of products and services that the world really needs. But they rarely see the kind of impact they want because of this internal conflict with sales and marketing. 

Christians, in my experience, struggle with this more than any other group of people I’ve worked with. And that’s understandable. Because on Sunday morning, it’s all, “Oh Jesus, I worship in everything!” 

But on Monday morning they feel conflicted when they need to close a deal. Because if Jesus isn’t 100% fully onboard with sales and marketing as pure, Kingdom activity, then by their own admission, a Christian cannot and should not be 100% onboard either. And so instead of fully engaging in it, they tout "reliance on God to promote them" — not realizing the joy and fulfillment waiting for them when they partner with God in the good kind of marketing.

Ok, so what’s the angle with the whole “Jesus is a salesman” thing? 

After all, we don’t hear much about what a booming success the family carpentry business was. And obviously Jesus wasn’t cutting deals on the used chariot lot. He wasn’t selling the Sermon on the Mount DVD series for low monthly installments. (Yes, I've got plenty more of these dad jokes).

So yes, I admit, Jesus wasn’t a salesman in the practical sense we understand it. But his life as detailed in the Gospels reveals principles that I believe are critical to Life in business. And by Life, I mean financial prosperity that comes along with prosperity of soul.

On the flip side, whenever I have had personal or financial failure in my own sales and marketing, I can trace it back to a violation of one of these principles. 

One final note: I’m not a theologian. I’m not a pastor. And I am 100% not a perfect Christian, not even close. I always feel reluctant to share about spiritual things because I feel quite under-qualified. And so I don’t present these principles based on my own merit, but based on the simple idea that Jesus has impacted my life in a profound way—and I hope that by sharing what I’ve noticed, your business will flourish and your life’s joy will increase.

Ok, onto the Jesus traits of sales and marketing...

 If my title didn't offend you enough, here's this photo.

If my title didn't offend you enough, here's this photo.

1. Jesus was driven by compassion

“For God so loved the world, he gave his only Son…” - John 3:16

The most basic and essential component of Jesus’ ministry was love. This is widely known.

In sales and marketing though, this trait is by far the most overlooked. And I’m as guilty as anyone.

I used to think what I needed to get better at sales was the perfect technique. If I knew the right words to say, the physical cues and tricks, I would do better. 

And sure, there are valuable techniques to learn and apply in sales. But that wasn’t my real problem. 

My first and most important issue with sales started way before I ever picked up the phone or sat down for the meeting. It was my motivation.

My motives were purely selfish. I started from a place of need. Of not having what I wanted. And sales and marketing was all about convincing people to give me what I needed.

Nearly all of my clients and the people who have taken my Growth Block Assessment struggle with sales for a simple reason: they have integrity. They are generally very good people.

And good people with integrity tend to not want to manipulate other people. Shocker, right?

Many popular sales books have been written to help people become better manipulators. The struggle my clients felt though, is not that they weren’t aware of the techniques or couldn’t understand the process. The struggle was that the techniques were out of alignment with their character. 

Well, actually that’s not exactly true.

Sales techniques aren’t usually inherently bad. They’re just tools. But they can feel out of alignment with our character when the motivation is selfish. 

But Jesus demonstrated an entirely different approach.

The language of most of the sales books I’ve read does not embrace Jesus’ culture of compassion. You hear words and phrases like this:

  • sales force
  • pipeline
  • target
  • hunt
  • chase down
  • execute 
  • eat what you kill

Great salesmen are often compared to wolves.

Wolves find the weak, and motivated by selfishness and survival, they attack their prey. This is the picture many of us have in our heads when we think of sales.

But Jesus gave us a better picture:

“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” - Matthew 9:36

In sales and marketing, you need to see the pain, weakness and struggles of your market. But compassion is the difference between preying on the weak and shepherding the weak.

One approach always results in manipulation. The other always results in leadership. Your motivation is key.

Traits 2 - 13 coming soon. To be notified when this post is updated, subscribe below.

Blake StrattonComment