Why “Retired Criminals” Make Great Sales People

Posted on August 30, 2015

Ryan Stewman



Some of the best salespeople I’ve met over the years, have come from sketchy beginnings. I’d even venture to say that most salespeople have sold drugs, or something illegal, prior to entering the legal sales world. With over 68 million Americans having a record, it’s not hard to run into a “retired” criminal in the sales game. 
For those of you reading this that have been in sales for a while, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I’m willing to say that the sales industry has kept a lot of good guys and gals from becoming a repeat offender. I mean, let’s face it. Criminals do what they do, for money. If a guy can make money in sales, he doesn’t have to resort to illegal activity to pay his bills.
There’s a lot of companies and managers that get this too. Let me be clear though, when I talk about retired criminals, I’m not talking murderers, child molesters or rapists, I’m talking about hustlers and drug dealers. No sales managers are trying to hire Jeffrey Dahmer. We’ll give Jordan Belfort a job though!
When you’re living a life of crime, you have to learn to adapt and play many roles. You’ve got to be one hell of a talker too. It’s no secret that criminals are usually good talkers and quick thinkers. They got a lot going on. Eventually though, it always catches up to us. Crime doesn’t pay in the long run. Sales pays though!
Even when small to midsize companies hire for positions in sales, they are the most lenient when it comes to filling sales positions. Speaking from experience. I was once hired on at one of the biggest banks in Texas, the manager said , “we’ll overlook your past long as you make a lot of sales for us”
Actually, I’ve had a lot of big companies say that to me over the years. Any good salesman with a few blemishes on his background has heard it too. Everyone wants to follow the rules until making money gets in the picture.
There’s a whole barrage of reasons retired criminals kill it in sales.
First of all, if you’e gonna do stuff on the down low, but still get the word out, you have to be one hell of a networker. If a guy will spend the same energy and effort building his sales referral network up the same way he built his criminal contacts up, he’ll kill it.
Networking is key in sales. If you know how to pump people for referrals, and get connected with the prospects you’re looking to sell to, you can make a fortune.
Second of all, people who’ve lived their lives on the other side of the law have to be good talkers. They’ve got to learn the language of their network and what to, and not to say. Criminals need to play many roles to many people. This turns them into effective communicators.
Utilizing those communication skills in sales can make a retired crime committer make an honest living. After building a network, you learn the language. Effective communication with the right language is a closing combination.
Thirdly (if that’s even a word) criminals are known to make sh!t happen. Think about it. Every criminal, even the ones still in jail, are there because they took action. Be it bad or good, they didn’t sit around contemplating on what to do. They just did it. Most of them saw whatever they did all the way to the end.
Being able to make quick decisions and take action are some of the biggest plusses managers look for when they hire someone for sales. Being able to execute that action is a skill set many don’t have. Fast thinking, and good communication is all you really need to be a Closer.

Salespeople, especially those on straight commission, are risk takers. Criminals are risk takers too! They take the risk of making money or going to jail. Sales people risk making money or starving. At least in jail they offer rehab! There’s nothing for us sales addicts. Well, besides this blog.

You may never know it but there’s most likely a felon or at the very minimum someone who used to commit felonies, in your office. It’s not like people go around telling you their past. Especially if it’s sketchy and they don’t want anyone to know.
It feels so much better to use your skills for good instead of evil. Like most of us, I’ve got a sketchy past too. I just learned to a new skill and put the same amount of effort towards sales, as I did selling drugs. It’s paid off a lot more than any drug dealers I’ve ever met too. No one goes to the rich neighborhood to get drugs. They go there to visit salesmen though.
I’m all of the above. I’m a good communicator, a great networker, an extreme action taker AND a retired criminal. Truth be told, I haven’t committed any crimes other than speeding since 1999, but I still did what I did. Even with two felonies on my record I’ve been hired at some of the best, and most prestigious businesses in our country. All because I can sell. I’ve never let any of them down either.

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