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Are Some Sales Job Titles Deceptive?

I'm starting to distrust sales professionals who aren't willing to admit that they're in sales. I prefer sales pros who aren't afraid to put the word "sales" in their job titles. For the ones that don't I start wondering: what are you trying to hide? Is being an "agent" or a "broker" or an "advisor" somehow supposed to be more impressive? What are these titles trying to hide?


An editorial in today's New York Times describes how mortgage brokers screwed thousands of homeowners. Apparently the brokers lined the homeowners up with unaffordable loans, because those loans landed hefty fees in the brokers' pockets.

I have no doubt that such practices took place, and I blame management for setting up the commissions and incentives that encouraged the behavior. Even so, I can't help but think that there was a little deception going when it came to calling those guys "brokers."

The same is true for "book agents," "financial planners," "stock brokers" and a horde of other sales positions. I can't help but feel that these titles are an attempt to hide from the buyer that selling activity is taking place. Sure, the savvy buyer "gets" that stock broker is selling stocks, but the less sophisticated might expect there to be some independence where not is actually present.

The worst example is "real estate agent," because I know plenty of home buyers wrongly believe that the "real estate agent" is working for them not for the seller. Why can't "sales" be in the title, where it belongs.

Maybe I'm just being picky here, but I think that sales professionals should be proud that they're in sales, not trying to hide their job under a slightly deceptive title.

READERS: Am I off the curve on this? Do these titles serve a purpose other than deception?