Can Altruism Make You a Better SalesPerson?

I had an interesting discussion a few days ago with a guy who sells very expensive software systems to process billing info. I asked about his background and he said that the first 5 years out of college he did "altruistic work." When he realized he had to get a real job someday, he found one selling vacation lots. The average close rate was 8-12%, and his was 40%. He said that those years of doing altruistic work had helped him learn to develop relationships, and that is what selling is all about. It is something I hadn't heard before, but it makes some sense. Anyone else have a similar experience?

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