November 11th marks Veterans' Day, and in a world that can agree on very little, our gratitude and respect for veterans is nearly universal. If we take a moment to better understand our admiration for veterans, we can actually learn valuable lessons for our professional sales lives.

Commitment to Service & Selflessness
We refer to veterans in terms of their "service to the country" or when/where they "served." To serve in the military is to put a greater good ahead of one's own concerns, and that selflessness is a most honorable attribute. The sacrifice ranges from time away from family and loved ones to the ultimate sacrifice of giving one's life. Certainly, our sacrifices in the business world don't compare, but a sincere commitment to serve our customers and their best interest will cultivate admiration, loyalty and trust among our customers, as well as foster long-term relationships.

"This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave."

-Elmer Davis

Sense of Higher Purpose
The service of men and women in the military denotes not only their willingness to sacrifice, but their recognition of a higher purpose beyond their individual wants and needs. Recognizing concerns greater than one's own shows the potential for strategic thinking, a tremendous benefit in any business role. As sales professionals, we must sometimes decide between a sale today or cultivating the long-term customer relationship. Considering the bigger picture is a hallmark of top-performing sales professionals. As author Jay Baer wrote, "If you sell something, you make a customer for a day, but if you genuinely help someone, you create a customer for life."

Discipline is not only a pillar of military culture, it is essential for effective and consistent performance, both individually and when operating in large units. Whether you are talking about the military, the business community or our individual careers, discipline develops good habits. It fosters confidence and trust among our leaders, peers and customers regarding what they can expect from us. In our daily sales life, it means doing what we say we are going to do, when we say we are going to do it, showing up on time and prepared, and following through with keen attention to detail.

On this Veterans' Day, we honor and thank those who have served. If we are smart, we will also observe their character and apply some of their best attributes for our own benefit as sales professionals and that of our customers.