Do you ever wonder if you’re the right fit for a sales career? While every company may have its own sales culture, within cultures there’s a certain type of person who is a fit for sales. Consider what it takes to be successful in sales if you’re already embarking on your sales career or if you are wondering if sales is the right career for you
You can deal with uncertainty
There is a lot of uncertainty in sales. Customers may change when there are new hires or retirements. A day can change when an appointment gets canceled. Company strategies can change and products can be eliminated. All this means that those who resist change are unsuitable for sales. The pressure of having to deal with constant change would be very stressful for them.
Think about yourself and how you respond to the uncertainties in sales. Do you thrive on the unknown and think it’s exciting? Or do you dread not knowing all the details and being uncertain what’s going to happen? I’ll bet that those of you who like the excitement are doing well in sales. Those who dread it are either taking way too much time to control the uncontrollable, or just aren’t making their sales numbers.
You can focus on process not results
People who look only at their sales numbers often lose sight of what it takes to get those numbers to grow. Sales truly is about implementing the right process to get the desired results. A good salesperson recognizes that and is able to develop and then improve his or her sales process. Selling without a process ends up being a waste of time—and that won’t work in sales.
I remember a salesman who prided himself on the number of calls he made each day. That ridiculous number he cited was what he bragged about. But he wasn’t selling. He was chatting with receptionists and never getting in to see decision makers. Needless to say, his selling career was cut short when he didn’t meet his sales goals and was let go.
Successful salespeople have a process of identifying the most viable prospects, pursuing them in the most efficient manner, and asking questions that will guide customers to understand why they should buy now. That’s a process. You will sell more when you have a great sales process. I predict that a less-skilled salesperson with a better sales process will outsell the more experienced salesperson.
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You are competitive in the right way
Sales managers often will display sales numbers so salespeople can see where they rank in a group. While the competition might be between you and the other salespeople on your team, you really are competing with yourself. After all, you cannot control how hard someone else works. Nor can you control the types of businesses that move in or out of someone’s territory, including your own.
Salespeople who are competitive with themselves often are more successful. They are always checking their progress and measuring it. They set goals that they want to achieve. They don’t allow other people’s success to affect them. The most important score for them is their own sales results.
You can work autonomously and like it
I rarely hear people say that sales is a lonely profession, although it can be. Many salespeople work on their own and never become part of an office culture. They make their own decisions about scheduling, prospecting, proposals, and pricing; they don’t have anyone telling them what to do, except when they are not making their sales numbers. That’s when management is telling them they had better sell more.
There are some people who don’t like the isolation of working in sales. They need to be in an office environment where there is a water cooler for chatting with coworkers. They like having frequent contact with a manager who will guide their tasks, and they don’t like having to make many decisions about work. These people are not a good fit for sales.
So how did you stack up? Did this column describe you surprisingly well? If yes, I’ll bet you have what it takes to succeed in sales.
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