If you have been fortunate enough to represent a product that is so unique and valuable in the market that sales come easy, you will relate to this article. While it is certainly awesome to be in this position, we must realize two things.
- We are not as good as we think we are
- The commission checks will not last forever
Point number one is obvious. It is certainly easier to sell a product that is in demand, adds significant value to your clients, and has benefits that are unique in the market. The real issue is how the sales exec handles this unique opportunity. A seasoned sales exec who has represented other products in the past typically approaches this opportunity much differently than a junior rep. The reason is simple. If your first sales job is representing a product that is in great demand, you have nothing to compare it to. You think a career in sales is easy because your phone is ringing off the hook and people are lining up to purchase. You are hitting huge revenue numbers and your commission checks are off the charts. In some cases you may be offered a promotion to sales management, or perhaps a national or global account position. This is certainly all positive. And of course you want to take full advantage of this unique opportunity. However, it is extremely important to keep things in proper perspective. Ask yourself the question: How much of my success is based on my sales capabilities, people skills, and work ethic, and how much is based on the product and support infrastructure at the company I work for? To maximize your potential with this company, my recommendation is to be more humble than prideful. After all, you want this ride to last as long as possible. And just as people are lining up to buy your product, there will be sales folks lining up to take your job!
Point number two should also be obvious. However, I have witnessed on numerous occasions this exact obvious. High commission checks will not last forever for two fundamental reasons. First of all, as companies grow and gain market share, the need to continue to pay high commissions is reduced. This of course assumes that the product is still in great demand. But what if the competition catches up? Or the market changes, resulting in significantly less demand for your product? Then your commission checks will be reduced without the company adjusting the comp plan. The point I am making is, don’t base your spending habits on large commission checks. Don’t make the mistake of wearing your newfound wealth on your wrist or pulling up to the office in a new $100,000 car. This will certainly not endear you to your colleagues or your customers. And most important, since we all know the commission checks will not last forever, make wise investments. A sales exec must learn to mange money differently than folks on a fixed income in light of the peaks and valleys of sales. And this lesson might as well be learned sooner rather than later.
So if you are blessed to be in the enviable position of representing a highly sought-after product early in your career, you would be wise to keep these two points in mind. I promise you, you will be glad you did.
UNIVERSAL SALES TRUTH #5
Be humble, not prideful
Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone.
And they will surely sprout wings
And fly off to the sky like