A career in sales offers a unique opportunity to put your individual stamp on how you approach your territory.
While this is true to a certain extent in other professions, in sales it is taken to a much higher level. For example, a chef can prepare a dish in a unique way that propels her restaurant to great success and gains her national attention. A waiter or waitress in a high-end restaurant can elevate the dining experience to new levels by becoming a student of the menu and wine list in order to assist guests with their selections, hopefully resulting in larger gratuities. An auto mechanic with the proper education and quality tools can diagnose and repair cars faster, resulting in greater productivity and higher income.
However, salespeople, whether assigned a geographic territory or list of accounts, has the most latitude in terms of how to maximize their account base in order to achieve the highest return. Determining which accounts to focus on, instituting a strategic plan for each one and consistently executing on your plan will ultimately determine your success. The plan will most likely change from year to year, based on the buying potential of your customers and prospects. In many cases, your strategy and account focus will need to be modified as the year progresses. But the fact remains that you, for the most part, are in charge of your destiny. A professional sales executive thrives in this environment. He loves the fact that he is given a product or service to sell and a list of accounts to market to. He doesn’t have to wait for his next promotion to earn more money. If he makes the decision to work harder and smarter, he will be financially rewarded. He has confidence in his ability to perform, and prefers compensation based on actual performance — not the subjective opinion of management. Running a sales territory is as close to running your own business as it gets. And it’s my opinion that for the right individual, there is a simple formula for sales success. In fact, it’s as simple as 1, 2, 3. You can read about it on one of my blog posts by clicking here.
It is for these reasons that many salespeople have a difficult time transitioning to “traditional” management roles. They prefer to take matters into their own hands and not delegate. In certain cases, they don’t play the political game as well as others, and therefore get passed over for promotions. Professional salespeople who move into salary positions unrelated to sales (not sales management) must understand that, for the most part, they are no longer in control of their income. Whatever salary is negotiated should be sufficient to meet family needs, in light of the fact that you will no longer be able to give yourself a raise by working harder and smarter. Instead, you will be forced to wait until management rewards you with a salary increase.
It’s for these reasons that I believe sales is an awesome career choice for the right individual. I’d much rather be in a position to control my own destiny. That is, of course, if the company you work for offers a lucrative compensation package. If not, and if you are a true sales professional, then it might be time to seek employment elsewhere. One thing will always be true. Top-performing sales execs will always be in demand.
UNIVERSAL SALES TRUTH #4
Work your land
Work your garden-you’ll end up with plenty of food;
Play and party-you’ll end up with an empty plate.