It was near month end, and I had just returned from dinner during a product training trip. I opened my email to a note from my boss titled “DO NOT Be Just A Professional Visitor!”
I had never heard this phrase before in the context of a sales role, but I knew exactly what he meant. I forget the exact content of the note, but I am sure it was very colorful based on how he typically corresponded with us.
What he was basically saying was it was close to month end, and we needed to secure orders. A sale rep’s job description did not include going to just visit accounts. Clear goals needed to be made and achieved on each call. I heard him loud and clear.
Going to see accounts just for the sake of seeing them and not moving closer to securing business was rarely, if ever a good idea. Certainly build rapport with customers, and get to know personal details about them, but always have a “moving business forward” component of the call.
You don’t have to complete 10 objectives or something drastic like that on every call, but aspire for at least 2-3. When I had limited time with an account, I may have only had one goal, but I made sure it was a worthwhile one.
The sales profession can seem complex on the surface, but at the end of the day systems can be simplified to insure success long-term. Make achievable goals for each call, and do whatever you can to not stray from the plan. Anyone can go in and just visit people, but the real success stories come from those who plan and organize ahead of time, and are always thinking about closing business!
I know I know, it is “Have A Laugh Fridays”. But I was really excited to get the opportunity to guest post on the Top Sales Dog website thanks to Michael Boyette. He reached out to me, and actually did a post on my blog a few weeks ago as well.
I am proud of this post, and it took a little longer than normal to come together. The world is full of “run-of-the-mill” sales reps who are putting in similar average efforts, getting average results. But true sales professionals take their game to another level, and achieve greater success.
Click on the link below to see why!
Robert Terson is one of the first people who reached out to me when I started on Twitter last year, and I am very glad that he did. We had a great chat about my favourite sport (hockey), and over time we connected again, and he suggested that I do a guest post on his site!
That day has come, and you can view my post on doing what it takes to stay a success on his website today.
You can also follow on Twitter http://bit.ly/P5AEy6
I suggest that you take some time to check out his other content and connect with him. He is a great resource for those in the sales profession.
It is easy to say that a “rep is a rep”, but when I dug deeper over the years, there are many “personas” that they could take on. True performers typically elevate their game from “just a rep” to “sales professional” and ultimately “superstar” over a shorter period of time.
I compiled a list of the six categories of reps after being part of several sales teams over the years:
- Raw rookies
- Future superstars
- Steady Eddies
- “What have you done for me latelys?”
Raw rookies may be new to a role, or brand new to the sales profession. They are hopefully eager to learn, and make every attempt to work well with their team mates and managers as soon as possible. The first three months tend to be a little rough on raw rookies, as they are inundated with a barrage of product training and possibly other teachings. If they are not given the necessary support to become successful early in their time with a company, they are probably “thrown to the wild” and asked to fend for themselves. The first three months tends to decide a raw rookies’ fate, and management can quickly tell if the interview process was a true indicator of what was to come.
Future Superstars can show signs early on if they are going to be successful. Typical signs are how they carry themselves, how eager they are to learn the role, and how engaging they are with coworkers, management and customers. They realize that it is going to take some time to understand the organization, and their products and/or services. But they know as long as they make the customer their #1 priority, things will eventually fall in to place. Future superstars will put the team before themselves, and never lose site of the fact that their day-to-day goal is to sell stuff and exceed budget.
Superstars show a lot of the characteristics that I have described under “Future Superstars”, but have achieved above average results for a longer time. Can somebody be characterized as a superstar after 3-12 months on the job? Probably not. Any rep can fluke out and have a great few months, and then come back down to earth soon after. But if they have successfully achieved for 12 – 24 months in the same role, I would deduce that is it not a coincidence. Superstars just get the job done and continue to raise the bar to the next level. They are never satisfied, and are always looking for their next challenge to grow and succeed.
Steady Eddies can be relatively new sales reps, or seasoned veterans who have been around years. Their results do not fluctuate much from month to month, or year to year. Their consistent results make them a very dependable and reliable group that can always be counted on. They typically turn down promotions, especially for managerial roles, because they are comfortable working their territories as individuals, and like to be left alone to do their jobs.
What have you done for me latelys?
If you are a child of the ‘80’s like me, you may realize that this category was inspired by the classic 1986 Janet Jackson song of a similar name!
“What have you done for me latelys?” are very similar to sports stars that are past their prime, but are still being rewarded for what they have done before. They could be described as “lame duck” employees, who should be fired, but are not for many reasons. It has become public knowledge that they are not performing their job duties up to the standards that they set for themselves in the past, but some business is still coming in based on their reputation in the market place. In many cases they are counting the days until retirement; or for those not of retirement age, they are counting the days until they get fired.
Underachievers are not getting the job done. They never have. There could be many reasons for this, and the list is too long to assess in this post! At the end of the day, it will result in termination; it is only a matter of time. Some tend to have “nine lives” and dodge being fired longer than many expect. But in the end, they will be looking for another job, possibly even in a different profession!
- If you are not in the sales profession yet, do you have what it takes to become a Superstar in this exciting line of work?
- If you are in sales, what type of rep are you now, and what type should you be?
- What changes to you have to make ASAP if it does not say “Superstar” on your business card?