Labor Day has been around since the late 1800’s. It honors the American Labor Movement. It’s a Federal Holiday. It’s a day off work (for many people). Yep, it’s a day off work. That’s great (& well deserved) for some sales professionals. Some.
Some sales professionals work their butts off. Some manage their time very well. Some get out of the office. Some take risks & ask the tough questions. Some prospect for appointments. Some travel & spend time away from their families all for the good of the company. Some do the due diligence & understand their industry, their competition, their product & their customer motivations. Some open great opportunities & close huge deals. Some.
Some do. Some don’t.
There’s a good chance that (since you’re reading this) you are one of the some that do. If you know one or two that don’t, forward this to them — but don’t expect them to read it. That takes work.
Here’s a solid list of items that identify how hard the Sales Profession is — it takes WORK!
1. You don’t punch a clock in sales.
The great ones make it a life style & are “always on.” Evenings, weekends, holidays, etc.
2. It’s lonely out there.
If you are a commissioned salesperson nobody will care that your prospect “said they would buy” or “is getting ready to buy”. Your boss does not care that you are sick (& that does not make her a jerk). We are measured by results. Closed sales. Period.
3. Sales is NO PLACE to get your needs met.
If you are looking for friends join the Peace Corps or a bowling league.
4. You fail more often than you succeed.
Repeat: You will fail more often than you succeed. If you are working, prospecting, hunting for opportunities more people will tell you NO than tell you YES. Get used to it.
5. When someone says they want to “think it over” they really mean NO.
“Think it over” does not mean YES. You can’t cash a “think it over”. If you trust people that say they want to “think it over” you will have skinny kids.
6. If you are not comfortable talking about money you will starve.
Your job is to sell products & services at profitable margins. This requires discussions about their money & where it will come from.
7. Your colleagues in other departments think you have the life (& will begrudge you).
They may not tell you, but they do. When you are out of the office people naturally think you are screwing off. It’s not true (unless it is) You will never convince them otherwise. Stop trying.
8. It’s OK to be competitive & want money.
If “for the money” is not in your top 2 reasons to be in sales get another job.
9. If you don’t see yourself “worthy” in front of high-level decision makers you are in trouble.
High-level decision makers are important. They make things happen. They are busy. They don’t have time for “social calls” or “idle chit-chat”. Stop talking to Carl, the clerk — he can’t make a decision to save his life!
10. If you are not completely comfortable with the word NO you will struggle — seriously struggle.
Back up to #4. You won’t go 10 for 10 every month in sales. This rejection kills some salespeople. I have seen some incredibly intelligent people drop out of selling careers because they could not stand to be told NO.
Don’t take 5 or 10 or 20 years to learn these lessons. Learn them now, get over it & move on. Sales takes work. It’s not easy. If it were easy your accounting or HR department would do it. But don’t tell them that.