Saturday, January 10, 2015
Q: I have been in sales for more than 10 years, and I have changed industries several times. I never had formal training or courses but learn quickly, even when starting from scratch. I am tired, though, of doing it on my own without input of how to be better. My sales managers always seem to be busy with the duties of managing a team and keeping track of sales.
I never have had managers who are interested in training on an overall basis. They want great results with as little investment of time as possible in the reps. I think I am a natural at sales, but I would do better if I had some creative suggestions along the way for how to improve.
How do I find such a thing when a company does not offer it?
A:You have been hired for your experience and successful sales record, so your managers may feel you do well enough on your own. Independent sales reps have entrepreneurial personalities with perceptive social skills, but they can improve when they apply various processes to their knowledge banks. Seeing as you have done well as an independent learner, you could benefit from reading books on selling, which would replace the formal business courses or seminars you think you have missed.
Peruse the “how to sell” books, and check each author’s background. If you think an author’s background is impressive, review the table of contents to see what the book offers.
Richard M. Schroder, author of “From a Good Sales Call to a Great Sales Call,” researched the sales process for more than 12 years. He found that salespeople repeatedly make the same mistakes, and asking their potential clients why they did not get the sale does not net the real reasons. If you practice Schroders eight-step system — intended for all professional sales reps — you will learn how to analyze why you win and why you lose.
You even may learn that switching industries was not what you needed to do better.
Additional task degrades educated employee
Q:I work alone in sales in a large store. The owner just asked me to mop the floors because the cleaning service has become too expensive. I was offended and in shock. I have a college degree; I’m not a cleaning woman, and I was not hired to do floors. He didn’t even offer me a raise to do this.
My husband does not think the request was that bad. What do you think?
A:In defense of the owner, he is under pressure and has to cut corners. He clearly cannot cut your job, because you are the only salesperson in the store. On your side, you were hired to sell, not to replace his cleaning service.
If you peacefully comply with his request, there is no telling what it eventually will do to your self-esteem. Once you start mopping, your anger may rise higher than you can imagine, and when it does, you may quit in a rage. Do not let it get to that point.
Calmly explain your feelings and thoughts about this with him. You also can call a lawyer to see whether you have a potential cause of action. Do not go ahead with it if you do, but knowing your rights may help you in your discussion.
Jobs may not be easy to find, but if you cannot find peace within yourself because of this change in duties, start looking for another job.