I guess it’s a pretty silly question to ask, isn’t it.
Plainly, nobody's life is perfect.
And especially naive to think your life in SALES could be perfect.
Even really high achievers like Steve Jobs had plenty of issues.
And remember, Steve was also fired from the company he himself founded !
But he came back like Lazarus, like a phoenix rising from the ashes. He was resilient. And earned the rewards for being that way.
And it’s often the same in sales.
From a sales perspective it is even more ridiculous to expect that things will always run smoothly because as a salesperson you are always dealing with people.
And not just people but often with their problems.
In fact, legendary sales trainer Tom Hopkins said salespeople are PPS, Professional Problem Solvers.
So, you are constantly dealing with people’s problems. And there are some people who just love getting the monkey off their back.
If you have been in sales for any length of time I’ll bet you’ve taken a 4.50 pm phone call with a problem that just has to be solved, right now. …
“Otherwise the factory will shut down at lunch time tomorrow”
You move heaven and earth and get deliveries rescheduled and arrange couriers and even phone the warehouse manager at home to make sure it all goes smoothly in the morning.
You phone the buyer back at 6 pm to assure them that everything has been taken care of and learn from the cleaner that he went home at 5pm.
It never ceases to amaze me when I hear sales people complaining about customer X or Y and how they caused all these problems.
Seriously, that’s their job to deal with those problems.
And then you get the sales people who can never get the results because they have the “wrong territory” or “we are in the middle of a recession” or “the warehouse is constantly messing up deliveries” or “we are always running out of stock” – whatever.
The fact is if you are a professional sales person, you DEAL with it.
Excuses are not an option, find a way to solve the problem.
Below is a link to a post from Paul Castain, (sales trainer and blogger) well worth a read as he explains the hard times he went through, and no, his life is not perfect now but he has rid himself of the stupid excuses he used to beat himself up with.
Successful sales requires perseverance, patience, dedication and passion. Much like art.
The only difference is that the artists’ brushstrokes create masterpieces, salespeople’s communication skills close deals.
However, it takes hours of brainstorming, years of training, innumerable calls, and actionable strategies to perfect the art.
A recent survey showed that successful salespeople (at least 76% of them) rise before 7 am.
Since sales is a strenuous mental job, rising early and taking care of your psychological and physical health is a must, and what better time than the early morning freshness?
Some successful salespeople even admit to utilizing this time for research, it gives them the required edge for pitching the deal.
And how many other professions require the worker to organise their own day productively. Professional salespeople work from a list of priorities that they often set themselves.
In fact, 41% of salespeople admit to spending most of their time on non-selling tasks such as arranging their schedules.
A list a day keeps procrastination at bay!
As salespeople we have to constantly deal with rejection either when trying to arrange a meeting or when we make an offer during a sales call.
Stats reveal that about 40% of people believe prospecting is the most challenging part of the sales process. Not surprising. Contacting someone you don’t know, often about a product they don’t know and ask for their valuable time is not an easy task.
To say sales is a stressful job is an understatement.
No matter how much you crush your month, it’s the 1st again before you know it and you’re back at square one. It’s why so many salespeople work such long hours and why stress management is key for avoiding burnout.
Surveys show that 61% of salespeople work weekends.
Successful salespeople know when they are going to get up and why, what motivates them, and what helps them relax. These are the things that allow them to deal with the stress and sets them up for great time selling.
You take a lot of risks in a sales job.
Our results are often on display for everyone to see.
It’s risky to get on the phone and prospect and sometimes in selling you have to challenge or confront the buyer and that can be a risky thing to do.
I will always remember the day I walked out on one of my biggest customers.
I had discussed it with my manager before the meeting. We knew we would be under pressure to hold our prices but agreed we had to stand our ground. When I couldn’t get a price agreement from their buyer I walked out. I was shaking in my boots as I walked down the corridor of their offices. You can’t imagine how relieved I was when I heard the buyer coming after me to resume the meeting.
My first sales manager Bob used to say
“Sales is hardest job in the world if you try to work it easy but the easiest job in the world if you work at it hard”
So, given we have to endure all this as a salesperson what are the rewards.
What's the positive side of sales work ?
You are your own boss.
You may have a manager but when it comes down to it, you, the sales pro, are the boss, and don’t ever think otherwise.
I recently read a book by Robert Workman titled “Selling the Most Dangerous Game”.
In the book he states,
“Sales offers the best ROI of any job or career, by far. What are your start-up costs? Zero. What are your educational requirements? None. What is your income potential? Unlimited!” and then goes on to show with statistics from the USA Bureau of Labor Statistics just how well paid they are.
Whether yo succeed is not up to anyone else, just you
Although being a part of a team is great, there is also something very special about looking in the mirror and knowing your success or failure rides on you.
You Get to Travel
Personally, I worked in importing and traveled to countries all around the world. But if you work in your own state or city you get to go to different places and often sales seminars a held out of state ( at least when we had sales seminars, pre-CoVid)
If you are in business to business sales you are likely provided with a company car (or car allowance) and that means you get to drive a reasonably new car that is maintained and you often get some fuel as part of the deal.
You are Entrepreneur
Often in sales you get to target the people you call on or the specific products you promote. Just like an entrepreneur you invest your time and sweat and “make it happen”
You can be a Rebel
You can be original, take risks, and go down paths that the status quo hasn’t dared take up to this point. As Seth Godin says, we should all be that ‘Unicorn in a Balloon Factory’.
The ability to spend time with friends and family
Not all salespeople have flexible schedules, but many do.
Even though the hours can be demanding, sales offers the ability to provide for the people we care about, and makes us all that more appreciative when we do get some downtime to spend with loved ones and friends. When it comes down to it, bosses and management only care about results, not how and with whom you spend your time.
In sales you are given a quota to meet. And, as your level of skill increases you meet quota more easily. Which leads to more income and bigger quotas. The skills you learn grow you as a person. The organisational skills, the communication skills the ability to think on your feet. All of these add to other areas of your life.
Perseverance and Coping with Rejection.
Of the skills you learn in selling the ability to persevere in the face of rejection is paramount. It’s something that far too few people have these days. To set a goal and work towards it diligently in the face of obstacles is the stuff legends can be made of. Just ask Steve Jobs or Elon Musk.
Millions of other available sales jobs
The great thing about being a salesperson is that you’ll probably never be out of a job. Every company has a salesforce, which means that there are always tons of available sales positions a stones throw away. So whether you want to go work in an adjacent company or switch industries, the opportunities are there for you.
And finally, by far the most important to me.
The look on a prospect’s face when something you sold them made their life better. That recognition that you’ve made a difference. That somebody has actually benefitted from what you do. I lived for those days and those looks.
So, just remember the words of my first sales manager, Bob …
“Sales is hardest job in the world if you try to work it easy but the easiest job in the world if you work at it hard” and also the most rewarding in terms of income, personal growth and contribution.