Tag Archives: success

Move Up The Corporate Ladder

Having worked in Corporate America for the last 15 years, you see it all the time. A newbie comes in and makes noise by selling more than the other sales reps and a month later they pull you aside and ask what does it take to get promoted? Normally, management will give a vague idea of what needs to be done which is normally keep selling, learn the business and get some experience under your belt and we will revisit this conversation at a later time. Sound familiar?

I have been in sales for a little over 20 years and luckily I have learned the ropes fairly quickly and have put myself in the position of getting noticed and moving up in the companies I have worked for. Is this the norm? Not at all. Why is this and what does a sales rep have to do if they have plans of getting promoted into a senior sales level or into leadership? I’m here to break it down for you and hopefully give you a blueprint on what needs to be done to move up the corporate ladder.

Work As You Owned the Company

If you owned the company you work for as a sales rep how would you handle the responsibilities of the company? How would you provide top of the line service to your clients and customers? How would you handle the day to day operations? You need to work as if you owned the company and you were a one man show. Management, Operations and Sales is ran by you. You wouldn’t be working a 9 to 5 and you wouldn’t settle for half ass results. Everything you do would be looked at in a business standpoint so at the end of the day, you would make it a priority to bring business in. That means no zero business days. How profitable are you as an investment and are you looking at the long term relationship with your clients and what each client is worth. Are you going to drop prices repeatedly just to get the sale? Look at things from a different perspective and people will look at you differently as well.

Go Above and Beyond the Call of Duty

Initiative. Show and take initiative but remember it’s not only how you hold yourself as a sales professional, it’s all about actions. Every organization wants to know who there players are and who to invest their time and resources into. It’s not about doing your job or being #1 in sales every quarter or even how many President’s Achievement trips you have won. Do you ever take on the leadership role that you desire? Are you standing out from the crowd by not only showing you know how to do the job but you are willing to share your secrets to success as well as train on it. The best sign of a leader is someone who can take something that may seem complicated to others and simplify it. How about creating systems or recommending systems that will improve results for the office or strengthen the culture in the office. Take on a leadership role not because you have to but because you want to and finally it’s all about higher learning…become a master in your craft by investing in yourself. What was the last book you read or the last training seminar you attended? Invest in yourself and others will invest in you!

So, take the advice and create your opportunity. Companies need innovative career minded sales professionals that can transition into leadership roles. Take off your rep hat and put on your leadership cap. Work two levels up at all times and promote yourself and then you might turn the heads of those executives.

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3 Keys To Success

Why do most people just make it in their sales career and not succeed? There are three main reasons why sales professionals don’t make it to the top 5% of the sales rankings. Have you ever done an inventory check on your own career to see if you are doing these three things and doing them consistently?

  • Always Be Cultivating- Some of the best of the best consistently cultivate. No matter how busy they may be or how good things may be going at that time, they always make prospecting for new business a priority. Prospecting is not seasonal nor is it something to do when you are bored or business is slow. You may have a full pipeline in the works or maybe you are an account manager and you are responsible for managing millions of dollars in revenue but at some point you will need to replace those accounts or clients. There is something called client retention and new business acquisition and most companies put a higher value on new accounts. This is how their business grows and this is how your personal book of business grows. If you are putting new business prospecting on the shelf then you are willing setting yourself up for failure. You’re playing sales roulette. You need to always till the top, turn the dirt and keep planting the seeds. Remember what brought you to the place where you’re at in the first place.
  • Don’t Be a Busy Body- There is a big misconception between being busy and being productive. The best example I can give is the difference between a car being in neutral and in drive. The car is still on in neutral but it’s not going anywhere unless you put the gear into drive. This is the same for anyone who is in sales. Some sales people think that busy is a good quality to possess until they realize that their results don’t represent the work they put into it. What does this mean? This means that you need to “clean out the closet” and look at your time wasters. This reminds me of a sales rep that used to work for me. Everyday, he would come into the office with a stack full of business cards and he would sit there at his desk shuffling through these business cards, staring at them and putting them in alphabetical order…believe it or not. Everyone would egg him on asking who he had in the pipeline. He came into my office one evening and told me he had some great news he wanted to share with me. I was sitting right across from him as he pulls out what must have been 20 pages of leads filled from the top of the page to the bottom. He let me know that his pipeline was growing and he now had 300 hot leads that he was working on. What came next was as Oprah says was an Ah…Ha moment. I asked him to bring in his business cards so we could review his pipeline. His pipeline was a pipe dream and it was a commission robber and time-stealer. I took his business cards and inserted them into the circular file and showed him why i did that. He was average far below the average rep and was sitting in the bottom 25% of the rankings for sales reps. He had not made a commission check in the last month so after realizing how much time he was wasting on busy work…he identified prospects that he had met with twice in the last couple of months and targeted those leads. We met on a Monday and by Friday he had doubled his productivity than the month prior.
  • Yearn to Learn (Reading, Seminars, Audio books)-When was the last time you picked up a book, invested into a sales seminar or listened to an audio book that challenged the way you thought, worked and helped you to sharpen your skill set? If you aren’t growing then you’re dying. Some of the best of the best out there today, even as successful as they may be still invest into themselves. Learn how to critique yourself on a monthly basis. Identify how many prospects did you reach out to, how many thought provoking conversations did you have and what percentage of those turned into clients. Are you consistently increasing your earnings on a monthly basis or are you experiencing the ups and downs. You can only learn so much by doing the work…and why do I say that? Most of us who are in sales will learn through first hand experience but because we all have our limitations and we only know so much, you become your own ceiling and limit your earning opportunity. You need to desire continued learning and education and I don’t mean going to school, I mean the resources that are out there for any of us to utilize. Whether it’s a book, a seminar, audio books, researching online or watching videos on Youtube…the more time you invest in yourself, the better you will become and the more money you will end up making.

Apply these 3 keys to success and you will see the difference in your level of success. The beauty about sales is the ability to dictate your own earnings and you earn what you’re worth. Make the most out of the opportunity you’ve created for yourself and you will have a long-term career in sales.

Too Good To Succeed

As I walked through the front door to my very first sales interview, my hands were clammy and I felt like a lost child who was suddenly pulled away from the security of his parents. I remember walking into the waiting room and seeing five chairs placed against the wall, most of them were empty except one that was occupied by this outgoing, confident and successful business man who was dressed to the nines. When I saw him, in my mind I had already surrendered to the fact that I wasn’t getting hired. I sat down two seats from him, hoping that the distance would prevent him from smelling the insecurity and lack of confidence that was oozing from my very soul. All I remember at that very moment is he kept glancing over to me and then he would grab the Entrepreneur magazine that was sitting a top of the end table and begin to browse through the pages. What was I doing? I was looking around the room aimlessly, staring at the clock on the wall and then I would look at the wall that held the clock up and kept doing that over and over. I was so tempted to get up and leave because I felt I was inexperienced and unqualified for this position compared to this candidate who sat next to me. The manager’s door opened and this girl walks out laughing while she is shaking the manager’s hand. “I really appreciate you spending this time getting to know me and explaining your business to me in detail. In order for me to really be successful in any career, I must first weigh out the pros and cons and match it up to who I am…it is only fair to you as the owner of this business that I don’t waste your time and resources that you are willing to invest in me.” she stated right before she walked out of the door. Did she really say what I think she said? It may have been my first interview but I would have jumped all over the opportunity not even knowing what the opportunity was all about.

All I knew was I was up after this guy and I didn’t know if I would even get a chance to meet with the owner after these two that came before me. I  could hear the interview clear as day through the door so of course I did the only right thing to do…I leaned over a bit more so I could get some pointers from ACE! Then it happened and the question that time stood still on was asked, “Jay, you obviously seem so confident and seasoned as a salesperson but my question to you is what are two areas that you really need to work on in order to become an excellent salesperson?” Are you kidding me? ACE came out and said, “That’s a great question…to be honest with you, I don’t feel like I have many shortcomings in my sales career and that is why I know I would be a fit for this position.” Damn, this guy is on point! He has an answer for everything. Mr. Smooth, Mr. Closer, ACE showed up! The owner walked Jay out of the room and told him thanks for coming in, I have a few more interviews and by the end of the day I will call you with an answer. Now I am even more confused, thinking I was in an episode of the Twilight Zone!

Hi my name is Jeff, what’s your name. My name is confused, insecure, inexperienced and some even call me unqualified but you can call me Brandon. Actually that’s what I was feeling, I just let him know my name. The minute I sat down in the seat it felt like I was on the hot seat. Oh great…he read right through my paper thin exterior. I was caught! Why do you want to work here? You don’t have any sales experience…why do you think you would be successful here? What do you have to bring to the table that these other candidates can’t? What are your strengths and greatest areas for improvement? After taking a deep breath and a moment of silence I answered him. “I know I am inexperienced, unqualified and probably not what you would think as your typical sales person so in that regards, I am sure others you have interviewed has that upper hand. What I do have is a desire to succeed…why? Because I have no choice. I have to succeed and I know that without experience I would have to learn from everyone who is successful here including you as well. When I was younger, I used to copy my brother and friends for hours, saying what they said and doing what they did. While others may see that as annoying, I could see that as a strength in some weird way. All I know, is what I would be taught so hopefully you could pair me up with the best of the best and I promise you, I will shadow them in everything they do…everything!” He just stared at me and as bad as I wanted to gravitate to that clock on his wall…I didn’t break eye contact. The silence must have filled the room for a good few minutes. With the most serious look on his face Jeff replied,”Brandon, we both know that there are more qualified people than you but how many of those top performers that I interviewed are willing to learn? How many of them are willing to wreck what they have been taught and start a new career? How many of those cocky, arrogant and self-righteous people are willing to humble themselves?” Before I could answer, he blasted out “ZERO, ZILCH, NOT ONE DAMN ONE! I am willing to give you a chance, because I believe you are GREEN! Yes…I am green! What the hell did he just call me? Did he say I was money? No, what he was saying is when you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.

Needless to say, that day I learned many great lessons! The biggest lessons I learned is from ACE is just because you look like a million bucks doesn’t necessarily mean you will make a million bucks because if you can’t see where you fall short and always make improvements to better yourself then you will be your own ceiling. The other lesson I learned that day is competition is not a bad thing. Everyone will always sell themselves on why them…and it begins to become the same noise after awhile. If you bring “You” and not who you think people want “you” to be…your qualities will come to light and if it’s meant to be then it will be and if it’s not…NEXT! That was 8,395 days ago and today, I have reached a period in my career of reflection. I am grateful for the mentors that took me under their wing and as much as I may have hogged up their time, they all have brought me to this place where I am today. I will forever be grateful for your direction and guidance.

In case you were wondering what happened to that girl and ACE, neither of them were hired and my very first sales job was a commission only sales job based off low payouts unless you hit volume. I worked my way to a team leader within the first two months and then to a district sales manager by month six. Now I was the one sitting behind the pine door asking the questions. The moral of the story is don’t be too good to succeed!