Career in Sales - Suitable For Marathoners


by Ben Batten

Ever so increasingly, you hear cost pressures driving companies to relocate their operations in emerging countries, setting up shared services or automating systems, reducing the need for manpower. Yes, technology is a huge enabler but it will never replace the warmth of a human touch point nor the need for a dynamic sales force that comprehends the eccentricities of each market. So with front-liners continually being at the face and critical to any organization's ecosystem, that brings us to question, how do we sustain a long & fruitful career in sales? Successful sales people are akin to marathoners; here are some tips to build stamina for the race:


1. Plan, plan & more planning!

Whilst gearing up for the race, preparation is key for guaranteed success. In the sales world, it is crucial tobuild a roadmap with a detailed breakdown of activities to be performed with the end goal in mind. Important client presentation? You should have a clear structure of the layout and direction of the meeting beforehand. Never leave things for last minute - this ensures a more engaged client and will surely save you some hair!


2. Resonate passion.

There is a reason why everyone loves running - from the adrenalinrush, to soaking up some nature or the sheer determination to reach the finish line. Passion can be felt. Not only should you know your product/service well but if you truly believe in it, so will your client. A global retailer I met shared that it was imperative for all their corporate staff including top management to spend some time on the sales floor to get a first-hand grasp of how the sales took place; the good, the bad. They are then better equipped to strategize and implement initiatives that work.


3. Importance of Discipline

Discipline is about cultivating the habit of doing the right things consistently. Once you have acquired this skill, it does not matter how the economy or your sector is doing, you will be able to ride through any storm. Previous successes orthe occasional luck sometimes makes you take discipline for granted. Hence, it is key for us to each set a personal KPI removing the blinders of self-delusion we use to kid ourselves of being more productive than we are. Resolve today; don't wait until you feel like because you probably never will.


4. Overcoming setbacks

Fallen down? Pick yourself up, dust off your scabs and run with newfound knowledge. Astute salespeople see rejection or any obstacles as one step closer to the sale and a very powerful learning experience. Never set yourself up for emotional self-destruction, you would have lostopportunity. Become a constant learner. Invest time and money to upgrade your skills. The more knowledge you acquire that can be applied to practical scenarios, the greater will be the reward in the future.


5. Reward yourself 

Often, you hear front liners burning out or losing the drive to be at their best. A career in sales is a constant chase and hence, it is important to learn when to switch off. Take time to do things you enjoy - if it's spending time with family or chilling with friends at that new bar and never bring your numbers to bed. Always remember to celebrate small successes; it could be breaking into a new account or being recognized for specializing in a particular field. This will bring you closer to that finish line.