In his recent article at Salesopedia, Mark Hunter writes about the widespread and growing need for effective salespeople and the simultaneous yet inverse policies of many employers that seem to inhibit a salesperson’s growth and compensation. “I recently read a survey conducted by the employment organization, Manpower. They polled 32,000 employers in 23 countries. The results indicated that the number one position they had trouble filling was not specialized skill such as an engineer or accountant as some would expect, but, rather, sales representatives” states Hunter.
Successfully selling in specialized industries requires not only stellar sales skills but broad experience and industry-specific knowledge. Employers and salespeople alike need to focus on the salesperson’s personal development, selling skills enhancement and their industry-specific training as well. Though the ultimate responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of the salesperson, employers must learn to take a more proactive role in both training and development of their salespeople. They also need to realize the need for quick and generous compensation, in-tune with the critical importance of their jobs. Salespeople and their compensation are actually not an expense, rather a unique asset of great value to the organization. Wake up Mr. Employer! Your revolutionary products or incredible services will seldom make their way to a customer if not for the skills and efforts of effective salespeople.
Long before a company or industry inspires a salesperson, selling skills mastery and ongoing personal development must precede an actual career choice. Success is highly probable for the individual who is properly prepared when opportunity arrives at her doorstep! That preparation later transforms into growth that must continue throughout ones career. Many salespeople and employers make the fatal mistake of becoming so busy working on their business, that they neglect working on themselves. They get “caught-up” in the busyness of everyday issues. Slowly, but surely, this error will catch up with them.
Last week, President-Elect Obama met with four past presidents, spanning three generations of life experiences, for an unprecedented “mastermind” lunch session. Napoleon Hill coined that term as he wrote his timeless masterpiece, Think and Grow Rich. He describes it as a planned meeting of diverse experts with the goal of applying their vast collective knowledge towards the solution of a specified task. Barack Obama displays an uncanny confidence and demeanor that allows him, despite his own intellect, to seek the wisdom and counsel of others. Do you think such an action step, associations and activities might benefit you as well? Who do you associate with? What do you read? Watch? Listen to?
Sales training and personal development must be forefront and continuous. They must become a regular component of ones life. There is an old saying “if you are not growing, you are dying.” Nothing could be more true, especially today. We must continue to regularly expand our comfort zone, both personally and professionally.
Today, available information is doubling annually. Communication is now instantaneous. The rate of change is a blur! In fact, if your strategy includes a plan to simply keep up, you WILL be left behind. You MUST adjust to a pace that keeps you ahead of the curve. That requires continuous learning, effective personal development and constant expansion of your comfort zone. Whether you sell products and services for a living, inspire others in any manner or direct operations, you are regularly selling your ideas and philosophies to others. You are influencing change. Take charge, and you control your destiny, to do otherwise means that you become a part of someone else’s agenda.
Learn continuously. Develop and expand your skills. Pay attention to change and do not become intimidated by it. Dive into into the opportunities before you and see your sales career prosper accordingly.