Michael Phelps, Olympic Gold Swimming Champion, was known to say “I think goals should never be easy – they should force you to work, even if they are uncomfortable at the time.”
Doing big things – in your sales career or in sales leadership - requires you to find something within you that you may not know you have. You must really push yourself to success.
I say this because it is SO easy to quit today. We have tons of options of job possibilities and careers to consider.
The career of sales is an amazing one – and it is also a hard one. Once you ramp up in a company it can be the most rewarding, well-paying and flexible career that there is. When you are newer, you need to know that if you can get through the tough beginning it could be the best career you could have.
A few years back, I coached a rep I’ll call Joe, who was not confident about his abilities and he was close to being fired because of his inconsistent performance and lack of follow up. In working with him we both discovered that he simply didn’t put discipline in place to repeat his habits nor follow through with prospective buyers and existing customers. Joe had a high Sales DNA, meaning he had traits and skills to be very successful selling so once he corrected his bad habits he became a star sales person.
Now, years later, Joe is a SVP of sales, leading a team of managers who oversee 85 reps.
Joe told me recently, "Sales was a much harder job than I ever thought. Once I figured it out though, it's been very good to me and my family from the money I make to the flexibility I've been able to have."
If you have a negative work environment, you should look around because there are so many great opportunities for sales reps you should be at a company where your sales leaders, peers, and company leaders inspire you. If you have that, but your job just seems hard, figure out what it is that makes it that way. Is it internal issues or external issues?
If internal, is it fixable or historically "klugey"? You are not going to change a large corporation overnight – but if you are in a small and nimble startup you might have the opportunity to show what the issues are and help make change happen.
After a few years in my own sales career, I learned to “choose my battles”- you can not fix everything you don’t like, so choose wisely. Sometimes there are good reasons for how things are – and other times not. You need to make that decision.
Often we are just not used to the discipline of working hard every day, reaching out to potential buyers and having conversations about the value our company brings to companies like theirs. It takes a LOT of those conversations for the sales opportunities that you need to be successful.
Figure out if your job dissatisfaction is that you are just not ramped up and fully working a system of success or if you have roadblocks in the company that will not allow you to be more successful, and take action accordingly.
There is no perfect position out there – every company has it’s pros and cons, and every sales role does too. If you are a leader, work to continuously improve and be an inspiration to your team. If you are a sales rep, push hard and do what you are being asked to do – see if it helps you attain your numbers and give you a sense of satisfaction.
Sales can be the best high paying job or the worst low paying job you'll ever have. It's something you'll determine for yourself. Find a company with great products and services then build your career.
Share on Twitter if you think sales positions are hard or not – how many companies did you work for before you found a great one?
Photo by Cornelia Lohs
Lori Richardson helps mid-sized companies grow revenues by solving key issues in their sales department - like recruiting, retention, diversity hiring, process, pipeline and leadership. She speaks at CEO groups on topics of sales growth. Clients include companies in the technology, telecom, manufacturing, distribution, and professional services industries. Subscribe to the award-winning blog, follow her on Twitter
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