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This is where many salespeople are to be held responsible for sales marriages gone wrong. They are too easily blinded by the hopes of more dollars in their wallets. They fail to look at all of the criteria that affect success. Don't get me wrong. Money is important, very important. However, focusing on money as a primary decision point makes the dollars a mirage. I remember those old Indiana Jones movies where Indiana would be thirty feet away from the treasure. A few quick steps and the treasure would be his. Or would it? Lining the thirty feet of cavern were the dead bodies of those who attempted to merely grab the treasure. Indiana strategically approached the treasure to ensure he got it, and equally important, survived the venture.
The treasure for salespeople (also known as commissions) can be wrought with the same peril. If the employer presents a $250,000 opportunity, but the skills or activities required are not your strengths of, will you ever see those dollars? Highly unlikely. When I lived in the Washington D.C. Metro area during the dot-com craze, I saw many of my friends leave solid sales positions with Microsoft, Oracle, and Cisco for the chance at millions of dollars in stock options. For most, it was truly a mirage. Why?
Imagine, for a moment, you are calling on an IT manager representing Cisco. Just say the name, "Cisco," and poof, you have an appointment. The same is true for Microsoft, Oracle and other big name technology brands. Changing gears, you are now selling for ABC IT Services. You place a call to the IT manager and it is not received with a welcoming reception, but rather skepticism and disinterest. The successful salesperson needs the skills to get in the door with this IT manager before any buying facilitation can begin. If your background has been selling household brands and you haven't had to do this before, how likely are you to be successful at doing it unless the company is willing to teach you that skill?
For salespeople to put together a healthy, successful sales marriage with an employer, they need to formulate a profile just like employers do when hiring salespeople. For salespeople, it is the profile of the ideal sales opportunity. To formulate the profile, a historical and futuristic perspective is needed. The convergence of the two yields the profile.
To begin the exercise for formulating your profile, answer the following questions for each sales position you have held. Be totally honest with yourself in performing this exercise.
1. Historical Strengths