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If you want to be successful, a true self-starter, you are going to have to put everything you have into your job, and your career. You are going to have to work hard to hone your sales and marketing skills.
Technically, you may be a salesperson, but as all good salespeople know, to be a great salesperson you also have to be a great marketer. You have to know how to get the fish to jump into the boat as well as how to catch them.
All of this takes a lot of work and effort. No matter what your situation, whether you are an independent sales rep or a direct salesperson on a company salary, you have to act like you are in business for yourself. You have to be as dedicated to your career as if you were your own boss, because in a way you are.
Many direct salespeople are away from the company covering their own territories. They have to find ways to productively fill their days balancing everything from making appointments and keeping those appointments, to developing account plans and forecasts and finding ways to make those forecasts. In short, even direct salespeople are their own bosses in many ways.
This means that they have to learn how to manage themselves. Most companies with direct salespeople have some kind of formal management system. It can simply be a weekly status report or a much more elaborate daily log, or maybe a weekly phone call, or maybe a software system such as ACT! All companies have some system for keeping track of their salespeople and making them accountable as well. This is part of the process. But what isn’t part of the traditional process is salespeople developing their own measurement systems and coming up with ways to measure and manage themselves.
If you are going to be successful, if you are going to be a superstar, then the management and measurement requirements that your company imposes on you are not enough. You have to come up with your own system.
And most importantly, you always have to be evaluating yourself. Just what it is you are doing? What are you supposed to be doing, how you are doing it, and why you are doing it? The most important thing you can do is constantly analyze your performance against goals to see if you are making those goals and if you are, why? And if not, then why not? And then ask yourself what are your going to do to correct things.
To help you do this, I have developed this list of questions to ask yourself so that you can manage yourself and give yourself a “tune-up” if things are not going in the direction they should be.
- What is my job? What is my role? What exactly am I supposed to be doing? What am I supposed to be accomplishing? You can even look at your original job description and enhance it to fit today’s needs. And if you don’t have one, then write one. The point here is to always remind yourself of what it is you do. What are your responsibilities?
- What is my role when it relates to the company? What am I supposed to be contributing to the company? Am I making that contribution? Should I be doing more? Am I pulling my weight?
- What are the basic fundamentals on the company? You need to have a complete understanding of the company’s direction, strategy, and tactics. What is your company really selling? What services is your company providing?
- What do I need to do to sell those services? How can I portray my company in the best possible light so that people will want to use my company?
- Am I a good company representative? For my customers, I am the face of the company. Am I doing a good job at that? Do I represent the company in the best way possible?
- What can I do to make the company better? How can I enhance the company’s fundamentals to the point where other companies would love to use our products?
- What information does the company need from me? What can I find out in terms of data and information that will help my company improve?
- How can I help my customers? What do I need to know about them to make sure I can service them in the very best way possible?
Finally, add some of your own questions. The important thing is to always be checking yourself out, always be doing things to assure your success, and hence the company’s success. The better a salesperson you are, the more you will help your company and the better your company will be. It’s all related, and it’s all common sense.