Even if you are already working in your first sales position, it is important to fully understand why you or anyone else should consider making sales a career and not just a temporary job.
Sales legend and world-famous speaker Brian Tracy describes sales as the ultimate default profession. By that, he means that many sales professionals are in sales because they couldn't find any other job. They got into sales not because of their desire to be in sales, but due to having to find a job.
If you are in sales, why are you in sales and is sales your career? If you are considering a job in sales, ask yourself "why do I want to be in sales?"
After you spend a few years in a sales position, you will inevitably come across co-workers who simply cannot stand going to company mandated sales training. Their reasons are usually along the lines of "why talk about selling when you can be out selling?"
While very few sales companies like having to take their sales professionals out from in front of their customers, they all know or at least recognize the tremendous value of sales training.
As a rookie sales professional, you should not only attentively attend each and every sales training offered to you, but seek out additional training as well. Go to seminars, hire a business coach, read books and do whatever you can to always be improving your sales skills.
Successful sales professionals all share a common problem: Managing their busy schedules. Success brings demands in the form of customer training, meetings, conference calls, sales training, networking and personal commitments.
Without an effective, dynamic and flexible time management plan, important things will either not get the attention they deserve or will fall through the cracks. Learning how to say "no" is a skill that many need to learn but so is learning how to say, "yes, but I can't make this a priority right now."
No matter how good your qualifying, presentation, networking and closing skills may be, if you don't have customers to sell to, your other skills are useless.
Prospecting is the act of finding potential customers who may become actual customers. Prospecting is done a hundred different ways from knocking on office doors to direct mail. No matter how you or your company prospects, you need to make your prospecting time sacred to you. Miss a day of prospecting and you justify not prospecting for another day. Miss a week of prospecting and your results will suffer.
Allow prospecting to become a "when I get around to it" task, and your sales career is doomed.
Closing a sale is the most exciting thing a sales professional does and the most stressful. Closing should come at the end of a sales cycle and should be a natural conclusion to each of the previous steps.
In a perfect world.
The truth is that you will come across people who, no matter how effective you were in all the steps involved in the sales cycle, simply won't commit. When you run across these people (which you certainly will,) your ability to close are critical.
How To Be Successful in Sales
Earning success in sales is a more a matter of preparation than of being in the right place at the right time. While being "lucky" certainly has its place in sales, being at the right place at the right time demands that the sales professional is visiting customers or actively networking.
To create a list of articles or resources that can be considered a complete reference for how to succeed in sales would be a near impossibility. Sales and business climates are very dynamic and what is cutting edge one day is passe the next.