How excited are you about the products and the market that you are selling into? Have you fallen into a rut, or has the company you sell for changed or become stagnant?
I spent 17 years as a regional sales manager for a company in upstate New York. We grew like wildfire in the first eight to 10 years as the company quintupled in size.
The larger we became, the more our growth slowed. The company experienced major growing pains, including turnover of employees, as the workload increased faster than we could hire competent personnel. It was frustrating, but the thought was that we would adapt to our new size and the growth would resume.
However, the more we struggled, the more it seemed to choke the innovative sales techniques that had allowed us to rocket ahead and grab more market share. We bogged down; it felt like running in quicksand.
The next few years slowly sapped me as sales strategies that I suggested to push us through would get kicked around and would never get implemented. I would write out my sales strategies, and they would get published by national sales magazines or trade magazines like this one. I would receive e-mails praising me for thinking outside the box or for sharing a best practice that we at one time implemented but somehow moved away from.
Our growth stopped.
Missing: One Spark
I became unmotivated and frustrated with my job. I had learned a tremendous amount and had grown on the job; the owner of the company is an extremely intelligent person who had taught me plenty. I had enjoyed my time, but a competitive salesperson wants and needs to win. The truth was that I needed a fresh start.
Sales is different from most professions. If you really want to excel in sales, you must have that burning drive and desire within you, the willingness to make the extra sales call, and the need to be first.
Are you doing enough just to get by? Ask yourself the hard truth. I had to come to the realization that the company I was working for was no longer operating in an aggressive growth mode. Is that what is happening to you? Has the spark died out?
It was hard to switch jobs after 17 years to say goodbye to longtime customers who had become trusted friends. I wanted to get reenergized, so slowly but surely, I began my search.
My plan was to only leave if I could get with an aggressive company hell-bent on superior customer service and growth. I am always looking to improve on my circumstances, but I had to find the right fit.
We all know salespeople who are comfortable with the status quo and are happy to just stay steadily employed. Don't be that person! If your company doesn't challenge you and your ideas gather dust, then you have to have the courage to move on. Nothing ventured, nothing earned.
Please remember and never forget you have to sell more to make more. My old company grew over five times its size in my tenure, but my personal pay never came close to even doubling. It also appeared that we were slowly slipping backwards, so it was definitely time to go.
Remember, Then Renew Or Reset
I left upstate New York and moved to Louisville, Kentucky. My new employer has provided me with all of the tools needed to rapidly grow sales. I am truly excited for what lies ahead.
The point is to constantly challenge yourself. You must find a way to stay driven and motivated. If you are stuck in a position where you feel that you are capped in what you can do or how much money you can make, then it is time to either have a heart-to-heart with your boss or, if necessary, take the leap to find your new frontier.
You need to remember why you got into sales to begin with — the chances are you love a challenge, and wanted to control how much money you could make. A good sales job should not have you making basically the same money year over year. If this is you, it is time to change the game.
The new frontier for you could be to aggressively tackle a new product line or recommitting to doubling your growth, whatever staying true to why you are in the sales profession means to you. Make your fortune, take excellent care of your customers, and always strive for more ways to grow. For me, that meant a new job in a new market.
I am still an HVAC wholesaler because this is where I belong. The question is where you belong, and only you know the answer. It might be time to do a little soul searching to figure out if you are truly in the right position to maximize your abilities.
You have to break down the numbers and analyze your situation so that you can make an informed decision about your future in sales with your current company. Are you getting enough leads, do you have the right support tools? Do you have the right products and services that are perceived as valuable to your customer base?
If the problem is your closing rate, then the problem might not lie with the company but with your own abilities, so you might need to commit to learning new sales tools or start reusing what had worked for you in the past.
I have only worked for two companies for the last 30 years, so I'm not one to change jobs. The best thing for me over my career has been to grind it out. I would get creative, come up with new strategies, and drive myself harder to accomplish not only my goals but the goals of the company. But when I was no longer able to get this accomplished, it became glaringly obvious that it was time for me to looks for new horizons.
You have to have the courage to take the leap, but make sure the juice is worth the squeeze. Happy selling.