Do you want to be a professional salesperson? Are you sure? If we acknowledge that selling is a profession, you must make a few decisions.
Are you willing to do what it takes to be a professional? Do you have the desire and motivation to be a professional? Selling is a profession. It’s that simple. Unlike other professions though, it doesn’t require a board of review or a certain standard to achieve before calling oneself a salesman.
Many professions require a license to practice. Doctors, Lawyers, Beauticians too, are required to pass a minimum set of requirements to get a license. Then there are the continuing education credits to keep the license in good standing.
Selling is a job many “just fall into” without the real knowledge of what it takes to succeed. How many people do you know that went into sales because it “beat working for a living?” The dropout rate is high because of one thing: SELLING IS HARD!
Sales training was non-existent for every sales job I’ve had, except one. One company handed me a 3-ring binder with a few pages inserted. Pointing at a map of the area, my new manager said, “You can call on anyone you want east of this line.” That was it: my training was complete. Go forth and sell.
The truth is you must take responsibility for your own training. If the company offers it, great. Participate with zeal and enthusiasm. If not, take charge and begin your own “self-training.” It’s more difficult but completely possible, speaking from experience.
What does it take to become a professional in selling? More than most people are willing to give. There is a difference between selling and becoming a professional salesman. Professionals take selling seriously.
It’s not “just a job” for a pro, it is more than that.
All the real salespeople I have known had a genuine desire to succeed. They quickly determined where their skills were lacking and then took steps to correct and improve.
The Top 20%
The top 20% make 80% of the sales in an organization. My experience as a salesman and a Sales Manager bears this out. If you want to be considered a professional, you must strive for the top 20% in your organization. Amateurs settle for average.
The top 20% act with integrity and take pride in their work. They take the extra time to stay up to date in their industry. They work on their profession of sales. They develop habits that allow them to succeed.
What does it take to succeed at this level?
- Study your craft of sales
- Read books on sales
- Watch videos on sales and training
- Take courses in subjects that apply
- Listen to sales podcasts and tapes
- Attend sales and motivation conferences
- Form a Master Mind group
- Hire a coach
Now that you are a member of the 20% club, you need to step up to the next goal. The top 20% should be the first goal, but not the end game.
The Top 4%
The top 20% of the top 20% are the most professional of all. This usually takes the additional desire to achieve the best. It is not easy to reach this distinguished level but it’s a worthy pursuit.
Think about it. This group is 4 out of every 100 salespeople. It is such a small percentage because it is the hardest to break into.
Attaining this level makes you part of a very elite group. It is the pinnacle of the profession made up of people that never have to worry about a job. Companies are seeking these people and recruiters look for them. The 4% are the best.
How Can You Get There?
It is a simple 5-step process. Simple in form, but difficult in implementation.
- Determine you want it enough
- Develop a plan
- Implement the plan
- Make course corrections
- Rinse and Repeat
It doesn’t take the smartest or best looking. However, it does take a person that understands the hardships at the beginning and the knowledge that it gets better with time.
It does take effort. Hard, dedicated effort. Oh, and determination.
So is it worth it? All this work? Absolutely. Selling is the most gratifying profession.