Pursuing a New Job in Sales | Articles & Tips | WNYJobs.com | Rochester




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 Pursuing a New Job in Sales

By Joe Stein

Sales people and sales positions tend to be aligned in that both are usually very results oriented. For an employer, how success is defined can be very “black and white”. If you are exceeding the numbers, you are in good standing but if you are not (and don’t project that to change immediately), then a job search is probably in order. Similarly, for a salesperson, if you are not making as much as you desire or have in the past (perhaps your territory has been changed), then you are probably dissatisfied and need to start a job search.
If you are thinking about changing sales positions, there are a number of items that you should consider when starting your search. Below are just some of the topics you should consider:
• What Is Your Priority? Some of the aspects of a job search which may be important to others, are often not a top priority to a person in sales. For example, a supervisor relationship can be very important to most, while in sales, the mindset is often to have your boss leave you alone and let you sell. Similarly, work variety and content can be critical to some job seekers, while for a salesperson, the mission is pretty singularly and unwavering…add value, build relationships, secure the sale.
• Are You Free to Go? You may wonder about this one…isn’t it employment-at-will? It is not uncommon in sales, however, for there to be a signed non-compete clause. In order for it to be enforceable, you should have received something (hired, promotion) and the terms should be specific (industry, geographic range). Did you sign one? If so, you may want to have a lawyer review how enforceable the terms are and exactly what does it prevent you from doing. If there is not a non-compete, you are free to pursue any position.
• Sharpen Your Interview Skills: Whether fair or not, the expectation is that you will be a very good speaker at your interview. The stereotype is that if you are good at selling something, then you will automatically be smooth when selling yourself to others. I don’t necessary agree with this, since as extroverted as someone may be, there is something about talking about yourself that can be challenging to do. Since the expectations will most likely be high, be sure to practice your answers to the most commonly asked questions. In that regard, the prospective employer will seemingly be very interested in how you will overcome any obstacles or objections that occur (and if you have been in sales, you know that this will happen).
• Be Sure to Sell: In a sales interview, you have an advantage over job seekers interviewing for other jobs, in that you are expected to overtly sell yourself. While in other positions, a job seeker may want to stress how well he/she works with others and what a strong team player they are. For sales position, you want to communicate how you outperformed others in whatever sales metrics you feel will be most valuable. Emphasize the metrics you did strongly on in your past position, while ignoring or deemphasizing any that you did not do as well. The only caveat to this point is that you don’t want to sell yourself to the point of being annoyingly arrogant or come across as someone who won’t follow any policies that have been written.
• Do Your Research: For many job seekers, a cursory knowledge of the prospective employer is sufficient to ask a few questions and respond to any small talk that will occur. For a sales position, often this minimal approach will not nearly be good enough, as the Hiring Manager may expect you to explain (in-depth) the sales approach you will take using information about the product or company in question. This questioning may even result in role playing with the Hiring Manager. You will also want to do this research to determine if this prospective company will provide you the necessary growth to meet your sales revenue desires.
• Sharpen Your References: Reference checking can be very important in regard to a sales position. The reference can validate what you have already communicated regarding your sales accomplishments. Similarly, if you have any formal certificates of sales awards, this could be something to be shared.
One of the nice aspects about a career in sales is that the occupation does not generally tie you to a particular industry or region. Your transferable skills should open a variety of open sales positions to you for consideration. Given this information, it is important that you determine exactly what you want out of your sales career, and then prepare accordingly.