Living up to Your Title
Do your actions match your job description?
Anyone can say they have a job responsibility, but the real question is, do your actions prove it? Let’s examine this issue, not to be critical, but to assist you in being the best you can be.
Most dealers have a business plan in writing for one, three and five years, and a budget for the current year. They get accurate financial statements and compare them to the budget every month. They have written agreements, manuals and job descriptions and hold their staff accountable to generate sales and stick to established procedures. They are in control and steer the company toward its goals. They plan their time, use it wisely and do not run from disaster to disaster. They do the entrepreneurial tasks that make money, not the small tasks like delivering salt and water. They continue their education in water, new technologies, products and business topics by reading on a regular basis.
Every company has a sales manager, even if it doesn’t have a sales staff. But what do sales managers do? Their primary job is to deliver the sales and gross profit agreed upon in their written employment agreement and in the company budget. To do this, they divide their job into three main functions.
The first is to recruit a great sales team. This doesn’t mean putting an ad in the paper. It means getting to know good salespeople and recruiting them; attending tradeshows and other events to look for salespeople; and having employee open houses. It means doing something every day to recruit great salespeople.
Being the sales manager also means making your sales staff successful. It means being able to show your team how to generate leads by making courtesy calls, calling on neighbors, following up on clients and many other methods. A sales manager must be able to take a new salesperson out, help them close and prospect for more sales. It doesn’t mean sitting in the office; it means managing sales, hands-on, every day.
Finally, a sales manager follows up on unsuccessful sales calls and tries to find out why the company didn’t get the sale. This way, proper steps can be taken based on facts, not feelings, so that problems are corrected. The sales manager has to find out why people aren’t buying in order to guide the sales department in its future actions.
Next, let’s evaluate if your actions prove you are a salesperson. The way salespeople spend their time is divided into three main categories.
Education. Salespeople are only valuable to customers if they are experts. That means salespeople must continue their education on water, technology and sales techniques throughout their careers. Markets change, so salespeople that have learned little in the last three years are hopelessly out-of-date. You must learn something every day. If this stops applying to you, your days are numbered in sales.
Education also applies to the demonstration. A good salesperson has a great demo and constantly works to improve it. They spend time staying informed of competitor products, prices, warranties and specifications.
Prospecting. Salespeople who meet their goals spend a good portion of their time prospecting. They see opportunity everywhere and they seize it. Salespeople who sit and wait for the phone to ring don’t add any sales that wouldn’t have happened if they weren’t there. If you are not constantly looking for new ways to generate sales leads, maybe you are not meeting the job description of a salesperson.
Selling. Being out on sales calls and talking to customers is what makes you a salesperson. If you did two, one-hour demos yesterday, you sold for 25% of the day. If you prospected for an additional four hours, you were involved in sales activities 75% of the day, and that is a good number to shoot for. However, if you average one demo per day and do little prospecting, is there any evidence that you are a full-time salesperson?
The real measure of your character is what you do when no one is looking. Looking at the activities you actually accomplish hopefully will shine a light on what you do to contribute to the success of the company.
If you like what you see from this exercise, then congratulate yourself on a job well done. If you see a need for change, try changing one thing tomorrow, and then look at things again in a week or so to see what has improved.
Truly examining your performance is always interesting. Remember, you can say you have any title you please, but your actions speak louder than words. wqp