A guide to the emotions of a salesperson.
Sales is one of the most rewarding careers, with endless potential for growth, learning and earning. The problem is that many people enter the field thinking that it’s easy. But with any career, there are peaks and valleys of the success profile, and it starts right at day one. So before diving into a career in sales, knowing that there is a ramp up period to finding success will make all of the difference.
4 stages of a salesperson
Stage 1: Honeymoon Phase – All Guts, No Glory
Like the first day of school, the first few months of a new sales career are filled with excitement. Highly motivated, these green individuals come to work each day ready to prospect like a boss. New salespeople will do everything they can to absorb the process, soaking up everything they can from the people around them. Coachable, and eager to learn as much as possible about the sales cycle, they accept failure as a normal part of the learning curve, maintaining that excitement in anticipation of making it big.
Stage 2: The Summit of the Mountain – The Wake Up Call
After operating at 120% for several months, the training wheels are off, and the salesperson knows the routine and is living it every day. But after months on the job, reality creeps in, usually with the terrifying realization that the work they have invested so far has yet to pay off. Where are the clients? Where are the commissions? Confidence dwindles, replaced with a new understanding of just how challenging it can be to land new clients. Questioning their every move, productivity starts to taper and morale begins to sink. Then, that first big win hits the books like fireworks on the 4th of July—just in the nick of time.
Stage 3: Peaks and Valleys – Accepting Reality
During the second year, the salesperson will experience peaks and valleys based on short term results. With every small win, he or she regains the excitement from their early days, which will translate into increased motivation. But after the taste of a win, not reaching sales goals can be especially frustrating. This is oftentimes the point when the salesperson will either pick themselves up by the bootstraps and push through to the next phase of the career, or will come to the conclusion that sales isn’t for them. Having a sales leader on hand, mentoring their younger peers through these trying times will be extremely valuable as it will help them regain their confidence until that big win hits again.
Stage 4: On Top of the Mountain – The Seasoned Professional
Once a salesperson makes it through those first arduous years, they are equipped with skills that can be applied to any business situation. They can think on the spot, sell their product or service to a doormat and quickly identify if the prospect is a Blue Chip Customer or a Tirekicker. With a few key accounts under their belts, they have a steady stream of income, and the confidence to bring in even more business—and a handful of those great white whale accounts. These people may even have a team of green salespeople working toward the greater good. While they can’t let down their guard too much, they can take a more targeted approach to selling and see success.
Signing up for a career in sales means giving yourself time to learn the ropes. While the first few years can be the most challenging, the key is to set reasonable expectations for yourself and your managers. Stick with the process, be persistent and keep refining your technique—the results will follow.
For information on how to manage and engage salespeople throughout every stage of their career, contact Carver Peterson Consulting. We will create a customized training program to help ensure that your sales team is maximizing its potential regardless of their experience.