Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hard Work The most desired Quality of Sales Professional

Whenever qualities of Sales Persons are discussed qualities like good communications skills, good interpersonal relationship, knowledge about own products vis a vis competitors’ and Market Scenario are mostly talked about. Hard work either donot appear in list or given the last priority in the list. I am mentioning the hard word as the most desired requirement for this profession because hard work overrules all other qualifications .Hard Work is not only important in selling but it plays very significant role in all other professions also .The profession could be sales ,operation or anything else. I would rather say that hard work plays very important role in one’s personal life also . The first and foremost requirement which anybody should possess to succeed in any part of life is hard work . But the problem is that every body thinks that who hardly works is hard working.

Why Hard Work is very important specially in Sales?
To be successful in Sales I know one should have good communication skill, knowledge of the subject etc.. To be honest with you one need to put lot of hard work initially to be a good communicator and to have sound knowledge. As we know that our mother tongue is not English it is either Hindi or any other regional language but we communicate in English. If you need to have command on any foreign language you need to put lot of hard work. You will need to read a lot or listen to a lot. Same thing can be said about sound knowledge which can not be gained without hard work. I could have written about other qualities a sales guy should have to succeed in life but that will deviate you and me from the core issue of hard work. You can now clearly make out that hard work is the mother of all other requirements . If you are intelligent than it is not your achievement because this is the god’s gift to you. But to work hard is in your hand. Any body who has got moderate intelligence, moderate selling skill but is hard working will be successful .But same can not be said about a professional who is very intelligent ,he has got fantastic selling skill but is not hard working he can never can never get success consistently in his professional life.

To be successful in this form of selling you will have to interact a lot with your prospects(Probable Clients) and clients . Similarly you will have to interact a lot with your dealers, distributors or system integrator apart from the clients if you are working with Principals or manufacturing organization. For simplicity I will mention client instead of clients or prospects now onward. You will have to interact a lot internally also. Internally I mean to say you will have to interact a lot with various department in your organization. These departments are Project Department, Presale Department, Purchase Department, Support Staff , Operation Staff etc. To follow up internally or externally you need to put lot of Hard work. There is one more point which I would like to mention here is the optimum level of hard work.

I have seen during my career that lot of people put hard work but they are not able to achieve the success. You will have to put minimum amount of hard work to achieve the results. There are times when in spite of putting some amount of hard work result achieved is big zero. I would like to give you example here to make things more clearer to you .Suppose you want to lift the weight or you want to lift a stone which is weighing very heavily there is a optimum amount of effort which you have to put to lift that stone . Any thing less than optimum effort will not help you in lifting the weight . Same thing is true in the selling also .If you put 20 % efforts that does not mean that you will achieve 20 % results. You may have to put sometimes 120% efforts to achieve 100 % results. Once you achieve a breakthrough with any client than next 20 % effort may yield 100 % results. So optimum level of efforts are very- very important. It happens so many times with sales guy that he has made so many visit to client and client has reached a level where he may close the deal with one or more visit. But sales guy fails to analyze this and get frustrated as he thinks that he is not yielding results in spite of putting efforts so he stops going to the client or stops putting efforts .

So it is also necessary for sales guy to understand that he needs to put the optimum efforts to close the deals. When I talk about hard work . I put more emphasis on a sale guy to move out in the field . I have seen lot of people wasting their time in the office. In office hours they should meet their client. I have termed office as a relax zone. Lot of people waste their time unnecessarily preparing vouchers , make presentations or prepare reports in the precious time which should be devoted to field . Why I have called office as a relax zone because every body wants to relax. To be comfortable is the nature of any human being . The type of climate we have in India ,is very-very detrimental to any body . Some of the months in a year it is very hot then some of the months it is very cold and some of the months it is raining so you really have to struggle a lot ,You have to put a lot of physical effort to be in the field . Apart from this we do not have very good transportation in India we have to drive our own vehicle . Most of the sale guys are not paid very well & they drive two wheeler which also effect their performance. As a sales professional you will have to move out in the field in spite of all the problems. Until & unless you do not interact very frequently with your client the chances of closing the deal will be very minimal.

There is a saying that out of sight is out of mind. Same is true for sale guy if they don’t put hard work, do not meet their client regularly they will be out of their clients’ mind. So keep on knocking at their doors and keep on reminding clients is very essential. This will help you pushing the sale and reduce the sale cycle. When I say that regular visits will reduce the sales cycle I really mean it. You would be quite amazed how visiting regularly a client can reduce the sales cycle. What happens in real life is that the client has got has got his own priorities in life and unfortunately most of the time buying your product is not his top most priority. Your frequent visits to your client will keep on reminding him that you exist .When you put lot of efforts and show your sincerity & hard work most of the time your client also appreciate it. He feels that he must also do some thing and it will not be possible for him to make lame excuses every time you visit him. Apart from this if you regularly visit your client you will have more visibility about your client. I have seen very moderate people growing very fast because of hard work and have seen very intelligent people not growing just because of lack of Hard Work. So please note that Hard work or lack of Hard work can change the course of your career. You should make hard work as your attitude It should be way of life. When I talk about hard work, It should not only be hard work but smart work also . Whenever you are working in lot of accounts you should be able to evaluate in early stages what are the accounts which need lot of your time and what are the accounts which need least of your time.

One should have clear cut visibility of his accounts that is only possible if you put hard work , visit your clients regularly. While you interact with them regularly you will be able to get a clear cut visibility of your account & that will determine the amount of efforts you should put in . You will be able to categorize your accounts . There will be some accounts which should be graded very hot accounts and can be termed as a ‘A’ grade accounts . There will be some accounts which are not very hot can be graded as a ‘B” grade accounts & you will take some time to take these accounts at maturity level. There are some accounts which are at very early stages & can be graded as a “C’ grade accounts .Then there are fourth type of accounts where there is no requirement . You have to create the need in these accounts .These accounts can be categorized as a ‘D’ grade account . So based on these grading you can organize your efforts. You can set priority of your accounts as per the grading . Most of the time I have seen sale guy are not able to evaluate their accounts and start putting efforts in wrong direction . In spite of their lot of efforts they are not able to close any sales.

So Evaluation of these accounts is very-very important. 80% of your efforts should go to your 20% account which are very- very hot & 20% of your efforts should go to 80 % of your account which are not very hot. All the accounts should move up in a chain . The account which are at very initial stage should move to semi hot stage after some time. Your priority on accounts should keep on changing . It is a very- very dynamic scenario and you know change is the only constant factor .Your assessment about the accounts should be very dynamic ,it can never be static . Your efforts & amount of efforts keep on changing as the accounts move up in the chain. To do all these the first and foremost quality you need to have is hard work.

I would like to mention one more aspect of Hard work which is must for any sale person or for that matter for any person to succeed in any aspect of life is sincerity . When we talk about sincerity it means sales guys need to be sincere to their profession , They have to be sincere to their Organizations , they have to be sincere to themselves and last but not the least to the customers . Actually a sales guy not only represents his organization to the customer but he is representing his customer to his organization also. He has to ensure that interest of his organization and his customers are well taken care of. He can neither take his organization nor his customer for a ride. There has been a very misconception that sale guys should be cunning and over smart to be successful . They have to be smart but not cunning , and they should be very sincere .

Sincerity pays you in long run . Most of the sales guy thinks that they can make fool out of the customers . But remember you can make them fool once but not twice . If as sales guy if you try to be cunning most of the time you will not be able to close the deal because after one or two meeting customer will be able to understand your real motive. You need to be very honest with him and try to explain what are the positive aspect of your product/ technology and solutions & explain him rationally. If you adopt this approach you may loose business but will be able to win customer’s confidence. Next time whenever he has some requirement he will definitely call you & will try to give some priority over others. Even the most dishonest person on earth wants honest partner. Sincerity towards the customer will pay you in the long run . I have seen most of the sales guys are not sincere towards their organizations also .They report false sales funnel which raise the expectations of the organization. Organizations plan as per the projections provided by the sales teams. Incase there is huge difference between the projected and actual sales all the planning of organization goes haywire.

I will summaries everything that when I ask you to put hard work I just donot want you to put some efforts you have to put more than 100% efforts in this profession . Just by putting 25% effort or just by putting 50 % of effort will not yield any result . You need to put the optimum efforts. Any thing lesser than that will not yield any result.

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