Updated: Feb 22, 2019
Maybe! Is not the simple answer you may think of. As an individual, if you are not willing to make a sales call outside of office hours (9 to 5) you should not be in sales! Period. The sole purpose of being a sales professional is to make money. This will allow you the freedom to go on luxury holidays, dine at high-end restaurants, wear designer clothes, provide you with the comforts that represent your hard-earned efforts etc. The wrong reason for being in sales is to earn a base salary and do the 9 to 5!
Sales is not about base! It should be about commission (#myOpinion). These two statements are industry specific. I know from experience that some firms offer a large base with little-to-zero commission, whereas others may offer a much smaller base with the potential to earn a considerable amount more. Making the switch from the guaranteed high base to a greater earning potential with higher commission can be a challenging experience and requires calculations to be displayed with some encouragement.
As an individual sales professional, if you are working for a ‘base’ and hitting pointless KPIs just to show you are working – get out of the industry and give someone else the opportunity to earn and grow. It isn't for you!
This is something that I am not a fan of as I believe it hinders creativity and the ability to express oneself. Should you be hitting targets then I don’t believe one should be micromanaged as numbers speak for themselves, however, I am unfortunate enough to know of individuals who MUST be micromanaged. In the arena of sales this shouldn’t be the case BUT I understand it.
I do believe however that these individuals should be relieved of their positions to pursue another career. This isn’t being horrid; quite the opposite, as they most likely aren’t happy with the role in the first place. If they want to make money, I mean REALLY want to make money then there should not be a need to micromanage.
True sales is about reaping the rewards from your hard work. It is about the discipline to say no to friends and family when they want to party whilst you have commitments to clients and yourself. Sales is about going the extra mile when delivering and maintaining that line of communication. Sales is about FOCUS! With focus come the rewards.
Sometimes we don’t have a choice when it comes to socializing after ‘so-called’ office hours as it may be a work requirement, but remember that results delivered are a reflection of the effort put in i.e., if management are expecting to entertain their sales guys on an almost daily basis then they should expect results that reflect boozing almost on a daily basis.
The takeaway – Sales isn’t for everyone! If you want that 9 to 5 and need to be micromanaged it isn’t for you. You can lie to friends and family but each time you look in the mirror and sit at the desk you cannot hide from the fact that you aren’t happy.
From time to time I get sales calls offering various services for my business; some of which pitch well, especially if they manage to get me in-between online meetings and webinars. I get frustrated and insulted though when I request a callback at 0800 or earlier or sometimes after 1900 and I am told that they are not in the office during those times! ARE YOU FOR F**KING REAL?
Now I look at the management of each of these companies that reach out to me – what type of precedent are they setting for their employees? Is this the management’s business or are they just an employee as are their subordinates? This type of approach, or mindset – depending on how you look at it – is an insult to those who aspire to grow in an industry given that results require sacrifice and graft – get out of the kitchen, imposters!
Surely, there has got to be a better work ethic.
My personal experience
From a personal perspective; Sales is an art & craft and it can be one of the hardest things to do regardless of technique. Especially when we have monetary targets to reach, it then becomes a matter of quantity vs value of each sale.
However, should I be able to hit monetary targets with the fewest numbers of sales; that’s great. Otherwise, I will need to pull in the volume to reach those monetary targets.
How is this achieved?
By putting in the effort, working #unsociableHours, reaching out to clients who are working that #extraMile or who are in a different time zone. How else would I be able to close the deal? The moment you ask yourself that question is a moment of self-belief. Are you doing everything possible, or what can you do better?
I am #noStranger to working 20-hour days over numerous months, if that is what it takes. Maybe it is innate or is my driving factor to get something up and running. If I can do this for myself and previous employers, why can’t all sales professionals do the same?
Author: Oliver Reade | Founder and Managing Director