Editor’s Note: Today we are happy to welcome Jeff Shore to our blogging community. Jeff is a self-described “sales wonk” who works with small companies to help them embrace their discomforts and deliver bold sales results. Recently we’ve looked at the issue of turnover in sales from the viewpoint of the hiring side . Today Jeff offers a few questions for the applicant side of the equation. Finding the right fit by reflecting on these questions early in the job hunt will help salespeople achieve staying power in their sales positions.
The sales vocation holds two interesting distinctions: 1) Seemingly endless opportunities 2) An alarmingly high rate of burnout. Presently, the annual turnover rate for direct sales representatives is 26%.
The crucial question about this statistic is whether these turnovers are voluntary or involuntary. It’s one thing to get shown the door because you are just not very good at what you do, but in the case of sales, the majority of turnover is voluntary.
Sales is a great vocational choice but obviously, you do not want to be a member of the 26% club. So, how do you find the company that you really click with? How do you land that perfect position that gives you everything you are looking for in a sales career?
Consider these five questions “Great Sales Job“:
1. Can You Win?
Go back to your Psych 101 textbook and look up Herzberg’s Motivating Factors. Number one on the list: Achievement drive – the need to win.
This is always a good place to start. Ask yourself a simple but important question: “Can I be a winner here?” If you can’t win, your motivation will quickly wane and you will be moving on in no time.
2. Will I Be Respected?
#2 on Herzberg’s list: Recognition. Appreciation is an extremely powerful motivator, and without it, we eventually feel unwanted and unmotivated.
The lure of a commission is always tempting, but it will never be enough to make up for an environment in which people are not recognized and respected for their efforts. Talk to top performers to get a sense of the emotional environment of the sales team.
3. Will I Enjoy the Work?
As per Herzberg, enjoyment is another key factor in ongoing motivation. You can force yourself to put up with undesirable work for a while, but sooner or later, your ability and desire to keep going via sheer force of will is going to decrease and may eventually vanish all together. When we do not enjoy our work, we do not put in our best effort—at least, not for long.
4. Is There Moral and Ethical Consistency?
The key here is to determine how a company defines the term “gray.” No one wants to come right out and say, “We admit it – we’re pretty shady around here.” So do your best to determine if there are a lot of “gray” standards and procedures that are the norm.
Make sure any company you are considering working for is 100% above-board. (Such information is readily available online.) Don’t compromise or rationalize. Stick to your moral guns.
5. Can I Make a Difference?
At the end of the day, you need to know you make a difference. The best jobs provide you with opportunities to make the world a better place, to solve someone’s problem, to improve someone’s life. You don’t have to cure cancer or solve world hunger, but you do need to make a difference.
If you can imagine being at a party or event and feeling proud to say where you work and what you sell, then you have likely found a great sales match. Go for it!