How to Build a Top Career in Sales

Many people start a career in sales thinking that they will rise to the top of the industry quickly, and that their income earned will be high.  If only life was that easy.

Professional selling is a specific career that requires a high degree of personal development and practice; that process should never stop.  Those people that are very good at selling are particularly so not through luck, but by the specific actions and choices that they take.  They work really hard.  They have systems to underpin the actions that they take every day, and they look for ways to improve their processes.  They actually do what they say they will do.

The averages of performance therefore apply to most people in a ‘career of sales’.  Less than 10% of salespeople in any industry are truly the ‘high performers’.  This number should say to you that there is a massive opportunity for most to improve and grow their business if they apply themselves to the tasks required.

Daily actions and results should be tracked and ratios monitored when you work in sales.  In this way you will know when things are improving.  New sales skills take time to develop; but develop they will do so if you practice your efforts and take the right action every day.

The core sales skills that are important to us are usually a combination of all of the following and some of us are better at some of those things than others:

  • Research
  • Prospecting
  • Meeting generation
  • Presentations
  • Sales pitches
  • Closing
  • Negotiating
  • Client service and communication

Some of these things are very important but only you can decide what they are for you and your business.  For example, if you lack a lot of clients and prospects then you will need to do some prospecting.  If you are getting the meetings but not the business then you have an issue with presentations, and you will need to improve in that way.

Understand this; most of us are not good at everything, but we are good at some things.  Understand your weaknesses and start to improve them.  Practice every day the skills that will help you rise up in your market.

Know where you are now

To understand if you are growing your business and market share, here are some numbers to track on an individual basis.  Assess and tally the numbers at the end of each week.

  • Calls outbound
  • Calls inbound
  • Meetings arranged with prospects and clients
  • Meetings to new business ratio
  • Business generated by volume
  • Business generated by $ value
  • Seasonal sales trends
  • Enquiry rates
  • Average sales
  • Database growth

A top salesperson is not ‘lucky’; they win the business because they are very good at understanding what to do and how to do it.  They then take the actions to improve their skills in the right things for their market and locality.  Does this help your sales career?  I think it will if you take the actions needed.