I have a lot of friends, colleagues, and clients who lost their job and quickly took up with an organization as an account executive. Unfortunately, when they were 'trained' and 'graduated', they found that it's a cold and cruel world out there. With the exception of their family and friends, they had to cold call all types of people to hawk their wares. And that's all they got from their company.
Here are the 5 (okay I lied . . . six . . . extra credit) tips that I relate to all of my clients when looking at any sales opportunity:
- It must have a defined territory or product line. There are a million sales positions out there and most of them are not relegated to any type of territory or product line. The problem is that you will (not might, will) get overlapping salespeople hawking the same service or product to the same person or company. And that's a bad thing. It immediately communicates that the product is not interested in solving the company's problem, it's more interested in pushing its product. Any sales position worth its salt must have some sort of defined territory, client level, or product line.
- It must have a current client base that is handed off to you to begin covering. This is basic sales management. When you take over a territory, product line, or client level, associated clients are apportioned to you. This gives you the running start that you'll need to maintain and excel at your new position. It also throws you right into the line of fire so you learn your craft and products quickly.
- It must have past customers or clients that can be called on. Every good sales position has a number of prospects that got away or clients that have defected to the enemy. It's your job to go get them back. Unless it's a new company with new products. Then be wary — have them demonstrate planned success in your territory.
- It must have an opportunity to cold call new clients. Cold calling is standard in any sales position — but it should never be the ONLY way you get clients. Any company that shoves you out into the blizzard with a bunch of hokey brochures to only cold call . . . BEWARE.
- It must be with a company that spends big bucks on marketing, advertising and promotion. This is a big one. You will be swinging in the wind if your company spends too little or no portion of their budget on marketing. I've worked with many clients who have wondered why they've struck out selling a company's products when no one knows who they represent. For instance, would you buy an iPad without all of Apple's marketing and management of the media?
- It must have some type of salary base. Any offered position must be positioned as a win-win for both the employer and employee. When the employer takes no risk whatsoever and pays no base salary, they have nothing to lose. But YOU DO. Get them to take a bit of risk too.
Now one opportunity might have some of these offerings and some might have all. Bottom line — the more offerings you get — the stronger the foundation you will have to build a firm and successful sales presence. This isn't my opinion, it's a fact.