When to Quit Your Sales Career.
Becoming a Better Sales Rep — Post #32
Over the past posts, we reflected a lot on what characteristics most great salespeople have in common. We also focused on practicable skills and came up with strategies to implement them into our sales work.
However, we never talked about the question of whether sales is right for you or not. And, this is a valid question. It’s even a very important one to ask.
Yes, it’s true that most people can learn many things and improve but it’s also true that some people will always be better at certain things than other people and there is a simple reason for that.
Let’s take a look at the underlying reason and let’s then take a look at a few questions you should ask yourself when making the decision of switching careers into or out of sales.
If You Don’t Love the Process of Sales, Sales Is Not For You.
You’ll never be as successful in sales as you want to be if you don’t love your work.
I understand that sales is tempting. There are some 3 million salespeople in the U.S. alone and there’s always demand for more. Also, it’s easy to start out. Most entry-level sales roles don’t require you to have too much experience. It’s super nice that your sales performance is so transparent; this makes it easy to keep track of your own work. And, many people also appreciate the bonuses and the competitiveness of the work itself.
However, a significant proportion of people goes into sales for purely extrinsic reasons. They’re focused on outcomes rather than on the work itself. They want to make money, they want to be a Chief Revenue Officer one day, they see others being successful in sales and want the same success.
But people who are successful in sales are the ones who love their work. These people almost never focus on outcomes as much as they focus on enjoying their work.
When I was graduating from college, I wanted to be a management consultant so badly. I practiced over 100 case interviews, I had all my personal interview answers ready, and I knew everything about the companies I applied for.
However, I didn’t make the cut. At first, I was devasted but by now I’m happy that it didn’t work out. Over the years, I reflected a lot on the question “why I’m doing things.” And for the consulting job, I wanted to do it for the traveling, the prestige, and the job opportunities you get after the consulting career is over.
I had done internships in consulting and I hated them. I hated crunching numbers in excel, I hated researching markets, and — god — I hated making those stupid PowerPoint slides.
But, I was blind to this because I was so focused on the outcomes of being a consulting that I forgot that I didn’t love the process.
And, if you don’t enjoy the process, you’ll neither have a successful nor fulfilling career for various reasons:
- You’ll Be Outperformed By Your Peers Who Love the Job: There’s nothing that beats intrinsic motivation when it comes to job performance. If you love what you’re doing you automatically put in the extra hours, you’ll have a smile on your face, and you’ll just perform better. So, in reverse, when you don’t really like what you’re doing you’ll always be looking at the clock and hoping for the time to be over so you can finally go to the things that you want to be doing instead. And, it’s just logical that people who love what they do will outperform those who don’t. And, this doesn’t mean that you can’t be good at anything. It means that if you don’t love sales, you might want to look at things you do love doing to be amongst the best people in your field.
- You’ll Be Miserable: Not liking what you do and spending half of your life doing it will make you miserable. You’ll be thinking that you hate your tasks, your peers, and just everything about it. And this will spill over to your personal life. Your job won’t energize you, it’ll deprive you of energy.
- You’ll Feel Like an Imposter: Not enjoying the process of what you do will make you wonder why other people are better than you at the same job. Why is Lilly closing more deals than you are? Why do Jared’s KPIs look so much better? How did Rajesh surpass his targets three months in a row? You’ll continuously compare your performance to the performance of others and you’ll feel like you’re a fraud. While the truth will just be that you’re in the wrong job.
So, how do you find out if you’re doing sales for the right reasons?
Things to Consider When Figuring Out If Sales Is Right For You.
Before you can make a decision if you want to continue doing sales or start a sales job, make sure that you do the following things:
- Be Honest With Yourself: The most important thing is being honest with yourself. Cut the justifications. Cut all the reasons that you tell yourself why you should do sales or how your performance will be better if you only do this and that. There’s a reason you haven’t done them until now. If you can’t be honest with yourself, you won’t figure this out.
- Look at the Hard Facts: That’s the beauty of sales. Really look at your numbers. See the directions of your KPIs. Compare them to your peers. Do a thorough analysis of yourself. And do it yourself, so you understand it yourself if things are not going great.
- Allow Yourself to Accept How You Feel and Figure Out Why You Feel That Way: Besides focusing on hard numbers, ask yourself how you feel about your job. Count the times you’re complaining about your job at the dinner table. Ask yourself what you’d love to be doing much rather than your current job. Figure out if your negative feelings towards some co-workers are based on an underlying competitive frustration. Be honest with yourself and accept it if you just don’t like sales.
- Ask and Demand Honest Feedback from Others: Do a reality check with your mentors, peers, friends, or family. This step is crucial. I don’t want you to quit your sales career cause you’re too much in your head. Really ask the people in your life how they perceive your work performance, your behavior outside of work, how you’ve changed, and how happy you are. And ask them for the truth. People are terrible at giving feedback because they don’t want to hurt you. But you need to hear the truth.
10 Questions to Ask Yourself When Figuring Out If Sales Is Right For You
And while you’re trying to figure everything out, it might be useful to ask yourself and others these questions:
- Do you like your job?
- What makes you happy at work?
- Why are you doing what you’re doing?
- Is there something that you’d do much rather?
- Do you feel exhausted or energized by your work?
- Have you gotten grumpier or more sarcastic about/due to your work?
- How do you feel in the morning before you’re about to start your work?
- Have you been procrastinating a lot?
- Would — with excitement — recommend your job to other people?
- Do you feel like an imposter?
There are certainly many more questions. These are only meant to kickstart your thinking process. The real question is: are you doing your sales jobs for an outcome or are you also enjoying the process?
But If You Love Sales, Make Sure to Make Your Sales Work More Efficient and Effective with Resonaid.
Resonaid is a tool that writes personalized messages for your sales outreach. It identifies unique and personal hooks that you can use to send out messages that are customized for every single lead.
Make sure to give it a try, if you haven’t already!
Access Resonaid via the Chrome Web Store.
Resonaid is a tool that helps sales professionals with writing personalized messages for their sales outreach.
We recently released the first version of our product as a Chrome extension in the Chrome Web Store.
As we just went live this summer, you can currently test Resonaid for free and get large discounts by being an early user.
About the Author.
Teddy Lange is a co-founder at Resonaid and is responsible for business development and customer experience. Before joining Resonaid, he’s been a Sales Rep and Junior Sales Manager, and co-founded various companies. He’s currently finishing his graduate degree in Public Policy with a focus on communication at Harvard University. Feel free to reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.