Q: For the past seven years, I’ve been employed with one company in a team of about eight sales people. Overall, I love my job and am very successful. I feel very comfortable with my co-workers and the quality of our products and service. My position seems to be very secure. But (and I’m sure you were waiting for the “but”) On two different occasions, there have been openings for a new Sales Manager. Both times I applied for the position and was not selected. I’ve heard rumors that there is going to be another job opening within the next four to six months and I don’t want to be overlooked again. What do you think I can do to assure being chosen as the new Sales Manager? Signed, Stellar Seller
Dear Stellar Seller, First of all, I can’t assure you in any way that you will be chosen for this new position. But you bring up an excellent point and I hear this dilemma quite often. In theory, the transition from being a Salesperson to moving into a Sales Management position should be a natural progression. However, it’s not that simple. Let’s discuss the differences between the two and what qualifications and traits are best suited for each of these career paths. Over the years, many of my clients have moved from sales into management and found out that it wasn’t exactly what they had anticipated. For some, the new position was better, for others, they longed to move back into being “just” a sales person. A person who typically is successful in Sales is someone who:
• is upbeat, enthusiastic, positive, has a strong self image, is very personable, yet competitive and is willing to take risks
• has goals, is responsible for their own success, does everything possible to ensure their value to their company and clients
• loves a challenge, loves to learn, can think well on their feet, and can recover quickly from rejection
• manages their time well, is self-motivated, proactive, easily establishes new relationships, knows how to listen, knows what questions to ask (and when!)
• understands why prospects buy, approaches the sale utilizing a variety of techniques, and is comfortable speaking to all kinds of people,
• is believable, sincere, and trustworthy
Someone looking to move into Sales Management should possess all of the above qualifications, but in addition they need to:
• have leadership skills and the ability to train, evaluate and motivate others
• know how to recognize, recruit, and reward talent
• know how to help others grow and build self-esteem
• know how to challenge a team and encourage healthy competition
• know how to deal with problems and personality nuances
• not be afraid of an abundance of paperwork and accountability
• be able to say “You’re Fired” if necessary!
If sales management seems like a good career direction for you, it’s time to rewrite your resume and arrange to have a conversation with your supervisor. Hopefully this will increase your odds of moving into management when the next opportunity is presented.
Lauren Castle is the owner of Impress Express, a professional image firm, focusing on career management, resume preparation, presentation skills, etiquette and interview coaching. For help with your image writing your resume, or preparing your internet-friendly resume, contact Lauren directly at 858-459-7400. And, as always, please forward your image and career-related questions to [email protected] for further information.