Do you feel you are a good sales person who is not firing on all cylinders? Do you still get a buzz from closing the sale but when you think about it, you are not that pushed about the product, organisation or sector?
Based on our experience of advising people on career direction and development, there are two key aspects of one’s working style that can be a source of mismatch in what is otherwise a satisfying career option.
Certain personality types prefer to sell something tangible or physical rather than a concept. A classic example is someone who is selling financial services products but finds the intangible nature of what is being sold underwhelming. They would much rather be selling cars than convincing people to buy serious illness cover. Think about the product or service that you are selling. Are you engaged by it? Would you be more excited about selling something different, more tangible or more conceptual?
Some people are really energised by meeting Joe or Jane Public and selling into that market. Others are more drawn to the quality interaction that Business-to-Business sales offers. In the latter scenario, more work can go into developing a new account and the sale can be more involved but the relationship can be more long term once established. Do you want to deal with the public or more focused purchasing managers?
A key mismatch for a person in any role (not just sales) is whether the values of the organisation or sector are in line with their own. Values determine where you are likely to focus your energy and the kind of scenarios that you are likely to flourish in. Based on a motives assessment called the MVPI, here are few examples of values and how they can influence a sector or organisation choice.
§ Hedonistic motives are associated with a desire for pleasure, enjoyment, excitement, and variety. This motivation is naturally associated with entertainment, recreation, travel and hospitality industries. If you have strong motivations in this area, have you considered sales in areas such as wine, hotels, or the leisure areas?
§ Rationality motives are associated with an interest in new ideas, new technology, and analytical approach to problem solving. People with this value are likely to enjoy spending time with like-minded technical or science type. A sales person with this value could consider selling something technical like pharmaceutical, technology or engineering solutions or products. Are you an early adopter of technology and generally interested in gadgets or how things work?
§ Cultural motives are associated with an interest in art, and a lifestyle guided by issues of culture, and good taste. People with this value are concerned with how things look. They need to be involved with something that is stylish or high end. Do you think the product or service you are dealing with is stylish and well presented?
§ Business motives are associated with an interest in entrepreneurial activities, and a lifestyle organised around investments and financial planning. People with this value obviously have potential when it comes to financial services products. Do you naturally read the business pages? Are you interested in numbers and financial markets?
Other motives don’t point in a product or service direction but they can have implications for the kind of company you work for.
§ Traditional motives are associated with a concern for morality, proper standards and a lifestyle guided by acceptable and well-established principles of conduct. Different organisations in the same sector can have a totally different attitudes to clients and staff. Are you proud of or uncomfortable with the customer value proposition that your organisation offers?
Take time out to think about your values and the kind of people you like dealing with. This can point to a change in sector for your sales career. The challenge then is to plan and manage that change.
John Deely is an occupational psychologist with Pinpoint. Pinpoint offers career change and development services to individuals, and selection, management development and outplacement services to organisations.
Contact details: (01) 6425 721 www.pinpoint.ie