There are a lot of things in the current business climate that can make sales a cold, heartless, and unhealthy career choice. In such an environment, it is important to not only focus on what can make someone a successful salesperson, but what will give them a healthy sales career.
In this context, a healthy sales career refers to not only being successful, but also admirable. It means that you’re able to be successful through honest and sustainable means, while being willing to do right by others, including both your coworkers and clients.
This is opposed to an unhealthy sales career where you try to achieve success by any means necessary while not caring about those around you. Sometimes the latter seems more appealing, as it’s quick and easy but eventually, it will kill your sales career.
However, if you’re willing to strive for a healthy sales career, not only will you become more successful in the long run, but your career will also be more fulfilling. Read on to learn the aspects you must focus on for a healthy sales career.
The first and arguably one of the most foundational aspects of a healthy sales career is honesty. It can be very tempting for a salesperson to fudge the truth a little bit to get a sale or to get an edge over a coworker. However, if you have a shaky foundation by being dishonest, those cracks will start to grow. Little white lies could eventually cascade into blatant ones. A car salesperson may lie at first about a couple imperfections, but that dishonesty can eventually turn into selling cars with faulty and cheap parts, claiming it’s in prime condition.
This also applies to unethical and shady practices, such as manipulation, bribery, corner-cutting, etc. While they aren’t technically lying, they are still doing deceitful and immoral things to take advantage of someone else, whether it be the client or their coworkers. Of course, all of this can only go so far. It is only a matter of time before they’re caught in their lies, which will destroy their reputation, could get them fired or in legal trouble, and will ultimately lose them all of the trust they’ve accumulated.
And that is the keyword here, trust. As a salesperson, it is extremely important for you to earn the trust of your clients and your coworkers. Being honest doesn’t just mean not lying, it means being trustworthy. This means being dependable, doing the things you say you’re going to do, and having integrity, doing the right thing even if it’s inconvenient or even detrimental. Doing things this way may not be quick or easy and could cost you in the short run. However, being honest will allow your clients to trust you. They will come back to you for your reliable services, benefiting you in the long run.
Business can be incredibly cold and ruthless, that doesn’t mean you have to be. It’s an unfortunate reality that a lot of businesses get where they are because of being practical and not caring how their actions will affect others. This can lead to a Darwinian mindset of survival of the fittest and while that can lead to success, very rarely does that create a healthy sales career. Often those who fall in this trap will eventually fall and will have nobody to turn to.
Thus, it is important to be empathetic on your sales journey. Being empathetic means that you’re thinking of others before yourself. For your clients, you listen to them about their problems and think about how you can best serve their needs. You’re showing that you care about their situation and that they are your top priority over their money. This not only can get people to like you, but they will want to do business with you again, because they feel heard.
This also applies to your relationship with your coworkers. While sales is a very competitive field and sometimes some will do better than others, that doesn’t mean you should treat people poorly and not care about their situation. You should be building other people up, collaborating with them and sometimes leading them to help push the team forward, while not stepping on anyone’s toes. Being empathetic and helping others will not only further build up trust but will open you up to be helped when you need it.
Let’s say your sales career is a car. If success is the destination, honesty is the frame and empathy was the engine, then commitment is the fuel. In the end, even if you have every other positive trait in the back of your mind, it is your commitment to your career and your drive to succeed which will push you furthest.
Thomas Edison once said: “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” Even if your sales endeavors don’t lead you to immediate success or even if you catastrophically fail, it’s important to push yourself, no matter how difficult it gets. While empathy and honesty will allow you to have a healthy sales career, your commitment to those ideals and to your success will keep it alive.