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How to pick the right sales job


Coming Soon

Coming Soon: The perfect sales role for you

As lockdown restrictions are loosened and businesses gear up for recommencing trading, it’s no surprise that there are plenty of sales roles available for the right candidates. The sales industry is a key aspect of the UK economy which plays a crucial role in getting the UK back on track after the pandemic. 

Over the coming months, Sales Roles will be publishing information and advice for prospective candidates keen to find a new job in sales. Today, let’s take a look at the variety and scope of the roles offered by a career in sales.

Account managers

Account management is a client-facing role in sales. Account managers typically work with clients over a long period as a liaison between company and client, providing business growth advice and helping the client to achieve their goals, as well as working with the sales team to ensure standards are high and contracts are renewed. Account managers must have great interpersonal skills, as they are usually the first point of contact between client and company.

Business development roles

Business development executives are high-level sales professionals with expertise in business development and growth. It is the job of business development executives to assist companies in acquiring new customers as well as increasing sales to existing ones by identifying valuable markets and generating leads; the fundamental importance of this role makes good business development executives increasingly sought-after.

Sales consultants

Sales consultants are usually the first role people think of when they imagine a career in sales. The job of a sales consultant is to find new customers to purchase a company’s product. Sales consultants are usually required to travel to meet with clients and sell their product; this requires in-depth knowledge of the company’s products and services as well as an open and empathetic personality.

Graduate sales jobs

Sales offers a great opportunity for graduates to begin a career with plenty of room for progression; it’s also a great way for graduates to get a foot in the door in a particular sector or industry. To be successful in sales, graduates should be confident and ambitious, with good communication skills. This career path suits graduates who are motivated to work hard by targets and commission.

Sales managers

Sales managers are responsible for leading a team of sales consultants or other sales professionals. This involves overseeing staff and resolving customer complaints; preparing budgets and setting goals; analysing sales data and projecting sales figures; and preparing and coordinating staff training programmes. As well as having a knack for sales, sales managers must be good organisers and communicators.

Telesales positions

Telesales staff are sales executives who work over the telephone to reach new and existing customers. This includes both B2C and B2B sales and is often considered a great entry-level position in the sales industry. The best telesales candidates are patient, persuasive and persistent, with good communication, phone, and typing skills.

At Sales Roles, we specialise in connecting great candidates with top quality sales roles, spanning from entry-level positions all the way to the top. We’ll be posting lots of exciting sales positions over the coming months, so keep an eye out if you’re considering a new career in sales.

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Age Discrimination and Recruiters


Age discrimination and recruiters

Since 1 October 2006, age discrimination has been unlawful in the UK. This has been heralded as the biggest shake-up of employment law since the 1970’s, when sex and race discrimination became unlawful.? Workers of all ages are now protected from discrimination at all stages of the employment relationship, starting with recruitment, and there are some particular areas which recruiters need to look out for.

Policy and language

Recruitment and application policies and procedures must comply with the new age discrimination legislation.? In particular, the following areas should be examined: job advertisements, job descriptions, person specifications, interview questions, company publicity and recruitment materials.

Avoid Comment
Requests for age or date of birth (which should be removed from application forms). Instead details of age should be included in diversity monitoring forms to be retained by the employer’s HR department.
References to age or a certain number of years of experience in job descriptions or candidate specifications. Instead concentrate on the quality and relevance of experience, or else be in a position to justify the requirement.
Words such as “young”, “dynamic”, “senior”, “reliable”, “ambitious”, “mature” and “energetic” or “needed to join a lively team”. All of these words could be seen to have age related connotations.
The term “graduate” as it is associated with someone in their early 20s. Instead advertisements should make it clear that it is qualifications that are relevant, and not age.
Phrases such as “only people with GCSEs need apply”. This discriminates against many older people who left school before GCSEs were introduced.? The qualifications requested in job adverts must not disadvantage any particular age group.?
Therefore, alternative ways of asking for the required experience should be considered.? For example, ask instead for GCSEs or equivalent experience.
Age-specific images. Ensure that any images used do not communicate an age discriminatory message.


Recruiters need to make sure that they are not discriminating on the grounds of age during the interviewing process.? To reduce the likelihood of this, if possible appoint a mixed-age interview panel and include an objective double-checking process in the selection decision.? Recruiters should ask candidates only job-related questions and use a selection criteria to mark candidates against.? This serves to not only provide a record of the fairness of the process but also helps with the decision-making.?

Employment agencies

There are specific provisions for employment agencies.? It is unlawful for an employment agency to discriminate against a candidate on the grounds of age when providing its services or its terms of business.? For example, an agency could not refuse to add someone to their database of candidates because the candidate was 60 years old and they felt that their clients would only be interested in younger candidates.?

Agencies will also be held liable if they follow the discriminatory instructions of a client.? For example, if a marketing company instructs an agency to find them a young marketing assistant who might suit their “young and trendy” image, and the consultant recruits on this basis, this would be discriminatory.?
The agency will not be liable for recruiting in an age discriminatory manner if they can show either:

  • That there was a genuine occupational requirement; or
  • That their client had made an incorrect statement that there was a genuine occupational requirement, and that it was reasonable for the agency to rely on this statement.?

Therefore if a client seeks to impose a genuine occupational requirement on any recruitment process, it would be prudent for the agency to obtain written confirmation of the details from the client.

Employment advertising agencies

As yet it is not entirely clear whether employment advertising agencies will be liable for discriminatory recruitment adverts.? However it is worth bearing in mind that advertisers may be liable as an agent of their client.? Therefore advertising agencies should discuss any concerns they have about potentially age discriminatory wording or images with their clients.

The law

The law prohibits direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation on the ground of age.

Direct discrimination will occur if someone treats a candidate less favourably, on the grounds of their age, than they treat or would treat other candidates in an equivalent situation.? For example, an advertisement stating that only candidates under the age of forty should apply for a job is directly discriminatory.? Indirect discrimination will occur when a provision, criterion or practice which is applied to all candidates causes a particular disadvantage to candidates within a certain age group.? Requiring GCSEs (as opposed to requiring GCSEs or equivalent experience) is indirectly discriminatory, as described in the table above.?

It will be lawful to directly and indirectly discriminate on grounds of age, if the discrimination can be objectively justified and shown that it is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.? If the legitimate aim can be achieved by a less discriminatory means then this must take priority.?

In some circumstances, if it is a genuine occupational requirement that the candidate must be of a particular age, it will be lawful to discriminate on grounds of age.? It is necessary to consider the context and nature of the work before deciding whether this exception can apply.? For example, the role of a young character in a film may have to be played by a young actor, or a bar tender serving alcohol will have to be a minimum of 18 years old.?


An agency which commits an offence under the new age discrimination legislation could be liable to pay potentially unlimited compensation to the candidate discriminated against.? The tribunal also has the power to make a declaration relating to the rights of the candidate and confirming that discrimination has taken place.? In addition, a recommendation that the agency take action to remove the discriminatory practice may be made.


To avoid falling foul of the new legislation always make sure that your client’s instructions are non-discriminatory and that your policies and procedures are objective and clear.? In addition, it is a good idea to keep appropriate records so that if your policies and procedures are questioned you can show that they were fair and not age related?

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Sales Recruitment – Covid-19


Work from Home Sales Recruitment

What will sales recruitment be like after COVID-19?

COVID-19, the novel coronavirus which is currently surging throughout the entire world, has changed life as we know it. Never before has the UK high street ground to a halt like this; the current lockdown restrictions mean most businesses are unable to trade as usual and managers and employees have no idea when normality will return. Once lockdown restrictions are eased, it’s likely that businesses will be able to reopen, but long-term social distancing – which may even be required until 2022 – will no doubt change the way we work. Even once a vaccine is available, COVID-19 will likely have changed some things forever.

Meetings will go back to basics

It’s probably time to say goodbye to those long business lunches. As restaurants, cafés and bars all get ready to slim down operations in order to observe the 2-metre rule, chances are business meetings will be stripped back to the basics for some time. This could mean conducting more meetings remotely via apps like Zoom, or cutting down in-person meetings to only the most necessary personnel.

Expect to work from home when possible

If you’re counting down the days until you’re back in the office, you might be in for a long wait. Home working for employees who don’t need to be onsite is likely set to continue for some time, and even once a vaccine is ready it’s possible some companies will continue remote working now that the infrastructure is in place. Even once offices are back in full swing, it’s possible that working habits might change permanently, with cold sufferers asked to stay home more frequently and increased flexible working hours becoming a popular way to reduce the number of staff in an office at any given time.

Take time to learn the tech

Sales isn’t traditionally a technical role, but as these changes to the way we work filter down through business models and systems, our reliance on technology is going to increase exponentially. If you’re already feeling overwhelmed by apps like Zoom, Slack, and Teams, then it might be time to brush up on your tech skills. Remote working technology will likely be here to stay; even after social distancing is no longer strictly necessary, it’s likely many smaller businesses will choose to continue operating remotely to save on overheads. Sales roles often involve B2B communications, so the chances are at some point you’ll need to know your Zoom protocols.

Succeed in sales despite the pandemic

If you’re keen to find a new role in sales, there are companies hiring despite the stresses of the current crisis. At Sales Roles, we will be posting new sales jobs frequently in the coming months, with details of the available role and job requirements so that you can pursue a career in sales amid the uncertainty of the future. While the shape of sales recruitment might look a little different for the next couple of years, it’s still a booming industry which will provide prosperous careers for decades to come.

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Sales salaries in the UK…What sort of Salary can I expect…


Sales Salaries and Commission

If you’re a people person and would like the opportunity to help individuals and/or businesses solve problems and achieve their goals, then a career in sales could be for you. Contemporary sales roles are all about identifying what the customer needs and then providing it for them. With an emphasis on building long-term relationships, encouraging brand loyalty and putting the customer at the heart of every transaction, successful sales people need to be empathetic, hard-working, and enthusiastic, an excellent communicator and a good listener. They also need to be able to handle rejection, as not every client will want to engage! Here we take a look at the various sales jobs out there, as well as consider the sort of salary you might expect.

What type of sales jobs are there?
Almost everything needs selling, so there is enormous variety in the roles available. For example:

  • Salespeople may sell to individuals or to businesses (B2C or B2B). 
  • They may follow leads, or go “cold calling”. 
  • They may be based in a showroom or shop, visit clients’ and potential clients’ premises or sell over the phone (telesales).  
  • To improve customer retention and loyalty, many companies employ account managers: their job is to manage individual clients with a view to retaining and enhancing the business relationship. They also enable the client to take advantage of fresh services and/or products as they become available. 
  • Particularly if you’re working in a B2B environment, you may become a sales engineer or other technical expert. Selling to businesses requires an excellent understanding of the sector as well as a wealth of specialist knowledge. – In addition, sales teams also need a sales manager, who in turn may answer to a head of sales or the executive sales director.

    Basic and commission
    unlike many jobs, which just pay a pre-determined salary, sales salaries frequently have a commission element. Some sales jobs are 100% commission, others pay a basic salary with commission as an add on. If you see the term “OTE” (On Target Earnings) after a salary, that’s the salary you can expect if you earn an average amount of commission.

    What sort of salary can I expect?
  • Average salaries for salespersons vary between £25,000pa and £57,500pa with the average nationally being around £37,500. These salaries can usually be considerably enhanced with the addition of commission. 
  • The median salary for sales managers being around £47,000pa (which can rise to around £68,000pa with bonuses and/or commission). 
  • Senior sales personnel, for example international sales managers, heads of sales and executive level sales personnel can expect to command six figure salaries, as well as a formidable package of bonuses and benefits.

    Which industries can I work in?
    Almost every sector needs assistance with sales, so there is an enormous diversity of roles. Commonly, sales positions may be found in:
  • Industry
  • Manufacturing
  • Service sector
  • Education
  • Utilities
  • Communication sector
  • ICT/IT
  • Healthcare and pharmaceuticals

    Highly varied and always challenging, if you like working with people and are goal orientated, a career in sales could be a lucrative and rewarding option.
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What are the different employment opportunities working in the sales Industry?


sales jobs sectors interview

Whether you’ve always fancied a career in sales or are simply intrigued to know more about what a sales role might be comprised of, it’s often a surprise to learn that there is a huge range of different sales jobs out there. Increasingly, sales work can be a highly technical role where a large amount of knowledge and significant skills are required. Described below are the main categories of sales employment you’re likely to find.

Business-to-business (B2B)

This involves selling goods and/or services to other businesses. Often a high degree of technical knowledge is required, as business buyers tend to make purchasing decisions based on facts and figures.

Business-to-consumer (B2C)

As a B2C salesperson, you’ll be selling products or services to individuals. Swayed by emotional considerations as well as financial constraints, strong interpersonal skills are an absolute must.

Customer service

If you like helping people, customer service could be for you. Tasked with sorting out any issues customers are having, as well as up-selling and promoting customer loyalty, customer service requires empathy, tact and a can-do attitude.

Direct/field sales

One of the more traditional sales roles, direct sales involves meeting prospective customers face-to-face in order to show them the benefits of opting for your goods or services. This may involve site visits, presentations, demonstrations or simply a conversation. 

Export sales

Driving sales into the international marketplace can be an exciting, challenging role where no two days are the same.

Fast-moving Consumer Goods (FMCG)

From confectionery to toilet roll, FMCG are a specialist group of products that require a specific set of sales skills.

IT sales

A great option for IT professionals who want the opportunity to provide custom solutions for businesses that will really make a difference, IT sales is all about giving clients the tech they need to meet their objectives.

Media and advertising sales

Provide opportunities for businesses to attract fresh customers through premium advertising opportunities.

Medical/pharmaceutical/scientific sales

A rewarding technical role, scientific and pharmaceutical sales includes both B2B and B2C transactions.

Online sales

With the world increasingly becoming a digital marketplace, there’s a growing need for sales professionals that can achieve results through virtual means.

Retail motor sales

The role of car sales has changed dramatically over the years. Contemporary motor sales is all about finding the best transport solutions for your customers at a price that’s right.


Offering excellent opportunities for remote working, telesales involves establishing a rapport over the phone, often as a precursor to a direct sales visit.

From transport to industry, financial services and the retail sector, sales is an essential role. Alternative opportunities also exist in the travel industry, recruitment and even estate agency. If you have an area of technical expertise, or a passion for a particular field, there will usually be a sales role that’s suited to you. provides a wide range of sales jobs in almost any area: from pharmaceuticals through to tech, holidays, medical goods, motors or property, we’ve got a sales job that’s right for you.

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Is a sales career right for you?


sales career Interview

Many people dream of pursuing a career in car sales jobs or business development jobs, but are unsure if sales is right for them. As a leading provider of sales opportunities in everything from IT to cars, we have developed a good understanding of the three top qualities needed to not only be successful in sales, but also to enjoy the challenges which the role brings.

Do you like helping people?

Fundamentally, account manager jobs or machinery sales jobs are all about helping your customers to get the products they need to make their life easier. The days when sales professionals would simply highlight the advantages of a product repeatedly, effectively brow-beating a client into acceptance, are long gone. Particularly in a B2B sales role, clients are looking for hard evidence that what you have to offer will do the job better, cheaper or more effectively than their current arrangements. A genuine desire to help people and businesses find better solutions to their problems is at the heart of good sales.

Do you have a passion for your product?

Whether you want a career in car sales, clothing, IT sales or anything else, a good knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, your chosen product, is essential. Customers come in all shapes and sizes: some will already have a good knowledge of the market and your products; others will know nothing about what you have to offer. In either case, you need to have the right information to provide, as well as the skill to put it across in a positive manner.

Are you a people person?

Sales is as much about developing an on-going relationship with your customer as it is about actually closing a sale. If the client relationship is right, the product will almost sell itself. If you’re a person who likes interacting with others and who possesses the “soft” skills required for effective interaction, IT sales jobs or car sales jobs could work well for you.

Think you’ve got what it takes for a successful career in sales? Click, View , Apply today with  for your next sales job!

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How to land a sales Job


Sales jobs are among the most coveted on job sites, with the potential to earn a respectable salary with bonuses and commission on top. Every company has something to ‘sell’, whether it’s goods or services, so every company is on the lookout for top salespeople. If you want a sales career but don’t know where to begin, here are our top tips for landing yourself a fantastic sales role.

Use a specialist site

There are lots of job sites out there but not all are specialists in sales jobs, which means you could spend a very long time searching for relevant vacancies amongst their pages. If you really want to find the best sales jobs, use a specialist site – like us!

Include relevant skills on your CV

Before you start sending out your applications, it might be worth looking over your CV and seeing that you’ve included the skills employers will be looking for in a salesperson. Ideally, you should tailor your CV to each and every role you apply for. Make sure you emphasise your strong communication skills, your ability to work in a team and your grasp of numeracy, using examples wherever possible. Potential employers want to see evidence of your skillset, so go all out to prove you can walk the walk.

Prepare for your interview

If you’re lucky enough to be interviewed for sales positions, you should start preparing well in advance. You don’t always know what questions are going to be asked, but there are some pretty standard ones which you can prepare an answer for before you go in. You’re likely to be asked what your strengths are, why you want to work for the company, and what experience you have in a selling role. Remember that an interview is a two-way street, so you can ask questions back and it’s always worth having a few ready prepared. You may also be asked to demonstrate your selling skills by pitching to them, so make sure you’re braced to think on your feet.

Dress to impress

The workplace in general has become much more relaxed about dress code, but less so when it comes to sales. Because you are often in a customer-facing role or going out to meet clients, you are representing the company and that means you need to look your best. The best place to demonstrate that you can be smart and presentable is at the interview, so choose clothing which makes you feel comfortable but still looks smart. Be sure to iron the creases out of your shirt or blouse, and give yourself plenty of time to reach the interview, so you don’t arrive looking crumpled, sweaty and flustered.

Sales careers can be incredibly enjoyable, and they’re ideal if you’re a confident and outgoing people person. Companies always have one eye on business development, and that means employing the very best salespeople to promote their brand and generate revenue. Land yourself a sales job and you’ll find this is a richly rewarding career.

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CRM and CRM Tools


crm and CRM tools

CRM originated in early 1970s when the business units had a manifestation that it would be advisable to become ‘customer emphatic’ rather that ‘product emphatic’. Birth of CRM was because of this heedful perceptiveness.

The famous writer and management consultant Peter Drucker wrote; ‘The true business of every company is to make and keep customers’. Traditionally every transaction was on paper and dependent on goodwill which created hindrance in clutching customers. People used to work hard in entertaining customers by presenting new products with astonishing services; they were ready to work overtime for grasping more and more customers for increasing business. This too resulted in customer satisfaction and loyalty up to some extent, but at the end of the day there was no such bonding or relation between the two to carry on with future business smoothly.

Previously business was quite easy as it was mere a one-to-one dealing without any specific process. But with time, due to incoming complexities in communication, it found itself in troubled waters. Emerging of new strategies and technologies in global marketplace and a mammoth degree of competition in business, the approach needed to be changed to proactive rather than reactive. Origination of CRM turned out to be a piece of cake for all suppliers and customers due to its advantages. Customer relationship management came as a process that dealt with relationships with customers surpassing the whole business.

Originally customer relationship management was based on three major principles; shielding the current customers, fostering new customers and enhancing asset value of all the customers. With the advent of CRM which was integrated with high end software and technology, business perspectives were totally changed. A CRM system eventually emerged as consisting of company-full of information which is depicted sophistically to increase business profit and meliorate customer satisfaction and loyalty, on the same hand reduces business cost and investment.

The outgrowth in origin of CRM as a strategic approach is a result of some of the following important perspectives:

  1. The belief that customers are the real assets and not just the people in the audience.
  2. The maturation of one-to-one transaction advent.
  3. Extensive use of software and technologies to maintain useful information and no manual labor.
  4. The realization of the benefits of utilizing information proactively and not reactively.
  5. The change of business view to relationship approach rather than transactional approach.
  6. The approach of concentrating more on customer values rather than concentrating on how the product is delivered to the customer.
  7. The approach of focusing on customer satisfaction and loyalty rather than focusing self satisfaction and profit.
  8. The acceptance of the fact that using high end technologies and software the cost can radically be decreased without compromising on quality and service of products.
  9. The increasing tendency to retain existing customers and trying to get more and more business out of them.
  10. The realization that the traditional trends of marketing and selling are increasingly fading out in the current economic scenario.

These additive approaches helped a lot in building up consequently the modern CRM. Today we have well defined and sophisticated CRM systems into being which are always in process of improvement.

The article is Written By “Prachi Juneja” and Reviewed By Management Study Guide Content Team.

CRM Tools – An independent view

If you work in sales the chances are you will be using or will come across CRM Systems, where you can turn interactions with customers into potential sales with customer relationship management software. CRM software, however, can be fairly complicated to implement, and some businesses don’t need it.

If you’ve ever wondered why it takes so long to fix a problem with over the phone regarding services or products, you’ve experienced poor customer service firsthand. Usually this is because one department doesn’t have key information that another department already has.

So how can you avoid this type of problem and improve customer service in your business? And how can you turn interactions with customers into potential sales? One option is customer relationship management (CRM) software. CRM software, however, can be fairly complicated to implement… Here’s how to decide whether CRM software is right for your business.

What does it do?

A CRM system helps you manage customer relationships, close sales, improve your customer support, and consolidate important information that employees need to do their jobs, all in one place. It does this by recording transactions for each customer and sending alerts to employees for different tasks, such as when to call back the customer or when a contract will expire. You can also use it to filter data according to customer preferences (such as customers who like to buy hats and gloves). This can help you develop sales promotions.

Use it to improve your service

You can filter data with a CRM system to show you patterns from service calls and figure out, say, that a certain product has been responsible for a lot of your company’s time. You might also find data that help you streamline your operation. Let’s say you’re a small electronics store, and you discover that a large number of customers don’t know where the on switch is in a popular device. You can include instructions to be included in the packaging and make that the first question your support people ask when called.

Look at your business needs, not your business size

CRM makes the most sense when you have a high volume of repeat customers, especially if they’re handled by a relatively small staff. An artist who repeatedly sells reproductions of his works to a client list of 10,000, a 12-person travel agency with 500,000 customers, and a small to midsize insurance or manufacturing business are all examples of companies that could benefit from CRM.

On the other hand, if you mainly look for new clients and keep in touch with just a small number of current customers, you can get by with simple contact management software. One key question to ask is whether your company tracks customers for support issues as well as sales leads. If so, CRM software can probably help.

Go with an entry-level CRM application (or even a point-of-sale system) if your needs are modest

Full-scale CRM is not a solution for every business. There is no sense in spending money on extra software and maintenance if you don’t track customer support issues and don’t need to integrate the system with an elaborate, pre-existing computer network.

Consider hosted CRM if you don’t have the IT resources available

Implementing full-scale CRM requires additional computers, software, and (most likely) at least a few IT employees to maintain the system. If that’s too much firepower for your business, try a hosted CRM system instead.

A hosted (or on-demand) CRM solution such as  or  lets the CRM vendor (instead of your company) store all of the data on its servers. Your employees can then use the different modules, such as managing contracts, marketing automation, and document management, from a Web-based interface without IT having to maintain the system. If you go this route, look for a smooth migration policy to an in-house product as your needs grow.

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Cold Calling Reluctance


cold calling Reluctance

Cold Calling Reluctance.

Most salespeople consider cold calling a dreadful, but essential activity in our profession. Even those who are good at it rarely like it. Nevertheless, those who are successful in sales do it regularly because without prospects, one does not sell anything.

If you hate cold calling to the point where you won’t do it, you’ve got a serious problem. Let this go on long enough, and you’ll watch your commissions drop from low to zero as you lose your job.

If you truly hate cold calling to the point where it is really hurting your sales, I may know one of the reasons why.

Where’s The Pressure?
Too many salespeople take the bulk of the pressure on themselves in the sale. We’ve been conditioned into it by a society that teaches us that buyers shop, and sellers are there to “serve”. You’ve heard this before… “serve the customer”.

In “serving the customer”, we feel that we have to do whatever they ask to get the sale. Some prospects act like bratty children that just have to have their way. This can be quite annoying to deal with.

In letting this belief “serving the customer” dominate our attitude towards buying and selling, we give up a lot of power. It’s kind of crazy if you really think about it. The prospect is the one who does or does not have a problem to solve. Its not your problem – you are just offering a potential solution.

If your prospect does have a problem to solve, then it is his responsibility to solve it – not yours. What you can do is help him figure out how to solve it, and offer your products or services if they solve the problem.

When cold calling, you are looking for problems that you can actually solve. How effective you are at cold calling is really a matter of how effective you are at uncovering problems that you can solve. It is *not* a game of how good of a “pitch” you can deliver over the phone.

If you plan your cold calling by trying to craft the most interesting, exciting, and sparkling pitch to wow your prospects into meeting with you, then you are putting way too much pressure on yourself. This may just be stressful for you, or it can even be disabling to the point where you can’t or won’t do any cold calling.

I have a simple formula to take the pressure off of yourself and put it where it belongs – on your prospect.

Cold Calling Formula

  • Introduce Yourself, Your Company, and Your Results.
  • Get Permission To Ask Questions.
  • Ask Questions To Uncover and Amplify Problems and Opportunities.
  • Simple, huh? So simple, it may seem too easy.

The secret to the cold calling formula is how you do each step. Here’s an example:

“Hello, this is Shamus Brown calling.”

“I am with Jupiter Financial Partners, and using private equity, I help people get high investment returns without the risk and volatility associated with the stock market.

“Do you have a few minutes to let me ask you a few questions about your investments?

“What percentage did your investment’s increase this past year?

“Oh, they didn’t increase… they declined by how much?… hmm, sounds bad to me, but I am not you – is that kind of performance OK with you?”

This follows the simple format outlined above. Introduce yourself and your company, and wrap that introduction with a statement of the results that you provide for your customers. This is one of the keys to making cold calling easier.

The only thing your prospect will likely hear at the beginning of the call is your results. When you are cold calling someone, you are interrupting them in some way. Their attention is elsewhere. When they hear the results that you offer, you will get their attention IF they are interested in those types of results.

Next, if they are interested in those results, they will more than likely answer yes to your request to ask a few questions and talk further.

Finally, you immediately get into probing for problems, and amplifying the consequences. Once you are there, you will stir up their motivation and desire to talk further about your product or service.

Stop using lengthy introductions in your cold calling. If you get that slightly uncomfortable or nauseating feeling in your stomach while delivering your phone “pitch”, it is because your pitch is too long. The longer your pitch is, the more you are “at risk” because you do not know how the message is being received.

Shorten your cold calling opener to just the essential results that you provide, and then get right into probing for problems. You’ll sell more this way.

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Goal Setting – Achieve Your Sales Goals by Focusing on ACTIVITIES


Goal Setting – Achieve Your Sales Goals by Focusing on ACTIVITIES
by Alan Rigg

When I broke into sales in 1986, I read several books that talked about how important it was to set goals if you wanted to achieve success. I bought into the idea completely, and started writing down extensive lists of goals that I expected to achieve, along with due dates for each goal. Per the advice in the books, I made my goals nice and lofty. You know, make a six-figure income, buy lots of nice toys, go on fabulous vacations, that kind of stuff. And, every day, several times a day, I visualized what my life would be like after I had achieved my goals.

So, how much impact did those goal-setting and visualization exercises have on my performance?
None – nada – zero – zilch! During the next two years I didn’t come CLOSE to achieving ANY of my goals! In fact, I wasn’t even making enough money to pay my bills. I had to keep tapping credit cards to make ends meet, and I was going further and further into debt.

I finally became so disgusted that I threw away the books and tore up my pages of written goals. I decided that, from that point on, I would focus on my daily activities. In other words, I would work hard to do the right things at the right time, each and every day. If I accomplished that, I figured that I would at least be able to pay my bills and not go any further into debt.

I became a fanatic about prioritizing my activities. I would ask myself at least 20 times a day:

Am I doing the most important thing I could be doing right now to make a sale?

Can I push off what I’m doing right now to before or after selling hours, and use this time to do something that I can’t do before or after hours?”
Do you know what I discovered when I started asking myself those questions? I discovered that I was not prioritizing my daily activities very well. In fact, a lot of the time I was just responding to requests whenever they came up. For a salesperson, that’s suicide. After all, time is the only inventory we have!

Because of my new focus on doing the right activities at the right time, I started asking people when they needed the things they were asking me for, and why they needed them then. Frequently we came to the joint conclusion that the tasks were not as time-sensitive as the original request made them appear to be. I could push off many tasks to late in the day or early in the morning. That gave me more time for prospecting and qualifying opportunities during selling hours (9:00 to 4:00).

Yes, I worked a lot of ten to twelve hour days because of the amount of work that I pushed off to before and after selling hours. But, you know what? It was worth it!

After one year I had increased my income by approximately 45%. I could finally pay all of my bills each month, make more than the minimum payment against my credit cards, and still have some money left over for fun. The second year I DOUBLED the prior year’s income and achieved the six-figure income that I had NEVER approached when it was one of my written goals. I was able to pay off all of my credit cards, make a down payment on a new car, save some money, and begin to enjoy “the good life”.

If setting goals has worked for you, by all means, keep doing it! However, if you have been less successful that you want to be in achieving your goals, try the alternative approach that is described in this article. Focus on your daily activities. Ask yourself 20 times a day, “Am I doing the most important thing that I could be doing right now to make a sale? Can I push off what I am doing right now to before or after selling hours, and use this time to do something that I can’t do before or after hours?”

Be honest with yourself when you answer these questions, and hold yourself accountable. Become a master at prioritization. Switching your mental focus from goals to activities could be your path to success, just like it was for me!
©2005 – Alan Rigg
About the Author
Sales performance expert Alan Rigg is the author of How to Beat the 80/20 Rule in Selling: Why Most Salespeople Don’t Perform and What to Do About It. His company, 80/20 Sales Performance, helps business owners, executives, and managers end the frustration of 80/20 sales team performance, where 20% of salespeople produce 80% of sales. For more information and more FREE sales and sales management tips, visit

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Sales Process – How to Overcome Sales Objections


Sales Process – How to Overcome Sales Objections
by Alan Rigg

If you have been in sales for any period of time you have run into sales objections.  Objections are what happen when you ask a prospect for an order and the prospect responds with anything other than “Yes.”

My experience has been that most objections arise because a salesperson hasn’t done a thorough enough job of sales opportunity qualification.

NOTE: For more information on the topic of sales opportunity qualification, read The Secret to Closing More Sales and How to Avoid Wasting Time on Prospects Who Can’t or Won’t Buy.
How do you become expert at sales opportunity qualification?
If you do a great job of answering the following questions and build the answers into your everyday sales approach, you will consistently do a superior job of sales opportunity qualification…and thereby receive fewer objections!

Which business problems do your products and services solve?

Does your prospect have any of these business problems?

What is the impact of these business problems on your prospect, both professionally and personally?

How significant is the impact?

Is the impact significant enough to enable the prospect to justify making an investment to make the impact “go away”?

Can the prospect quantify (i.e., attach dollar figures to) the impact of their business problems?

How does this quantified impact compare to the cost of your products or services?

Does the prospect understand exactly how your products or services will make their business problems “go away”?

What else can you do to overcome objections?

1. BRAINSTORM objections

Sit down with your sales manager and the other members of your sales team and do some brainstorming.  Write down every objection that any of you can remember, then work together to develop an effective response for each objection.

2. DOCUMENT objections and responses

Put the results of your brainstorming session into a document and make it a “living document” (which means the document should receive frequent updates over time).  When any of your company’s salespeople hear an objection that is not listed in the document, add it to the document.  Bring up these new objections in your sales meetings, discuss the best way(s) to respond to the objections, then add the responses to the document as well.

3. PRACTICE responding to rejections

You and your fellow sales team members should hold each other ACCOUNTABLE for learning EVERY objection and how to respond to the objection effectively.  Get in the habit of giving each other “pop quizzes” where you spontaneously suggests objections to each other and practice providing effective responses to the objections.  Over time you will learn how to respond to each objection in a manner that is comfortable and natural for you.  You will also learn where the gaps are in your sales opportunity qualification processes that cause prospects to raise objections in the first place!

4. PROACTIVELY address objections

If one or more objections come up frequently when you and your fellow salespeople work with prospects, figure out how to proactively address these objections during your sales calls.  In other words, you should bring up the objections yourselves and respond to them rather than waiting for your prospects to raise them.
If you learn 1) how to do a great job of sales opportunity qualification, and 2) how to respond to objections effectively, you should dramatically improve your close ratio and your overall sales performance!
©2006 – Alan Rigg
About the Author
Sales performance expert Alan Rigg is the author of How to Beat the 80/20 Rule in Selling: Why Most Salespeople Don’t Perform and What to Do About It. His company, 80/20 Sales Performance, helps business owners, executives, and managers end the frustration of 80/20 sales team performance, where 20% of salespeople produce 80% of sales. For more information and more FREE sales and sales management tips, visit

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Sales Performance – What’s at the ROOT of Your Sales Performance Problems?


Sales Performance – What’s at the ROOT of Your Sales Performance Problems?
by Michelle Argyle-Rigg

When I was young, my mother and I would spend our weekends tending our vegetable garden. Taking care of the garden meant ensuring the plants had proper nutrients, plenty of water, and an environment that was free of weeds. My mother explained that weeds steal water and nutrients from desirable plants and keep them from thriving. She also said that if you just remove the visible part of a weed, it may grow back. This taught me the importance of going deep into the ground to destroy the root.

Most weeds were easy to spot and even easier to pull out. However, there were certain types of weeds that were deceptive in appearance and incredibly well-rooted. These weeds disguised themselves as respectable vegetable plants. My untrained eyes could never tell the difference between these weeds and the vegetable plants, yet they never got past my mother. She eventually taught me how to identify them and, more importantly, how to eliminate them for good!

Why an I writing about weeds in an article on sales performance? Because there may be a pesky “weed” or two sabotaging your sales success!

Here are four examples of common sales “weeds”

Not Connecting to Your Client: Do you ever find yourself focusing a sales call on you and your agenda, rather than focusing the call on your client and his or her problems and concerns?

Bad Timing: Have you ever been in a conversation with a prospect or client and the timing of the conversation “just felt off”? This often happens when we try to force the rhythm of a sales cycle. A better strategy is to use questions to help the client set the rhythm of the sales cycle, then respect the rhythm from that point forward.
Bad Fit: Have you ever tried to “force fit” your product or service into a client’s situation? In other (gardening) words, have you ever proposed a green bean when the client really needs a radish? This is often the result of Weed #4, which is…

Not Being Detached: As salespeople we need to be willing to accept that our products and services may NOT be a fit for a particular client’s needs. The more detached we are, the more powerful our sales performances will be.

Here are three steps you can take to help you eliminate your sales “weeds”
Develop a trained eye so you can identify cleverly disguised weeds in your communication and relationship skills.

Learn how to go down deep to permanently remove the behaviors, patterns and beliefs that support your weeds.
EXAMPLE: You are in a meeting with a prospect or customer and something just doesn’t feel right. Stop and take a look at what has transpired so far during the meeting. Pay special attention to the internal dialogue that is going on in your head. Does it include any of the following thoughts?

This should be going faster!

They are talking too much!

I really need them to buy!

If you are thinking these or other negative thoughts, try to identify the belief that is causing you to have that thought. Do you believe that prospects like to waste salespeople’s time? Do you believe that some people are too social and don’t know how to get down to business?

Once you identify the belief that is at the root of the problem, you can choose to reject that belief and adopt a different (more powerful) belief. Unfortunately, you can’t make that choice until you first identify the belief that is holding you back!

Be willing to take action when you see a weed. Identifying a weed doesn’t do you any good unless you pull it out.

It really is that easy!
You can stop creating negative sales outcomes IF you are willing to let go of habits, patterns and beliefs that, like weeds, are choking the wins from your life. Are you ready to get your hands dirty and see your garden flourish? If you are, then start finding your “weeds” and pull them out, roots and all!

©2006 – Michelle Argyle-Rigg


About the Author
Personal power expert Michelle Argyle is the author of The Strength of Being Out of Your Mind: A Guide to Focused Strength, Clarity, and Purpose in Your Life. Her clients usually see remarkable improvements in income, relationships, communication, focus, and clarity in just four to six weeks. For more information and a FREE “power leak” survey, visit

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Sales Commission


Sales Commission

After reading this:

You’ll be able to work out how much commission you’re owed or will be paid for sales you make in your new role

As Most salespeople and business development staff are on some form of commission structure. This means that they are incentivised in that the more products / services they sell, the more money they will make over and above their basic salary.
When you’re leaving your job to go to a new role, you need to assess how much commission you think you’re entitled to but for a number of reasons this may not be as easy as it sounds.

Your Contract of Employment:

Your employment contract may detail your initial commission structure however, the longer you are with the same company and the more successful you are, this structure is likely to change. In this case, you should have been informed of these changes in written form without necessitating a change of contract. Dig these proofs out because you’ll need them!
What type of commission are you on?

Commission can be paid on sales in a number of ways:

1. Simple Commission
The most obvious is to pay commission as a percentage of value of the product or service sold. So for example, if  sales person  sells 10 printers for £150 each and is on a commission of 5%, then he will be entitled to £75.
If you are on a similar “percentage of sale” commission structure then calculating how much you are owed at the end of your employment should be relatively easy.

2. Accumulative Commission.
Slightly more difficult is if you are on an “accumulator” commission package where you are paid say 3% for the first ten products / services sold in a set period and then a higher percentage for the next ten. This is also often used for revenue bands.

3. Pyramid Commission.
Another form of accumulator commission is where for example, the manager of a sales force gets not only their own commission for items sold but also receives a share for the number of items sold by the rest of the team. Also known as “Pyramid commission or override commission “, this is very common in many companies and calculating the amount of commission one has earned can be a minefield so in other words make sure you write it all down,keep a record.

4. Percentage of Profit Commission
This applies if you are on a “percentage of profit” commission structure, especially if profit is related to both the profit on a given sale and the company’s profit overall. For example, an Account Manager within an Internet firm may be paid commission on any profit made from the building of a client web site. In other words, profit made from one individual project. They may also be promised payment on the whole company’s performance over a year. Commission thus becomes more a question of trust using figures that you may not have immediate access to.


Whatever the case, when calculating commission, ensure that:

  1. You check your employment contract.
  2. You find and refer to any new commission structures that you’ve been notified of but may not form part of your original contract.
  3. In case of doubt, always speak to your Manager or HR department.
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Winning or Losing


Are You Winning over the Clients you Want or Losing Out?

Jan Potgieter

How many times in the course of a day have you found yourself negotiating a situation? I would be willing to guess that you encounter both planned and unplanned opportunities for negotiation several times a day, yet more often than not, you may find the act of negotiations difficult. If you push too hard, the deal goes astray and if you’re too soft, you become known as a pushover. The key to sound negotiation is not just having a positive style, but includes proper preparation, framing, recognising the techniques and ploys of others, as well as settling on agreements that stick. It is crucial that you are armed with the appropriate tools, which maximise the return on your relationships with suppliers, customers, shareholders and other important business or personal relationships. Consequently, whether it is for the new contract that is up for bid or the negotiation with a business associate, in all likelihood your attempts to win more may need some reevaluation.

What exactly is “Negotiation?”

According to the dictionary, to “negotiate” means “to confer with another so as to arrive at the settlement of some matter.” Yet, it is a fact that nearly 75% of individuals faced with having to conduct crucial negotiations do not realise success at their negotiation efforts and rarely have a clue as to how to win more during a negotiation. Instead, most negotiators have learned only how to push against others, criticising and attacking rather than identifying one another’s strong points. Typically, criticism, rather than creativity, has become the norm during most negotiating efforts.

Although we, as intelligent individuals, possess countless tools for success, negotiating presents a different type of problem that often leaves us somewhat baffled. Perhaps it’s because we feel vulnerable, afraid of losing out or, worse, having to make what appears to be an unfair concession. Or possibly we have the need to control the situation, which, of course, interferes with our practical powers of reasoning. In any case, whether your negotiations involve a corporate situation, a small business transaction or simply a personal endeavor, conceivably throughout your lifetime you’ll spend endless hours in arbitration, mediation and bargaining.

The Right versus Wrong Syndrome

Allow me to bring this home a little more clearly. Envision yourself presenting a proposal to a potential business associate. You have worked hard on the proposal and proudly present it for review. Upon analysis, ninety percent of the proposal is perfectly acceptable and meets your associate’s needs, but 10% of it falls short. More than likely, your associate will reject the proposal not because it wasn’t a good proposition, but simply because they were blinded by the 10% that is wrong. Instead of coming from a place of agreement, they have based their overall decision on the 10% of the proposal that doesn’t work, leaving you to start from scratch. This is the stage where most of us abort important negotiations.

The problem stems from the fact that we have actually been conditioned into believing that someone’s ideas can be improved by criticism, although experience has taught us that when it comes to negotiating, so much more is achieved when focusing on what’s right rather than on what’s wrong. If we seek to improve upon what we see and hear, rather than diminishing someone’s suggestions or ideas, amazing results occur.

Our conclusions and means of handling negotiations are based upon the conditioning we’ve learned through our educational institutions and from our general upbringing. A sad commentary, that culturally we have become so focused on what’s wrong instead of recognising what’s right, we often miss opportunities. Rather than working together to create a mutually acceptable solution, negotiators merely play the role of judge, deciding who is right and who is wrong. When both negotiators come from the standpoint of being right, they’re unable to hear each other’s opinions. Hence, conflict and frustration is frequently the result, and this can be avoided.

If You Want to Win More!

Are we doomed to remain in the half-empty cup syndrome or is there something that can be done to change and improve upon our conditioned negotiation skills? There are usually numerous obstacles standing in the way of a successful negotiation, but with the proper tools and a little bit of “unlearning,” there are many options available that will allow us to win more. As Albert Einstein observed, “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” Negotiators who fail to keep pace with today’s ever-changing business landscape are destined to find themselves stuck in old ways. Accordingly, if negotiators remained open to the positive aspects of ideas or suggestions presented by each side, deliberately identifying the positive aspects first, negotiators would find things moving forward rapidly. By way of illustration, when one person at the negotiation table quickly finds a flaw in an idea presented by the other, even if the majority of the transaction is effective, he or she is using negative thinking habits to focus on what’s wrong. To solve the problem we have to begin focusing more on what’s right. The principle that I encourage is a win more/win more parameter, where parties explore and seek to become more together than apart, i.e. win more/win more as opposed to merely win/win.

Effective Negotiation Tools!

We need intelligence and sharp focus when we begin the negotiation process but more importantly we need a good measure of wisdom to widen our perspective. Whether you are currently in the process of negotiating a business deal or contract, or simply trying to develop a new set of tools that can empower your negotiation skills, the following are some tips that will help you start moving in a new direction.

  • When beginning to negotiate, try not to be tempted into attaching absolute value labels to points of view or persons/parties, e.g. good, bad, right, wrong, shrewd, co-operative, etc.
  • Avoid labels and stereotyping and do not prejudge a person or problem before sufficient information is provided.
  • Bring more to the negotiation table by eliminating reactive and proactive thinking instead, become a projective thinker.
  • Spend less time thinking about what worked in the past; historical perspectives may no longer be valid or applicable and often freeze our perceptions.
  • Negotiation is a future oriented skill, therefore, look at negotiations as the art of the possible, not the impossible.
  • Instead of defining or describing the situation, try thinking in terms of what can be done, i.e. “how can we create a situation where people will be happy to buy our products, rather than, “what is causing people to dismiss our web site?”
  • If someone says no to a request you make, do not immediately retreat from the negotiation rather retreat within the negotiation.
  • If, during a negotiation, one party becomes stressed and tense, decrease the rate of your speech, lower the tone of your voice, breathe more deeply and more slowly, and generally convey a relaxed image.

Successful negotiations aren’t about getting your own way or giving in to another. It is useful to remember never to leave “victims” as a result of your negotiation style as they often have a habit of exacting revenge! Successful negotiations are about reaching a positive end where both parties feel satisfied with the negotiation. The most important part of a successful negotiation is that it becomes a win more/win more situation for all involved and, with the right tools, everyone can leave the negotiation table feeling satisfied and compensated fairly. With knowledge, skills and practice, negotiating can become a truly enjoyable and winning experience.


Jan Potgieter is Director of The Negotiation Academy – Europe Limited, a negotiation skills training and consultancy organisation based in London, frequently conducting engagements in the USA and internationally. He is highly skilled in the science of negotiations based on real life practical perspectives as well as a sound academic grounding in the principles of negotiations. Jan successfully helps companies and individuals around the world reach their negotiation objectives through dynamic workshops and seminars. You can learn more about The Negotiation Academy – Europe at , contact Jan Potgieter at +44(0)8451 298 554 (UK) and 1 888 299 9733 (USA) or send an e-mail for further details.

The Negotiation Academy (TNA) is a negotiation consulting and negotiation skills solution provider. Committed to delivering best practice based negotiation solutions, TNA collaborates with clients to instil an organisational negotiation capability With deep industry experience, global resources and a proven track record, TNA is ideally positioned to assist clients in achieving optimal results from negotiations across all functional areas: Negotiation Skills Training

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Salary Negotiations


Salary Negotiations

Calum Coburn

Whether you’ve found that perfect job or are in hot pursuit of it, sooner or later you will be negotiating salary. If you follow our advice, not only will you earn more money, you will win the respect of your new manager.

Power is one of those subjective forces that’s best understood and harnessed to your advantage. Many mistakenly believe that the employer has the power. Their reasons include the fact that the employer is the one paying the salary, the employer has the choice of other candidates, the employer has already decided the salary grades and bands, the manager has seniority or position power etc. Yes these are all sources of power, and yes they all demand adequate respect and research. You only really need pay attention to one source of power. This source of power stands taller than all others stacked up. I’m talking about the power of having another job offer. Just because you have found your ‘perfect job’ doesn’t mean you should stop interviewing. Similar to romantic partners, nothing makes you more attractive to a prospective employer than having offers from the competition. You may even discover that the job you thought was perfect isn’t so perfect after all.

An objection you will probably hear in response to a request for time or other concessions is “We can’t do that, it’s Company Policy.” Of course if you back down and accept this objection at face value you will be dealing your employer all the best cards. I recommend you challenge this objection immediately by asking if your employer is aware of the reason why the company policy was originally made. Often employers don’t really know, and in answering you they need to re-evaluate a possibly outdated in non-applicable policy. Getting more information arms you in knowing how best to get around this stonewall response. Your employer may be worried that making an exception for you could open the floodgates for all other employees to request the same concession. Remember that rules always have exceptions. So help them out by thinking through how your valid reason is special and unique enough not to be used by all their employees.

Trading is equally valid for salary negotiations as with company negotiations. An example can be “If I forego my current holiday leave to start early for you, then I would like the company car.” Make sure your concessions are not given away freely. Use If-Then statements. After ranking each of your interests, predict which interests make good trades – yet remain flexible.

Nowadays most positions carry an associated salary range or ‘band’ for their grade. This makes salary negotiation more challenging and demands more from creativity in creating an ideal package. In negotiation – information is power. So find out the salary range before interviewing. If you are already working for your employer and going for a promotion, your task is simple. If you know someone already working for this prospective employer – ask them. Alternatively you could ask personnel. I recommend you not ask your prospective manager, as this could open the door to premature discussions around your salary expectations.

Grade has become increasingly important given the narrow salary ranges grades dictate. As a client related to us, he was so glad to accept the title “Financial Director” that he only later discovered that most other company directors were a grade higher and were paid handsomely more. So do ask about the differences between the position you are being offered and the next 2 grades above. It may be that there are 2 grades between you and your manager. At worst, if you are not awarded a higher grade, you will at least have shown ambition and foresight. Your interview is an important time to gain insight and agreement on performance measures that spell the difference between grade promotion.

Performance bonuses are no longer the domain of sales professionals. Bonuses can be thought of as part of your salary offering. Of course since bonuses are paid only if you exceed a target, you would do well to discover just how stretching the target is. So ask about how often this quarterly or annual bonus has been paid. Often performance targets are only paid if a target is met or exceeded. The risk to the company is of managers either easing their foot off of the accelerator after target is achieved, or of deferring invoices into future periods. As an ambitious manager or executive, you have an opportunity to propose your being paid a higher bonus for every pound or dollar above target.

Time is arguably your most precious of your tradable commodities. So before you promise away valuable time to your employer, you owe it to yourself to do your arithmatic. One useful calculation to perform is that of dividing your salary by your hours to get your effective hourly rate. So a position paying 70’000 with 60 hours per week pays less per hour than 60’000 with only 46 hours per week (22.4 versus 25 per hour). Yet which figure would grab your eyes first in an advertisement? So rather than negotiate salary up, you may find it easier to negotiate your time down. If you are confident of meeting the goals, ask for more vacation or to work 4-day weeks.

External principles and measures are your best source of objectivity and fairness in assessing your salary offering. If you object to a proposal as being too low, no doubt they will ask you why you feel this way, and why your counter proposal is any better than their offer. Since we are persuaded by reason, and moved by emotion – research your reasoning with care. Some common comparisons to draw include: what their competition pays similar grade professionals, pegging salary increases to inflation or government salary rate increases, case studies of where a new practice that breaks the ‘company policy’ has worked well for another company.

When should you mention salary? It’s true that “Until you have created value, any price is too high.” So mention salary only after you’ve convinced your employer of your future value to them – so towards the end of your negotiation. This presumes you have worked together with your prospective employer in calculating how much more profit they will be earning through employing you, and how much less risk they will be facing. Be careful not to leave salary for very last. Why? If you have nothing left to trade and want 70’000, whilst they are offering 60’000 – you will most likely settle somewhere near 65’000 (and the battle of wills probably won’t be an enjoyable way to start your business relationship) . To strengthen your trading position, find out what they are most interested in, and keep this in your back pocket for when salary comes up. This way you will be able to trade something of great value to them (which may be of little or no cost to you, e.g. an early starting date) for a higher salary. It is not important who mentions salary first.

‘Salary Expectations’ boxes from agencies or employers – should you fill them in? NO! As without your knowing the hours, bonus package and benefits, office size etc this figure is meaningless. Routinely this figure will be used as a price ceiling against which to bump your head in later salary negotiations. So always leave the box blank.

Leveraging benefits is a concept every professional negotiator understands and uses. Put simply, you want to ask your employer to make concessions that cost them very little – while in return make concessions that are of great value to them. How do you do this? You start by stepping into their shoes and asking which interests they value the least and which the most. So rather than bump up your salary, an employer may find it comparatively easy to pay for: your insurances (health, life or redundancy), a laptop computer, home broadband or extra telephone line, car allowances, subscriptions, training and development, relocation, better/ larger office space, title, flexi-time. These benefits either cost your employer nothing or are tax deductible.

Stepping into the shoes of your manager is almost always an illuminating and vital experience. To make sure you are really in their shoes, ask a friend to be you, whilst you play at being your ‘manager to be’. The more real you make the experience of being someone else, the higher your chances of mind-opening discoveries.

So what can you discover whilst in their world?

This all depends on the quality of your questions, here are some to start with whilst in their shoes:

  • What challenges & ambitions does hiring this candidate promise to solve?
  • What interests underlie these?
  • Can you rank these interests in order of importance?
  • What concerns and reservations do you harbour?
  • What past achievments should I be most interested in learning more about?

The employer’s cost of hiring is one terrain few candidates pay enough attention to. If they choose to hire another candidate to save a few thousand in salary, what might be the cost if this person proves to be a poor performer? Agency charges are commonly large. Most candidates take at least 6 months to have a positive ROI (return on investment) – whilst they are being trained and get into the role and used to the company. If they are being managed out or under performance review, this can take some time and consume considerable organisational resources. Then of course they would need to scout for a replacement. I’ve yet to meet an executive who relishes injecting valuable company time scanning résumés and interviewing all over again. Of course they would rather not be stealing time from profitable company projects. So don’t dismiss whatever advantages you have over the next candidate – your skills will have a tangible payoff to your employer.

How honest should you be with your prospective new manager? Prior to the 1990’s, many negotiation texts focussed on ethically questionable tactics to gain the advantage. We don’t advocate the use of dishonest tactics, and teach delegates how to counter these tactics when presented with them. Since a good long-term relationship between you, them, and the company is essential, we would suggest you be as honest as is customary. A quick generalised cultural contrast will illustrate: A résumé in Holland will likely be an accurate objective description of the experience gained. Whilst a résumé in Britain by contrast is more likely to be slightly ’embellished’. So a Dutch person wishing to enter the British job market may find themselves at a disadvantage if they were not to alter their résumé.

“How much are you earning in your current position?” A dangerous question usually aimed at using this figure to cap your current salary ambitions. In the words of Edward E Cummings “Always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question”. So ask to learn more about the position before you get into detailed salary discussions. If asked a second time, have ready your research into the salary of the offered position and similar positions. If your current position either doesn’t provide a meaningful comparison or is comparatively low, then briefly spell out the reasons why this figure should not guide current discussions. Think about the message this question conveys – that your new manager trusts someone else’s historic judgement more than their own judgement. So make sure your new manager has all the information they need to make up their own minds by accurately assessing and valuing your future contribution.

“What are your salary expectations?” In reply, ask what the normal salary range for this position is (assuming you haven’t already uncovered this information). If asked again, distinguish yourself from the thundering masses by stating “I am much more interested in doing (type of work) for (organisation’s name) than I am in the size of the initial offer.” If asked yet again, a great final response is “I will consider any reasonable offer.”

Your story telling skills are vital at interviews. Invest time in remembering and rehearsing the stories of how you saved your previous employer “X” and completed project “Y” on time. The simple fact is that words on a résumé are not read, most are skimmed or glossed over. So you can’t afford to leave any of your relevant achievements to chance. Stories will also stick in your interviewers mind, helping you stand out from the pack when they come to remembering which candidate they want to invite back. It is largely through succinct storytelling that you give yourself a platform to start creating value in the eyes and ears of your employer.

Some people are great at negotiating for others, yet pushovers when negotiating for themselves. Your interviewer is likely to be acting as an agent for the organisations’ interests. Conversely you will likely be acting on your own interests as principal. So how can you fight harder for your own corner? If you do fight harder for others, then think of the benefits your family or those closest to you will gain through your getting a better deal. Since to most people money is meaningless on its own, think of all the things you would like to enjoy from your salary, then imagine life without these things and experiences (if you don’t negotiate well). The reason I add this last step of ‘life without’ is simply that I’ve found most business people are more likely to take action to prevent loss, rather than to achieve something new.

Silence should be your close friend. So avoid lowering your offer to break the silence. Either wait out the silence or ask if you can help with their thinking. So remember to be silent whilst you think through your options.

Various psychology studies suggest that our first few moments of meeting someone new are the most important. This is because we form an opinion and decide whether we like or dislike someone in this small passage of time. Some studies suggest that as much as 90% of our impression is formed at this stage. So our ‘chemistry’ with others is made or lost in roughly the first 60 to 90 seconds. Some reports even suggest this happens in our first 4 seconds! Considering you won’t have exchanged very many words at this time, and most certainly nothing of real meaning, that only leaves what isn’t said. So consider carefully your clothes and how you hold yourself, how friendly you come across, your vocal qualities, and of course your attentiveness and rapport skills. A large unspoken question you will be answering every moment of the interview is “Does this person fit in with the team and organisational culture?” Whilst you should be yourself at interviews, be yourself at your best!

Finally, be careful not to negotiate yourself into a job you don’t really want. Salary negotiation is only one of many significant facets of a job interview. So prepare and ask all the important questions necessary for you to assess whether the job, team, boss and organisation are worthy of you.
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The Negotiation Academy (TNA) is a negotiation consulting and negotiation skills solution provider. Committed to delivering best practice based negotiation solutions, TNA collaborates with clients to instil an organisational negotiation capability With deep industry experience, global resources and a proven track record, TNA is ideally positioned to assist clients in achieving optimal results from negotiations across all functional areas:
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A Career in Sales


Sales Advice

A career in Sales

For people who enjoy negotiating, planning, customer communications and clinching deals with people, a Sales career offers an excellent career path with great prospects for career development and responsibilities within the early years.

It has long been held that the best route into sales is with a larger company where plenty is invested in the recruitment, training and development of its personnel. Typically such companies have well-known brands and the employees of these businesses are deemed to have been classically trained. Some Sales roles are field based where many individual accounts are managed; other roles are head office based from where major accounts, such a national retail chains, are managed. Career success in the sales sector is ultimately down to the individual and their ability to take initiatives and achieve results.

A typical career path in Sales

Territory Telesales/Field Sales Executive – ?16,000 to ?22,000
this role is usually the first rung on the ladder to a career in Sales. Much time will be spent on the telephone and road visiting significant numbers of customers and putting all training into practice on the job. Typically there will be ongoing training throughout the first year and Sales employees can expect to meet up with regional colleagues on a regular basis.

Key Account Manager – ?24,000 to ?30,000
A Key Account Managers role is frequently split between?field work in a region and working in head office. Higher value accounts are often the focus, or companies with several outlets or branches. This position is often a first step into man-management. Training can be frequent in a Sales career as companies focus not only on personal development but also on educating their teams about new products and up and coming promotional activities.

National Account Manager – ?34,000 to ?44,000
this role carries a high level of responsibility and requires an in-depth knowledge of the company’s products and where they are positioned within the marketplace. A full appreciation of marketing promotions, product data and category management is essential.

Sales Director – ?60,000 +++
A Sales Director will be responsible for the entire sales performance of a company, or of major brands within a large organisation. Few people progress to director level before the age of 35.

The Typical job responsibilities of mid to senior level National Accounts Management

Day to day

  • Meeting customers and selling
  • Recruiting new staff
  • Motivating, training and monitoring.
  • Man-management

Longer term

  • Setting targets and budgets
  • Major client entertaining
  • Developing sales and marketing strategies
  • Board liaison
  • Setting trading terms

Want a career in sales?.Do`s and Don’ts

Do close the sale, both in your cover letter and your interview for a sales position. Employers hiring sales people want candidates who know how to close a sale. Thus, make sure that your “close the sale” in your cover letter by getting the interview

Don’t forget your transferable skills. If you have no direct experience in sales, think about all the sales-related things you’ve done that you can describe in an interview as transferable and applicable to sales. Have you done fund-raising? Given presentations? Solicited local businesses to participate in events? Demonstrated great people skills? Persuaded or convinced people to do things your way? Memorized food and drink orders as a waiter/waitress? These are just a few of the activities and traits that relate to sales. Coaching, teaching, playing on a sports team, and participating in university activities all provide appropriate transferable skills for sales

Do seek out employers who will invest in a solid and structured Sales training program, and support your professional growth, especially if you are new in sales.

Don’t pass up opportunities to learn more about sales and network with those who can help advance your career, such as through job-shadowing, and informational interviewing.

Don’t let rejection get to you. To be successful in sales, you can’t take rejection personally. You also need to be able to explain in a sales job interview how you will overcome the customer objections that can lead to rejection.

Do be persistent. If you have less sales experience than an employer seeks, you may be able to make up for it by being persistent. Persistence, after all, is one of the marks of a good salesperson.

Do seek out products and services to sell that you are already passionate about. Your enthusiasm in an interview will be much more convincing if you already believe in the employer’s offerings.

Don’t be negative. A positive, upbeat attitude is a must in sales. If you have difficulty breaking in right away, don’t start getting the blues. Keep your chin up and continue to show employers what an energetic, likable, confident person you are.

Do consider, if you’re a student, making your target company a project. Writing for Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News, Aissatou Sidime reported on Lanita Wiltshire, who pursued an MBA before hitting the job market but “focused all her individual class projects on then-emerging Merck Pharmaceuticals. She trotted out her presentations during an interview for an internship with Merck and landed the job.”

Do maintain a professional appearance. Many companies recruit sales people at career fairs, because they want to see your appearance, what kind of a first impression you make, and how you handle yourself before they even consider your qualifications.

Networking ?Successful sales representatives are individuals who take an aggressive approach to expanding their client base and sales.” Your personal/professional network is no different, and your ability to network will demonstrate your skills in relationship-building.

Learn more from an older, more experienced sales person who can show you the ropes.

Don’t abuse the perks of a sales career, such as your company car and expense account.

Do be prepared to work long hours, often by yourself or on the road.

Don’t forget the first rule of sales and marketing: The customer always comes first.

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