How To Climb The Professional Sales Ladder
What does it take to move up in your sales career? Meeting the numbers is a good beginning, but with increased competition and competitiveness in the field can make it difficult to stand out. But how do you move from an assistant, to a team leader, to management and beyond? Here’s how you can begin moving up the ladder toward the career you want.
Make yourself invaluable
Become a vital part of your sales team. Be the person who can do what no one else can do. This involves a lot of learning, accumulating knowledge, and knowing your industry inside and out. If you can find a niche and fill it, you can make yourself into the person your sales team can’t live without, and set yourself apart from the people for whom it is “just a job.” Don’t just show passion and drive — demonstrate it every day.
Learn to ask questions
Questions are the key to learning. Don’t let fear or ego keep you from always trying to educate yourself. This is one area where “fake it until you make it” can be a very bad idea. Don’t be afraid to admit your ignorance on a topic — ask questions, get informed, and come to the next assignment armed with what you’ve learned.
Broaden your skills
Even if your area of expertise is very specialized, always be looking for opportunities to develop your skill set in new ways. The broader your range of expertise, the better your chances of moving up. Bring in what you’ve learned from other jobs and experiences and put that knowledge to work.
As you move up to a sales management position, the requirements, and your skills, will begin to change. You will have to learn a new way of working if you want to get promoted further.
Hone your communications skills
Once you’re in a position of managing other people, effective communication becomes vital to your success. Show strong leadership. Stay in touch frequently. Learn to give effective feedback and criticism. Learn to identify and deal with problems as they arise. Learn to increase your sales team’s performance, and they’ll do their jobs better — meaning you can do your job better.
Recruit the best people
A good sales team starts with the right people. Garner a reputation for hiring only the best, and create a strong foundation for your sales team. Most of all, know when it’s time to replace a person — either to increase your sales team’s efficiency, or to promote the best talent upward.
The self-education doesn’t stop when you reach management level. At this stage, learning new facets of your job isn’t enough — you’ll have to learn to think and solve problems creatively and efficiently. Technology and the internet are always impacting and evolving how we do business, and you can’t afford to fall behind.
Manage your time effectively
Your biggest enemy at this level is time. Even when you put in the hours, there are only so many of them in a day, and learning how to use them effectively will be one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal and jumping ahead to success.
Getting promoted takes patience and drive, and standing out from the crowd can be difficult. But armed with knowledge of your field and the dedication to follow through will guarantee your climb up the sales ladder.
Many successful Sales Careers have been found on the Telegraph Jobs board, now it is your turn to find one and climb the ladder!
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