Your Success Depends on the Choices YOU Make

Filed Under (OP Sales Training, Suggested Reading) by Don on 17-04-2012

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Success, or failure is highly dependent on the choices you make.  I’m sure this isn’t rocket science to most of us but it seems to me that our current crop of potential sales people are more interested in time off than time spent earning that success.  It isn’t my purpose to put every one of these potentials in a single nutshell but this does seem to apply to a majority.  Lesson number one for you folks is; your success or failure is strictly up to you and you alone.  If you accept a sales job, no matter what the product line represents, it is your responsibility to put forth the necessary effort to learn everything you can about the product(s) and how they are to be used as possible.  Lesson number two is; the second most important ingredient to your success or failure is YOUR attitude.  I don’t want to hear about all the negative influences you have in your life.  Face it spunky, we all have them!  How you allow those negative influences to affect your attitude is a decision you make and it will define how you are perceived by your prospects and clients.  Forgive me for not remembering who said this but there is a quote by one of the great sales trainers/writers that says “Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude”.  Successful sales training is an effective combination of efforts from the employer and the individual rep.  The employer can give you all the tools necessary to help you be successful and sales/selling is a continual process that demands continuous improvement, practice and refinement on your part.

Now you employers are on the hook here too for some shared responsibility.  Back in the mid-1980′s when I was first hired into this industry my new employer met me on my first day with an 1000 page catalog and told me, “Here is what you can sell and here are your prices.  Now go out there and sell something.” This honestly happened to me and I hope it never happens to you. I succeeded because I’m stubborn, hard-headed and darned determined to be successful.  When you bring on a new rep that isn’t experienced in your industry or product you need to have a written plan on how you will bring your new rep up to speed.  In the OP industry you can’t learn 30,000+ items overnight.  That means homework.  Since my primary wholesaler is USSCO then I’ll take their mega catalog and assign categories to the rep starting with the most commonly purchased products such as “Clips”, “Correction” and “Paper”.  After a couple of days I’ll quiz them on what item fits which category and what is the starting page number for that category.  I have reps spend time with the customer service staff, warehouse, delivery and if possible a furniture install.  All these things round out their understanding of what is required to effectively represent the company and it’s products.  While this isn’t an exhaustive list it is a good start.  It is also important that the dealer have the rep participate in wholesaler sponsored training classes.  You (the dealer) must make a reasonable investment in your reps success.

As a rep it is your responsibility to invest the time necessary to become successful.  Sales is NOT a 9-5 job.  If you think it is then I suggest you find another line of work.  Sales isn’t for you.  To become and to remain successful in sales is a constant process.  You are a work in progress and you have to feed your mind.  There are so many excellent sales trainers, seminars, classes, mentors, books and processes out there I could not do them enough justice here to recommend them all.  Krista Moore is an excellent trainer, coach and mentor specific to the OP industry.  There is Dave Kahle and one of my personal favorites is Jeffrey Gitomer.  Gitomer has a great line of books that have simple, actionable points designed to make you think and take action.  If you are serious about your personal sales success then be serious about how to plan to be successful.  You are making an investment in yourself and your time spent is the first place to start.  No excuses, no blaming others.  Your success ultimately depends on you, no one else.  God doesn’t make mistakes and He made a wonderful person in you.  He gave you all the abilities and capabilities you need to be successful.  It’s up to you to use those abilities with determination and wisdom.

The last word: “Great things are accomplished by talented people who believe they will accomplish them.” -Warren G. Bennis

Balancing the Scales of Achievement & Development

Filed Under (OP Sales Training) by Don on 04-06-2008

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In the June edition of Independent Dealer magazine there is a great article by Krista Moore on sales management.  One area in specific caught my attention and that was the personal, not group, development of sales reps.  In my current role I am sales manager and marketing manager for the company.  In the 23+ years I’ve been in the office products and equipment industry I’ve filled the roles of sales rep, business owner, delivery guy, service man (laser printers), controller, sales manager, warehouse manager, janitor and cook.  Although I consider myself as being successful in my rolls I enjoy the marketing and sales manager the most.  I am a research and reading fanatic and these rolls always offer many areas of personal growth and knowledge development.  I’ve sold the office products, printing, ad specialty and equipment for years so I am comfortable with the products themselves.

What drew my attention to Krista’s article was individual growth goals and personal development.  I always had my own goals and development and never had anyone else to set them for me.  I’m to much of a perfectionist to ever allow that to happen anyway!  Krista’s message made me realize that I set group and individual goals but train as a group and not so much as individuals.  What I have not done is considered the individual strengths and weaknesses of the rep and made any adjustments to their personal training and goals based on their needs.  I simply tried to hard to accommodate the group needs and forgot to consider how the individual needs of each rep must be addressed.  I do have weekly sales meetings and one-on-one’s with my team and seek to discover areas of improvement but I haven’t gone so far as to have written personal development plans.  Krista was spot on when she states, “For development, you should have a list of core competencies that successful sales reps in our industry must possess in order to succeed and score your reps on a scale that you can share with them.”  Therein lies the area I need to improve in for my teams sake.

I work hard to coach, reward, recognize and give constructive feedback to my team and I hold them accountable for their successes or failures.  Ultimately however, I am the person that must accept success or failure for them and recognizing my own weaknesses will better enable me to meet their needs and develop an achievement plan that will yield successful results for the company and the reps.  Do you have individual plans for your reps or do you apply a broad brush to your company goals and set your quotas/goals as such?  Do you have a step-by-step system to drive your company sales growth and personal growth development?  Do you balance achievement and development?  More information regarding Krista Moore can be found on her website at with information regarding her online training classes specific to our industry.

The last word: “There is no short cut to achievement. Life requires thorough preparation – veneer isn’t worth anything.”– George Washington Carver