Blog Post The 3 Stages of a Salesperson’s Career

The 3 Stages of a Salesperson’s Career



The 3 Stages of a Salesperson’s Career

An old sage once remarked, “A mind once stretched by a new idea will never return to its original dimension.”

I don’t expect you to necessarily agree with every assumption, comment, or strategy I share. That’s okay. My simple hope is that you will find a few golden nuggets that will revolutionize your selling career.

To begin, selling is about much more than getting appointments, doing demos, pre-closing, and closing. Selling is a profession that today’s world cannot survive without. In fact, nothing happens until someone sells something. And, the great thing about being a salesperson is that you will be paid every day exactly what you are worth…not a penny more…not a penny less.

Salespeople who really go the distance go through several phases. I call them “The 3 Stages of a Salesperson’s Life™.”

Stage #1) The “You Don’t Want to Buy This, Do You?” Stage
This is the stage where many potentially great salespeople wash out before they even begin. The great enemy of a young salesperson is the fear of rejection.

The fact is, some people won’t need or want you product…whatever it is! Don’t confuse the rejection of your product with a rejection of yourself. You and the product, or service you’re selling, are two radically different things. Lots of people will reject your product because they don’t need, don’t want, or don’t understand how it will benefit them. The only one of these three things that you can control is the last. This is why you shouldn’t wear your feelings on your sleeve, and why you should constantly improve your presentation skills.

Stage #1 is the time when you should be developing your sales skills. This is when you learn how to deal with objections. This is the stage in your life when you don’t have a lot of selling smarts…but you have the luxury of time in which to develop those selling smarts. At this point it’s a numbers game.

Your primary job is to make lots and lots of presentations. With each presentation you will become better. But remember, even bad presentations (when you make enough of them) will result in some sales. No, your closing ratio won’t be very high, but with enough demos you’ll still hit the numbers. As they say, even a blind hog will find plenty of acorns if he roots around long enough.

Stage #2) “The Fruit Salad” Stage
In the military, some generals become known as “fruit salad” generals. Fruit salad is the name given to the chest full of ribbons and medals that some military leaders wear. Curiously, over the decades, many of America’s greatest generals have eschewed wearing all of their medals. Great generals like Dwight Eisenhower and Ulysses Grant rarely wore all the medals they had won. Other generals, often of far less status, tended to wear everything they had received.

Salesperson beware! “The Fruit Salad” Stage is the most dangerous of all. This is when you’ve signed a few deals. You’re starting to have some self-confidence. People in the office have patted you on the back. You’ve won a couple of awards. And arrogance begins to set in.

This is the moment to strive for modesty. Remember that you are where you’re at because others have invested time and talents helping you succeed. If you’ve learned anything worthwhile, share it with others and pass it forward. I love the words of the Apostle Paul, who said, “Take heed when you stand, lest you fall.”

Stage #3) “The Powerful Pro” Stage
This is the most glorious and gratifying stage of the three. This is where the star salespeople live.

The Powerful Pro is the salesperson who has learned to lead a balanced and centered life. She sees her life holistically. Making sales and earning an income are important…but they aren’t the most important parts of life.

These are the people who are the most focused on their clients’ needs. They don’t sell stuff that other people don’t need. They tailor every presentation to each prospect’s individual needs.

Believe me, a client can always tell when there are dollar signs in the salesperson’s eyes. They smell it and can tell when you want the sale for yourself more than you want the sale to fill a need in the client’s life.

The Powerful Pro is the salesperson who won’t have to pay his pallbearers to bury him.

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