It seems that millennials don’t like to get into sales because of the risk involved. They don’t like the risk of an unknown salary or irregular paycheck. What they might be afraid of is the stress of selling. Successful sales professionals manage the stress of selling better than less successful sales professionals.
Plan your sales calls to reduce stress.
One of the most stressful things I can think of is waking up Monday morning and having no idea what I’m supposed to do and where I’m supposed to go. A schedule helps reduce the stress of selling. You can schedule your sales calls far into the year by qualifying your customers and prospects.
Determine the “quality” of your prospects and customers by identifying criteria that define them. For example, criteria could be potential revenue, marketplace name recognition, or other strategic value to you. Score accounts as A, B or C based on these criteria. You should allocate more of your time with A accounts than B or C accounts. Determine how many sales calls or customer contacts you will have with A, B and C accounts each month or quarter. Now schedule them.
Confirm the next sales call with your customer or prospect according to your plan at the end of each sales call. You now have a dynamic schedule built on a framework of your most important customers and prospects. You can fill in prospect sales calls around your schedule. You will be less stressed because you will know who you will be calling on in advance.
Avoid activities that stress you in sales.
A recent client was spending too much time in an email battle with a peer. How unproductive is that! Waging email arguments is about as useful as wrestling with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.
The battle started when this new employee immediately went into attack mode to disparage my client’s strategy. How unprofessional is that to attack instead of to seek to understand? Some people like to create problems. (Remember the pig?)
Email is not the right tool to engage in a heated discussion. Pick up the phone if you notice the emails going back and forth. Be sure to be calm when you’re speaking. You might need additional avoidance strategies if this person repeatedly causes you problems. As I reminded my client, when you spot a toxic person, you must remember that you don’t take the bait.
Keep clear of engaging a toxic person. Sometimes with members of your sales team, it’s impossible to ignore them. Be sure to surround yourself with other witnesses when you have to engage this toxic person. Be clear that you have a need to protect yourself.
Sales may be perceived as risky to millennials today. They should be talking with experienced, successful sales professionals instead. That’s the only way they would hear, “In the world of sales, I get to control my own destiny. I’m willing to bet on myself. I know if I focus on process, the results will take care of themselves.” That doesn’t sound like risk to me. That sounds like a great investment.