The Selling E-Letter®
Fit into Sales Success
I love my job.
This is what you’re likely to hear if you speak with one of the thousands
of employees who work for Southwest Airlines. They don’t advertise for
employees. They find employees who will fit their culture of fun, hard
work and customer focus. If you’re in sales and want to say “I love my
job,” here’s what it takes to “fit” into the sales culture.
Find work that fits. Marlys Hanson, M.S., author of Passion
and Purpose: How to Identify and Leverage the Powerful Patterns that Shape
Your Work/Life says, “Successful people in every walk of life have one
thing in common. They follow their passion.” What happens in business is
that too many intelligent people get into careers where they miss doing
what they love to do. Passions appear in childhood. These passions can be
identified by examining activities you have enjoyed doing and felt you did
well, beginning with childhood recollections. Hanson’s work involves
identifying these behaviors and passions so that people find careers that
fit their strengths and leverage what they enjoy doing.
does it take for sales? Different jobs require specific skills for
workers to perform well and to succeed. Hanson studied what it took for
salespeople to be successful. A multinational pharmaceutical firm had been
experiencing over 50% termination rate in its medical sales representative
force. This job involved selling products directly to doctors and clinics.
The qualifications for this job were (1) a B.S. degree in some scientific
field, (2) a high GPA and, (3) good interpersonal skills. The company
believed they could train people with these qualifications to perform the
work needed to succeed in sales. This was not the case. All too often, the
people they were selecting were not succeeding.
analyzed the behaviors of the individuals who were succeeding she found
several patterns. Successful sales reps were “natural relationship
builders.” Their achievements had strong evidence of initiating, building
and sustaining personal relationships with others. They were proactive.
They did not wait to be told what to do. They were not dependent on
structure or requirements to perform. They were “informed influencers.”
They knew their products well. The sales reps would explain and describe
their products. These explanations would influence their customers. They
were effective organizers. They organized their time, schedule, materials
and interactions with the home office. They were enthusiastic about their
Can I fit in? Consider if these pattern
descriptions sound like a mismatch for you—even if you’re doing well in
sales. Another career would probably be a better fit for you
says, “"To be both successful and fulfilled, you must be doing work that
engages your passions. If your daily efforts do not provide the
opportunity to use your innate motivations to accomplish a purpose that is
meaningful to you, you will find yourself increasingly frustrated and
stressed by the situation. And take heed - because work satisfaction has
been found to be a powerful predictor of how long we live as well as how
likely we are to remain healthy."
Think about what you love to do.
If you love to work with lots of positive, fun people then consider being
lucky enough to find a career at Southwest. If you’re an enthusiastic,
organized worker who enjoys working autonomously to build relationships,
you’re probably doing well in sales and you love what you do. Sounds like
selling is the perfect fit for you.
Maura Schreier-Fleming works with
business and sales professionals on skills and strategies so they can sell
more and be more productive at work. She is the author of Real-World
Selling for Out-of-this-World Results which is available at
www.BestatSelling.com. She founded her company Best@Selling in
1997. You can reach her at 972.380.0200.