During your sales calls you probably pay special attention to what your prospects say and do. You don’t want to miss something important that might show how to make the sale. There are other situations that you might find yourself in where you should also pay attention. What you do in these situations might help you advance your sales career.
It’s important to know what spouses think of you.
Many businesses have company functions where spouses also attend. Spouses could be invited to a sales meeting for business or they could attend the company Christmas party. Some salespeople dismiss the spouse as someone who is not so important for their career. That’s a mistake.
Many couples talk about business with each other. Each one serves as an informal advisor to the other about the job, the people and the challenges. You can imagine the clueless salesperson who makes a beeline for the VIP manager at a company function and ignores the spouse standing by his or her side. It’s not only bad manners to ignore someone standing right next to you. Imagine what the spouse will say after the function when asked, “So what did you think about (you)? I’ll bet the answer will be not much.
You just missed an important aid to your sales career. Know that that spouses often play a big role in judging who are the ones to promote and who are the ones to pass over. You want to be more than polite. I remember one manager’s wife who invited the new sales team over for dinner. One sales rep announced that he didn’t like what she was serving and she had to prepare another dish for him. At a meeting 10 years later she still commented, “He made me dirty another pan.” I was surprised that she mentioned it so many years later. I shouldn’t have been. That sales rep’s career never took off. I wonder how many times she mentioned the dirty pan to her husband.
People have long memories and spouses have a lot of power to influence. Be respectful and nice when you meet a spouse. You want them to say nice things about you. You will never be sure who will get promoted. You want everyone saying nice things about you—especially spouses.
It’s important to take a stand.
There are often many people who are qualified for a promotion. So who gets the job? I’ve never seen a wimp get promoted. The ones who get promoted are the ones who can do the job and who have earned respect. How do they earn respect? They stand up for themselves. The ones who get promoted are the ones who can disagree with others, make their point, and win or lose, live with the results. They know when to pick their battles, too. They don’t disagree with everything. When something is important they do take a stand.
Early in my sales career I was in a situation where a company policy was being implemented differently for me and another sales rep. I was getting less than the other sale rep. I could have said nothing, but that would not have remedied the situation. I treated my presentation to my boss as a sales call. I prepared my talking points and showed why my situation was the same as the other rep so I should have gotten the same benefit. He was surprised that I made such a compelling argument. My boss agreed with me. I earned his respect as a result. People who stand up for what they believe and do so in a way that shows respect for the other person make a positive impression. I believe that’s how I earned my first promotion.
You may think your sales numbers are all that’s important for your sales success. Your success depends on more than simply your sales numbers when you realize that other people can help your sales career.