I CAN anticipate your objection: How can I sell when senior management is taking so long in approving contracts? You have to take a step back and ask why it takes them that long. It may help to understand just what you are selling. Are you selling fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) where sales are closed with a customer’s purchase order? Or are you promoting huge specialized machinery and / or to a highly bureaucratic clients, such as the government? Does your selling process require complicated contracts, audits, reviews by Legal, on-off negotiations on pricing and terms, and so on?
If so, think how you can help the management shorten the approval process. Is it to have all the necessary information quickly, on time, pre-approved, accurately? Is it to keep close track rather than sitting passively for someone else do his part, especially if that someone is inefficient?
Perhaps the senior management doesn’t see the urgency or the opportunity costs of delay. If so, maybe you need to write down a business case, such as “Dear Sirs, if you approve this contract by so-and-so date, the company will get to earn X millions of pesos.”
Don’t complain yet about having no per diem. Prove yourself first, then ask. Never mind the owner and the sales manager are not focused. That’s their problem. Focus on your job. Focus on results. That’s why these two hired you. When you deliver -- and deliver big time -- they will have to listen and take good care of you. See the strategy?
Don’t be bothered that the company doesn’t grow or develop its people. If that’s the case, don’t depend on them or expect from them. You develop yourself. Take responsibility for your own improvement.
Another tactic is to volunteer to do some of your boss’ job. That the sales manager is distracted is actually an opportunity for you to strut your stuff. Are there administrative or selling tasks that your boss has no time for and thus would welcome delegating them to you? Then do a splendid job. Generate goodwill and leverage that for a better package and more responsibilities beyond minimum-wage level.
If things still don’t work out, then your other option is to go to another company. It can be as a freelance salesperson on straight commission. As to your chances of being hired straightaway as a manager, plus the fact that you are in your mid-50’s, you still have a fighting chance… if you are very good. That brings us back to your track record in this company. It all boils back to performance.
I am aware that parts of this email can be somewhat frank. But think of these as wake-up calls. I certainly don’t want to just stroke your ego and give you shallow advice. So review your track record, build new successes in sales, make yourself credible, earn the listening ear of the management, think of solutions not problems. I am not saying it will be easy. But at least with honest self-assessment and outside-the-box thinking, you can get to your goals sooner rather than later.
Wishing you success in your undertaking!
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