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How to Keep Your Sales Career on Track in a Changing Economy

The reality is sales in brutal. You can be cut from the team for failing or succeeding so you need to be prepared to keep your career on track should this happen to you.

By
Jeb Blount

Talk to recruiters. When recruiters contact you talk to them. Even if the position they have available is not right for you or the timing is bad, you should make the connection and get to know them. Once you have made the connection stay in touch – especially if they help you move to a new sales job. Keep them updated on your career, send them updated resumes and become a resource by referring other people you know. The relationships you build with recruiters will help you keep your sales career on track and ensure that you always have opportunities available. For more information on building profitable business relationships check out my new book, People Buy You: The Real Secret to What Matters Most in Business available in book stores everywhere.

Never let your guard down. In the 21st century things change fast. To survive you must be on constant look-out for changes in your company that could impact your sales career. Changes in leadership, ownership, market conditions, profitability, mergers and acquisitions can and will put your job in jeopardy. Never let your guard down. The moment you allow yourself to feel comfortable is the exact moment when change may catch you by surprise.

Stay connected to your network. All of those people you’ve worked with in the past – old customers, friends, college buddies, etc. – are great resources for career opportunities. All you need to do is stay in touch and help the people in your network. The fact is, most people get their next sales job using the help or influence of someone they know. When you need to make a career change, a well managed network offers an unbeatable lifeline. For more advice on managing your network read The Little Black Book of Connections by Jeffrey Gitomer and Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferazzi.

Change jobs when you are on top. As a Sales Professional when you are on top – exceeding your quota, making President’s Club, and basking in the glow of success – it may be the very best time for you to look for a new sales job. I realize, for some, the idea of changing jobs when you are doing well in your current position may seem counter-intuitive.  

Plan for the Future

What is important to understand is that today’s mountain is tomorrow’s valley. All salespeople, and I don’t care who you are, are going to have a slump from time to time. When your time comes, it is unlikely that your company or manager will cut you a break in today’s business and economic environment. In sales, yesterday’s heroes are tomorrow’s dogs.

While you are on top it is likely that you are getting more calls than ever from executive recruiters, that you have old managers calling you, or that you have people you worked with before talking to you about opportunities in their companies. The reality is, sooner or later you are going to be looking for a better sales job. So why not look for your next job when you don’t need it – when you are on top?

If you have a sales question please send it to salesguy@quickanddirtytips.com.

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