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A Salesperson’s Lifecycle

By Percy Chong, 21st October 2015

Does a salesperson have a lifecycle like the products or services that they are selling? And how does one deal with the evitable of becoming obsolete?

ASG noticed that every couple of years, like the product’s lifecycle, a salesperson’s selling lifecycle also undergo changes and starts to shift into decline. Like all products, a salesperson therefore needs to reinvent himself ever so often, to keep pace with the changing customer needs as well as their increasingly higher demands. Coupled with new generation of customers (ie. Gen Y or Millennial etc) entering the marketplace, a salesperson cannot remain static if he wishes to continue in his sales career.

A typical salesperson lifecycle starts with a New Salesperson phase where they are charged with excitement for the industry/profession, learning and picking up all the necessary skills and knowledge for their progression. They would gradually transit to the Matured Salesperson phase where their level of skills and knowledge for the industry/profession has peaked.

With the roles of the matured salesperson starting to be routine or repetitive, loss of excitement or complacency for the industry/ profession would set the lifecycle to a declining phase. Absent of any new direction or reinvention, the salesperson’s career would certainly end, or limping to a slow death. However, with the right preparation and the infusion of new ideas/direction, the salesperson’s lifecycle may experience and up-tick in the Renewed Salesperson phase.

With most salesperson oblivion to this reality, ASG has taken upon ourselves to remind all salesperson to the start planning ahead for this impending shift. ASG has observed the production trends for most salespersons, who have removed their foot from the gas pedal whether by choice or circumstance, to be a devastating one. The slowdown in sales is not a gradual, but a steep drop! And it leaves little or no time for the salespersons to react. Many brilliant sales careers have ended prematurely as a result of such unexpected turn of events, or sheer complacency. The awareness for such cyclical reality is the best bet to staying in the game.

Although the salesperson’s lifecycle varies from industries, ASG noticed that lifecycle generally hover around 6-7 years for most experiences. It would therefore be in every salesperson’s interest to consider a longer term, or a more mindful view of their career track; and take a more welcoming stance to any new development or movement (ie. regulatory changes, technological advancement etc) within their industry. Any of such new ideas could very well usher in career ending new order, hence need to be respected.

Staying ahead of the curve also requires the salesperson to genuinely uphold the spirit of constant learning and upgrading. Picking up new skills and knowledge along the way and hopefully not be caught surprised, when their industry/profession be awash with change.
So be aware, plan ahead and take care not to become a statistic in the ever changing sales environment.

Article contributed by Percy Chong (through Asian Sales Guru)
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