“If you’re thinking about making a move, make sure it’s for the right reason.” – Scott Ingram in today’s Tip 147
How do you do your due diligence on new sales opportunities?
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Scott Ingram: You’re listening to the Daily Sales Tips podcast and I’m your host, Scott Ingram. Today I want to talk about new sales jobs. What you’re selling and who you’re selling for has a massive impact on your success, or even what level of success is possible. I’ve been talking with a couple of friends lately who’ve made a wrong turn in their sales careers and have found themselves in a tough spot. It’s not always the case, but I believe most of these situations are avoidable. You just have to spend a little more time and do your due diligence before accepting that offer letter. First, let me say that if you’re thinking about making a move, make sure it’s for the right reason. In almost every case where I’ve seen somebody change jobs just because they thought they could make a little more money, that plan has backfired. Either the dollars never materialized or more likely they just hated the new role. Be very careful of the grass is always greener effect.
What I really want to spend time talking about though is how you figure out if a new opportunity is really the right fit for you and how to do your due diligence. For most that job is going to represent close to 100% of your income and a significant percentage of your time, while your revenue contribution to that company likely represents a tiny fraction of their total sales. So it’s incumbent upon you to really dig in and vet the opportunity. Start with the surface level stuff. Are you excited about what they sell? Do you believe in what it can do? If you don’t feel like you can get passionate about whatever the thing is that you’ll be selling, that’s something you just can’t fake, at least not for very long, and you need to just walk away. Next, get a feel for the company’s culture and the sales culture. Sure you can start with Glassdoor and things like that, but it’s much better if you talk to people and try to find ways to experience it. See if you can shadow another rep for a day, or listen in on a team meeting. This is a place where I feel like talk is cheap. You can read about their values and the mission statement, but what’s the reality? How do they actually behave? Next, figure out if your potential new boss is the right fit. Of course you want to talk to them, but more importantly, talk to other people they manage. My favorite thing to do is to find a couple of people who used to work for them. Ask them if they would work for them again. Ask about their style. Ask about how they handled various situations. You can apply this same trick to learning more about the company. I always ask to talk to a couple of top reps in the company to get their perspective, but again find that I get the best most accurate dirt from people who have recently left and no longer have any kind of interest in whether or not I join the company.
I guess my main point here is to have LOTS of conversations. Talk to as many people as you can. This is your future and done right is going to impact at least the next few years of your life and potentially more. Talk to a customer or two. What do they think about the company?
Don’t be afraid to dig in deeper either. Ask about territories, ask about the comp plan. Are quotas achievable or seemingly impossible? How many people are at or above plan? I just caught up with a friend who told me that his entire team finished at 35% of quota. Obviously, that’s a giant red flag.
Find out about their turn-over. I’ve personally seen this to be one of the single best indicators of either good things or bad things. If their turn-over is high it’s almost always a sign that something is wrong, even if you can’t put your finger on it exactly. Conversely low turnover is one of the most positive signals you’ll find.
What else? What did I miss here? How do you do your due diligence on new sales opportunities? I would really love your input on this because I think it’s a critically important topic that very few people think about or talk about. What’s worked for you?
That does it for today. Thanks for listening and come back tomorrow for another great sales tip!