Tough Sell

I’m a sales professional who has spent most of my career in telecom sales. I had a decent eight-year run with MCI but have since been struggling to find a job that interests me. I’m convinced my job hopping is viewed unfavorably by potential employers, but the companies I’ve worked for have either downsized their sales teams or have unrealistic expectations. I’m very frustrated.
– C. Belcher, Via the Internet

Are you passionate about sales or is that just where you landed at the start of your career? Even at your last “successful” job you describe your performance as only decent. It may be time for a career change. You should connect with a career coach to evaluate your skills and talents. Visit the International Coach Federation for a listing (www.coach federation.org).

Even if you decide to stay in sales, an evaluation will uncover what you could be doing better. Being effective in sales requires a strong understanding of the product, the environment, and the customer — all of which change from company to company, industry to industry.

It also sounds as if you’re not thoroughly researching the sales departments of companies you join. In your job hunt, it’s important to investigate the division as well as the company. Just because the company appears to be doing well doesn’t mean the division to which you’re applying is a performance leader. The interview stage is the perfect opportunity to clarify expectations; use this time to determine if the company fits your needs.

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