Before You Accept an Offer For a Sales Position Ask These Questions!
One of the things that you do not want to hear from your sales manager a week after you’ve been hired is, “Didn’t I tell you that the comp plan was going to change in the 3rd quarter?” Ah, no you didn’t! What a crushing comment coming from someone that you thought was being up front.
A great many salespeople have started jobs only to find that what was promised came under the heading of wishful thinking rather than reality. I can’t say that it has happened to me but I did take one job where after one day I knew the decision was a bad one. I should have up and walked away but you try to make things work out. I lasted eight months.
If I were starting out in a sales career today I would want to ask these questions:
- When was the last time the comp plan changed? What was the plan prior to the current one?
- What factors must exist to warrant splitting a sales territory?
- If a territory is split does the rep losing part of the territory receive any compensation for lost business? (This is a tricky question to ask because you don’t want the company to think that you want something for nothing. In the past I have split territories and the rep losing territory was not compensated for lost business. The reason was that the product was in very high demand and the old rep made up for the loss within 6 months. One way to approach this is to ask about compensation for a large sale that closed shortly after the territory split. Of course the assumption is that you laid the groundwork.)
- What are the key accounts in the territory now? (Why not ask to see a printout documenting each account and the business in those accounts?)
- Have these accounts been growing or are they stagnant?
- How much business is there left to close in these accounts?
- What are the large accounts in the territory that have not been penetrated? Why? (What you would like to hear is that the previous rep never had time to get to these accounts.)
- How does the role of the customer service rep interface with the salesperson? (This assumes that the salesperson has a customer service rep.)
In previous posts in this series I’ve touched on subjects similar to this. There is no way that a new rep can cover all the things that Murphy has waiting in the wings. No matter how many questions you ask there will always be an element of risk when taking a new job. You can’t get around it. Minimize the effect of Murphy by asking questions.
The Final Thought: “Successful people aren’t born that way. They become successful by establishing the habit of doing things unsuccessful people don’t like to do. The successful people don’t always like these things themselves; they just get on and do them.” Unknown