Sell your age

Image courtesy of Flickr user Dalboz17
Sales advice isn't the same for everyone or the same at every point in their sales careers. At the risk of offending everyone, I am going to offer some age-based advice regarding sales efforts. Consider doing more of some things and less of others at each of these ages:

At 25: Do more prospecting and less networking

Make new friends with new companies and build a strong base. Also, trade up -- don't network with people at your own age or positional level, even though that may be more comfortable.

At 30: Do more questioning and less talking

You know enough to be dangerous -- but if you ask more than you say, you will be more effective.

At 35: Do more new networking and less new prospecting

If you have taken the time to build your base, there is a lot of opportunity in your network. Activate and mine the network to generate business.

At 40: Do more problem-solving and less selling

Your case-study knowledge and wealth of industry experience put you in a great position as an expert. Leverage it.

At 45: Do more market growing and less single sale closing

You are in a position to work on market share expansion, rather than just pitch and close on single deals.

At 50: Do more account development and less account management

By now, you should be able to turn over the day-to-day work to the people in your organization. Your task is now growth -- not babysitting details.

At 55+: Do more old network harvesting and less account management

As a recognized voice in the market, this is the time to leverage expertise at the industry association level to secure insight and access.

The keys to tailoring your selling efforts to your selling age are as follows:

1. It's about shifting the ratio of time spent on objectives, not eliminating one and doubling down on the other.

2. These recommendations reflect not only your age, but an assumed number of years in the sales role. If you make a shift into sales from another discipline later in your career, you need to take that into account when you define your "age" according to the above list.

3. "Leverage" and "yield" are the two watchwords to consider. By doing less of some of the types of activities you once did and doing more of others, your goal is to become more effective and efficient with your time.

Most of us switch our strategies later than we should, riding our old strategies down into diminishing production before we change. Know where you are in your career, and make the changes necessary to maximize your productivity.

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