Salespeople take risks. Scratch that. Successful sales people take risks. Mediocre ones colour within the lines. And their (mediocre) results show it. If you are recruiting for a sales person, capacity to take risks should be high on your checklist. If you are recruiting compliance officers, then acting in accordance with set rules it is.

Risk assessment for sales representatives

Successful sales people are shrewd. They stretch and bend the rules to just within breaking point if that’s what it takes to bag the sale. Mediocre sales people recite the alphabet in meticulous sequence from A to Z. Successful sales people just ensure all letters are captured, the sequence be damned. For instance, that for the account to be opened all the documentation must be in, is what the rule book says. However, the rule book was written in a lab, a controlled environment. The sales person operates in the field, an uncontrolled environment. And this difference is significant and employers should be cognizant of it. This is because successful sales people take risks.

Sales risks examples. Successful sales people take risks.

So, let’s say the prospect says, “I need my salary to go through your bank this month but I don’t have all the documentation yet.” The mediocre sales person says, “Unfortunately, this is not possible. All your documentation must first be in.” However, the stellar seller, realizing that this iron is hot strikes. “OK. Let’s see what we can do. What documents do you have?” I have my ID and I can get you the letter from employer tomorrow. The rest, next week. The seller makes a call or two and says, OK.

Successful sales people take risks

The calls he made were to his office and the prospects HR (Human Resources Department). To the office he informed the staff there that he needs an account opened but documentation is incomplete. To HR he confirmed that the prospect is still on payroll. For both he got affirmative responses. Something the mediocre rep would never get assuming he could even ask for such bending of the rules in the first place! And why the affirmative response? Because the stellar seller has a proven track record of credibility. Stellar sellers sell for two reasons: to earn money and to build relationships. The reason why HR and the office staff agree is because he has invested in them.

How do you manage risk in sales?

He shares his giveaways from clients with them and not his family members and friends as the mediocre one does. He also, goes out of his way to help them when they are in a bind professionally or personally. Professionally, when they are under pressure to meet targets for their branch, for instance. They call on him to bring accounts their way and he does. And personally by contributing to their harambees etc. They also know that despite his rule bending, he is ethical. Even when he breaks the rules, as sometimes he does, (as Francis did here), he does not cross the line to selling his soul to the devil.

So, go ahead. Take risks to succeed in selling.


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