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How to Get More Autonomy as a Sales Professional

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The idea of Freedom is one most people share.  We love the idea of it.  Whether it be coming or going whenever we please without worrying, or being able to eat what we want, when we want.

Often when I’m doing sales and business development consulting for companies, I hear the sales professionals saying, “I don’t have enough autonomy, I need to be able to run free.”  Before we hang you for once again being an irresponsible lot who don’t want to work that hard, think about this:  That is ultimately what your company wants.  But that comes with a caveat:  Your company also needs to know what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, and if you’re on the right track.

So this is all about managing up, and managing up is all about communication.

Suspicions!

When do we get suspicious of people?  Generally it is when it appears they are trying to hide something from us.  We feel like there is something else we should know, but often we are afraid to ask.  If this goes on for too long, our trust begins to erode.  When our trust begins to erode, we will pounce on the smallest misstep by the person we are suspicious of to prove ourselves to be correct.

Does this sound like your Sales Leader?  When you go into your 1×1 (you better be having a weekly 1×1 with your boss!) how does it feel.  Generally it is 1 of 2:

  1. He/she is there to problem solve with you.
  2. He/she is there to interrogate you until you slip up.

Which one of these is it for you?  Have you ever heard this from your boss before, “I don’t care what you are doing as long as you are hitting your numbers.”  What a crock of …well you get the idea.  They want to know what you are doing and, ideally, they’d like to be able to know more than once a week.  They should pretty much know on a daily basis how you are spending your focused, efficient and productive selling time.  That is what you do…right?

Transparency Will Set You Free

There shouldn’t be any worry about transparency for you as a sales professional if you’re doing your job.  You should have no qualms about sharing everything you are doing.  Have you ever heard the expression, “If you wouldn’t want it on the front page of the paper, you shouldn’t be doing it”?  It is the same with Sales, if you are afraid to be transparent about what you are doing, then you must not be doing your job.

So whether it be showing people your schedule, making sure your reports are filed in your customer relationship management system, or just having a one-on-one weekly with your boss, do it!  Too often the complaint of “too much admin” is echoing throughout the sales bullpen (real or cyber).  The secret to freedom is transparency because if you embrace it, you will work hard to make sure you are doing everything you should be and more.  By being transparent and doing everything you should be, you will be knocking it out of the park. By knocking it out of the park, you will have all the autonomy that you want. 🙂

Jack Kelly
Jack Kelly
Jack founded the Corlea Group in early 2009 with his first client coming on board in January of that year. Jack loves to coach. He coaches his clients and he helps coach his kid’s teams – it’s his passion and has been for over 25 years as a professional, father and volunteer. Why? Because he likes to help a team succeed.
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