When Effective Selling Means Clarifying Your Job Role

BY Jessica Helinski
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Effective selling can be a challenge when reps are overwhelmed or unclear about what their responsibilities include. They may be trying to do too much, or they aren’t clear on what their job tasks include. Being communicative with a manager can help you clear these roadblocks.

Effective selling requires being proactive with managers

Sellers often rely on their formal job descriptions to guide their duties, and many don't ever revisit them more than once or twice. This is a mistake. As Cynthi Measom writes for Chron​.com, “Ideally, your job description encompasses all possible responsibilities for your position and explains the duties in a clear and specific manner. Unfortunately, job descriptions are often incomplete and may result in you performing duties that are too challenging, too easy or otherwise incorrectly assigned.”

SalesFuel’s Voice of the Sales Rep study found that not even half (41%) of sellers say they are crystal clear on what is expected of them and how it’s measured.

So, reps must be proactive when keeping track of their role and its duties; otherwise, they risk wasting time, energy and productivity. It can also prevent being overwhelmed or being taken advantage of down the road.

Review and make a list

For effective selling, be proactive in reviewing your official job responsibilities. Compare that with what you have been doing. Take note of anything that is no longer valid or responsibilities you’ve taken on that aren’t formally included.

Write down questions you have about the duties, such as whether you have the authority level to perform them,” Measom writes. “Note the job duties that you perform that are significant to the job or particularly challenging. This analysis will help you explain your workload to your boss.”

Remember, your boss may not realize that some duties are no longer relevant or outdated. And they likely won’t realize they’ve been overwhelming you with extra tasks. It’s up to you to keep tabs on your duties and whether they are impacting productivity.

Ask for a meeting

Communication is key for effective selling. Once you’ve reviewed your duties, request a meeting with your manager to discuss your findings.

Note that this step can be tricky, and you may need to be diligent about scheduling the meeting and covering the topics you want discussed. Our study revealed that even getting a response could be an issue: Lack of timely responsiveness is a top weakness of sales manager, according to sellers. Be persistent!

Lead the discussion

Share your list, as well as any questions you have or areas that need clarity. As Measom suggests, “tell your boss that you understand the duties in your job description or ask questions about the ones you do not understand. Discuss your current workload; duties that are too difficult or too easy; tasks you propose because they satisfy an unfulfilled need in the workplace; and issues regarding your level of responsibility.” If you need guidance, consider asking these beneficial questions to get clear answers.

Remember, to master effective selling, you must be able to communicate your needs and advocate for yourself.

And while it’s important to be honest, make it a priority to maintain a positive attitude and be polite. If you’ve been juggling heavy a workload, it’s easy to feel frustrated but don’t have your voiced concerns overshadowed by an aggressive or resentful attitude. Your manager will be more likely to hear you if you approach from a place of polite honesty.

And make sure that after your manager provides clarification, you employ an important active listening skill: paraphrasing. Repeat what they said, in your own words, to ensure that you fully understood the message. You don’t want to waste this opportunity to improve efficiency because of a miscommunication.

Make sure to follow up

Finally, follow up. Too easily, your manager may forget, or even blow off, your discussion. Keep at it and make sure you have been taken seriously. Also, ensure that your manager alerted fellow team members of any changes in your role. And when your manager does address and handled your concerns, show gratitude. Let your manager know that you appreciate not only being heard but also that appropriate actions were taken to ensure you are given all you need to succeed.

By proactively taking time to review, and audit, your duties, and having open communication with your manager about your findings, you can ensure you stay on the path to effective selling.

Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash