The best way to protect your position and increase value to your organization in tough times is to outwork everyone else on your team. Don’t be bashful about your unbridled enthusiasm and energy. Boldly go after the business like you have never done before.
The alternative to this is being the squeaky wheel. Sales representatives who continue to lobby their managers for protection and safety during times of reorganization, believing that prior performance and longstanding relationships will ensure employment, become the squeaky wheel in management’s ear, not realizing that they are applying their time and energy to the wrong cause.
Management has a performance responsibility to the organization, to the customer, and to shareholders. During times of change and down cycles, the last thing management wants to deal with are needy sales professionals who are underperforming. Unfortunately when sales are down, competition is fierce, the pressure to produce is increased, and the stakes become much higher.
Sales organizations reorganizing to cut expenses are shrinking their sales teams, and the survivors in management wrestle daily with who to keep, who to cut, and how to increase revenue in a changed world.
So does the squeaky wheel get the most oil? Not in this environment.
It is one thing to be labeled a “me-too” sales professional by clients and prospects; but it is entirely something different and far worse to have management view individuals on their team as a me-too participant.
Let the me-too sales folks on the team commiserate about the economy, bad territories, and poor leadership and spread the blame about why they can’t earn a living. Top performers and high achievers will rise to the top and claim their rightful positions within the company while also earning what they need in order to provide for their families. Their actions will speak so loudly that management can’t hear what the nonperformers are saying.
This is a time when excuses won’t cut it. Even rational reasons for missing a month or a quarter will be scrutinized closely. This is a time when those who can sell will sell and those who can’t or are unwilling to sell will attempt to preserve employment by being the squeaky wheel in management’s ear.