Cut out for sales career?
TODAY, every young graduate, of either sex, looks at marketing as a piece of cake. Ads also ask for `young dynamic persons with own vehicle' to market their goods. You cannot blame them for believing that if they have their own two wheels, they can be hotshot marketing executives. They walk in and get the hang of the whole thing.
Within the first 15 days, the roses in their eyes are washed out, mainly because of the pollution on the roads and also because it is not as easy as it seemed! The initial enthusiasm can last, probably till one gets the first pay cheque!
So, what goes into the making of a successful marketing person? Can any Tarjeet, Dinesh and Hari market anything confidently? It is important to evaluate your own assets and attitude if you want to pursue it as a career.
Communication skills: It is very important that the person who chooses marketing as a career is good at conveying his/her ideas in a compact assertive manner. This again goes into two parts: a) the ability to convey the point without beating about the bush; and b) the ability to do so without sounding like you are pleading or begging.
The first is possible when you have the fluency of the language and the ability to convince a potential buyer, with all the intelligence at your disposal.
You have been trying to meet the top brass of a company and you have been fobbed off a number of times. Are you prepared to face the fact that there may be more occasions like this where people may not want to see you at all? So, if you do not see them, how do you convince them?
Attitude: Yes, it is very important to have the right attitude if you want to be successful at marketing. My neighbour, who has been in the industry for nearly a decade, says, "Some of the major assets that a good marketing executive needs to have is a cheerful optimism and a firm faith in what he is trying to sell. Besides, he has to be very creative as a single approach does not work for all segments of the market."
When she talks of being creative, she believes that every client needs to be studied and then an approach has to be worked out. This holds true for every product, concept, market segment, etc. whatever one is heading for. To a certain extent, creativity can be inculcated through training. In fact, a good training session in marketing helps in many small ways.
Understanding people: One has to be a people's person to be a successful marketing executive or a business development executive (new wine in an old bottle and all that!) One has to have an understanding of human nature eg what is the right time to talk to a housewife. If her kids are bothering her, come back another time. If people are out for their evening walk they may want to hear you but they are certainly not going to strike a deal! One has to understand people's body language. They may not say they are, but if they look tired, distracted or plain disinterested, come back another day or try another `creative' tack!
Learning to read body language is an art by itself and there are enough books to help. They are well illustrated and give you great details about interpersonal relations that can be studied through non- verbal behaviour.
Dress accordingly: It might sound trite but it pays to dress according to your target segment and the kind of impact you want to make. It creates an image of stability and reliability.
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