Michael Learns To Stock: A Fresher’s Exposure To The World Of Sales

Published by MBA Skool Team, Published on June 05, 2012

Being a fresher is a lot like being Harry potter. Everything seems magical: Right from the feel of formal clothes on a body used to jeans and flip-flops to the atmosphere of the corporate office where each cubicle holds secrets from beyond realms unknown.

Your internship project seems to hold the fate of your multi-billion dollar MNC at stake, your every move is carefully being monitored by the Dumbledores and Snapes of the company and every mortal employee looks to you with that all important question in his mind: will he be the chosen one?(read: PPO)

I landed myself a sales profile in a known FMCG company and from there on my lessons began. I would like to share some experiences that I and my fellow fresher trainees from different companies have gathered:

1. Sell if you can, sell if you can’t

The most basic funda every sales manager applies while deciding future sales targets is, give them more than they can achieve. To a seasoned salesman it’s a challenge, to a docile creature like me, it seemed equivalent to throwing him off the cliff to see if he can fly. If you can, well, there’s always another cliff and if you can’t…well, there’s always another cliff!

2. Sales is about teamwork, but it isn’t, yet it is

No matter how your organization decides incentives(individual/group targets) the bad news is that your rear is always on fire. The good news is your rear is not alone. There is a strange pleasure derived in sinking if you’re not the only one going down. On the brighter side, teamwork also means you have someone to bank upon, be it the friendly guidance from your more experienced counterparts, or insights from your territory in-charge. It was heartening to see the mentor-mentee relationship between sales executives and their subordinates….. that was until the mentees were handed over their monthly targets.

3. Humans don’t have tails, we salesmen do

This is something that actually made me stop and ponder what I was doing. We literally have a tail on us that we keep chasing, trying to rip it off so it doesn’t follow us the next month…TARGETS.

Life’s purpose seemed to have become achieving them for that momentary taste of the incentive pie, before moving onto the next. Sure, it’s the best way for a company to keep the sales team focused and motivated and to ensure better performance each time, but where does it lead to? How does it link to value addition, a sense of satisfaction (one that doesn’t depend on targets) and giving meaning to life?  Pat came the reply…sales incentive this time is a trip to Thailand!! I shut up.

4. Not everyone is as nice as you think. Not everyone is as bad either

If there is one thing I loved about my internship, it was the opportunity to go places, meet new people and share their experiences. Help will come from unexpected quarters, because it’s never to be found where you expect it the most. Push the right buttons and people will open up to you as a person opens up to an agony aunt. What you make of it will determine what value you bring to your internship presentation. Always keep your eyes and ears open. Information is out there, untapped knowledge waiting to take you places.

5. Behind every successful employee, there is an excel sheet

In all the hopeless attempts made so far to make sense of what I was doing, this seemed to be the best remedy. After a week-long sampling spree, when you finally enter orphaned numbers into the magical spreadsheet, life begins to reveal its purpose. You finally realize the beauty of it all as you start romancing net sales and daily collection reports. They finally begin to make sense. This is proof that you are now a sales guy.

It has been this divine blend of ecstasy, confusion and dismay that has welcomed me into the world of sales and as I write this, more mysteries are being revealed each day. I hope someday I will be able to make sense of it all. Till then, let me focus my energies on something real and sensible……..my next week’s target.

This article has been authored by Arpit Mahindru from NMIMS.

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