You can make the greatest leaps in performance and raise your results from average to good or good to great by changing your assumptions and perspective, and behaving accordingly.
— Jeff Thull, Exceptional Selling

How to Compete for the Best Sales Jobs

Why is it that some salespeople succeed and others fail? What makes one salesperson get a job paying 35% more than another when both people have similar backgrounds? Why is it that some salespeople progress twice as fast as others?

If you've ever wondered how you can be the salesperson on the fast track to new job opportunities these tips will help you get there. These five tips will have more impact on your job search than any other no matter what your current circumstances.

Tip #1—Your LinkedIn Profile is a Major Focal Point for Hiring Managers and Recruiters

Your LinkedIn profile is more powerful than you could ever imagine. Never underestimate the power of your LinkedIn profile. It's your first impression and if done poorly, can limit the number of employers who might consider you for a new sales role.

Consideration for sales jobs are won and lost based on a three second glance at your LinkedIn profile. Clients understand that today's salesperson must use LinkedIn to reach out to potential prospects. If your profile isn't up to par, or if you have too few connections, they will quickly move on to other candidates.

So first and foremost, focus on a stellar photo. Think model headshot, not family holiday photo or Facebook snapshot. Make sure the picture is up to date and accurately represents the professional image you want to be known for. Include important key words in your profile including verticals you've called on, the type of solutions you've sold, and the appropriate acronyms relative to your industry. Also, make sure to include a link to your LinkedIn profile on your resume.

You should also have more than 500 connections. If you don't, this leads prospects to believe you are not building your network or using LinkedIn to reach out to new prospects. Building your LinkedIn network is part of today's sales job. Continue to work on your LinkedIn profile so you'll get consideration for today’s top sales jobs.

Tip #2—Work on Your Prospecting Skills and Target the Right People

Sending your resume to a software sales recruiter when you're a pharmaceutical salesperson doesn't make sense. This signals your prospecting skills are off and you waste time calling on people who are not your target market. You have a limited amount of time, make sure to properly identify the people you should be networking with. Don't waste time on a blanket approach. Target the people you want to reach out to and don't waste time trying to network with people who are not a good fit. This is a fundamental law of prospecting. Use it in your job search.

Tip #3—Be a Team Player and Help Others When You Can

People who help others are often successful in a job search. They are givers rather than takers, and this one trait can easily separate them from others. When working in an organization, people enjoy working with teammates who they can count on for help. If you become one of these people, you'll have an easier time finding a top sales role and keeping it.

In a world where people are too busy to mentor others, introduce people to contacts, or even return voicemails, helping others when you can is the best way to separate yourself from the crowd. If a hiring manager reaches out to you about a role that isn't a good fit for you, but you know someone who might be, make an introduction or pass along the information.

If your VP of Sales was fired, write a reference for them on their LinkedIn profile. Think of ways to proactively help your network, and you'll find yourself in a better position to expand your own opportunities. You’ll also build the habit of taking initiative which will help you become a better salesperson.

Tip #4—Earn Credibility by Caring Enough to Really Understand What You’re Proposing to Prospects

Building an amazing sales career is no easy feat. If you don't care enough about what you’re doing to understand what you’re selling, you'll need to work hard on fixing that and fast! You’ll need to take the time to educate yourself or you'll need to find something else to sell.

When you don't fully understand the solutions you’re proposing to prospective clients, you'll over rely on your charm, pre-sales team, and luck to meet your quota. You'll also face the consequences of losing credibility in front of prospects. Ultimately, this will limit your ability to advance.

It's important that you truly care enough about your work to become the kind of salesperson who can credibly educate and solve your prospects' most pressing problems.

Tip #5 Constantly Improve Your Communication Skills

Why do some people move up quickly or consistently sell more than others? It comes down to a variety of factors. The number one factor under your control is how you communicate. If you are not responsive, if you fail to follow up quickly, or if you need to be constantly followed up with by your managers, you will have difficulty moving forward.

Finding a Good Sales Job Isn't Easy

There are a lot of factors that impact your ability to succeed. If you want to work for the best companies, you'll need to work hard at improving your skills. Many job search skills parallel fundamental sales skills. Use these tips to improve your ability to become a better salesperson and position yourself for top sales jobs.