Sales: What To Do When You Lose Your Job

Poof. You are unemployed.

“Get busy living or get busy dying.”

Andy Dufresne, Shawshank Redemption

I hate to see people losing their jobs, but it is happening daily with announcements from all different types of industries, especially the tech sector. We live in some crazy times with a government that’s in denial, mixed messages across the board, and in a housing market that’s about to implode. I hate to be the harbinger of doom, but I think it’s just only just begun.

As a salesperson, your job is at risk every quarter. And if you’re one that’s just been coasting by and you’re in the lower 10 to 20% of performers at your organization, the grim reaper’s coming for you in times like these. As salespeople, we have a “Spidey” sense, and some may ignore it, but getting laid off is never a huge surprise. You’ve either missed quarter after quarter, hate your job and want to get fired subconsciously, or have just lost motivation on selling a crappy product in a crowded market.  There is also the current dimension of political bullshit, where you may not be a fit for your organization, but mark my words that will change. In hard times there is no time for things that are a distraction and don’t contribute to the bottom line.

With all that said, no one truly wants to get fired from their job, especially if you are in sales. Starting over at a new position in sales can be challenging especially in a recession during hard times. The thought of getting fired can be overwhelming, but it is important to remember that it is not the end of the world, and most times it’s a great event that lets you hit the reset button.

Here are seven things to do if you get fired as a salesperson:

  • Take Time To Grieve (and get angry): I am typically not one to talk warm & fuzzy, but I’m also human, and understand human emotion. Getting let go is a huge ego punch, and even those that feign like they don’t care, still have to look in the mirror and take a big dose of reality every morning. Take some time for yourself, take a deep breath, and focus on some things that you love doing to help push the reset button.
  • Reflect On Your Experience: while you’re grieving like a little child, reflect on what just happened and search for the why.  Understanding the reason for getting fired, the real reason not a reason you make up in your head to feel better about yourself, will help you move forward and leverage the experience to become a better person and professional.  Are you really cut out for sales? Do you want to do something else with your life? These are great questions to ask before you move on.
  • Look Ahead: OK, now that you’ve had some time for self-pity and looking in the rearview mirror, instead of dwelling on the past, use this time to focus on the future. Think about your goals and aspirations and start developing a plan for your path forward.  start to set time frames and action items to find your next position or go in the direction for your future.
  • Update Your Résumé: dust off your resume and updated with your latest experience. List all the positives you can, and ask for references from peers, as well as managers that you may have worked with that will give you a positive thumbs up.  Talk to recruiters, family members, mentors and others and have them review it for you and provide feedback. Things change rapidly in the hiring area, and you want to make sure that things are up to date and look fresh.
  • Network: Go through LinkedIn, the contacts in your phone, family, friends, the guy that serves you lunch at your favorite restaurant, the manager at the top golf you love to chat with, or anyone else that’s in your line of sight. Networking is the number one way to get your next position, hands down. In this type of environment, people get desperate and flood every job they can find with the resume submission. It is impossible to get a fair look for a job that you look extremely qualified for. Don’t be afraid to ask connections to do introductions to people they know. All it takes is a quick e-mail with your resume to get you to the top of the stack
  • Stay Positive: it is absolutely critical to remain positive and focused on the task at hand. Unfortunately, the past 15 years have been like the roaring 20s, with jobs paying ridiculous salaries, an abundance of positions and the hiring market where the interviewer had the advantage. That will all shift, and the employer will now be in the driver seat. Finding a job will be a full time position and require extensive effort and constant attention. Getting down and dejected we’ll do nothing to help you and apply your sales acumen to the top product out there: you.

Good luck and Godspeed.

unemployed in sales, checklist for the unemployed, finding a new job

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