Sales account executives (SAE) job descriptions can vary widely among businesses and types of products/services. Some positions require “one-call closers” and others someone who can build relationships over long periods. One SAE may only sell in group demonstrations, while another may use one-on-one meetings. Often, companies make it easier on the SAE by taking care of the front-end tasks of prospecting and appointment-setting, and the back-end task of maintaining customer service. Other companies consider these the responsibility of the SAE..
Without someone to sell to, the SAE is effectively without a job. Finding potential clients is the first task of any salesperson who does his own prospecting. Some go door-to-door calling in either businesses or residential areas. Others work the phone book looking for new clients by calling and developing interest.
Prospects may come from the company advertising or direct-mail marketing, convention participation, referrals from current clients, searching for names from the competition and even just stopping someone who is pumping the gas next to the SAE and asking if she needs the product.
With a prospect’s name and information in hand, the SAE then sets an appointment. This may be in a home, a business or even back at the SAE’s own company. The effective SAE puts the client at ease during the request for the appointment by sounding professional, cordial, and trustworthy.
The initial appointment may be to present and close by the end, or it may just be an information-gathering time where the SAE can begin to develop a custom answer to any problems or opportunities discovered during the time.
Whether the SAE sets appointments, or has one set for him, the presentation to the client is the heart of the sales jobs. The information must be clear and easy to understand, persuasive, and compelling. A number of phrases such as “Sell, don’t tell,” and “Give them the sizzle, not the steak” have become standard training about arousing emotional desires. A good SAE uses “tiedowns” such as, “Don’t you agree?” to get the customer going along with what the SAE presents. A great SAE uses subtle body language, voice inflections, and hand motions to accomplish the same thing without risk of offending the client by coming on too strong.
Overcoming objections is the engine that drives most presentations to a successful close. That’s why there are hundreds of self-study books, CDs and video guides on the subject for SAEs to continue to grow in their professionalism. The SAE memorizes the answers to the basic objections that come over and over again. With experience and training, the SAEs begin to recognize the real reasons behind most objections and can answer those to ease the client’s concerns.
Closing the Sale
Closing the sale is eventually what the SAE is going to be paid on, whether she is on commission-only or on a combination of salary and commission. An SAE who cannot close the deal is not going to remain in sales long. From the moment of first contact with the prospective client the SAE is studying, analyzing, and planning on the best method of persuading the person to buy what the SAE is selling–how to get that signature on the bottom line of the contract.
After The Sale
After-the-sale customer service can be an important part of the job description. Clients who are in an ongoing relationship with company may be lost because of either bad service or a SAE from a competing company offered what appeared to be a better deal. Subsequent sales can move somewhere else, and referrals to new customers dry up. A great SAE keeps in touch with a client, even if there is no current sales relationship. New information is provided, assistance is offered and reasons given why the SAE and his company are the best to resolve any needs the clients may develop.
A beginning SAE at a small, local business may make only $20,000 a year, or even less. A well-established SAE with a product or service line that is in demand may make several hundred thousand dollars a year, or even much more. Somewhere in between lies the majority of the sales account executives.