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How Many Hats Do You Wear?

In our ever bottom-line economy, we are being asked to do more with less This usually means fewer employees doing the same amount of work. For the sales reps that means we have to wear more hats than just sales. What is meant by hats? As sales reps we are primarily responsible for generating sales. But sales also needs marketing. Marketing means developing a promotions campaign that makes the phone ring. That marketing hat may mean developing the advertising, reserving space, even proof-reading the final ad copy. In larger organizations the Marketing and Public Relations Department is responsible for advertising. But in a smaller organization, the sales rep may also do the advertising. Do you attend trade shows, make in-person sales calls, attend marketplaces, trade shows or vendors fairs or does another staff member attend? All these activities take time. Whether do all the sales and marketing or have help, in the end these activities need to generate sales.

How about other activities that may take time away from selling? Do you take reservations or orders? Do you sometimes need to act like a visitors bureau when you help a guest plan their itinerary? Do you greet the groups when they arrive, help seat or serve the meals? Take admission tickets or help the drivers park their motorcoaches? Do you coordinate meals? Are you responsible for collecting and accounting for money and printing tickets? Do you develop activity and sales reports? While all these activities are important, they do take time away from selling. A lot more hats you might wear.

What about developing budgets, sales and attendance projections, you? Developing annual budgets means being an economist who must project sales a year or more down the road. Are their any trends in your business that may have an impact on your sales? More hats. As we saw the past two years with the tragedy of 9/11, the war in Iraq and SARS, the tourism business is greatly affected the by the local, regional, national even international events. So you have to be an instant expert on current events that may impact your sales.

Phew, and you thought we were just a sales rep! If you own your own business you are indeed the “chief cook and bottle washer” who does it all. With so many hats, how can anyone possibly do all the jobs? Well you’re in sales, do the selling first. You already have a hotel, restaurant, attraction or product to sell, so sell . Then, as best you can, focus on your other responsibilities As a WRTC member you have many colleagues who may be willing to provide free advice. Do some networking at monthly meetings or make use of the Mentoring Program. Keep track of your competition for ideas you might be able use. Read industry trade publications for trends in your industry. Automate as much as possible by using a database or contact computer software.

Somehow the sales rep needs to stay focused on the most effective ways to sell. While we all wear many hats, perhaps the most important hat is that of sales rep. And it is those sales make our paychecks possible. Good luck!