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Street Smart Sales Tips: Manage Your Expense Account, Be Dependable, and Keep Your Emotions in Check

Eric Zahrai

March 17, 2023

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As an account manager, your job is not just to sell, but to sell smart. You need to be strategic, organized, and savvy to close deals and build relationships that last. Here are three street smart sales tips that I have learned over the years and have helped me do just that.

Expense Accounts: Manage Your Expense Account

As an account manager, you likely have an expense account for travel and entertainment expenses. While this is a great perk, it can also be a pitfall if you don't manage your money wisely. To avoid overspending or dipping into your own funds, open a separate bank account specifically for your expense account, particularly if you are responsible for paying off your credit card. This will help you stay on top of your cash flow and make sure that you're not funding the business with your own money.

Another important consideration when managing expenses is optics. You want to be smart about planning for entertainment and anticipating challenging situations so that you don't find yourself with a bill that you will have a difficult time explaining and justifying. Remember, your expenses are a reflection of your professionalism and credibility as a salesperson.

While managing your expense account, a good rule you can use is the following: “Don't make money on the company, but at the same time, don't lose money on the company.”

Organization and Follow Up: Be Dependable

To create trust with your customers, you need to show them that you are not only knowledgeable but also dependable. Organization and follow-up are key. Take the time to schedule time with yourself at the end of each day to "close out your day and plan for the next." This means updating notes from conversations you had during the day with customers and internal stakeholders, updating your action list, and planning for the next steps.

One impressive colleague I once had used post-it notes that he would then combine into a comprehensive system that he had developped to stay on top of his game. Today, CRMs provide a great tool to proactively manage relationships. However, the habit and discipline are the same. By doing this, your chances of success will be magnified. In the case of my colleague, he quickly became the benchmark of the global sales team, and later became the president of the company.

Care, But Not That Much: Keep Your Emotions In Check

Salespeople negotiate all the time. Even with great preparation and a strong desire to win, it's not unusual for salespeople to become emotional and over-invested in the deal. This leads to too much talking, providing too much information, giving up on value, accepting lower outcomes, or simply losing the deal.

One way to keep your emotions in check is to remember the mantra from Herb Cohen, a master negotiator who negotiated the release of the US embassy 52 hostages in Iran in the 1980s. When asked about how he did it, Herb Cohen simply said: "When you negotiate, you have to care, but not that much!" This is a very insightful tip when you consider that he was negotiating on the lives of americans.

While no deal is more important than one that involves people, this mantra can be applied to sales as well. You need to care about the deal and your customers, but not to the point where it clouds your judgment or leads to an emotional response. Stay calm, stay professional, and focus on the value you bring to the table.

In conclusion, by managing your expenses, being organized and dependable, and keeping your emotions in check, you'll be well on your way to becoming a street smart account manager. Remember, being a successful account manager is about more than just selling; it's about selling smart.