We have a free course that will begin tomorrow (delivered to your Inbox) about the Journey to Exponential Sales. ALSO Ingredient Sales University (ISU) will be opening for enrollment soon. Sign up here to receive the free ingredient-specific sales training and to be notified when enrollment for the University opens.

Every ingredient sales rep that I meet is busy, but busyness does not always translate to happiness. I don’t just mean the joyful internal happiness and peacefulness that mindfulness or life coaches talk about. I’m referring to being happy with how you are growing, how your sales are going, how your work is going, and how your work allows you to engage effectively with other, maybe more meaningful, areas of your life.

Another reality is that the busyness is not necessarily coming from activities that are sales-related; often, reps are busy learning new things. Ingredient sales reps love to learn new things, which I think is a good trait. Curiosity is a powerful thing, and it helps us learn and strengthen our understanding of ideals that we want to move towards or skills that we want to develop. When you put all of these observations together, you have these curious, searching, sales reps that are busy, but who are not happy with their success, and they often do not understand their success

Now, from the outside, these reps look like they are doing very well compared to reps in other industries, or even compared to some of the other ingredient sales reps in their own industry. Some of these reps are growing at 30%, 40%, 50%, maybe even 60% year after year. They may just have a track record of 12 months, but they’re growing. You might be saying to yourself, “Well, maybe they’re just unhappy people.” Ingredient sales reps experience a lot of happiness when work doesn’t consume a significant part of their lives. Many reps are incredibly happy people in regard to other areas of their lives. They’re very thankful to have their families. They have often only been married to one person. Many have kids who they are excited to spend time with. They’re a little busy to engage in other areas of life as much as they like right now, but they still enjoy the other parts of their lives, or at least they want to enjoy the other parts of their lives. There usually isn’t anything wrong in their lives that keeps them from enjoying it, unless it’s work-associated.

After years of working through these sales reps’ challenges, I found that there’s a recurring thing that causes them anxiety and creates problems, frustration, and busyness. The problem is that they don’t have freedom. What do I mean by freedom? In the sales world, if you’re selling and growing, you should have a ton of freedom to think about your business and your territory and enjoy your life. Why is growth prohibiting these reps from feeling free? The question really demonstrates that growth is not the only outcome that a sales rep requires to feel free. Growth is good. Growth is valuable, but the bigger thing that sales reps need is the freedom to grow exponentially over, and over, and over, again.

You might be wondering, “Well, what is the difference between growth and the limitless freedom to grow?” It’s very simple; when you’re growing, your territory can grow and you have no idea where your sales are coming from. For example, your customer is doing more in the marketplace and is growing organically through existing products in the market. You have very little impact on that growth, but you still experience the results of it. Another way “hidden growth” happens: a customer could come to you and they want to quickly launch something because they know your ingredients really well. You may have had very little to do with the launch process, but all of a sudden they are launching with your ingredient solution or a blend of that solution, and so you’re growing. Well, yippee!

The problem with the above examples is that you don’t have freedom because you don’t know where the growth is coming from next. Instead of “freedom” you have “fear” that you may not be able to continue to make this happen because you haven’t truly impacted a sale in a long time. The more time that passes between a new product launch or an existing product improvement with a brand or manufacturer the more you feel locked into numbers from your company that you aren’t able to see.

Freedom is all about clarity; it’s about what you’re going to do next to accomplish your targets or capture a new opportunity. The sales rep that is unclear about how to experience the freedom of exponential growth is living in the chains of busyness because they’re trying to find out where their growth is coming from next.

Hope begins to feel hopeless as customers refuse to meet with them. They’re trying to fill their pipeline rather than knowing how their pipeline actually gets full. They’re trying to build essential skills that they need by reviewing all sorts of books,  podcasts, and other resources that they believe will help them, and all of that activity keeps them distracted and busy with unvalidated skills for their industry. They have problems organizing their day-to-day activities and they are missing out on the key actions that will further their journey toward exponential ingredient sales growth—the actions that truly drive freedom.

They often doesn’t understand how to add value to their relationships at brands and manufacturers, and so they don’t have the freedom to engage in those relationships in a way that will allow them to grow exponentially. These are all  things that are taxing these reps. Again, they could be growing at 40%, 50%, 60%, or more, but because they don’t know where the growth is coming from, and they don’t know their role in how to bring that growth to pass, they’re disappointed with themselves and frustrated with their business.

You might be wondering why this blog feels so negative. The truth is not negative but clarifies the actual problem faced, the problem limiting freedom, which you have to do before you can move toward the solution.

The start of the solution is to begin on the journey of exponential ingredient sales growth. That journey has several major stages that we’re going to be talking about in the next few blog posts. But first, I want you to evaluate for yourself—where are you? Are you busy? Are you distracted? Do you find yourself lacking clarity about your day-to-day activities? Are you constantly engaged in learning, a really important thing, but find yourself unable to engage in application? Have you been listening to podcasts, reading books and blogs, and trying to gain some sort of insight or glimpse of information that will catalyze your business?

Well, if that’s you—and if you’re reading this blog it probably is—stick around. We’re going to have some great pieces of material that will  absolutely transform your ability and enable you to embark on the journey of exponential ingredient sales growth. Recognizing problems is hard, but the truth allows us to begin the process of change. I look forward to hearing from you about your challenges, your struggles, and about how you’ve enjoyed the journey of exponential ingredient sales growth.

We have a free course that will begin tomorrow (delivered to your Inbox) about the Journey to Exponential Sales. ALSO Ingredient Sales University (ISU) will be opening for enrollment soon. Sign up here to receive the free ingredient-specific sales training and to be notified when enrollment for the University opens.