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  • Brett Zalaski

How to be an Essential Sales Rep


Essential workers are workers who are essential to keeping this country running on a day in, day out basis. We need food. We need drink. We need stuff. We need stuff fixed. The people who do that are essential.


I've spoken to well over 150 sales reps during this pandemic who have been let go, and the one question I ask them, as we rehash their last job, was, 'Did you make yourself essential?'


Unfortunately, if you've been let go, the answer is 'no.' That may hurt. That may sting. But it's the truth. And if you are still on the team side...you're not out of that possibility yet. So how can you be an essential employee? Here's a couple quick tips from my experiences as a sales leader:

  1. Generate a lot of revenue: You can make a lot of excuses for why you don't bring in a ton of revenue, but, and I know I'm not re-inventing the wheel here, the best way to BE essential is to drive a lot of revenue. This is what needs to drive you every day.

  2. Bust Your Ass: Sales managers will always have the most patience with the ones who work the hardest. It's a habit we can't teach, so we believe that that seller will be devastating once they get what we teach. A team will always keep the biggest revenue producers first, but I promise they'll take #6 on the board over #5 on the board if #6 constantly outworks #5.

  3. Raise Your Hand: There are a lot of employees, even if they do a good job on the revenue side, who still fade into the background. They punch the clock and move on. If you're not #1 in revenue, you can be essential by the way you impact the whole organization.

  4. Be a GREAT Teammate: Sales leaders love people who are competitive, but you can be a competitive asshole who no one likes. So we love people who are competitive AND uplifting more. Be driven to be the most successful, but celebrate team success. Be there when your teammates are having a tough day or week. If you are a teammate who lifts the collective spirit of the group, you'll be one of the hardest to cut.

The easiest way to be essential is to generate revenue. But you rise above essential when you impact the organization in an even bigger way. Don't make yourself essential. Make yourself impossible.


I've had a TON of questions on the site about culture. Over the next few weeks we'll be diving more into culture on the site. Look forward to it!