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The Temporary Salesperson

The Temporary Salesperson

"Be the 17th caller and win a day off, courtesy of Kelly Services and Magic 98." I heard this promotional announcement on a local radio station. Instead of offering a cash prize, they were offering their listeners some much-needed free time.

I didn't call. My first thought was that you'd have to have a pretty simple job with very little responsibility to be able to be replaced by a temp. Temporary workers just type, file and send out packages. Don't they?

Not exactly.

It turns out there are many different kinds of temporary jobs. "Rent a Manager" is the title of an article in Lufthansa magazine. One such interim manager is Albert Franke, who, according to the article, is "a jack-of-all-trades by profession. He may be in charge of technical development at a gaming-machine factory one year, or reorganizing production runs at a foundry the next. In the past ten years, Franke must have taken on at least a dozen such jobs.

Temporary workers are no longer confined to the mailroom; they serve in almost every capacity -- including sales -- in an organization.

Many companies already outsource their non-core competencies. Manufacturing rep firms flourish by providing an outside sales force.

Employing a temporary worker to fill in for a salesperson on maternity leave would be of great benefit to many companies. Taking over a territory while a salesperson recovers from an accident would also be beneficial. It is helpful to have worked in sales before taking on a temporary sales assignment. In order to be of real value to a company, you would have to move sales forward in your temporary territory, or at least keep them from slipping backwards. Temporary sales can be an ideal job for a salesperson who wants to see his or her family more than chase a six figure income.

Like the interim managers, temporary salespeople need to be mobile, independent, experienced and skilled. In other words, your value is that you don't require training and development. You step in and do the job.

Here are three ideas to help you land your temporary sales job:

  • Meet with the three or four biggest placement services in your area to see if they have ever placed temporary salespeople.
  • Go back to one or two old employers and see if they would hire you back in a temporary capacity.
  • Use your selling skills to sell employers on the need to keep sales moving forward and your ability to do that.

Then, all you have to do is produce sales and earn your big commissions. It seems like an easy job. However, the downside of a temporary sales job is the word temporary. Since customers want relationships with salespeople over a long time, you will probably not gain the big bucks by selling to any one customer or for any one company. It takes three to five years to establish yourself in an industry.

Learn more about sales careers.

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