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As a sales professional, your employer is definitely going to judge you and assess your performance by that one big thing: your actual sales. Still, there's more to the equation than just that. A self-assessment is the perfect time to discuss your sales and the accounts you've acquired, but it's also a time to chart your course and to state plainly where you hope to go in the future.
The preparation for your self-assessment should start long before you actually start writing it. It's difficult to look back and remember everything you've done and the achievements you've made throughout the assessment period, says Alex Raymond, CEO of Kapta, a Colorado-based company specializing in executive accountability software. Keep a notebook or a file into which you can add notes about your achievements: big sales you've made, accounts you've acquired against all odds and so on. Then review it before you write your self-assessment. If you haven't done that, look through your work email history, monthly files, work calendar or quarterly reports to refresh your memory about your activities and accomplishments.
Review any form or outline your company gives you for your self-assessment to get an idea of what you're supposed to include. If your company's assessment is more free-form, review examples of other companies' forms to get a sense of what to include. Typically, self-assessments include a description of your job duties, a discussion of your accomplishments and sales figures, a section that discusses your challenges or your weaknesses, and a section that focuses on your goals and where you'd like to go next.
Honest Evaluation of Performance
In the initial section, use the STAR method -- Situation, Task, Action and Result -- to explain your accomplishments and noteworthy activities, both positive and negative. Describe the situation, including the customer's concerns or challenges, the tasks you had to carry out to sign that customer or meet his needs, the specific actions related to that task, and the results of your work. In terms of sales, those "results" can include your sales figures or the number of clients you now have, for example. If you've already created graphs or charts that track increases in sales, it doesn't hurt to include them. Also use the same STAR method to describe a challenging situation or weakness you faced -- but avoid making this the focus of your assessment. In the "results" section, describe how you're now working to remedy the situation -- thus framing a negative situation in a positive manner.
End With Goals
Use this opportunity to share your aspirations and goals with your boss. Set a new sales goal based on what you've accomplished in the past period. If you've increased your client list by 5 percent, set a goal to increase it by another one or two points, for example. Since you have your boss's attention, also use this opportunity to ask for things you might need to accomplish that goal, such as a part-time support staff member or access to premium client contact information, for example. Also share any career goals you have, such as a promotion to sales manager, for example, and ask your employers for suggestions or help for getting there.
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Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.