I regularly read your column where you advise people to be in the right job and in the right career. I’m sure I’m in the right job and in the right career. I’m a sales representative and I like sales as a career. Thus, I’m in the right job and in the right career. I like the products I sell and the company I work for. My big problem is, I don’t like to make and submit reports but my boss said that this is an important part of my job. I disagree with him. The most important part of a sales rep’s job is selling and doing collections, right? I’m always late with my reports and he criticizes my reports as both late and incomplete. My rating on this aspect pulls down my over-all performance appraisal rating. What do you think I should do? How can I convince my boss not to be too strict on reports?
What you should do soonest is to change your attitude towards writing reports and begin to see how submitting good quality reports will greatly benefit you, not just your boss and your company. If you are convinced about how these reports will benefit you, you will like to and make time to do them.
Writing reports is part of a Sales Rep’s job, not just selling and collecting payments which enable you to get your commission from actual sales. In whatever company you work for, a selling job will always require you to write and submit reports. Someday, as your career progresses and you will be promoted to supervisory/management position in sales, you will be requiring your subordinates to submit high quality reports on time as part of your monitoring task and as one of the bases for evaluating their performance. You will be using data from these reports for your planning, strategizing, and decision-making.
There are many reports that people who work in the field have to do; each one is important, both for you and your company. The kind and number of reports required and the schedule of submission vary from company to company. The usual reports include the daily field report or weekly field report, the expense report (without which you will not get your reimbursements on time), and others.
The daily field report enables you to give information on your coverage of your customers and their feedback about your products and/or service, promotional/selling activities/strategies of your competition, and the like. This important information is used by sales management or by the product management group to plan and design strategies to counter these competitive activities and to increase market share. This report provides the link between you and what is happening in your territory, on one hand, and the Head Office, on the other hand.
It is obvious how your daily field report benefits your boss and your company. How does it benefit you? Your reports reveal the kind of person you are and your potentials to advance in your career. In addition to good sales and collection efficiency, without which it would be difficult for you to retain your job and advance in your career, good quality reports help increase your visibility to management. Your reports communicate to management if you are on top of the situation in your territory, the problems you encounter and how you solve them. Thru your reports, management can gauge how well you analyze and manage situations in your territory. The quality of your decisions or recommendations in dealing with these situations will tell about your capabilities and potentials. These reports will give them an idea about your efficiency, your work habits and attitudes, your intrapreneurship (or the initiatives you take to gain profits for the company), your “malasakit”, loyalty and commitment to your company.
Your report, however, must be of good quality to be useful. I’m sure that the following standards of good reports have been communicated to you; namely, accuracy, brevity, completeness, timeliness, etc.
Let me tell you that there is no job where all the tasks are to your liking. Ask your boss what he/she likes/dislikes about his/her job to know what I mean. Ask your parents, if they are working. As an example, I like to teach students in a classroom, but dislike correcting exam papers, making grades and reporting these grades. But the tasks I dislike are very much part of my teaching job and career.
Managing your time daily and ensuring that you write down in your work diary or input into your computer all the activities you did for the day, the results of these activities, and the information you gathered, will make it easy for you to summarize them as your weekly field report. If you keep a daily record of what you do, you will have no problem recalling them at the end of the week, enabling you to submit your report on time. This will mean self-discipline as regards reducing the time you spend before the TV and/or computer. What you do daily will become a habit that will be easy for you to do later. This good work habit of submitting reports on time, or, better yet, before the time, is likely to spread over to punctuality in other matters such as coming to work, keeping appointments, etc. You will feel good about and proud of yourself.
Motivate yourself further to submit quality reports on time by rewarding yourself with activities during the weekend that you enjoy doing, such as bringing your family to the mall, or going to the beach with your friends, seeing movies, doing computer games, etc. Engage in these pleasurable activities only after finishing writing the quality reports by Friday evening, ready to submit the hard copy or send by e-mail on Monday.
God bless you.