- Begin by building your own sales training and development program. There is a ton of information on the web about selling, much of it free. Subscribe to free sales-focused email newsletters to keep up with trends. If possible purchase and read some classic sales books like those listed at the end of this ebook. Make your sales experience like going to graduate school and master some of the key concepts of sales masters and authors. By learning and practicing at the same time, new concepts will stick much better and you’ll master the key techniques faster and more effectively.
- Become an expert in your product or service. Don’t just rely on what you’ve been told. Dig deeper to understand features and benefits, why customers buy from your company, how to determine if your product is a good fit for the customer, ideal target markets and more.
- Make a difference, not just a sale – “Nobody cares about your product, service or solution,” says sales expert Jill Konrath, author of Selling to Big Companies. “All they care about is the difference you can make for their organization.” So don’t get too focused on making the sale – focus instead on making a difference for the customer, on understanding and meeting their needs first and foremost.
- Find a mentor who will show you the way, and model your selling techniques on theirs, advises Nadine Keller, founding partner of Precision Sales Coaching. “Successful salespeople typically credit their success to having the good fortune early in their careers to sit next to or call with a fabulous salesperson.”
- Sell yourself on your own product or service. If you don’t believe in the value of what you’re selling, prospective customers will sense it and pull back from buying what you’re offering.
- Build your own database of contacts. Keep your contacts in a spreadsheet or online in a free cloud product such as Google Drive so they can be accessed anywhere. Use tools such as LinkedIn, local chambers of commerce, Twitter and other tools to get your brand out there and connect with prospects.
- Don’t try to re-invent the wheel. Any company with a solid sales force has learned the hard way what works and doesn’t work. So listen to those who have learned from experience and follow their guidance; don’t go off on your own and crash in the ditch.
- Get used to rejection fast and get over it. Don’t take a prospect’s “no” as a personal rejection. Almost all sales jobs involve a lot more “nos” than “yeses.” Don’t take it in or brood over it. Treat it as just a fact “out there” and move on to the next prospect without it impacting your feelings other than strengthening your determination.
- Don’t go for commission-only sales jobs. You need time to learn and develop your skills, and to earn enough money to live on. Work for a company like LogoNation that provides a base salary plus commission so you are guaranteed of some income, even if you plan to live in your parents’ home for a while.
1 Some content in this post adapted from “Have a Great First Year in Sales” by Peter Vogt, Monster.com Senior Contributing Writer; “Some Advice for Those Seeking Their First Job in Sales” by Anthony Iannarino, thesalesblog.com; and Tim Purkis, examiner.com.