Every career field has its set of secrets that can overwhelm someone new to the industry. Here are eight things anyone interested in a sales career should know and keep in mind:
You probably won’t be that successful at first. The sales industry is one of those rare fields where you can know every definition and sales technique but still perform poorly. The only true way to improve is to work at it every day. Try practicing your pitches on family or friends to help you get the nerves out before meeting with clients.
Find a mentor within your company. Having someone you see on a daily basis available to help guide you through your entry-level sales job will benefit you more than you know. If possible, try to sit down with this person once or twice a month to discuss your tasks, strengths and weaknesses.
You’ll have regular quotas. Depending on the company, you’ll be expected to call a certain number of prospects or make a certain amount in sales each month. Don’t take shortcuts to meet these goals. If you have difficulty meeting your quotas, ask your manager or mentor for advice.
There’s no substitute for knowing your products. Even the most gifted speaker will face rejection if he doesn’t know what he’s selling inside and out. You’re asking your clients for money. You’ve got to prove to them that what they’ll get in return is worth it. If they ask you a question you can’t answer, they’re going to doubt your credibility and your product’s value.
You must become an active listener. A big part of being a successful sales rep is to anticipate what your clients need before they even know it themselves. The only way you can do this is to master the art of active listening.
On average, humans recall 50 percent of what someone says immediately after the conversation, according to the International Listening Association. Becoming an active listener will increase your retention rate and allow you to better understand what your clients need, even if they don’t realize it yet.
Don’t be afraid to ask why. Let’s say you’re about to close your first major deal when, out of nowhere, your client backs out. Rather than getting upset or accepting the answer without question, ask your client why he changed his mind. Making an effort to understand his thought process will give you better insight in the future.
Don’t just reach out to clients when you have a quota to meet. Being a sales rep means building a relationship with your clients. If you reach out to them only when you need something, you won’t have a very strong relationship. Instead, make it a point to check in regularly, either in person or by phone or email.
Don’t try to impress anyone. Of course you want to make a good impression, but trying to be someone you’re not is a recipe for disaster. Your goal is to build long-lasting relationships with your clients. That can’t happen if you’re constantly putting on airs. Be yourself, know your product and listen to your clients and you should have no problem building a long, successful career.