It’s almost impossible for recent college graduates to speak with someone about their career in sales without getting some job advice, solicited or not. Sometimes the tips are helpful, and sometimes … well, you just have to smile and say “thanks.”
Every now and then you’ll hear career advice so wise that you’ll remember it for years and years, and maybe even pass it to others some day. Here are 10 of our all-time favorites – tips that every sales employee should keep near them at all times.
1. “Do not be timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer.
2. “Begin somewhere. You cannot build a reputation on what you intend to do.” –Elizabeth Smith, Bloomin’ Brands CEO
3. “You have to have a very strong opinion with some facts and data to stand it up, you have to prove that you are right more times than you are wrong, and then you better walk into the room with something to say because otherwise you don’t really add a whole lot of value to the group.” – Ursula Burns, Xerox CEO
4. “If you tell me who your heroes are, I’ll tell you how you’re gonna turn out. It’s really important in life to have the right heroes. I’ve been very lucky in that I’ve probably had a dozen or so major heroes. And none of them have ever let me down. You want to hang around with people that are better than you are. You will move in the direction of the crowd that you associate with.” – Warren Buffet, Businessman, investor and philanthropist
5. “Try never to be the smartest person in the room. And if you are, I suggest you invite smarter people, or find a different room.” – Michael Dell, Dell founder
6. “My mother always taught me never to look back in regret but to move on to the next thing. The amount of time people waste dwelling on failures rather than putting that energy into another project, always amazes me. … A setback is never a bad experience, just a learning curve.” – Richard Branson, The Virgin Group founder and chairman
7. “Remember that you can do anything you want to do. Don’t let anyone say, ‘You’re not smart enough … it’s too hard … it’s a dumb idea … no one has done that before … girls don’t do that.’ My mom gave me that advice in 1973. And it allowed me to never worry about what others were saying about my career direction.” – Meg Whitman, Hewlett-Packard CEO.
8. “First, all of us have had mistakes and failures. And it’s surprising how many people say, ‘Well, I can’t think of one.’ That immediately loses credibility. It’s the ability to be very candid on what mistakes they’ve made, and then the question is, what would you do differently this time?” – John Chambers, Cisco chairman CEO
9. “Someone once told me growth and comfort do not coexist. And I think it’s a really good thing to remember.” – Ginni Rometty, IBM CEO
10. “Today, the question I’m asked most often by students and interns is how best to achieve their career goals. As simple as it sounds, the short version of my response is that you have to know what it is you ultimately want to accomplish (optimizing for both passion and skill, and not one at the exclusion of the other). As soon as you do, you’ll begin manifesting it in both explicit and implicit ways.” – Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn CEO