My Start in Sales…
When I first started in sales it was nothing more than a job; it wasn’t a career or a passion. I didn’t grow up wanting to be in sales. I grew up playing hockey in one of the worst markets for the sport, Texas.
I started officiating hockey when I was 14 years old to make some cash. I quickly realized I wasn’t going to play NCAA or professional hockey, but actually had a shot at being a referee in the NHL. I don’t think anyone grows up wanting to referee hockey, but it quickly became mine after high school.
USA Hockey hired me to officiate junior and minor-pro hockey throughout the U.S. They paid for my apartment with a couple other full-time referees and for the next seven years, I would drive from city to city, where ever they wanted me to go, working hockey games.
It was one of the best experiences of my life. It allowed me to do and see so much of this great country.
Three major surgeries later and falling just a couple steps shy of my dream of being in the NHL, I was forced to find something else to do. I found myself in a sales position at a SaaS company in Dallas.
I went through 4 weeks of boot camp hearing all sorts of sales terminology and didn’t have a clue what any of it meant.
Hell, I didn’t even know what a cold-call was when I got on the floor.
I struggled for a couple months but finally hit quota in month three. I haven’t missed one since. I’m pretty much self-taught with the exception of a few mentors.
What I started with was a job; a place I went from 8:00 – 5:00 to collect a paycheck.
It was a place I didn’t give a second thought to once I packed up my bag. What it evolved into was a career, a passion, a desire for success.
But, is there really a difference between a job and a career?
I believe so because a career is something you commit yourself to. A job is nothing more than a place you go to occupy time and make a few bucks.
This is what I learned about the requirements of success
The Hours Aren’t 8:00 – 5:00
If you’re going to be great in sales, your day can’t stop at 5:00 pm. This is especially true if you’re on eastern or central time. To get the most out of your day and be able to call during peak hours, you have to put in some work at home. This could include prospecting, responding to emails and setting up campaigns. Instead of disrupting my workflow to respond to an email that didn’t need an immediate response, I would respond to emails at night. I would also set up all of my email campaigns at night and schedule them to go out in the morning. For those in the door to door sales world the hours are even more skewed. It’s going to be dark most nights when you get home. Matter of fact, we’ve seen companies double the productivity of their canvassing teams just by adjusting their hours later in the day so their contact rate increased.
Relationships May Suffer
The people in your life can and will become annoyed with your work ethic and lack of attending social events; it’s called a career. If you’re serious about winning in sales, you’ll have to explain what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Very few people have great success without dedicating more time and energy into their process. As you get better in sales, you only realize how much more there is that you didn’t know. You’ll become more efficient in prospecting and find a routine that works for you, giving you more time to focus on other areas of your sales career. Once you get in a rhythm you can set goals for yourself to know exactly what activities you need to perform to get the results you’re looking for. At that time, if you want to take a weekend off to go to Cousin Jake’s wedding in Nantucket then go for it.
Do it Now, Do it Better Later
Ever heard the term, “getting ready to get ready?” It’s when you just can’t get started until you have all the little details figured out. Gotta get your outfit right, script tight, sales tracking software all setup and every last detail figured out. Really what’s going on is you’re afraid of failure so you’ll find any old excuse on how not to get started. Rip the Band-Aid off and just do it! You can figure out all the little details later because there is 1 thing for absolute certain – what you think you know now will change after some real life experience.
Answer Your Phone at All Times
Prospects will call you before 8:00 am and after 5:00 pm – answer! Often it’s the only time these people have, and chances are they’re putting something or someone on hold to call you back. Even if you are busy, you can answer and ask to call back later when you are free. It let’s your potential customer know you value their time. You never know what could happen when someone calls you back, so saying that your day ends right at 5:00 is capping your potential for success.
You Can’t Stop Learning
Salespeople are made not born. Some people are natural born bs’ers and that might give them the false impression they can sell but a true professional is made and its done with a lot of hard work, learning and practice. The amount of time you put into learning new techniques and strategies will require a lot of energy. Most of this, again, should be done after work. After all, the work time is for performing. Reading about strategies like the six principles of persuasion is just one example. When you’re in the office you want to be focused on the activities that are going to get you to quota and beyond. It’s what you do outside the office that leads to your success. Learning should be as important in your development and success as prospecting and calling. If you’re not getting sales training from your company there are plenty of resources on the internet for free and some better, paid ones that will give you the tools you need to be at the top of your game.
You Have to Love It
You must have a passion for the industry. You have to live and breathe it. It’s the challenge of learning a product, understanding the customers needs and how you can help them, where you can provide value and of course closing the deal. Most of my friends now are in the field because I needed people I could talk to. I needed people that understood what I was talking about and could help me along the way as much as I could help them.
The Drive and Determination is Real
I see posts on social media about the “grind” and the “hustle” all the time, but very few truly live it. It’s fun for people to post about because they get engagement on these platforms, but they don’t put it into action. This doesn’t mean you have to work 24/7, but you certainly have to work more than 8:00 – 5:00. Your drive comes from your passion, and if you truly love what you’re doing, your drive will come naturally; you’ll want to do it and be motivated that way. You’ll have the desire to go above and beyond to help the customer, get the deal done, whatever it takes.
Post Contributed by Jordan Solomon
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