Three years ago, I became Andovar’s VP of Marketing after several years as a Business Development Manager. Not long after the move, I wrote a post on this blog called What I Wish I Knew About Selling Localization When I First Started about what I’d learned about selling. I wanted the advice to be universal and reading the post now, I can say that it’s stood the test of time quite well. However, during the last three years I’ve watched and helped train our sales people and I have a few more observations I’d like to add.
Same disclaimer as last time. This is just my own opinion. It might not be what works for you. I would love to hear what you think, but since there is no commenting option here, feel free to comment on this post on our social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+.
Here we go:
- Everyone can be successful in sales (if they want it enough). I’ve watched dozens of sales reps work during my time at Andovar. They were all different: young and old; male and female; quiet and outgoing; some were native speakers, others not; some had decades of experience, others were completely green. If I were to say what qualities determine whether a rep will be successful or not, they would be: drive and openness to learning new things.
- A sales person can't hide. For better or worse, a sales person’s performance is out there in the open. In many other positions, people can talk about how complex their jobs are, how circumstances beyond their control affect them, and come up with excuses for poor results. But a sales rep’s performance is seen in a few simple numbers, which all boil down to one question: How much did you sell? If you’ve sold a lot, nobody can deny it; but if you didn’t – you won’t be able to deny it either.
- Don't bore yourself to death. The daily grind of a sales rep can be mundane: making plenty of similar calls, sending plenty of similar emails, answering plenty of similar questions. Sooner or later, even the most enthusiastic person may start to feel bored. What to do? Shake things up a little! Change your outreach strategy; approach a new industry or different type of clients; start talking to companies you personally have an interest in, and are excited to work with.
- Don't bore your prospects to death. If you feel bored doing your job, the person you are trying to sell to will feel your boredom too. So don’t just repeat the same script over and over again regardless of whom you’re talking to; make it interesting, make it personal, share an anecdote, focus on quality and not quantity. Especially in your first communications, you’ll only have a brief moment of their attention before they click delete or hang up, but the advantage is on your side anyway. Why? Because you have all the time in the world to prepare for that call or email and make sure you use that moment to its fullest.
- Dealing with salesman blues. It happens to the best of us. There will be times when it feels like nobody wants to talk to you, nobody replies to you, and most importantly – nobody buys from you. You are useless, you’re in the wrong line of work, even if you had success before you’d lost it. It can be very discouraging, and how you deal with it determines your career. Some look elsewhere for the reason: the leads you’ve been given are no good, the pricing is not competitive, your colleagues don’t give you support. Others look at themselves and ask: Am I doing anything wrong? What can I change? Whom can I ask for advice? I think you know which of the two will be a winner in the long run.
- No sales rep is an island. Although the work may feel very independent and even solitary, don’t forget that the ultimate goal is to have happy clients who will come back with more work (and more commission for you!). Getting to that goal starts with you, but once the ball gets rolling, others will get involved too: project managers, engineers, account managers, maybe your colleagues from other offices. Get to know them and become friends with them. Learn the basics of what they do, so you are explain to the client what they can expect. They'll appreciate your interest and effort and will they will help you succeed.
I hope that was useful to all new sales reps out there!