So, you got your first sales job! Congratulations and welcome to the greatest profession on the planet. You are joining a long list of some of the most influential people in the world of business—all who started out in sales.
Even though it’s been many, many, many (okay maybe not that many) years ago for me, I can tell you I see new salespeople come into this professional all the time. Smart, savvy, bright people who could make a great living at it, but they fail miserably and end up with the “I’m not a salesman” attitude.
I see it time and time again and unfortunately the world of professional selling has lost some tremendous talent because we as a whole didn’t take time to show the new people around—give the guided tour or take the new people through orientation.
Today, I want to do that. If you just got your first sales job, I want to take you by the hand and give you six things to remember—and if you’ll write these six down and keep them in front of you, you will have a long and rewarding career. The only thing I ask is one day in the future, perhaps years from now, you take time to help ease someone else into this world.
It’s the greatest profession on earth—I love it. I live it. I hope you will, too.
The first thing you need to do is relax. You got the job—that part is over. Take time every morning as you embark on your new career to remind yourself to relax. You aren't going to get it all down in one day for sales any more than you would on your first day as a plumber or a surgeon. Relax, it takes time to build your skills.
You’re going to go through a few phases: preparation, practice and polishing. First you have to know what to do, then you have to practice it and finally you’ll polish those skills to become a top performer. Remember, it’s not going to happen overnight. Relax. Soak it all up and give it time.
As we just discussed, you are going to have to learn to be a professional salesperson. Everything we do is a learned skill—and you can learn it but you have to put in the time and effort. It’s not just going to be magically imparted into you by a sales manager. Read, listen, observe and ask questions.
Be a student of the profession. I doubt seriously if an electrician starts out their first day and just grabs any wire without knowing where it’s coming from. The same hold true for sales. It is a profession—treat it as such.
Avoid Negative People
Sadly, you are about to meet some of the most negative people in your life and you need to be prepared for it. There will be some “old hands” who are more than eager to tell you all the reasons you can’t be successful and why their business is bad and any other negative thought you care to listen to. These people will suck the success right out of you. You’ll find they think they know everything, don’t need anyone’s help and for some reason alway get the worst prospects.
You’ll know them when you see them or the first time they open their mouth. Do you want to listen to them or me? Your call. If you want to avoid them, just politely decline to be a guest at their pity party and complaint sessions.
Do More Than You Are Asked
Perhaps the best advice I ever got was to volunteer for the things others didn’t want to do. Do you want to stand out from the crowd and show your boss you’re a future leader? Take on the jobs nobody else wants and do more than you are asked to do. As Zig Ziglar so famously said, “Do more than you are paid to do and eventually you’ll be paid more for what you do.”
Don’t wait for an assignment—if you see something needs fixing or something needs to be attended to, do it. I’ve trained and managed many salespeople and I can tell you I would much rather have one who I have to reign in than one I have to kick start every day.
Okay. You’re in the same job as I am right now—the same job as hundreds of thousands of others who treat this as a career and not a job. Understand you can do a lot of harm to our profession by treating customers and prospects in a less than professional manner.
You don’t only make yourself and your company look bad, you make the entire world of professional selling look bad. Don’t. If you don’t want to be here, leave. There’s no need to poison the well for those of us who do. I always compare sales to other professions because we are professionals and I can assure you no dentist ever decided to leave his or her job by inflicting unnecessary pain on a lot of patients.
Ask For Help
Finally, ask for help. There’s no shame in not knowing the answer to something or not understanding how to do a certain task. If you don’t know today, that’s okay. But, if you don’t know a month from now it’s your own fault.
Never be afraid to ask a manager or other professional salespeople for help, guidance or training. Truly successful individuals love to help others be successful. But, just as I stated earlier—pay it forward. One day you need to help someone else just getting into the world of sales.
There you have it. Six tips or reminders to help you be a professional salesperson. Enjoy it—this is the greatest career in the world—if you treat it as a career and not a job.
Now, go out there and fall in love with this profession.