Welcome to the first part of my series, Sales 101. I’m writing this because of the challenges I had whilst starting off in sales, training sales people and watching other sales people struggle!
I started off in sales with a lot of enthusiasm of the prospects of a new role. Very quickly, I began to realize it wasn’t all the glam I expected. Yes, I would get to meet people, but I had to be very intentional and focused on who I was meeting and what I was saying to them. Plus, I had to be able to report on what I was using my time for with data to show that I was producing results! I was terrified of those meetings!! You have nothing concrete to report on because all your leads just led to dead ends. I quickly realized, selling was not a walk in the park.
Sometimes it takes forever to make one sale. You follow up, have several meetings and then after several months, you finally close the deal (or you don’t). Selling is a process, one that requires a lot of persistence, patience and organized commitment to succeed. If you forget to follow up on a lead for instance, you may just be on your way to losing out on a sale. I know the feeling. You call one day later than you were supposed to and they say, “Oh sorry, I didn’t hear from you so I bought from company B”. Or you push very hard and the customer still doesn’t buy from you. Whew! That can be quite tiring.
So how do you juxtapose this process with the targets you have to meet NOW?! That’s the tough part. Your company has targets you have to achieve but selling takes time. You’re going to have some dry patches in your journey and some really blossoming ones. On those days when nothing is happening, remember that you’ve done it before and you’ll do it again…soon. When you’re required to report, be able to provide details of the leads you’re working on and how far you’ve gotten. Remain calm. That’s hard sometimes especially when the numbers are closing in on you and they just don’t add up. Panic and quit? That’s not a very good plan.
To answer the question, as much as I’d like to be a Usain Bolt, sales is a marathon and not a 100 meter dash. Stay with me on this journey!
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