I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while. It’s sort of like a letter to myself when I first began my career 6 months ago at ATS and if anyone happens to stumble on this please share it. I wrote this with the hope that it will help someone out there whether you are just beginning or have been in sales for years.
I would consider myself a very reflective person who is growth-oriented and as I get older have been taking the rinse and repeat approach to minor adjustments in my life. The goal is to find balance, but also to do good, treating people as I would want to be treated and leaving the world a little better than I found it.
As far as my role in sales for ATS, as was discussed in my one on one this morning, I aim to be an informal leader and hopefully someday soon a mentor to newly on-boarded employees and anyone else seeking guidance.
Speaking of new colleagues, someone new was just recently hired and they sit right next to me and although I am not their mentor, his questions reminded me of when I was fresh out of the gate in this bright and shiny new world of sales.
So You are New to Sales..
When you start your career in sales, if you are like me with no real prior sales training, you don’t truly know what you are getting yourself into.
I’m going to backtrack a little. I sought and said yes to this sales job because:
- 1. I knew I needed to learn grit, moxy and to make and stick with my decisions.
- 2. I wanted to be able to overcome objections without completely losing it when someone says “no” to me.
- 3. And to finesse the art of negotiation, another skill in which I have been lacking in.
I really believe that this job is training for something bigger and I knew that the big picture waiting for me was going to take some training in an area of life I NEVER thought I would take on.
I met the ATS recruiter at a College career fair, and she won me over.
Then I visited the corporate office with its glittery granite staircase, huge glass, wall/windows with plants all over and when they took me upstairs the energy of the place called to me.
I was sold.
It’s All About the Process
So I set out for this high energy, people filled, high earning potential job.
I had my shiny sales glasses on, some people call it beer goggles when they drink to much, my sales glasses were filled with ideas like this will be easy, no problem.
My ego was in for a treat.
I had never made a cold call.
Do you know how daunting a cold call is when you know absolutely nothing about your product yet?
Sure I went through sales training and I learned the verbatim, the shiny parts of a semi, basic lane quoting, and a sales script. But when I was released out into the pit and required to make 50 calls a day spewing off the little sales sheet they gave me with no real idea of what an awarded order even looked like….
I sounded like an idiot.
And those first 300 phone calls with people affirmed it over and over.
I like to call that period of my sales career as going through the hailstorm of rejection.
My little confidence could be heard from a mile away and frequently ended with a click. It hurt, like physically, and like a heavy thudding in my chest, it did something to me- changed me.
I thought, how could these people be so rude? They don’t even know me.
My once confident demeanor took a huge blow this summer, but I kept reminding myself that this is a process and if being a sales woman with moxy is what I was after than this is what it takes.
Soon, I realized these people get SO many calls like that a day and if you don’t know how to add value to their lives, you are wasting their time.
I was learning fast and I didn’t give up. Some of the hardest moments was mustering up the courage to make those first couple calls of the day.
I picked up quickly that I needed to be upfront and honest about the nature of my call. I already knew I loved ATS and it was a great company to work for so once I was able to get a little conversation going, I had faith that ATS could sell itself.
It truly is a remarkable company that not only treats it’s employees right but it has a rock solid reputation, literally. Their first client was a Granite company and is still in one of their top 10 customers for over 63 years… that is incredible loyalty you just don’t hear about.
So I had that part down. Pride in where and who I worked for but I still wasn’t super confident in my phone conversations. My manager kept saying to me “add value, add value!”
After racking my head over and over chewing on the question I kept asking myself “how can I add value when I have no experience?!”
When one day, after a giggly conversation with the gatekeeper that lead to a warm lead, it hit me.
How to Add Value to Your Business
I add value by making others smile and feel better about themselves and their work day.
I’m a naturally positive people person. So when I would call a company, the first person I would talk to, I tried to make their day. My goal was to make them smile and then whatever happened next usually was brilliant, even if it didn’t lead to a sale, we both were gifted with smiles and a little more light in the present.
Those smiles got me pretty far, and I believe they still do. I haven’t missed one sales goal yet.
Smiles have given me all types of information, helpful hints, and direction to the decision makers. Most of these people will even give you a good general idea of contact information and what to put in the e-mail to make the person of interest think twice before deleting.
So the point is this. When you are new to sales and someone says to you the most used phrase in sales “add value” you can do this by sharing your personality. By bringing forth who you truly are.
Now, this also requires you to be listening- truly listening and never be afraid of running out of things to say because if you are hearing them, there will always be something to ask.
A Special Thank You
I also have a few people on my original team to thank. One of my first evenings on the floor, I was training at the corporate office on my temp team. I stayed later on a Friday evening before we were required to really start making calls.
One of the top sales guys in our company was on that team and I remember him saying to me “make as many calls as you can, I was making over 100 a day when I first started.” For some reason that stuck with me, hard, and it planted a seed of urgency that yes, has ebbed and flowed a little but is still there going strong.
I didn’t know at the time that he was the actual top sales performer in our office and still is, but there was genuine truth to his statement. I could tell he wanted me to succeed.
You Will be Successful If…
In this role, once you start building your book of business you won’t focus so much on calls because you will want to have meaningful conversations that stem from your new real experiences to truly find out what the prospects are actually looking for.
But in the beginning, you need to be making calls. Use this time to look for failure in every corner and take as much risk as possible.
It’s how you learn. It’s the fastest way to overcome fear and learn about who you are serving, the industries needs, and about yourself as a salesperson.
The more months that pass you will not be able to afford as much so use this time now to prepare yourself, because you will be successful when you do.
You will start to develop your own style.
Own that style. Share it with your prospects and future clients and tailor that style to what makes you different from your competition.
If you take away two things from this article it’s adding value by bringing your personality to the table and to just making someone’s day a little brighter.
Also, you must have the urgency to get out there and make more calls than expected and push that talk time up.
Good luck and I know you are going to love your new career in Sales.