New To Sales? Here Are A Few Tips To Get You KickStarted
I often think back to when I started in sales and the approach I chose to try and succeed. I always felt that it was best to control what I could, which was my work ethic, and just make sure that everyone liked me. Those two basic tenets are still what drive me today. There’s been ups and downs but it’s guided me through a pretty good career.
If you are part of a startup you will be selling. You could be the CEO, CRO, the head of technology — it doesn’t matter. Perhaps you are trying bring in ad revenue, or maybe you are selling your idea to investors, or you are selling potential employees on why they should work for you. But you are always selling.
For those that are new to selling, or for those that perhaps would like some reminders, I went ahead and pulled some of the best thoughts about sales from SellerCrowd community. If you don’t know SellerCrowd, it’s a community of sellers who share information about key accounts in advertising, which is very useful for startups, and provides great nuggets of wisdom.
Here’s a few favorites:
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask — This is my favorite. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received a discount on an item at a store simply by asking for one. Ask for the order, or the meeting, or the feedback from your boss, etc. No one is going to get offended. Even if they say no, you’ll be respected you for doing your job.
Assume You Know Nothing — I once worked for one of the most established women in the advertising business and I always admired her for being at once the smartest person in the room but never afraid to say she didn’t understand. Assuming you know nothing goes a long way when combined with not being afraid to ask. You’ll gain far more from your meetings and ultimately gain more of the information you need to follow up and close that sale.
Prepare — Be prepared for your meetings and they will always yield better information and results. Lack of preparation is a wasted opportunity. As for prospecting, rather than sending out blanket emails, take a moment to understand something about the client’s business and personalize your message. You are bound to get more responses that way.
Timing — Gain a good understanding of your client’s key timings for the year. Leverage that for timely opportunities to reach out to them and you’ll increase your chances of getting a positive response.
Frequency and Consistency — When prospecting, reach out consistently to stay top of mind and above the pile of your competitors. More importantly, always try to bring new value to your prospect with each interaction. Do that, and you’ll increase your chance of success.
Listen Before You Speak — Let the client do the talking. The more you simply listen, the more wisdom and insights you gain to use to close the sale. If you go into a meeting and you are the one that does the most talking, rest assured that meeting did not go well.
Prospect — Increase your pool of opportunity as much as you can. Don’t rely on reaching out to same small pool of prospects over and over. While many may say No, by simply expanding your addressable reach, you will unearth opportunity you didn’t know existed before.
Face to Face Meetings — In the day and age of hiding behind our email, face to face meetings will always bring you better information. You’ll build stronger, longer-lasting relationships and increase your chances of winning. I don’t care how many different ways there are to connect, face to face always rises above the pile.
Make Your Client Feel Smarter — I was told early on in my career to take informational meetings even when there was very little opportunity. The reason this is so effective is that everyone likes to talk about themselves and show how much they know. As a result, they feel better about themselves and are forging a stronger relationship with you. And relationships are everything in sales.
I hope these tips help those of you just starting out and serve as nice reminders for savvy sales veterans.
Thanks again to the SellerCrowd community for sharing their thoughts. I would love if you shared your own with me in the comments section and maybe write another post praising all of you.
Sean Ryan is Founder at Catapult Digital, a sales consultancy that helps clients generate revenue and develop key partnerships. Sean is also an Advisor at Unreel.me, a video content publishing startup, and a Mentor to startups at TigerLabs.