How Life Experiences made me a Successful Sales Development Representative

On…Poetry, by Jack Carenza

Successful people make connections. And when I say that I do not mean from a networking perspective (although that kind of connection is also important). Successful people see the connective tissue that runs through their cumulative experiences. It is a very easy cop out to say to oneself, “When I was 16 I was a waitress at a barbecue restaurant. When I was 20 I was a receptionist at planet fitness. Now I am a Sales Development Representative.” Rather than view these experiences as separate entities, it is imperative to see the progression and underlying skills that allow an individual to thrive through each. By no means is this limited to work experience: it can incorporate athletics, hobbies, arts and personal relationships. With that being said, I am happy to introduce my next edition in the miniseries; “How Life Experiences made me a Successful Sales Development Representative.”

One of the best poetry professors I ever had gave me a piece of writing advice that has stuck with me forever. “Most people read for pleasure. A poet must read as a writer.” What he meant by this quotation is that a writer should read not only for enjoyment, but more so to obtain a skill set that will allow his or her writing to flourish. By filling this “toolbox” with tactics from an assembly of writers, I have seen my poetry develop. The same strategy is applicable to sales development. A successful SDR’s toolbox is an accumulation of effective tactics picked up from resources, peers and experience.

When I first started making calls, it was incredibly helpful to latch on to specific catchwords or phrases that other reps at my company used to reap leads. I sat in on a two hour call session with one of our most successful SDRs, and listened to him utilize a multitude of consultative sales techniques. For whatever reason, one phrase of his was simple, effective and stuck with me. I use it almost every day whether in an email or over the phone. “For educational purposes.” It might seem like a fairly obvious idiom, but this line is incredibly effective in that it functions as both a sign of consultative salesmanship and as a tactic for booking an appointment. Just as a double entendre can captivate poetic audiences, this simple quotation is effective on multiple levels.

Diction is also vital in both poetry and sales development. Carefully heading word choice, placement and power can be the difference between a mediocre effort and a masterpiece. Being assertive, having a clear voice, and using words economically are the components to efficacy. One of the most famous quotations in the world of poetics stems from William Carlos Williams who famously said, “The image is the thing”. What he means by this is that meaning and ideas exist within the beauty and simplicity of an object or being. This same theory can be applied to the sales development front. Rather than baffle a prospect with too much technical information, or baffle them with nonsense, paint a clear, vivid image of the value your product or service can supply.

Through lucidity and candor an SDR can sell like Walt Whitman. Eliminating long-winded, technical jargon has be the downfall of many SDRs. On the flip-side, just like a poet, an SDR must be well informed, and research his or her particular product or solution. They must possess the intuitive nature and instincts to understand what a prospect needs better than the prospect does.

When it comes down to it, vision and presentation allow a poet to create a masterpiece and an SDR to generate leads. It is the job of both to understand their audience, and sway them with powerful rhetoric.

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