How Life Experiences made me a Successful Sales Development Representative.

On…Managing an Antique Shop — 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 new blog miniseries; “How Life Experiences made me a Successful Sales Development Representative.”

The antique industry is in a similar quandary as cold-calling. It’s regarded as outdated, with newer practices replacing what was once a thriving system. It has become harder and harder to connect with people via telephone, and similarly challenging to convince those people to purchase a well-built tiger maple dining table from an antique shop rather than its unstable Ikea imitation.

That being said, the most obvious bridge between these seemingly dissimilar entities is the fact that an informative and consultative approach is the fastest road to success. Customers in both worlds respond best to individualized attention, and would rather work with someone who has a keen attention to detail. In each of these spheres, prospects are information driven, and interested by the unique qualities of a particular product.

Let me explain in a bit more detail. In the antique realm, when writing a product description about an old sword, one could very simply write “Antique sword, good condition.” A phrase unlikely to garner much attention. There are thousands of antique swords available for purchase, many of which are in good condition. Likewise, in a sales pitch, it is easy to make a nondescript and salesy statement such as, “this is the most innovative applicant tracking software on the market.” There are many applicant tracking software solutions for purchase, many of which are innovative.

The diagnoses here for both my fictitious antique salesmen and Sales Development Representative is one in the same. Specific detail that illuminates the unique and prominent features of their specific product. I will give a concrete example of both:

Antique Salesman: Before you lies a 19th century Irish Dragoon. Its scripted bronze hilt and elaborate hide sheath are indicative of the War of 1812 period.
Sales Development Representative: Ranked best in Applicant-Tracking Review (fictional publication) this product utilizes state of the art click and drag technology, which allows HR managers to tailor the technology to their specific business needs.

While all this information might not be relevant, administering precise and distinctive features of each will resound with the correct customer. Which leads me to my next point — not every person who comes into your antique shop will be after a 19th century Irish Dragoon. Similarly, not every HR manager who you cold call is going to be interested in click and drag technology. In both fields, it is vital to posses the ability to tailor your pitch to the specific needs of the customer. To be flexible based on what they are looking for. And most importantly, to know a little bit about a lot of things, so that conversation remains smooth and engaging.

The realm of antiques and sales development are both strewn with unique challenges. At their core though, there is a lot in common. Traits like adaptability, ability to clearly communicate exclusive features of a product, and capability to communicate with a variety of kinds of people are imperative in both fields. It is vital that a consultative approach is reflected in the methodology of both an antique salesman and an SDR.

Most importantly though, it is vital that as an SDR, we all of use our past experiences as a catalyst for current success.

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