It’s your first month at a new sales job, and like many eager sales reps, you can’t wait to hit the phone and close your first deal.
As you begin to make dials and get into the daily grind of the role, it’s possible you’ll hit some roadblocks and become discouraged. You’ll most likely experience more “No’s” than “Yes’s” but that is to be expected. Rather than become frustrated, as a sales professional it is your job to get creative and discover more effective ways to engage prospects.
You might notice that top sales performers don’t scapegoat others, make excuses, or give up. They have persistence, patience, and the right mindset to hone their sales craft. If you’re in sales, you understand bumps in the road are normal, but if you’re a top performer you not only overcome objections, you anticipate them.
Here are 5 every day hacks to hone your sales craft.
1. Learn Something New Every Day
Sales managers are a great resource. They are there to coach and support you. You should be able to turn to your sales manager for guidance whenever you need it. However, it ultimately falls on you to continuously improve your craft. One way to do this is through tasking yourself with learning one new thing every day. I’m not talking about researching prospects before you call them, but rather learning a new sales technique or tip and trying it out each day. I recommend taking 10-15 minutes to read a blog post about sales. They’ll inspire your creativity and get you fired up to seize the day. Take a look at How to Succeed as a New Sales Rep from Spiro for some inspiration. Some of my favorites include Sales Hacker, Sales Gravy, and John Barrows.
2. Shadow and Mentor Your Teammates
It’s important to remember that everyone does the job differently. Some people may be instantly good at sales, while others make struggle to find their rhythm. By shadowing the top players, you can see and hear what they are doing each day to set themselves up for success. Pay attention to how they run their desks and how they manage their days.
It’s important to shadow a variety of sales professionals in an effort to learn different points of view about how to get to the top. Shadowing will give you a view of the grind, as well as ideas of how to perfect your sales craft.
Mentoring newer reps is another great way to grow as a sales professional. It will help you establish what you’ve learned and will gain a fresh perspective on their process. Just remember everyone does the job differently, no matter how long they’ve been in sales. Take a little something from everyone and you’re on your way to becoming the best sales rep you can be.
3. Always be HELPING
Most salespeople have seen Alec Baldwin’s monologue in Glengarry Glen Ross about the ABC’s of selling – Always be Closing. It’s an unforgettable line, but is it accurate? Yes and no. Not many prospects want to feel like you are trying to close them. If you take the time to understand their challenges and goals, and you can successfully show how your product or service will help them, chances are they will listen to you.
People buy from people they like, so the best thing you can do is be a relate-able human. Express that your job is not to sell them, but to be a resource along the way. Listen to what they say and understand their needs. If you provide value and make an effort to help, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to get a meeting or close the deal.
This also goes for helping your own team members. Be available and be a resource to your team members. If you have a strategy that is working, share it with your team members.
4. Become a Time Management Pro
Sales all comes down to time. Sales is tracked and measured based on activities that sales reps do on a daily/weekly/monthly/quarterly basis. And the funny thing is even if you have the biggest month ever or deal booked in those 30 days, as soon as that month comes to an end, you reset back to zero and need to do it all over again.
Managing your time will help you even beyond your sales career. Treat the first day of the month like the last. If you’re grinding to hit your number from day one, you’ll already be ahead of the game. Learn where to spend your time (revenue generating activities) and what to not waste your time on (non-revenue generating activities). In training, you will learn your ICP (Ideal Customer Profile), which will help you to evaluate prospects more efficiently. Make sure to focus on the companies that fit this profile.
Automate redundant daily tasks so you can focus on what will make you money. Tools like Discover.org and Salesloft are great for prospecting and creating cadences. Make sure you constantly ask yourself the following questions. How much time are you spending prospecting? How many hours are you dialing? How many dials are productive and lead to conversations? Evaluate these metrics each month and see where you can improve. The sales reps that master their time, are the ones that will hit their number each month.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Make Mistakes
If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not learning. Every sales rep makes mistakes. The key is to learn quickly and move on. Did you speak too much on your first few qualification calls? Try asking more open-ended questions. Follow up with questions until you uncover a pain point. Did you forget to do your research? Spend 3-5 minutes before your call figuring out what the company does and if they have any current projects coming up. Be upfront and honest with yourself about mistakes. Sit down with your manager to discuss ways you can improve and refine your technique. Understanding your mistakes and how you can improve only makes you a better rep.
Sales has ebbs and flows, but the key is to remain consistent in your activity and pipeline building strategy. If you put the same amount of work in, expect the same level of results. If you want to be the #1 sales rep in your company, you need to invest the time in yourself to further your career.
What other tips do you have to hone your sales craft?
Sean Levy is an Enterprise Account Development Rep at Coupa. He previously worked at Marketo where he spend time as the Team Lead for the Inbound, Outbound, and Customer Sales Development. Sean currently resides in San Francisco, California. In his free time he enjoys watching his Atlanta sports teams, reading, and watching documentaries.