Having a sales role take a lot of tenacity, courage, and determination to be successful. We prepare all our students in our free online sales bootcamp to land jobs through our paid fellowship and offer this advice to anyone considering joining a sales team or startup.
1. Outwork Your Competition and Peers
Work when no one else is willing to put in the time. I recently had an Uber driver shared that with me that he worked every night from 10pm-7am. When I asked him the simple question, “Why?,” he simply shared that no one else was working these shifts near Ann Arbor. This guaranteed him a steady flow of riders that gave him the best opportunity to make the most money while other people were literally sleeping.
2. Build a Process, Test, Adapt, and Then Stick to It
This timing during the night that the Uber driver worked was no accident. When he first started working for Uber, he wasn’t happy with his income and decided that he needed to test and adapt his approach if he was going to make it. He found that early in the week, he could get airport runs at this time and during the weekend, he could get the bar crowd. He identified a time frame that would maximize his revenue.
3. Don’t Complain– Do The Work, and Don’t Make Excuses
Sales people complain all the time–even after they land great roles. Never say that your “job is too hard” versus taking the time to grind and do the work.
4. When You Have A Quota, Don’t Panic, Build Pipeline
With a short Q4, it is easy for salespeople to panic. Keep building your pipeline, rather than worrying about what will and won’t come through. Remember it is a numbers game–not a waiting game.
5. Talk With Mentors and Peers
When you are feeling the pressure, remember this is when it’s most important to ask for help. Talk with your manager, mentors, and colleagues for their suggestions on overcoming these feelings, and work through the stress with their support.
6. If You Stay Stagnant, You Will Die
If you chose to do nothing rather than putting in the hard work, you aren’t going to make it. Be honest with yourself about what is working, what isn’t, and then set expectations so you can hit your goals.
7. Sales at Startups is Really Freaking Hard
If you are going to go into sales at a startup, please take a moment and realize how challenging it is going to be. Landing a job is hard enough, but then add on the pressure to hit targets, fight through operational chaos, sell a product no one has heard of, and then make sure that you are ready for the battles that are about to take place and the lessons you will learn shortly thereafter.
8. It is a Marathon, Not A Sprint
If you are going to be in sales for the long-haul, remember to breathe. There will definitely be ups, and definitely be downs, and everything in between. Set goals for your sales career so that you don’t measure yourself by the number of deals you closed, but by the relationships you have built and value you have added to others around you.