Congratulations, you’re now a college graduate! You spent four years getting to know the lay of the land and at the start of every semester a syllabus told you what to expect in the coming weeks. Your path to success was carefully mapped out and only you could derail that plan. Life was good.
Fast forward a few months to when you landed your first job in sales. Sure, you have a boss, your performance expectations are set and you know it’s your job to bring in business, but beyond that it can be a grey area at times. Transitioning from life as a college student into the working world can be an adjustment. Here are some tips for recent graduates to help make the transition from the classroom to the office as smooth as possible.
Never stop learning. If training or professional development opportunities are offered to you by your employer, take advantage of them and learn as much as you can. If training isn’t something offered by your company, look for books that pertain to your field, professional groups in your city or invest in your own training. Like Sandler teaches, salespeople are not born, they’re made.
Identify a mentor. Mentors can help you successfully navigate roadblocks you encounter early on in your career. They can also be someone you confide in when you’ve had a tough day at work or they can be someone to celebrate with when you land a big client. If a mentor isn’t assigned to you, seek out someone that you respect and that’s in a position you’d like to be in someday.
Learn about your products and your company. Just like when you were in school, you need to study. The more knowledgeable you are about your company and its products, the more confident and comfortable you will feel when speaking with prospects and clients.
Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone. Email can only get you so far. Picking up the phone can often create a connection and rapport that cannot be developed via email. But before you leave too many voicemails, check out one Sandler expert’s opinions on when and how to leave a voicemail.
Listen to the prospect / client. Sure, you may know everything about your product and service, but remember that selling is not about telling. Ask thought-provoking questions and then really listen – that’s how you’ll find their pain. Sandler Rule #14: A prospect who is listening is no prospect of all.
Learn from your mistakes and failures. It’s OK to fail, everyone makes mistakes or experiences setbacks, but what’s important is your ability to bounce back. Choose to treat failures as opportunities.
Share your advice to recent graduates in the comments below. Let us know what you wish someone told you when you started your first job in sales.
By: Don Jones, Global Accounts Manager, Sandler Training