From the outside looking in, the sales industry can be quite intimidating. It’s competitive, it’s unpredictable, it’s the heart of all businesses, and let’s face it—you need to be extremely self-motivated in order to thrive. And yet, sales can be one of the most thrilling and rewarding opportunities you’ll ever pursue.
In my 25 years as an entrepreneur, I’ve seen countless success stories come to life. While each journey is unique in its own right, they speak louder about one’s determination and drive than the individual’s suaveness or level of expertise. Just because you’re new to the game doesn’t mean you can’t compete. Adopt these four simple tips to develop a winning mindset and strategy for sales success.
1. Take Massive Action Right Away
When you’re working for a commission check, you’re not just getting paid to show up; your everyday actions translate into dollar signs. The harder you work, the higher your earnings. We all know money is a great motivator, so you’ll want to get after it right away.
Whether you work for a corporate sales department, a dealership or if you just started your own home-based business, take your sales career personally, and pursue it with urgency right from the get-go. Every person has a different closing ratio; talking to more people gives you more chances to close. Start right away. If you hustle like your life depends on it (which, if you think about it, it does) and dive in head-first, you’ll waste no time in setting a steady pace towards your weekly sales quota and financial goals.
Keep in mind that how you build your business within the first 72 hours largely determines your level of success. I call this the “72 hour fly-or-die” rule. Those who launch their sales careers with urgency and excitement increase their potential for success, while those who take a much more casual approach will struggle to build the business to their aspired level.
No one is going to hand it to you, and certainly no one can want it more for you than you do. Take full ownership of your business right away so you can take pride in your results.
2. Master the Art of List-Building
Some companies may have a specific protocol for client allocation; others may leave list-building in your (very capable) hands. Take initiative! Don’t ever allow yourself to question the origins of your first—or next—commission. Start capturing leads right away and open the door to new business opportunities as soon as possible.
I recommend starting where you’re most comfortable—your warm market. These are your friends, family, colleagues, and old business partners; people who know and trust you and are willing to show their support as you begin your career in sales. Perhaps start with a simple business announcement on your personal social media pages. Invite your friends to come along on your next endeavor and check out what you have to offer; they may be in need of what you’re selling or know someone who is. Just beware of over sharing—nobody wants their newsfeed flooded with daily updates about your business.
If you want to extend your reach beyond your warm market, you can even switch up your approach by creating a lead capture page. That way, you’re generating potential business around-the-clock.
3. Learn While You Earn
In the beginning, you may have many questions about your product, service or industry. While gaining a keen understanding of these fields is very important, you shouldn’t let uncertainty keep you from getting a head start.
The old adage “you’ll never know unless you try” will come into play during your first month in sales. The best education comes from experience! Allow yourself to learn through trial and error. Be patient—you have to build up a tolerance for getting it wrong every now and then. Just remember that perfection isn’t a requirement; effort is. You shorten your learning curve with each new experience.
The best way to get a feel for your field is to reach out to your mentors. Ask to join them at their next sales meeting: note what they’re doing, why it works, and what you could do differently once you get more comfortable. Then add your own style.
Absorbing the real-life tactics of better-seasoned entrepreneurs will also help you learn the psychology of your potential clients and customers, which is extremely valuable when you’re first getting started. What are your clients’ wants and needs? How can you appeal to them or offer a solution? Defining and understanding your target audience will not only help you develop a simple and personable sales pitch, but it will also boost your comfort and confidence during engagements.
4. Exude Posture
Confidence is everything in sales. Nobody wants to listen to or buy from an insecure salesman who is unsure of himself. You must have posture in order to close a deal. Be clear and direct when you speak, and even if a sales pitch is going south, never beg—consumers can smell desperation from a mile away.
Utilize motivational material daily to give you the confidence you need to succeed. Stock your library with autobiographies and playbooks from successful entrepreneurs; even listen to inspiring podcasts during your morning commute. These tools will help you develop a more confident, sophisticated aura that clients can’t ignore.
That same confidence and pride must be reflected in your daily tasks—from following up promptly with prospects, current clients, and returning customers to arriving at least ten minutes early to each appointment. It’s one thing to talk and dress like you have it together, but creating a consistent character of utmost professionalism and trust is a different story—and one you must master through all-important self-discipline and commitment.
By shifting your mindset and your approach, learning while you earn, and launching your business with excitement and urgency, you’ll feel like a sales expert in no time. Soon enough, it won’t just be about meeting quota, but exceeding it.
Remember: the top earner in your district was once a beginner, too. Now it’s your turn.