This is a guest post by Mo Mouser, Vice President at Influence & Co.
It’s the magic question: “How do you excel during your training period as a new sales rep?” I don’t believe there’s one right answer, but I have found several things that can help you hit the ground running.
On my first day, I was 24 and starting a new job in a new industry in a new city. To say I was anxious would be a bit of an understatement. I was the typical Millennial who took a few tries to find the “right” job, so this one had to work out — it was in my major, for crying out loud!
The biggest challenge I faced was trying to get up to speed in an industry that was new to me. I had worked as a district manager of a grocery store chain and then shifted to become part of a team of financial advisors; now, as a sales rep at a content marketing agency, I had to learn a lot — and very quickly.
On top of that, I had to prove I was a legitimate sales rep without any real-world experience (beyond a summer internship). I knew I was in for a whirlwind, but I was excited to get started. I would be talking to founders, CEOs, and C-suite executives, which was both exhilarating and terrifying to consider. My anxiety levels were at an all-time high.
Preparing for Success
While I’m still overcoming challenges on a daily basis, I encountered early success, including the fastest first sale from a new sales rep in the company’s history. Although the first sale was great, my first solo sale was the most rewarding — it was 100 percent my doing. At that point, I knew I was on the right track.
You might be thinking, “OK, that’s great, Mo, but what did you do prior to those sales to get there?” To answer that, we need to revisit the time before training began.
If I could give one piece of advice for preparing before training, it would be to read, read, read. Researching news and trends in the field and reading the thought leadership content published by your new company’s executives is important for any role — but it’s imperative for anyone entering a new industry.
I say this because I learned this lesson the hard way. I went through three interviews and thought I was a shoo-in (because I’m a cocky Millennial who felt my confidence was a boon for any sales job); when I got on the phone with the CEO of the company, I was cool and collected. Long story short, I wasn’t prepared and didn’t read near enough or research near enough to impress him — or even satisfy him.
Making the Most of Training
Once you’re prepared for training, let’s talk about how to stand out once you’re in your role. There were three things that I found helpful in positioning myself for success.
- Don’t complain.Training, especially in sales, can be brutal and oftentimes not fun, but showing that you’re a team player and willing to do anything to succeed will earn you respect.
- Work as long as you need.If you clock out at 40 hours when you still have valuable work to do, you’re showing a lack of motivation. Demonstrating your willingness to work longer hours when needed will help you stand out and excel in your direct support’s eyes.
- Be helpful.In his book, “Top of Mind,” our CEO, John Hall, discusses his success in consistently being a helpful retarget to everyone inside the company, as well as outside.
On the flip side, try to avoid these pitfalls at all costs:
- Don’t act like you’re too big for your britches.This is a phrase I got from my grandma, but it’s relevant to all of us starting new sales roles. Coming in with the mindset that you know everything is not only arrogant, but it’s also 100 percent false.
- Avoid only celebrating successes and ignoring losses.Don’t get me wrong: It’s great to celebrate your successes, but sales reps have the tendency to only talk about those and sweep their losses under the rug or make excuses for them. Acknowledging your losses and learning from them is key to notching more successes to celebrate in the future.
- Refuse to think that training is over.Just because the calendar says your training period is over doesn’t mean it’s over. If you think this way, you are in a dangerous position and will most likely fail early on. Training is an ongoing process, whether you’re six months into a job or six years in.
Now that you know what to do and what not to do, what’s next? What should you accomplish by the end of your training period?
You should become an expert on your company. This entails learning everything from your company vision and mission to its structure and products or services. If you can’t articulate any of this, you’re not ready to be on your own.
Similarly, you have to build your confidence. As your formal sales training period comes to an end, you should not only have the knowledge to fly solo, but you should also have the confidence to do so. Ask for regular feedback, and if you can’t determine how to make changes on your own, ask for advice. Meeting others’ expectations can help you hone your skills and develop some new standards of your own.
As you transition out of your formal sales training, you should be excited for what your future holds. The great thing about a sales role is being in control of your career. The more you can excel during your training period, the quicker you can begin to make commission and, most importantly, an impact on your company.
About the guest post author:
Mo Mouser is a vice president at Influence & Co., a content marketing agency specializing in helping companies showcase their expertise through thought leadership. She runs on content, coffee, and charisma.