When working in sales, oftentimes we’re so bogged down in work and the day to day demands of the profession that we don’t have time to take a step back and look at the big picture. Staying busy can be a great thing because it means that you’re (hopefully) being productive. But, it can also mean that you aren’t able to take the time to reflect on the big or small things that you should be thinking about.
Because of this, there are certain sales lessons that many salespeople learn too late in their careers. These are things that could have benefitted them tremendously if they had known them earlier. Here are the most important sales lessons that most salespeople learn too late:
(By the way- don’t wait until it’s too late to start using a great sales automation CRM, Like Spiro!)
1. Always build relationships
While sales might oftentimes feel like an easy-come, easy-go job, you should focus on building relationships from your first day on the job until the day you retire. This means that you’re not simply looking at every prospect, coworker, or person you meet through networking as a means to an end, but building long-term relationships with everybody you can. This will pay you huge dividends in the long run in the form of referrals, opportunities, and good will.
2. It’s a sprint, and a marathon
When working in sales, you have to look at both the big picture and the little picture simultaneously. The little picture is usually obvious, which is hitting your quota, whether it’s monthly, quarterly, or annually. This is the sprint. But the big picture is the harder one to see, and that’s your career, measured in decades, not years. You have to focus on the spring, but remember that it’s a marathon and that where you are ten years from now has a lot to do with what you do today, tomorrow, and next week.
3. Not all management is terrible
This is an important sales lesson that far too many salespeople learn too late. Just because you work for a poor management team, or have had bad experiences with management at more than one company, it doesn’t mean that everywhere you work will be like that. There are plenty of amazing leadership and management teams in the world, and finding one to work for isn’t as hard as hitting the lottery. Don’t settle for staying at a company where you’re not treated fairly and not supported.
4. When things are going well, take advantage
When everything is going great in your sales role, and deals are closing left and right, and you’re making money hand over fist, it might feel like it will never end. But the economy changes, companies rise and fall, and industries eventually all experience disruptions. So when things are going well, make sure you take full advantage of it. Work harder. Save more of your money. Take full advantage of the moment instead of sitting back and assuming that it’s going to last forever.
5. Sell something you believe in
This is a terrible lesson to learn too late in your career because it has such a profound effect on how successful and happy you’ll be at any sales role. You absolutely must either sell a product you believe in or believe in whatever product you sell. If you’re not bought in and don’t see the value in what you’re offering then even if you are able to successfully sell it (which will be much more difficult for you), you still won’t feel like what you’re committing endless hours of your life to has any meaning.
6. Enjoy the ride
Sales is a roller coaster. The highs can be exhilarating and the lows can be miserable. To survive and thrive in sales you need to learn how to take the bad with the good. But one of the most important sales lessons you can learn is to enjoy the journey. Yes, sometimes it will feel like you’re at rock bottom and nothing is going according to plan. But understand and embrace that fact and you’ll become that much better for it. 20 or 30 years from now you’ll look back on the seemingly big problems you’re going through and they will seem insignificant in the big scheme of things. But if you learn to enjoy the ride, then you’ll never have anything to regret.