Every new sales rep wants to get up to speed as fast as possible and start performing at plan.
It doesn’t matter if you’re right out of college and this is your first real job ever, or if you’ve made a career change and are just new to sales.
Salespeople are hungry for success – it’s a trait all stellar sales reps have.
However, the skill to sell isn’t inherent. I firmly believe that most anyone can “learn” to be a great salesperson. It’s a skill just like skiing or fishing; it can be taught to people who never thought they could learn.
With Spiro’s ongoing growth, we have recently hired a few new sales reps. I sat down to think through how we could best teach them the skill of selling.
So here is my advice on how to succeed as a new sales rep:
1. Ask Your Prospects Open Ended Questions
If you want your clients to be responsive to your efforts, open-ended questions are the way to go. Position your questions in a way that your prospects can tell you about their specific needs. Sometimes you need to give an extra push to get the customer to open up, so asking questions that allow the conversation to be driven by them can help.
For example, if you ask “Are you interested in this service?” a customer can simply say no and that abruptly ends the question. Instead, ask “What pain points are you trying to address?” They can’t answer with a simple yes or no, but this line of questioning makes them start to talk. I always tell new sales reps to think of their job as part investigator. Aim to uncover as may clues as possible.
2. Listen Really Well
One skill all new sales reps should learn is “active listening”. When you are actively listening to potential customers, you hear what they say and then repeat back to them in your own words what they have said. It’s a listen, digest, repeat, and confirm process.
This shows that you are paying attention to them, understand their issues, and able to communicate effectively about their individual needs. If you don’t really get what your client is saying, you won’t be able to provide them with a solution to solve their problems.
3. Qualify Prospects Early
In sales, time is money. You can’t waste your time on a deal going nowhere. New sales reps need to learn early on when you should keep working the deal, and when it’s a dead opportunity that needs to be dropped.
One easy way to do this it to qualify a lead right away. You can do this not only by asking the right, open ended questions, but also by identifying the decision maker at the company. You may have a good lead on your hands, but are wasting your time with the contact you have been talking to.
4. New Sales Reps Need to Focus on Fit
As all sales reps will learn, when you assess any prospect you need to think about timing, fit and budget. Fit is especially important since you really can’t jam a square peg into a round hole.
If you’re pushing a product or service that doesn’t fit your prospect’s needs, this will not only waste your time, but make you both frustrated.
5. Address the Benefits, Not Features
Your product probably has the most amazing features, but they come with your product no matter who you are selling it to. Although these features may be unique to your company, they are not necessarily tailored to the individuality of your prospect.
It’s good for new sales reps to understand that customers want to know how your product will benefit them. Don’t talk about the wonderful email templates you have (feature), but focus on how that will save them time and guarantee them better open rates (benefit). It’s definitely good to mention the features of your product, but just be sure to tie them back to how they will benefit your customer’s life.
6. Be Persistent
New sales reps will most likely have a difficult time getting used to getting hung up on, ignored, and turned down. But if you want to succeed, you have to be persistent.
Sales stats show that it takes an average of 8 cold call attempts to reach someone! The easiest, and most successful way to do this is by varying your modes of communication and following up when you say you will. You need to try different methods to reach your prospects, and if you say you’ll call tomorrow at 9, do it – it shows you are trustworthy and helps build rapport.
7. Stay organized
When I started out as a new sales rep, I had this great way to organize my sales day: I just kept everything in my head. That was until I forgot to call a prospect back, lost that big deal, and realized my organization skills could use some work.
I wish back then someone told how to better organize my sales life. If salespeople want to be successful, they have to be organized from day one. Besides just keeping their calendar in order, reps today can utilize technology to help automate parts of their lives. For instance, Spiro, the AI-powered CRM, uses artificial intelligence to recommend which of your prospects you should call each day so that you will have the highest likelihood of turning it into a closed deal.