One month into sales business has taught me quite a lot of things. I never thought of myself as a salesperson, not even once thinking that I will address each and every meeting I have as prospects or leads. My company business is web development – a very competitive field, but still full of potentials, as we all know that without a website, your business is practically non-existing; but it’s not like everyone will come and kneeling at your feet asking you to help them. So, what have I learned over the past month?
It’s not how you think it is
What do you usually imagine a salesperson would be: self-conscious, a bit arrogant and over-confident, talkative, flashy smile, over-the-top promises, potentially lying to you, and sales can hardly considered as professional skill? Partially, it can be true. Another part, it quite depends on which type of products you are thinking about, material or value-based. Let me get it straight, everybody sells. You want to change job – you sell yourself to another employer, make them believe you’re worthy of the salary they give you. You want a new dress but don’t want to buy it yourself; you sell you sweet talk to others – say your parents, your boyfriend – to make them do that for you. Your company needs more customers; your company has to sell themselves as a “prestige and leading icon of industry”, using PR campaign and advertisements. Basically, we are all selling at some points in our daily lives. To sell is Human (Daniel H. Pink). It can be simple as I have a book, I try to sell it to you, and you buy it, then I am a salesperson.
On a bigger scale, we’re all trying to persuade others to “purchase” something, never mind it’s a thing or an idea. The only different thing between that is whether or not it brings in actual money/ benefits to people involved in the process. Every businessman or woman has to go out and sell their ideas, products – by persuading the investors to believe in that ideas and products have big potential to increase their revenues, will contribute to their annual profits and the money tree will continue to grow.
In simpler words, get yourself into this tough act from the bottom, is one step towards the bigger goal of creating something with your name labeled on it.
The constant walk on wire
One month passed, and you know what I had so far? No sales. None. A $500 deal is considered to be none, because it contributed to nothing. I have emailed, called, replied, consulted to somewhere 40-50 people, got rejected 10 times through phones, double that through emails, my multiple follow-up emails fell into the dark hole of silence *crickets* *crickets*. It was only the first month, and even though my manager and colleagues are telling me to take it easy, I kind of feel down. Facing that many rejections is something I’ve never known before, and even though I have mentally prepared for it, it left a bad taste in my mouth.
But as I learnt from my sales fellows, nobody has it easy at first. It takes lots and lots of time to learn what you are trying to offer inside out. Knowing what you have to give, believe in it, trust your instinct to deliver the persuasion at the right moment, and at the same time, adjusting your pitch, your gestures and provide essential information as value-added to your prospects – those things cannot come quick. It takes lots and lots of time to practice, to own up the falls and take them as lessons learnt, to keep walking on with a straight face and a sharpened will. I still remember a line of a friend, which is pretty much what I chant to myself everyday: Don’t let them see you’re scared.
The intense reading and taking up new knowledge
Not only I land myself a job as a sales – a job I have no professional experience in, I picked the one industry that I have no preceding knowledge about – IT. Web development, software development, digital marketing…all are faraway lands with a hundreds and thousands of things I have never heard of before in my life. Well that’s not very true, I’m sure that I have heard somewhere about website, yes, about advertising online using Google and Facebook, yes… and that’s about it. First month coming in and I need to know the process of creating a website, how many types of websites available, what the hell is CMS, HMTL5, Magento (which I always mispronounce as Magneto), why making a website cost so much, SEO/SEM, Google Adwords, Google Analytics…and all that jazz. Of course what I need to know and understand is just the basic used for educating clients, but still, a whole new world has been opened up for me.
You cannot stand where you are forever and refuse to learn more. The world is changing every single day. Yesterday Britain is still part of European Union, today it’s a free country. One day you slack off from the reality is one day you are left behind. It doesn’t matter what you learn, just as long as you always keep your mind open and yearning for new information, new knowledge instead of new gossip and trivial matters, you will have the answers to all the questions. And doesn’t it make you feel a bit happier, knowing you never have to live in total darkness of the unknown, of the blissful ignorance of denial as you blind yourself from what’s really happening?
“Nobody said it was easy, no one said it would be this hard”. But so what, hardship makes a human human.
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