I joined the sales development team at SellHack a little over 3 months ago – I love it.
I have a pretty eclectic professional background, and many of those positions have included varying aspects of sales. However, these past few months with SellHack have been the first time in my professional career that I would consider myself a salesman, and I’ve learned a lot.
My intention with this post is to provide a few of the most important pieces that I’ve picked up so far. I’ll be reflecting on these myself as I move through Q2. For anyone who is about to enter a similar role, read closely. The rest of you can take the TL;DR. I’m not into wasting anyone’s time….which leads me to #1.
#1. Respect Everyone’s Time
When speaking to a prospect on the phone or during a demo, realize that this is just one interaction among the many, many, many others they need to tend to that day. In short, you are definitely NOT their top priority.
Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions and to qualify your prospect before you invest the next 30-60 minutes in a conversation. If it’s not a fit, explain why, listen to their response, and clearly define next steps. Thank them for their time, be cordial, but be quick. Efficiency is the name of the game, and it will benefit you both.Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions and qualify your prospect before you invest time in a call!… Click To Tweet
Respect your own time – others will inadvertently waste it. Your prospect took the call because they recognize the possible need for your offering and an opportunity to learn from an expert (i.e. – you). Regardless of the rapport you’ve built or how well you like one another, you need to recognize when it’s time to move on to the next call, demo, or even your lunch.
Offer a deep dive or 1:1 once they come on board.
Only commit to what you can fulfill, but don’t take your pants off on the first date.
#2. Know your ideal prospect
First, you need to know whether or not they’re a fit for your product. You should have your segments clearly defined and documented somewhere to review when you are building your prospect lists.
Then you need to know if they’re the decision maker for your product – if not, see if they can direct you to who is. You’ll need to provide enough value for them to be willing to do this, but remember #1 as you go about it.
Pro Tip – don’t be afraid to experiment. Segment your segments and test responsiveness for each group. When you find something that works, double down. If it’s not working, stop. Increasing dealflow is your top priority.
#3. People are busy – so follow up. Follow up. Follow up. Follow up. Follow up. Follow up.
In sales, a frequent follow-up isn’t annoying; it’s encouraged. Remember, people are busy – if you have a service that they’re interested in and is going to help them, you’re actually doing them a favor by checking in often.
Pro Tip – don’t send a ‘just checking in’ email. Offer value, ask direct questions, and demonstrate that it’s your job to keep this opportunity moving forward and not their job to remember why you or your service are so great.
That doesn’t mean every day (in your case, it might) but it does mean much more frequent than a strictly social relationship
You’re enthusiastic, not aggressive – and you’re busy too.
Too busy to have someone hanging out in your funnel for weeks on end. Follow up until you get an answer.
The worst they can say is no, and that’s better than not knowing.
#4. Create a system: optimize, refine, optimize.
You’re going to have to find your own flow to deal with your day to day tasks. Track the results, identify the bottlenecks, refine your system and launch v2.
It doesn’t matter how good you are, a random approach to your sales process, or lack thereof, will have you leaving money on the table…or somewhere in your inbox.
A random approach to your #sales process will leave money on the table. Click To Tweet
Create a system that allows you to handle all of it effectively. Bite off just as much as you can chew thoroughly, and if your jaw hurts a little bit that’s a good thing. It means you’re hungry – and your jaw will get stronger.
#5. Look beyond the direct sale.
Genuine sales professionals know that there’s tremendous benefit in making an authentic connection with others. You’re products and companies aren’t always going to be a direct fit – that doesn’t mean they won’t be down the line, or that you can’t refer each other to the right people.
Don’t burn a bridge by being too narrowly focused on your quota for that day. Take enough time (while respecting time) to see the potential for the long term, and make connections that will last for more than 5 minutes.
These are the 5 areas that I’ll be focusing on for Q2. Completely novel realizations? Not at all. Worth a refresher? Absolutely. I’m curious to hear from the novice to seasoned sales pros: What were some of your main takeaways from your first sales role?
Leave a comment or send me a note – you can find my contact information with SellHack ;)
ps – ready for a new challenge?