6 things to expect in your first year in sales
Whether your motivation is financial gain, perks, travel, or career advancement, there are a lot of things to consider before making the leap into sales. In my experience, I depended a lot on my own research before getting into sales, though it wasn’t enough to prepare me for the reality. So, to help you determine if sales is right for you, I’ve gathered the 6 most important takeaways from my first year.
Here’s what you should expect in your first year:
Think twice before jumping at the first offer
Just like any new role, it’s hard to anticipate what it’s like until you’re actually in it, but ending up in a sales role that is wrong for you could lead to disappointment. It’s important to do your research on the different kinds of sales roles beforehand to avoid potentially cutting your career in sales short and prematurely deciding that this isn’t for you. Consider what type of sales you want to explore; are you interested in Inside Sales? Do you enjoy travelling as part of your job? Or, is there a specific industry you want to be a part of? Take the time to see what sales opportunities are available in your area, and do your research: will it be a good fit for you?
You (don’t) schmooze, you lose
Sales is all about engagement, and in your first year, you’ll have to work on voice and body language to convey the right messages. You’ll have to learn how to engage clients in a way that comes off genuine, trustworthy, and most importantly, likable. In phone sales, your voice needs to exude excitement and confidence, especially in a cold call. This is the only way that a potential client will hear you out. In a face-to-face interaction with a client, play up your body language so you come across as warm and approachable. At the end of the day, you have to be prepared to put the best version of yourself out there – at all times.
You’re not Tony Robbins, and that’s ok
So maybe you can’t picture yourself standing in front of thousands of people, pumping them up and changing their lives through your sheer presence alone – don’t worry, there is still hope. Despite doing a lot of research on ‘how to be successful in Sales’, I learned that the important thing was to develop my own approach to selling, something that I could only develop after months of trial and error. I’ve discovered that every sales professional adopts their own unique approach, which often does not necessarily fit into the stereotypical ‘salesman persona.’ So rest assured, you don’t need to be the most extroverted or charismatic person in the room to inspire clients into buying what you’re selling. Don’t compromise your personal style to adopt one that you or others expect you to exemplify as a sales professional to achieve success – find what works for you and run with it.
You will get a lot of rejection; don’t take it personally
Effectively handling rejection is a skill that’s just as important to your success as closing. The reality is that you need to grow thicker skin because there might be days or weeks when all you hear is ‘no,’ which could get discouraging. It’s important not to let a bad week or a month get to you mentally. Go into it expecting the ups and the downs and when times get rocky, shake it off.
Say goodbye to your 9-5
If you’re someone that likes structure, then you may want to rethink if a career in sales is for you. Whatever your motivation is, be prepared to put in some extra time. In my first sales job, no one left work exactly at 5 pm, and more importantly, everyone understood that you couldn’t do that if you wanted to come out on top. When the rest of your colleagues are packing up for the day, that’s your time to take advantage of undiscovered opportunities – and get to them first. Set yourself apart from the ‘average’ by working smarter and harder, to reap the rewards later in your career.
Despite the challenges, the rewards make it all worth it
Sales is unpredictable; be prepared for the ups and the downs but If you’re naturally competitive, then the sales floor is the perfect stage for you to outperform your peers. But whether it’s the recognition, or the money that motivates you, always remember what initially inspired you to go into sales and don’t let the challenges of your first year deter you. Expect that there will be a learning curve in your first year and the sooner you can stay focused on the things you can control. All in all, if you have that ambition and desire to push yourself, then you are already well on your way to Sales Super-stardom – just don’t forget your ABC’s along the way: “Always Be Closing.”