Start defining yourself
I was fortunate to start my sales career right before college. I actually jumped into sales out of necessity, rather than desire. I grew up timid and struggled in just about every social interaction. Oddly enough, I associated financial success with communication skills and that led me on my path.
My first sales career was selling Kirby vacuums door to door. I was one of the hardest workers, running 4 presentations in people’s homes 5-6 days a week. It was exhausting; not because of the presentations, but I was tired of being the “nice” guy that nobody bought from. I mastered my work ethic, but I couldn’t ask for the sale. This went on for several months until I mustered the courage to ask for the sale.
After that milestone, the momentum started building, and my hope of a long-term sales career brightened. Years later, after a few mediocre sales careers, I found my groove and my breakthrough moment came when I realized that I loved to inspire and motivate people. The last 15 years have been just that, leading and coaching sales teams which has been my true calling.
My biggest learning moment came during my career midpoint after a disappointing move by the company I was working for. I was devastated and thought my golden chance had slipped by. I had given blood, sweat and tears to become successful only to see it unravel by poor company decisions. It took a while for me to bounce back, but I realized that my success didn’t lie with any company, but with myself. In reality, it didn’t matter the venue I chose (company) as much as it did the person I was becoming. That was a light bulb moment that made me focus more on my own professional growth. I didn’t need to worry about what decisions that company made.
3 lessons to those new to sales:
- Be the person you want to become. Don’t wait till you find that perfect job, make more money, have all the right experience, have more confidence, etc. Figure out who you want to be and the right career will find you.
- Don’t abort the growth process: Many people run at the first sign of company problems. If they don’t run physically, they run mentally into a fearful mindset instead of a growth mindset. Be that person that sees the opportunities, not the challenges Place a high premium on survivor skills that typically are only learned through tough times.
- Get angry: Just like a controlled burn during a forest fire, anger can be used in short spurts to create the growth that you need. Sometimes you just have to get angry that things are just “ok”, that you’re at the bottom of the leaderboard again, that people aren’t buying from you, or you’re not finding your groove.