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10 Tips For A Rookie Salesperson


A successful salesperson pays attention and learns.Every salesperson begins his or her career as a wide-eyed, rookie with daydreams of closing the biggest deal of the firm’s history, shaking hands with the eternally grateful client as his CEO pats him on the back.  Open expense accounts, membership to the local, prestigious country club and a corner office round out the often-dreamed fantasy.  Before you start buying your next suits at Brooks Brothers, however, make a note that there is a loooong way to go before you ever get to the best parking spot in the front.

Here are 10 tips to help you on your way.

1.  Pay attention.  I can’t stress this enough.  Pay attention to everything around you.  Who do your fellow salespeople turn to when there are issues to resolve?  Who is the leader on the floor?  What are the issues people are having?

2.  Watch your schedule.  You should always be the first one in and the last one to leave.  I don’t understand how this is one of the easiest rules to overlook but it is.  When you are new, there is always something to do…trust me.  Review some of the crm features you’re having trouble with.  Set up your calls for the next day.  Finish documenting your clients interactions.

3.  Get to know your clients.  If you are not in the same area and work primarily over the phone, then read their local newspapers online.  Find out what the weather there is like.  How have their teams done this year?  I used to call on south Texas.  I made sure to know what the local football scene was like…when hurricane season would hit the Gulf…what the local schools were receiving grants.  If you are local to your clients, go to chamber meetings and other networking events.  Even better; form a networking group.

4.  Create a schedule for tasks you need to complete every day.  Starting a new career is overwhelming and sometimes things you truly need to concentrate will be overlooked.  Stick to your schedule.  You’re in sales now so prospecting should be at the top of your list.  Do it every day.

5.  Here’s something that has worked well for everyone I know who has tried it.  Ask to speak with your boss every few weeks to ensure you are on the right path.  You don’t want to go too long in the wrong direction and it also lets your supervisor know you are taking your job seriously.

6.  Dress well.  Don’t over dress, but make sure you are respectable.  If the better dressed people on the floor are in shirts and khakis then you do the same.  Make sure your clothes are tucked in, clean, pressed and for pete’s sake…no white socks.

7.  Don’t be afraid to tell a client you don’t know the answer to a question.  Simply say you will find out the answer as soon as possible.  People will respect you for that.  No one likes a fake know-it-all.

8.  Don’t have more than two drinks at any company function.  As good as a salesperson may be, I have seen too many careers cut short because of a loose tongue or because they just looked sloppy and unprofessional in a social setting.  You will never be allowed to represent the company outside the office.

9.  Learn everything about the product you are selling.  You don’t have selling skills yet and you don’t have a client list so product knowledge is your only ace.  As you grow into your new role you won’t seem so one-dimensional but for now, learn it inside and out.

10. Finally, find a mentor.  Ask one of the veterans if it would be okay if you ask questions when you have them.  Most will be okay with it and it is also a good way for you to learn how sales techniques differ from person to person.  All successful salespeople differ from the others and you need to develop your own style.

If you have any other “Must Do” items for a new salesperson, feel free to leave a comment.  I would love to read them.

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