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5 Career Trajectory Changing Tips For New Sales Reps

5 Career Trajectory Changing Tips for New Sales Reps

Starting your career in sales and wondering how to maximize your results? Been there, done that. In this article, we outline the five tips to maximize your sales career. Taking action on any one of these five tips will improve your career. Taking massive action and adopting all five will exponentially change your career trajectory. No matter how great you are, there is always room for improvement. Read on to learn more.

Read One Sales Book a Month

If you want to earn more money in sales, read more books. According to Sales & Marketing Executives International, salespeople who read a minimum of 7 business books per year earn more money. In fact, it’s not just a little more, but a whopping 2.3 times more than salespeople who only read one book per year. I know what you’re thinking: I don’t like reading, I’m a slow reader, or I can’t retain what I read. These are problems I experienced myself until I discovered a solution. Here’s a suggestion to help meet your monthly reading goals:

First, purchase a membership to Audible.com, which will provide you with credits for one audiobook per month. Second, select an audiobook to listen to and then purchase the paperback version of the book. Third, use the audiobook and paperback together. While you are reading, have the audiobook playing along as well. Fourth, as you get better at reading and listening, you can increase the playback speed of the audiobook. I found this does two things for me: First, it allows me to read much faster. Second, my retention doubles, and the book makes more sense. 

Here’s the best part of this method. When the audiobook is played back at 2x speed, you can read the average sales book in under four hours. This means if you spend 30 minutes a day reading/listening, you can complete the book in a week. If you invest about 30 minutes a day with this method, you can read the book four times in one month. This is how you really learn what the book has to offer. A good goal I adopted is to learn the book so well I could teach a seminar on it.

Detach From Your Sales Outcome

This is the one lesson that takes new sales reps too long to learn. I’ve watched motivated new hires turn into burned-out sales reps within months of starting their sales career. It’s because they forget the number one rule of sales, “You can’t control the outcome of the sale.” You can only control whom you talk with, how many prospects you talk with, what you say to prospects, and how you respond to what prospects say. In other words, you can only control yourself. 

This is easier said than done. It took me years not to let sales outcomes control my emotions. Finally, after sustained success, I realized I would be okay either way. Looking back, I was always okay either way, and would have produced much better results had I detached from the outcomes sooner. Learning how to detach from your sales outcomes is a good skill to master. 

Detaching from our sales outcomes does not mean we don’t take ownership of our sales results. What it means is that we control ourselves not our prospects. 

Build Your Personal Brand

This could be a book in itself: Here’s how selling has changed in the last 20 years. Back then, pre-social media required big bucks to get in front of your target audience because you had to use traditional media (TV, Newspaper, Magazines). Now, you don’t need big bucks, just a few social media accounts. Back then, it was “who you knew” that mattered. You could open your Rolodex and call the person you want to speak with in the industry you serve. Today, what matters is who knows who. 

Look at the age of the top influencers online and you see thousands of millionaires who are barely out of their teens. A personal brand builds a conduit for more business. It creates inbound interest. It makes selling easier. Just look at what personal brand building did for people like Marcus Lemonis, Gary Vaynerchuk, and the Kardashians. Like them or not, they yield serious influence over their target audiences.

Execute Like the Winners

We’ve all heard the importance of having mentors in our lives. This is truer in sales than almost any other industry. If you want your sales career to be better, follow the winners. The other side of this coin is to avoid the losers. There’s no such thing as luck in sales. Salespeople who think they are unlucky, or the stars are against them, are just making excuses for their poor results. Winners execute. Excuse makers are not winners.

Execution or excuses, those are the two choices that will decide if you are a winner in sales. Winners do the work that needs to get done, whatever that work might be–professional, personal, emotional, physical, relational, organizational, or mental. If you’re not doing the work, then you are making excuses. In sales, we can often feel justified in not doing the work because we’re too busy, we don’t find the time, or because our results are good enough. But whatever is keeping us from acting to improve, our circumstances are an excuse. Winners will not make excuses, ever. They will simply execute. 

Excuses will only cause you stress. You procrastinate, miss deadlines, and make you less effective. In the book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” Stephen Covey outlines perfectly the power of execution in the first habit, being proactive. We don’t blame circumstances; we own our actions and responses. Excuse-making people are driven by feelings, while those who execute are not. They own the results they produce. Over a period of time, salespeople who make excuses develop a self-fulfilling prophecy of their results. They often feel victimized. There’s no crying in baseball and there’s no excuse-making in sales. “If it’s to be, it’s up to me,” is the motto new sales reps should adopt.

Value Learning Over Money

The path to greatness in sales is clear. Follow the same path other sales leaders in your industry have taken. This means that early in your sales career, it is better to value learning over money. If you select your first sales position solely based on the big payday, you can expect greater pressure, insecurities, and the need to impress. It will become too costly to make mistakes and learn from them. When you fear making mistakes, you become overly cautious. 

Early in your sales career is the time for learning. Finding an entry level position that allows you to be hands-on, creative, and given enough room to make mistakes will pay off in the long term. If you value learning early and accept a position that pays less, you will also learn how to survive on less income. Alternatively, if you chase the big pay-days early, you will become addicted to that income level and hold you back from trying anything new. 

A career in sales means you will have decades to maximize your earnings. Favoring learning early means you will set yourself up for exponential growth later in your career. When the learning curve is flat, you set yourself up for linear growth. Let your college buddies brag about their big commission checks now, because you know you are increasing your value every day. Aristotle was right, “Learning is an ornament in prosperity, a refuge in adversity, and a provision in old age.”

In Conclusion

You don’t have to be new to sales to practice these five tips. The sooner you apply them, the more value you will receive over time. What you can do is pick one tip and focus on that at first. As you master each skill, you can add another tip. This way, you are continually improving your sales skills. The secret to a successful career in sales is to focus on progress over perfection.