A sales role is one of the most rewarding jobs for someone who enjoys flexibility, remote work, and exciting opportunities for personal and professional growth. However, starting your first job in sales can be daunting. Whether you’re working for a startup or a well-established company, there are certain steps you can take to set yourself up for success.
“I wanted to work from anywhere and still make enough money to support my family,” says Gabrielle Salazar, VP of Growth at Cyberbacker. “I didn’t know anything about sales, but my employer gave me the chance, taught me the skills, and I haven’t looked back.”
Once you understand what your goals are, you can use this 10-step guide to help you succeed in your first sales role.
1. Understand the products and services
The first step to succeeding in sales is to have a deep understanding of the products and services you’re selling. You need to know the features, benefits, and potential use cases inside and out. This will help you articulate the value proposition to potential customers and answer any questions they might have.
“At Cyberbacker, we have a rigorous onboarding curriculum that ensures our contractors know what’s expected of them,” shares Salazar. “Before they talk directly to the client they’ll represent, they must first understand what the client does.”
2. Know your target audience
Knowing your target audience is just as important as understanding the products and services. Who are their ideal customers? What are their pain points and needs? How can the products and services help them? By understanding the target audience, you can tailor your sales pitch and messaging to resonate with them.
3. Develop your sales pitch
Once you have a good understanding of the products and services and the target audience, it’s time to develop your sales pitch, which should be concise, clear, and compelling. It should highlight the key benefits of your products and services and explain why they’re better than the competition.
“The best thing to help refine your sales pitch is scripts,” advises Salazar. “Any successful company that takes sales pitches seriously will have a script that works. You don’t have to stick to it, but when you’re starting out, it’s important to understand it, as well as different kinds of pitches for different types of leads.”
4. Learn to listen
Sales is not just about talking, it’s also about listening. Listening to potential clients can help you understand their needs and concerns, and tailor your pitch accordingly, so make sure to ask open-ended questions and actively listen to the answers.
According to Salazar, there is likely a script for any answer the potential client could give you. “Make sure to know the scripts inside and out,” she advises.
5. Build rapport
Building rapport with potential customers is key to closing sales, as people are more likely to buy from someone they like and trust. Building rapport can be as simple as finding common ground, showing genuine interest in their business or personal life, and being friendly and approachable.
Sometimes, you won’t make a sale on the first call — you will need to keep calling and checking in on the prospective client. “With our training, we like to have a few people on the call,” says Salazar, “this allows the client to become familiar with different backers and build trust with them.”
6. Practice people skills
Sometimes, the best advice is to just be yourself in order to be more comfortable talking to people, know when to push, and know when to back off. The best way to be good at something is to continuously practice.
“I wasn’t very good at the beginning,” confesses Salazar, “but I practiced with potential clients. I practiced with friends and people at work, and then I started to understand what worked was simply listening to the client first and then being myself.”
7. Track your progress
Tracking your progress can help you identify what’s working and what’s not. Keep track of your sales activities, such as calls, emails, and meetings, as well as your results, such as closed deals and revenue generated. This will help you identify areas for improvement and adjust your approach accordingly.
8. Seek feedback
Feedback is essential for growth and improvement. Seek feedback from your manager, colleagues, and customers. Ask for constructive criticism and take it to heart, using that feedback to identify areas for improvement and set goals for yourself.
“Craig, and my now-husband Teejay, provided so much support when I first started [at Cyberbacker],” shares Salazar. “I wouldn’t have been this successful without their feedback or my willingness to receive it and improve.”
9. Stay motivated
Sales can be a challenging and competitive field, and it’s important to stay motivated by setting goals for yourself, celebrating small wins, and staying positive. Remember that rejection is a normal part of the sales process — don’t let it get you down.
10. Embrace technology
Lastly, embrace technology to help you succeed in your first sales role. There are many tools and platforms available to help you automate and streamline your sales activities, such as customer relationship management (CRM) software, email marketing platforms, and social media. A novel idea is enlisting the help of a virtual assistant or cyberbacker to help you manage your sales activities more efficiently.
As you gain experience and hone your skills, you’ll become a more effective salesperson, closing more deals and generating more revenue. Remember: sales is a challenging and competitive field, but with dedication, hard work, and a growth mindset, you can succeed and achieve your goals.