Working in Sales.. First time.. Hmm - What to do?

17 replies
long story short...

I left a position that made me a solid 40k with no room for growth.. . for a start up company that's been around for 3 years. I took a risk, giving it my go to make more of myself.


After many interviews with the CEO, she decided to offer me a job
Pay is 50k, 30k base + 20k (Draw on Commission)

Draw on Commission Means = they give me the 50k in full salary year (paycheck) but I need to bring in 20k of sales over a period of a year or pay it back.

CEO Gives me: A Big Office
New Computer, Monitors, anything I need
I work with 3 other people, 2 Creative and 1 IT guy

CEO is now asking me for my "Personal Sales Plan" of finding people I know that I can sell to.

I explained to CEO I don't know anyone this is my first position.. she understands that, but still wants connections that I have. I don't know how else to say this to her.

I'm confused what to do.. The sense of direction (Doesn't exist) and she hasn't finished training me, she's in NJ this week. So I've been sitting in my office, emailing companies randomly, cold calling. However I'm not sure how sales people start.. IS there a network I'm missing out on? (srs)

Before you ask, I'm the only Sales person here. There is 1 guy who has worked with her for 17 years, but the CEO tells me he mostly does account management and that the sales accounts that they have now, is ones she brought in a long time ago.

I'm so lost in sense of direction, I mean I don't even know my market, and where to start. I'm ready to put heart and soul into this and I'll face my fears whatever they may be, but I don't have any connections or network myself. So where do I start, how do I explain this to her?
#hmm #sales #time #working
  • Profile picture of the author writeaway
    Start reading sales books and start hitting LinkedIn to get leads. Prove to yourself you can do it. Shake off the jitters and get to work, dude.
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    • Profile picture of the author LivingCali758
      Originally Posted by writeaway View Post

      Start reading sales books and start hitting LinkedIn to get leads. Prove to yourself you can do it. Shake off the jitters and get to work, dude.
      But dude, honestly I want to. I'M READY. I'm not scared.. I honestly just don't know where to start. I've been reading sales book, I see good strategies that I can APPLY. but I don't know how to find people, who to find, where to look. I have no leads, do I google companies that I think can benefit best with us?

      Also, what do I tell the CEO. I've told her I have no network, I don't know anyone personally from any company I can market to.

      I'm ready man, I'm so pumped and ready to do this. Door by Door, Cold Calls, whatever it takes. I just don't know where to start or how to look and begin.

      Am I missing something here?
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      • Profile picture of the author Tom Reed
        Originally Posted by LivingCali758 View Post

        But dude, honestly I want to. I'M READY. I'm not scared.. I honestly just don't know where to start. I've been reading sales book, I see good strategies that I can APPLY. but I don't know how to find people, who to find, where to look. I have no leads, do I google companies that I think can benefit best with us?

        Also, what do I tell the CEO. I've told her I have no network, I don't know anyone personally from any company I can market to.

        I'm ready man, I'm so pumped and ready to do this. Door by Door, Cold Calls, whatever it takes. I just don't know where to start or how to look and begin.

        Am I missing something here?
        Pick up the phone and dial it.

        While many other things like LinkedIn etc can have a long term benefit, in the short term it's called "hiding".

        Pick up the phone and dial it. Doing anything else is simply procrastinating from doing what needs to be done.
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  • Profile picture of the author helisell
    Were you the only candidate for the position?
    How come you got the job if you are so under qualified for it?

    I'm being serious, were there any other candidates and if so
    were you the pick of the bunch?

    .
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    • Profile picture of the author LivingCali758
      Originally Posted by helisell View Post

      Were you the only candidate for the position?
      How come you got the job if you are so under qualified for it?

      I'm being serious, were there any other candidates and if so
      were you the pick of the bunch?

      .
      The CEO thought I had Account Management Skills from my last job. I worked with corporate Sales, but my job was never to chat with the client directly. I spoke internally between the corporate reps and different departments of my company. Marketing, etc. For god sakes my resume says Data Analyst. I emailed her and told her this in person and she got upset and ask me to find family or someone for my (Personal sales plan)

      When we spoke, I told her about my drive in life, my small business that I had, my motivation, etc. I didn't BS her, that's exactly how I am. So when I tell you guys I'm ready, I'm ready! However, I don't have a network, I'll be more then happy to build one but I'm getting confused on how to begin, where to start.

      So far I've been emailing and cold calling random businesses that I THINK may best benefit from our services. Aside from that, I mean I don't know what else to do. I'm going to a few social mixers soon on my weekend to learn more.

      I can understanding hiring people that have connections already. However hiring someone like me who has no network.. how can they benefit in something like that? Doesn't make sense. I mean I hate to say it, but I almost felt like she doesn't know what she's doing.
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      • Profile picture of the author writeaway
        Originally Posted by LivingCali758 View Post

        The CEO thought I had Account Management Skills from my last job. I worked with corporate Sales, but my job was never to chat with the client directly. I spoke internally between the corporate reps and different departments of my company. Marketing, etc. For god sakes my resume says Data Analyst. I emailed her and told her this in person and she got upset and ask me to find family or someone for my (Personal sales plan)

        When we spoke, I told her about my drive in life, my small business that I had, my motivation, etc. I didn't BS her, that's exactly how I am. So when I tell you guys I'm ready, I'm ready! However, I don't have a network, I'll be more then happy to build one but I'm getting confused on how to begin, where to start.

        So far I've been emailing and cold calling random businesses that I THINK may best benefit from our services. Aside from that, I mean I don't know what else to do. I'm going to a few social mixers soon on my weekend to learn more.

        I can understanding hiring people that have connections already. However hiring someone like me who has no network.. how can they benefit in something like that? Doesn't make sense. I mean I hate to say it, but I almost felt like she doesn't know what she's doing.
        So it is her fault for hiring you? Anyway, why don't you try outsourcing lead generation through cold calls. If you have a raw list, I might be able to help.
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      • Profile picture of the author tpw
        Originally Posted by LivingCali758 View Post

        I can understanding hiring people that have connections already. However hiring someone like me who has no network.. how can they benefit in something like that? Doesn't make sense. I mean I hate to say it, but I almost felt like she doesn't know what she's doing.

        Such an odd thing to say.

        It strikes me that you oversold your credentials, and now your boss is starting to question whether she hired the right person for the job.

        And you are trying to blame her for giving you the opportunity you wanted.

        The key in my mind is "want".

        Do you really "want" to make a success of this? Really?

        Lots of good advice has been offered in this thread, but I am unsure whether you will be able to take advantage of it.

        First off, great results will trump any lack of experience that you have in this position. Randomly emailing companies and cold calling are not the answer if you have no solid action plan to follow. If you had a real action plan, the companies you would be contacting would not be random.

        You haven't told us what you have been assigned to sell, so we are unable to show you anything more than a generic plan for any sales position.

        You need to be talking to people who are most likely to be willing to purchase what you are selling, and you need to be talking to people who know others who might be willing to purchase what you are selling. The latter is why networking should be important to you.

        One confusion I have in your description is whether the 2 creative people and the IT person are under your direction, at your disposal, or whether they are simply in the same office as you are.

        If the creative and IT peeps are supposed to be taking direction from you so that you can move sales forward, then I would suspect your position is both a marketing and sales job, rather than just a sales job.

        Either way, you need to find your direction fast, if you hope to keep your new job. And the best way to move forward is to figure out what your target customer looks like and start talking to those people directly.
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  • Profile picture of the author Yvon Boulianne
    Hi,

    Here's what i would do

    1. Tell the CEO again that you have no personal network but that you are building one and that you need a couples of weeks to get results, to have sales (anyway if you can't sell in a couples of weeks you are toasted..)

    2. Go LOCAL, go present yourself to qualify business around and to get sales (you need to qualify them, you need to know if they need your services)

    3. take the phone book and call, call call but call with the idea to create a relation, to get in connection, interest yourself to the client need, ask info about what are their difficulty, what are their pain point, what they need, how you can help them.

    4. connect with local groups, local chamber of commerce and other groups to know peoples

    5. correct yourself, again and again until it's perfect.

    you bring sales and they will be happy

    for sales book i suggest
    How to Master the Art of Selling Comic - SmarterComics

    get to it, stop doubting an just do it again and again
    action = success

    have fun
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    • Profile picture of the author LivingCali758
      Originally Posted by colorsadventures View Post

      Hi,

      Here's what i would do

      1. Tell the CEO again that you have no personal network but that you are building one and that you need a couples of weeks to get results, to have sales (anyway if you can't sell in a couples of weeks you are toasted..)

      2. Go LOCAL, go present yourself to qualify business around and to get sales (you need to qualify them, you need to know if they need your services)

      3. take the phone book and call, call call but call with the idea to create a relation, to get in connection, interest yourself to the client need, ask info about what are their difficulty, what are their pain point, what they need, how you can help them.

      4. connect with local groups, local chamber of commerce and other groups to know peoples

      5. correct yourself, again and again until it's perfect.

      you bring sales and they will be happy

      for sales book i suggest
      How to Master the Art of Selling Comic - SmarterComics

      get to it, stop doubting an just do it again and again
      action = success

      have fun
      THANK YOU.. This is given me some sense of direction on where to start. I took a risk but I was hoping they would give me some resources. They left me alone and I don't know where to go, but I'll be more then happy to give it a fair shot.

      I left a job that pays more solid base for less work...to make something of myself but I'm starting to think maybe this wasn't a good idea. I don't want to have self doubt in my head, I want to do this.

      I don't want to go back to the other company, its embarrassing. I'm a hard worker, I am. I can do this, I just needed some guidance. Everyone was proud of me and now I feel like the sense of direction with this company is all down hill
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      • Profile picture of the author RKeele
        Ok, I have been where you were. I was in Management for 12 years and was burned out. I was in interested in sales, so I left the company I worked for and took a Sales position. (I have since left that and now do internet marketing for myself full time, but the skills I learned while being in sales for the company I worked for were invaluable.)

        Let me state plainly, NETWORKING is key to your being successful in sales. I did business to business sales. You need to get out of the office and get involved. I highly recommend joining Chambers of Commerce, plus look for other networking opportunities in your area.

        You will need to do cold calling as well, over the phone, and via email, but I preferred to cold call in person. Plus if they were a Chamber of Commerce member (any Chamber not even necessarily one I was a member of) they always took their time and met with me. Let that be your opening line, if that is the case.

        Personally "hard selling" didn't work as well for me. When you first meet with a potential client, talk to them as a person, after you get to know them and them you a little better it will start to build a relationship, and then they will be ready to hear what you have to say about whatever you are selling.

        IMPORTANT, you won't get the sale unless you ask for it, so ask.

        Also, ask for referrals whether you close the sale or not. They may know of a few other business that need the product or service you are selling. If you have built a rapport with them during your meeting, then they will help you.

        Then go meet with whomever they referred, and let that person know as soon as you walk through the door that you were referred to them and by whom.

        From personal experience all these things are necessary if you want to be successful in sales.

        Also realize that if you are doing business to business sales it will take more build relationships and make sales.

        When I started in sales it took me a month and a half to make my first sale, because it took time to build relationships and spread the word of who I was to the business community. However my first sale was a very large one. After that it was easy, most of my business came to me as referrals, and I didn't have to "chase" the sales anymore.

        I was with this company for just under two years before I left and moved on to my own business, but in the time that was there I did more bids for business in two years, than the entire company and other sales staff had done in the previous 8 years.

        You can do it. I like you was on my own from the very beginning with virtually no direction from the company I worked for. Trust me if you have the will, and are willing to work hard to be successful, then you will be.
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  • Profile picture of the author clg21
    I am not an expert but if you ask me you can market in a lot of ways such as handing out flyers in malls and other location. You can also visit houses handing them promotions. Sales is a game number. If you are worried about how much it may cost you then you should bear in mind that sales is always an investment.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeremy Bratcher
    If you are really desperate, you can check out online lead service providers. Many have free trials and, otherwise, what's a few hundred dollars to keep your job?

    You are going to have to learn to sell. Even if you are generating leads, if you aren't bringing in sails you won't have to worry about not having a personal sales network. There are plenty of books and free online resources to help you.

    Have your creative people work on marketing and you should be prospecting online and on the phone. If this start up lasted 3 years, the product or service must be in demand and performing well so you shouldn't have too many problems finding new customers.
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    “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand
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  • Profile picture of the author sam12six
    Let me state plainly, NETWORKING is key to your being successful in sales. I did business to business sales. You need to get out of the office and get involved. I highly recommend joining Chambers of Commerce, plus look for other networking opportunities in your area.
    This is the gospel truth.

    I'd take the advice a step farther and say to let everyone you encounter know what you do - not be obnoxious about it, but get it out there. I once worked for a company that installed and serviced networks and landed an account that brought in a 1/2 mil a year because I was running late for a pool tournament and had to wear my work shirt with a company logo on it. As it turned out, one of the other guys in the tournament was the head of IT for a law firm with locations across the nation. I've received multiple on-the-spot job offers the same way (hmmm... maybe I spend too much time shooting pool in bars).

    Beyond letting people know what you do, get a face-to-face. Even in a company that desperately needs your service, it's easy for your email or letter to end up trashed.

    Once you have a face-to-face, remember that the hard sell simply doesn't work in the corporate world. In the personal world, sure, you might be able to convince someone that they simply can't live without that vacuum or whatever, but pressure will make a business person run for the hills. Instead, focus on getting to know the person and the company that person works for. Ask questions and look for ways the company could benefit from what you are selling. Don't spew generic benefits, just focus on how life can be easier, safer, more profitable for the people in that company specifically.

    Get with your creative people and look for ways to get the message out there. For example, if you're selling liability insurance, book a venue and host a "conference" on the pitfalls of being too lightly insured. Invite business decision makers to the conference. Even if they aren't ready to buy when they leave, you've begun to brand yourself in their minds and will be the first one they turn to if they do later decide to explore the possibility.

    Go with your strengths. If you're a know-it-all, focus on being authoritative and informative. A social butterfly might focus on being friendly and helpful.

    Lastly, be honest. If the customer can get what they need with less money, let them know (even if it means you lose some in the short term). At the network company I worked with, I had customers who would do or buy basically anything I suggested because I'd spent years showing them I was willing to suggest their best option, regardless of how it affected my wallet. Obviously, if you're selling an overpriced, shoddy product, this will be more difficult, but if you have a reasonably priced product and develop a reputation for brutal honesty, you'll get the easiest sales money on the planet when customers call you and just ask you to stop by and tell them what to buy.
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  • Profile picture of the author TeamBringIt
    Originally Posted by LivingCali758 View Post

    long story short...

    I left a position that made me a solid 40k with no room for growth.. . for a start up company that's been around for 3 years. I took a risk, giving it my go to make more of myself.


    After many interviews with the CEO, she decided to offer me a job
    Pay is 50k, 30k base + 20k (Draw on Commission)

    Draw on Commission Means = they give me the 50k in full salary year (paycheck) but I need to bring in 20k of sales over a period of a year or pay it back.

    CEO Gives me: A Big Office
    New Computer, Monitors, anything I need
    I work with 3 other people, 2 Creative and 1 IT guy

    CEO is now asking me for my "Personal Sales Plan" of finding people I know that I can sell to.

    I explained to CEO I don't know anyone this is my first position.. she understands that, but still wants connections that I have. I don't know how else to say this to her.

    I'm confused what to do.. The sense of direction (Doesn't exist) and she hasn't finished training me, she's in NJ this week. So I've been sitting in my office, emailing companies randomly, cold calling. However I'm not sure how sales people start.. IS there a network I'm missing out on? (srs)

    Before you ask, I'm the only Sales person here. There is 1 guy who has worked with her for 17 years, but the CEO tells me he mostly does account management and that the sales accounts that they have now, is ones she brought in a long time ago.

    I'm so lost in sense of direction, I mean I don't even know my market, and where to start. I'm ready to put heart and soul into this and I'll face my fears whatever they may be, but I don't have any connections or network myself. So where do I start, how do I explain this to her?
    Know the product...Know the market and sell it! If you do not know, who you are trying to sell to, then it will be a tough uphill battle.
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  • Profile picture of the author TeamBringIt
    What kind of product/service are you selling/offering? Do you have a clue, on who your target audience is? Kinda expand on these and we can give you better inputs!
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  • Profile picture of the author AZMD
    Originally Posted by LivingCali758 View Post

    long story short...

    I left a position that made me a solid 40k with no room for growth.. . for a start up company that's been around for 3 years. I took a risk, giving it my go to make more of myself.


    After many interviews with the CEO, she decided to offer me a job
    Pay is 50k, 30k base + 20k (Draw on Commission)

    Draw on Commission Means = they give me the 50k in full salary year (paycheck) but I need to bring in 20k of sales over a period of a year or pay it back.

    CEO Gives me: A Big Office
    New Computer, Monitors, anything I need
    I work with 3 other people, 2 Creative and 1 IT guy

    CEO is now asking me for my "Personal Sales Plan" of finding people I know that I can sell to.

    I explained to CEO I don't know anyone this is my first position.. she understands that, but still wants connections that I have. I don't know how else to say this to her.

    I'm confused what to do.. The sense of direction (Doesn't exist) and she hasn't finished training me, she's in NJ this week. So I've been sitting in my office, emailing companies randomly, cold calling. However I'm not sure how sales people start.. IS there a network I'm missing out on? (srs)

    Before you ask, I'm the only Sales person here. There is 1 guy who has worked with her for 17 years, but the CEO tells me he mostly does account management and that the sales accounts that they have now, is ones she brought in a long time ago.

    I'm so lost in sense of direction, I mean I don't even know my market, and where to start. I'm ready to put heart and soul into this and I'll face my fears whatever they may be, but I don't have any connections or network myself. So where do I start, how do I explain this to her?
    Not knowing what you sell makes it hard to give you the best direction to go. 50k a year in the US should not be a problem if you're selling a product that people really want and need and you're given a decent commission structure.


    The thing that trips up most sales people is that they are trying to sell products or services that people really don't want or have-to-have AS WELL AS their lacking of proper training. And as you mentioned "she hasn't finished training me"... but being the self-starter that you are, you're reaching out here on the forum to get your sense of direction. Good for you.


    It sounds like you need this to happen in pretty short order. You need, and should be expected to have a personal sales plan for your Sales Manager or CEO in this case to review and help you expound upon. You need to take action and quickly. One suggestion would be to make your contact list as instructed and don't say that you do not know anyone because you do. I wouldn't believe you and neither should your CEO if you said otherwise.


    No matter if you're selling house siding, financial services, insurance or hamburgers - AND YOU BELIEVE YOUR PRODUCT GIVES PEOPLE VALUE - make a list of everyone you know, take the opportunity to call and catch up with them and let them know what you're up to. Smart sales managers know for the most part that taping into the base of people already in your life is the fastest way to start you moving forward.


    In contacting them, it's a simple as letting them know that you're making your living selling this great house siding or that you just opened a burger joint down on 4th st and inviting them to stop by when they are in the area. Simple stuff if you go about it the right way and you won't be annoying anyone while your network begins to branch out.


    People have made some good suggestions above and knowing what you are selling would help us answer you more specifically. With that said, enough of the speculation.


    If you want to PM me I can send you a video about connecting people to people, businesses to businesses and people to businesses. I think it can give you some good solid information and a little training on how connections are made in today's modern world.


    Best of luck and skill.
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  • Profile picture of the author Regional Warrior
    Jump on you tube and look for Tom Hopkins one of the best teachers in sales for the last 20 yrs
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