Prospecting, entering data, following up, writing emails, getting “yes” and “no” answers from prospects, hitting or missing sales quotas, attending internal meetings… That’s what an average salesperson’s workflow looks like.
If you have chosen a sales rep’s role to make money, you have come to the right place.
Whether you want to work at a B2B or B2C company or an agency providing B2B lead generation services, this article will help you learn the right skills, become confident in yourself, and search for sales jobs the right way.
#1 Grow on your own and refine your skills
Decades ago beginner sales reps didn’t have access to so many resources in so many formats. Today you can learn the basics and best practices of selling through online courses, audiobooks, short video training, and coaching programs.
If you don’t know where to start, you can visit any of these learning platforms and attend free or paid courses:
- LinkedIn Learning, etc.
In the end, you will get certificates of completion that you can add to your CV and make a better first impression on the recruiter.
Reading books always has a unique role, no matter how many courses you take or events you attend. “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill, “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George Clason, “The Psychology of Selling” by Brian Tracy, “Secrets of Closing the Sale” by Zig Ziglar, “Pitch Anything” by Oren Klaff are only a few examples of books that will teach you to understand customer behaviour and be effective at communicating with prospects.
As a professional closer, you should know that sales aren’t only about selling: it’s also about marketing, customer service, and psychology.
It’s also difficult to be a sales rep in a digital world where even small businesses use CRMs, LinkedIn automation tools, and other software. So make sure you are familiar with the main tools that help sales reps with productivity.
#2 Work at a local business
No activity can help you know people better than working at a local company and having a face to face conversations with people. You’d rather start with a small company as getting hired will be easier and growth opportunities will be more realistic.
Small companies care about their employee growth more than the big ones who put emphasis on results, numbers, and experience.
Small businesses can’t afford to hire highly-skilled professionals.
Instead, they are interested in hiring beginners and are ready to invest time in teaching how things work. At this point, your salary may be quite low or even only commission-based but you are here to learn.
For example, if you choose to be a real estate agent, your responsibilities will include arranging visits to properties, meeting people in real life, and showing them the benefits of buying/renting that property.
Or if you work as a sales consultant at a local clothing, electronics, or similar store, you will again have one on one conversations with visitors and help them make a buying decision.
Practice will fortify what you have learned from courses and books and you will learn to handle objections, answer unexpected questions in real-time.
Once you are confident meeting prospects in person, you will be comfortable with delivering cold calling services, cold emailing, LinkedIn prospecting, etc.
#3 Write a persuasive, yet authentic CV
The application form and the CV are the first things that tell recruiters about you. And you don’t have the right to make them feel disappointed.
Even if you don’t have a degree in business administration or economics, sales is a profession of skills, not a degree.
Reference the abilities that are natural rather than acquirable, e.g. understanding people well, networking, making people like and trust you, building and maintaining good relations, etc. Companies care about the revenue you will generate, not the lessons you have learned at the university.
#4 Diversify your sources of job search
FlexJobs is the most famous marketplace for finding a remote job.
LinkedIn is the best place to connect directly with recruiters and get noticed by them.
UpWork, Fiverr and Toptal are the most popular platforms for finding a freelance job.
Indeed is a worldwide employment website with millions of monthly visitors.
Facebook’s Find jobs feature brings hundreds of job opportunities under one roof.
And these are only a few examples of where to look for a job online. Don’t limit yourself to 1-2 job portals only. Visit your local and other international job portals as well and you will find a job earlier than you think.
Pro tip 1: Try to get referred by a friend. In marketing, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends. 74% of consumers identify word of mouth as a critical influencer in their purchasing decision (Review 42).
Hiring someone is another form of “purchase”: the business “buys” your time and skills in return for a certain amount of money. That’s why referrals play a huge role not only in buying but also in hiring decisions.
Pro tip 2: Apply for a sales rep position even when you don’t see an open vacancy. Cold emailing is effective at finding clients, so why it isn’t great for finding a job?
For example, logistics companies are almost always ready to hire new sales reps: the more deals you close, the more money you will earn. Multi-level marketing companies are also always looking for new reps to promote their products.
#5 Get to know the company before attending the interview
Attending a job interview is like attending a meeting with a prospect. You have to show that you are the perfect fit for their needs.
Besides knowing the company’s name, make sure you know what they do, who they target, what problems they solve, what culture they have. Ask the recruiter questions to show you are interested in the company.
Caring about the company shows that you will care about the company prospects the same way and it will increase your chances of standing out among other candidates and beat the high competition.
Michael is a member of the editorial team at Leads At Scale. His main areas of expertise include business growth, inbound, and outbound marketing & sales. He is a walking wanderer and a travel enthusiast.