The Irrational Newbie
Disappointment is usually the result of missed expectations. When salespeople first start out, there is a great deal of pressure put on them to succeed ... fast! Almost without exception, when I am coaching a Newbie, the source of this pressure is internal. It’s the reps themselves who are being demanding, not the boss. The harm done by this self-belief is actually an increasingly contributing factor in preventing the very success that they are upset about!
Up to now, their entire life has been a series of trying new things and seeing rapid improvement, not to mention instant gratification. Pick up a tennis racket for the first time and the first few returns might go astray. Try golf and you will quickly appreciate the hand-eye coordination exhibited by the pros.
But sales isn’t like that. You can’t see the sales needle move, so how do you know if those 25 voice mail messages you left today did any good? How do you know if the prospect even looked to see your name on the Caller ID?
I have literally had new salespeople say to me, "I’ve been working like a dog for three weeks and have nothing to show for it!"
Wow, three whole weeks? Well, you sure gave it your all.
Some of the best advice I was ever given came just after I accepted my first full-time sales job just out of UMass/Amherst. It was to work as hard as I could for 18 months. Prospect like a fiend. Learn everything I could about sales. Become sales-focused. Since it came from my older brother — still the best salesman I have ever met — I listened and followed the advice. He was right and I enjoyed a very successful stretch of sales growth after that.
But the other helpful information was this, "Don’t focus on the results. Focus instead on the activities."
Newbies need to understand that the answer to the question, "Did you do your job?" must be based not on the outcome, but the effort put in to gaining that outcome. Later, once there are results, that answer will change, but for now, lighten up on yourself and focus on the right activities.
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Bill Farquharson is a sales trainer for the graphic arts. Email him at Bill@AspireFor.com or call (781) 934-7036. Bill’s two books, The 25 Best Print Sales Tips Ever and Who’s Making Money at Digital/Inkjet Printing…and How? as well as information on his new subscription-based website, The Sales Vault are available at BillFarquharson.com.