Towards the end of 2019, after being a STEM teacher for 2 years, I realized that I was ready for a career change. My ultimate career goal is to build my own business, so my intention with each job is not only to make money, but to also build as many skills as I can.
Teaching helped me become a better presenter, develop more patience, and improve on my program planning skills. After reading many self-improvement books and some insight from my dad, I realized that next up on my list would be to learn how to sell.
Learning how to handle rejection, listen to people, and help others realize the value in you are skills that are beneficial to everyone, especially entrepreneurs.
After understanding the value of having a sales job, I went for it. I now work for a company that provides outbound sales teams for businesses, and it’s awesome. Here’s something that happened over the phone yesterday that I really wanted to share.
Currently, I sell data backup software, and often the IT professionals I call tell me that everything is handled through their corporate office. Sometimes, they’re just trying to get me off the phone, but most of the time that is actually the case.
Yesterday, a man with a solid southern accent gave me that answer. When most people hear that line, they immediately shut down and think there’s no opportunity with that person, I know I did when I first started. I usually say something like,
“Oh okay, sorry about that. Well, who should I contact at corporate?”
This time I decided to try something different.
I could sense a little bit of disappointment in his voice when he said everything goes through corporate, so I said,
“Oh no way, really? That can tend to happen with companies like yours. Now Bill, do they let you guys have any influence over what they use or do they just throw something at ya?”
He sighed and said,
“Well not really, they used to but now they really just choose and make us use that.”
I embraced what he said and acknowledged how he was feeling by saying,
“Aw man, that sucks. They can tend to do that rather than let you guys do what you know how to do. Would you happen to know who would be the right person to reach out to over there?”
After that line, his ears definitely perked up. I had heard his concerns.
“Yeah it’s too bad. Honestly I don’t even know. I used to know, but they keep changing the people around over there.”
At this point in the conversation, I’d typically thank him for his time and be on my way. This time, I decided to continue the conversation and to ask for a follow up call anyway. My job is to book meetings for sales reps by cold calling people, so the more I book and deliver, the more commission I get.
I understood that Bill may not have any influence right now over what data backup solution they use, and I could also sense that he was a bit frustrated about that. I used what I heard from him, to present an offer that may actually bring him some value in his own life.
“You know what Bill, I know you said corporate kind of takes care of all of that, but hey I’ve got some time next week, I’d love to get that information we talked about over to you. That way you can at least have it in your back pocket down the line should anything change. That being said, do mornings or afternoons usually work better for you?”
By making him feel special and more in control, I sparked his interest. He took the bait and answered the question. From there, we looked at our calendars and planned a time to reconnect.
The key here that applies to both sales and life is that the focus of the conversation should never be about what you have or what you are trying to do, it should always be about how the prospect feels and what they need. Once you know what they want, you can assess whether you have something to help them get it.
In the future I’d like to try a line like,
“You know what Bill, I’m hearing corporate has a pretty tight grip on this sort of stuff. But, I imagine you got into this line of work because you love learning about data and all things IT. I’d be happy to find a time that works better for you for us to explore this a little more. That way, at least you can have the information in your back pocket for your own use or should anything change down the line. That being said, do mornings or afternoons usually work better for you?”
We’ll see how that lands, I’m excited to at least try it out. I’ve only been in sales for 2 months and I still have so much to learn. I definitely know that Harry Browne’s book The Secret of Selling Anything is the real deal and has helped me so much. I’m excited to keep learning and keep getting better at helping bring value to others.