What Sales Advice Would Successful Sellers Give Their Younger Selves?

What sales advice should every seller know early in their career? Discover sales tips that sales experts would give their younger selves.

July 18, 2017

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Ah, if only we could turn back time and give our younger selves advice once we’ve learned the ropes of selling. Since that’s not humanly possible, we did the next best thing.

A few years back, we urged a handful of highly successful sales professionals to consider the sales tips they’d give their 22-year-old selves. They didn’t disappoint. Here’s their best sales advice rolled into one convenient post.

Andy Paul of Zero-Time Selling: Never Stop Learning

As Andy Paul of Zero-Time Selling learned, you don’t need to be the smartest person to learn how to be a great salesperson. Just seek out any knowledge that can make you a better sales professional, even if it challenges the status quo in how you sell. Buyers are held back by salespeople who lack the knowledge, insights, and responsiveness they need to make smart decisions quickly.

Ask yourself these questions, says Andy:

·       "How can I maintain my relevance as a sales professional if I’m not keeping up with the business trends and technology developments in the markets I serve?"

·       "How can I deliver value to my prospects if I’m not continually expanding my knowledge of the products and services I sell, as well as deepening my understanding of how my customers are using my products to transform their own business?"

Shane Gibson of Guerrilla Social Media Marketing: Celebrate Who You Are

Shane Gibson would remind his younger self that his future accomplishments would result from allowing the real him to come out to play. To that end:

1.     Value your relationships.

Listen more, take more time, and give much more. There’s always another big deal or opportunity around the corner. When the deals fade away and times get tough it’s those people you fostered meaningful relationships with who will pick you up and dust you off.

2.     Be more reckless in business.

Shed the blue suit, and have conversations other people are afraid to start. There’s only one of you – let ‘em out and disarm and enchant people with your authenticity and vulnerability. Be more vulnerable – say you don’t know when you don’t know. The more willing we are to learn new things, make mistakes, fail fast, and get up faster, the sooner we will reach your potential.

3.     When you fail in business and in life, get on your knees and give thanks.

It’s those failures that help us shed the fragile ego and attachments that hold us back from being who we are. Until you embrace failure you will never get a handle on your true purpose. Celebrate failures, learn from them, forgive yourself, and move on.

Craig Elias, SHiFT Selling: Analyze Your Wins

The CEO of SHiFT Selling would tell his younger self that analyzing the sales you win is 10X more effective than analyzing the sales you lose. Learn from your successes by conducting a Won Sales Analysis – especially those sales where:

·       The sale happened quickly

·       It was easy to reach to the decision maker

·       You sold at or near full price

·       The customer was willing to be a reference, give you a testimonial, or give you referrals

What you learn by conducting a Won Sales Analysis will put the best prospects on your mental radar screen and will accelerate your sales career.

Mark Roberge: Take Smart Risks Early

This Former Chief Revenue Officer at HubSpot, and author of best seller "The Sales Acceleration Formula,” would share four pieces of advice to himself when first starting out in sales:

1.     Manage your career like your 401K.

Now is a great time to take some big, smart risks with your career. Go for it. Don’t play it safe. Take the role that feels like it may be over your head. Join a startup that may or may not make it. Put your destiny in your own hands. Go somewhere you can make a big impact, learn a ton, and be pushed beyond your limits.

2.     Obsess more over the industry you choose, not the company.

Find a hot industry that you think will change the world. Even if the company fails, you won’t. The experience you gain will take you to extraordinary places.

3.     Choose mentors and peer groups over formal training programs.

When it comes to professional development, take things into your own hands. Don’t rely on your company to train you. Here are a few ideas that worked for Mark:

·       Find a mentor. Invest the time to proactively look for one. Identify people you look up to, preferably outside of your company. Network your way to them. Ask them to coffee. Explore whether they are a good fit for you and you are a good fit for them. Then, ask them!

·       Form a small group of peers from other organizations in similar roles. Get together a few times a year and learn from each other.

4.     Lean into technology.

Legacy salespeople used to gain an edge with great sports tickets or exclusive country club memberships. Today’s top-performing salespeople get an edge with technology, not exclusivity. 

Invest in yourself. Stay up on the latest sales insights, trends, and technology when you download our eBook 33 Tips to Social Selling Success.