Early in my career, as an intern for two major entertainment companies in Hollywood, I had a front-row seat watching and reporting on CMOs and television personalities as they build their brands and managed the companies' public characters. Image is everything. And it still is but it's not the only thing.
A little over a year ago, I accepted an offer from a technology software company to join their elite sales department. Like before, I quickly learned how a company's financial success can be heavily affected by their public reputation, culture, and lack thereof.
Here are a few things I've learned while being surrounded by extremely successful salespeople:
- You have to want to succeed. It does you and your company no good if you can’t picture yourself struggling through slow periods and withstanding hundreds of rejections.
- You need to have accountability. You are responsible for yourself and your income as well as treating your clients properly. It’s important to be transparent about your product and services and do NOT overpromise and underdeliver. It will come back to bite you.
- You genuinely enjoy helping people. This includes being engaged with your prospect, talking to them, listening to their needs, and more importantly, empathize with them. When starting a business relationship with any client, I listen first then devise a strategy uniquely for them. Every business owner is different. I treat them as such.
Through those previous work/internship experiences, it became clear to me that when your company aligns with clients' businesses and values, the acquisition is more seamless. But it's not always about the client or the shareholders. It is equally important to think about how companies' decisions and its impact on all stakeholders - employees to community members alike.
And of course, I'd be lying to you if I said sales is easy. It's not. Instead of being daunted by the rejections, I saw every pitch, every "Nos" as an opportunity for me to sharpen my skills and overtime, deliver a higher return.