Now I would personally say that I’ve been selling since I was 8 years old. At 8 years old, I built a mini arcade in my garage and sold tickets to local kids to come and play various games. At 12 I was selling sweets and chocolates at school from my backpack and at 15 I printed customized T-Shirts for students at school.
However, I was 16 years old when I had my first “proper” job at a local DIY store. They had me stacking shelves to start and then working on the tills after a few days.
Two weeks into that job the showroom sales manager saw something in me and took me on as a Trainee Kitchen Sales Rep. Whilst I will still at college full time, my evening and weekends were soon consumed as I fell in love with the world of sales.
Against a team of full time experienced salespeople, I was soon the top seller and broke record after record during my 2 years there. After finishing college, I went into the full-time world of sales.
From starting as a trainee sales rep, I went onto to become a full-time sales rep, then account manager, then sales supervisor, sales team leader, sales manager and head of sales.
Throughout my sales career I’ve been a top seller, record breaker, led sales teams to success, recruited and trained top sales people and helped transform sales teams and businesses with new methods, strategies and technologies. Taking this success to the next level, I’ve now taken all my sales experience and sales knowledge and started writing what is now one of the world’s most popular sales blogs and started one of the world’s most popular sales content platforms.
So how did I go from a trainee sales rep to being recognized as one of the leading global sales gurus? What has helped me excel in every sales position I’ve held? How have I progressed from one role to the next?
Here are my top 5 tips to advance YOUR sales career:
1. Never Stop LEARNING
Even to this day, I immerse myself in learning new things. That may include reading books, blogs, watching videos, attending training, listening to podcasts, or talking to other salespeople and leaders; the options out there are endless.
This learning is something I’ve focused on from my very first sales role and something I will continue to do forever. It’s only by learning that you’re truly able to grow and progress.
One thing I’ll highlight though is that probably the best way for a sales person to learn is through experience. The more you do something, the more you practice and experience something, the quicker you’ll learn it.
You may read 10 books on cold calling but the best learning will come from making 1000 cold calls. The ultimate strategy? Do it both! Don’t just go out there and learn by experience and don’t just sit there learning through education—do them both.
2. SERVE First, Then Sell
There is nothing worse than a salesperson who asks for something without having offered something first. That may be value, insight, a solution etc, but this also counts for how to work with your peers and management.
Don’t go and ask for a promotion without having done something to earn the right to ask first. Don’t go and ask for the sale unless you’ve offered a good reason or value before asking.
I’ve always worked hard to build the best possible relationships with my peers, leaders and customers to ensure that we mutually support each other. Whenever I’ve looked to advance or progress my sales career I’ve always made sure that I’ve been a consistent target hitter, demonstrated the skills and knowledge required for progression and left as few reasons as possible to not be suitable for it.
3. Always Take ACCOUNTABILITY
It can be difficult for salespeople to take accountability for their actions and results. In a profession that is so heavily targeted and pressured whilst also driven by a lot of ego it isn’t easy to admit to mistakes or failure.
It’s only by taking full accountability for both success AND failure that you can truly grow as a professional. If you can’t see or admit your mistakes, how can you learn from them? I’ve had my fair share of bad months, made my fair share of mistakes, but I’ve always made sure I admit them and learn from them.
4. Know What YOU Want
It’s crucial to know what it is you want. It may be a new car, it might be the deposit for a house, a holiday or it may be to progress within the company. Each aspiration will require a different strategy and approach.
If money is your motivation then you’ll want to work out how much commission will get you that amount of money, and how much you’ll need to sell to earn that much commission.
If you want to progress or advance yourself in sales, work out what you need to have achieved, experienced, how much you need to know and what you need to do, then go out and do it!
5. Be SEEN To Work Hard
One of the lessons I learned quite quickly is that people won’t always see you working hard, and if they don’t see it, they don’t necessarily know it.
If you’re working to progress or advance your sales career you need to be seen working hard and achieving. This doesn’t mean you must go shouting about everything you do, but tactfully make sure that you are seen and noticed to be working hard.
There is no point following the above points if no one will see or notice you doing them. Whilst I’ve always hoped that hard work and success will always be noticed, it’s not always the case. Make sure the relevant people see it, take notice and know exactly what you’re aspiring to achieve.
The opportunity for you to succeed and advance in sales is out there for you. Hopefully the above tips may help you get that promotion or earn that big commission cheque!