Congratulations! You’ve received an offer for a professional sales job right out of school! The income possibilities excite you and the thrill of being a hot shot salesperson get you pumped up. When you start, you notice that everyone there is way more experienced than you and you’re the youngest one there. They are talking about their extended pipeline of leads and are throwing out jargon that you’ve never heard before. You start to panic and become anxious. The idea that you’ve made a mistake begins to creep in to your head.
To be successful at sales, you have to be able to overcome the odds that are stacked against you. There are dozens of reasons why working in sales is challenging and even more reasons why people have failed along the way. This career path is not for the faint of heart. It challenges you in ways that you could not even imagine, yet it’s insanely rewarding. It’s especially difficult for young people though who lack the tough skin and aptitude that years of experience provide.
If you are just starting your professional career out and if this is your first sales role, read on.
As a young salesperson, you have several components that you have to overcome right off the bat.
- You lack experience
- You have not yet developed a network of relationships
- You will be less trustworthy
These are tough obstacles to overcome. Sales is hard enough as it is, but when you add those three components to the equation, it could seem impossible. I know this first hand – I landed my first professional sales role right out of college. I was 21 years old, selling to people who were easily twice my age in an industry that does not favor the young, and competing with people who had decades of experience. Closing someone seemed like a herculean task.
In this article, I’ll share some of the methods and habits that helped me during those first years and will hopefully show you that you can see success in sales at a young age, no matter what industry you are in.
Surround Yourself with Mentors
It’s never a good idea to start a difficult career alone. You might think of yourself as a lone wolf, but having a group of people to mentor you and help you out will have a dramatic impact on your success. By surrounding yourself with seasoned veterans who are open to help you, you’ll learn at a much faster pace and will minimize your chances of failing.
Learn as Much as Possible
Which brings us to our next point – learning as much as possible. Open yourself to advice from seasoned veterans who have been in the game for a while. Read blogs, listen to Podcasts, read books, attend seminars – do whatever it takes to increase your knowledge of the sales process.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice makes perfect. Practice your pitching in the mirror. Practice your inflections and your tone in the car on the way to work. Practice handling objections with coworkers and family members. You can NEVER get too much practice. Professional athletes are amazing at what they do because they practice for hours upon hours to perfect their craft – you must do the same.
Gain Mental Toughness
You’re going to hear “no” a lot. It doesn’t matter if you are 21 or 51. That’s just part of sales. It’s important to have a process for shaking off the negative energy you get from a failed call and moving on. When you get knocked down, you have to pop back up and try again. That process is called mental toughness.
Use your Failures at Opportunities to Grow
When you do fail, don’t make excuses. Look at yourself in the mirror and accept that you could have done something better. Of course, you cannot close everybody, but if you take every failed call as a chance to learn and improve, you’ll notice more sales and less failures. I have failed more times than I could count. I made silly mistakes and blew the easiest sales calls. For the longest time, I would make excuses as to why they did not buy from me. It was not until I started self-correcting did I start to see a big difference.
You are young. The number one way to overcome that fact is to simply be confident. Confidence shows the prospects that you know what you are talking about and are a true professional. By looking someone in the eye, having a firm handshake, and executing your sales pitch confidently, you’ll never have a problem with being too young.
Sales is already tough. It’s more tough if you are just starting out. If you want to come out of the gate swinging and be successful at sales, do the above. You’ll be selling with the big dogs before you know it.
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