Adversity is what makes and shapes you. Without adversity, without having to push through something difficult, your development is stunted. Difficulty requires that you grow. If you are going to learn to sell, specific roles may seem better than others because they have a product that is in high demand, incredible awareness in the market, more leads than you need to succeed, and a cool culture. You might learn to sell in a company like this, but as it pertains to your development, you would be better off selling door-to-door.
How to Grow
If you are going to learn to sell, you are not going to accelerate your development by having a product that is in high demand or working for a company that happens to have a hot hand now. The short term advantage of selling something that is in demand is that it diminishes the need to sell. By selling something where there is such low resistance to buy, you don’t develop your skills or your mindset.
The best role for someone who genuinely wants to learn to sell is in a highly commoditized industry, where there is little to no differentiation. Better still is working in an industry with many competitors, including gargantuan companies that seem to have every advantage when it comes to acquiring clients or customers.
Because there is no real and compelling differentiation in a crowded and commoditized market, you are forced to learn to create value through the sales conversation. Without being able to rely on some factors outside yourself, you are forced to learn how to sell.
No Leads, No Problem
The feral cat doesn’t have the same cushy life of the declawed house cat. Instead, the wild cat has to feed itself, and it has to be tough enough to survive its environment, as well as the many predators that inhabit its world. The well cared for house cat has no need to hunt.
It might seem nice that your company provides you leads, and it may seem even better to have those leads qualified for you by an SDR or BDR, or some other acronym used to describe one of the many roles we’ve carved out of “salesperson.” However, you stunt your sales growth and development when you rely to your detriment on leads to create new opportunities. You are very much like the house cat who cannot feed himself. Worse still, relying on a mother human being to identify, qualify, and schedule appointments for you will prevent you from developing the fundamental skills of great salespeople.
Those who have never been provided a lead have the advantage of having learned to target their dream clients, prospect effectively, and schedule their own meetings, all the while still focusing on managing their deals (something I assure you is quite possible). Much like the feral cat, these salespeople can take care of themselves, one of the things that knowing how to sell provides those who learn the craft.
School, Not Cool
If you want to learn to sell, don’t look for a fresh company with a cool culture. Don’t look for ping pong tables and other ridiculous perks. Especially don’t look for a role where you can work for home, something that will stunt your growth and make it more difficult for you to learn how to sell. The factors that make a company cool have an inverse relationship with your sales development.
To learn how to sell, find a company with a sales culture. The best place to learn how to sell is working for a company that values and prioritizes sales. There are several reasons to work for a sales culture.
First, a company that believes it is a sales organization is likely to provide you with a good sales manager, one who is going to work with you every day. Second, and maybe even more importantly, you want to be surrounded by salespeople. A lot of what you need to know to sell well is going to come from listening to other salespeople, something you cannot do if you work from home. You don’t want to deprive yourself of tribal knowledge.
Finally, you want to work for a company that cares enough about sales to invest in training and development. It’s essential that you learn to understand the game, so it slows down for you.
Don’t Make It Too Easy
The desire to make things easy and comfortable weakens your heart and your mindset. You are better learning to sell where it is difficult and where you are forced to be uncomfortable. The people whose first job in sales is door-to-door builds an immunity to the word “no” and are not sensitive to rejection, making prospecting much easier for them than their pampered peers who take easier jobs.
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Filed under: Sales