Starting my first sales job soon...any advice?

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    Feb 22, 2013 6:11 PM GMT
    I'm going to be starting a new job in April doing sales/marketing for a business that my friend recently purchased. I don't have any experience, and he is going to train me, but I want to be well-prepared. Are there any good books or reading materials for beginners like myself, or any advice you can give for those of you with knowledge about the sales industry?

    I'll be getting a base pay with 10% commission. I'm not really thinking of it as a "career" but I'm hoping I can make decent money until I decide on a major once and for all and finish a degree. If I am successful at the job and the business grows and I enjoy it, I'd definitely like to stay though if the money is good.
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    Feb 22, 2013 6:28 PM GMT
    The key to sales is believing in the product. Once you have been trained on all aspects of whatever it is you're marketing, you will have more confidence.

    Ask a lot of questions and role-play some potential scenarios you may encounter with clients.

    I was trained with the FAB method: Feature, Advantage, Benefit.
    Know all the features of your product, what advantage this product will give to the client and how this will benefit them.

    I wouldn't suggest studying any book on sales techniques, if you come across as forced and cheesy, reciting rehearsed lines, you may loose a sale.
    Just be yourself and have fun with it. Best of Luck.
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    Feb 22, 2013 7:01 PM GMT
    I always thought sales and marketing were really different things...
    Wouldn't marketing be quite difficult unless you had a background in it?
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    Feb 22, 2013 10:37 PM GMT
    Hard to say without knowing stuff like how complicated the product is, how much repeat business there is etc.

    In my case (complicated products, lots of repeat business), I make sure they understand the product and feel confident about it. I also spend time asking about how they would use it to help illustrate how it would work in practice for them. Explain to them what they can do if they are not happy or want to complain, and don't do anything to make them feel guilty for complaining.

    Small talk stuff like where they live, holidays, health etc is important and if you can remember for the next visit all the better. And don't be afraid to crack a joke! icon_biggrin.gif
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    Feb 24, 2013 3:57 PM GMT
    Just in case you guys were wondering, I'm going to be doing sales for a graphic design company...basically they make signs, posters, business cards, etc for other businesses. They also do lettering installs on trucks, cars, etc and on windows of businesses. Lots of different stuff. So I guess it should be interesting to see how this training goes.
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    Feb 24, 2013 4:40 PM GMT
    steelguitar saidJust in case you guys were wondering, I'm going to be doing sales for a graphic design company...basically they make signs, posters, business cards, etc for other businesses. They also do lettering installs on trucks, cars, etc and on windows of businesses. Lots of different stuff. So I guess it should be interesting to see how this training goes.


    Ok so the most important thing will be to listen rather than talk so you have a great idea of what they want. Also, check for agreement that they like your company's idea. I think you could get some good ideas about how to sell from Mad Men (not that anyone needs an excuse to watch Mad Men)!
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    Feb 24, 2013 4:43 PM GMT
    Marketing drives sales, so they do run hand and hand. I do both right now and I can't honestly say I hate the sales aspect but love the marketing aspect. Just be yourself and be honest about what your doing.
  • HndsmKansan

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    Feb 24, 2013 4:44 PM GMT
    I'd suggest you talk to some other company representatives that so similar work and ask their advice. You could get some really good input from others do that do the same sort of thing. Above all, you must view your "friend" as your boss, that can be an issue in of itself...
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    Feb 24, 2013 4:50 PM GMT
    steelguitar saidJust in case you guys were wondering, I'm going to be doing sales for a graphic design company...basically they make signs, posters, business cards, etc for other businesses. They also do lettering installs on trucks, cars, etc and on windows of businesses. Lots of different stuff. So I guess it should be interesting to see how this training goes.


    I'm one of the graphic designers that work with those sales guys.
    Here are a couple of my tips.

    GET DIMENSIONS. If you're doing a banner, a windscreen, a sign, a mural, etc, please get dimension so that the designers have a starting point. Because if you don't have dimensions, revisions will have to be made down the road.

    Don't over promise, you should know how long it takes to design these things so don't over promise and say you'll get it done by the hour. Or else you'll have a shitty product.

    You're going to talk to a bunch of people you don't like. Don't let that make you lose faith in humanity.

    When trying to get files from the customer's try to get the best possible file there is. If they want to have a logo in the work, try to get a vector file/eps file.

    You'll learn this eventually but a key thing to your job is learning what is possible or not through production. Some designs that clients want to do will cost a shitload or just impossible to do in general.

    You'll also need to know where your place sources these products to be made.

    Good luck to you.
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    Feb 24, 2013 5:00 PM GMT
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    Feb 24, 2013 5:21 PM GMT
    steelguitar saidJust in case you guys were wondering, I'm going to be doing sales for a graphic design company...basically they make signs, posters, business cards, etc for other businesses. They also do lettering installs on trucks, cars, etc and on windows of businesses. Lots of different stuff. So I guess it should be interesting to see how this training goes.


    Here's a recent relevant book on selling from Daniel Pink who has also written on motivation/psychology -
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/danschawbel/2013/01/03/daniel-pink-says-that-in-todays-world-were-all-salespeople/

    I'd suggest reading a lot on sales (Amazon will give you a ton of books - and sales is one of those few fields where it's a lot more of a meritocracy and there are no limits to what you can make if you're good - with the people we imagine to be used car salesmen, need not apply). This isn't something where one size fits all. Know your product and or service and how it compares to others. And remember that business is built on trust - facilitated by a bit of greed - but if the other guy doesn't trust you can deliver they're not going to buy. One thing I find as well is that bad sales people sell features not benefits... but that's pretty basic.