More than 4 million students will graduate from college this year. Of those graduating, 2 million graduates are heading into sales. To put that number into perspective, it is greater than the number of people who work at Meta and Apple combined.
Sales is a challenging and rewarding profession. You meet new people, solve problems, and close deals. It’s exciting and nerve-wracking. Success in sales depends on closing the right deals in the right way, so you have to learn how to adapt. It is also a position that requires a lot of time and effort. To support the new graduates heading into sales, here are five tips to ease the transition and ensure your success in sales.
One of the essentials of sales is to understand who you are. Speak with your own words, hold your own beliefs, and recognize your value. Whether you’re on the phone, in-person, via email or text, be direct. Be straightforward about your intentions because people appreciate direct communication. None of us are experts. We’re all growing, learning, and developing as we go. If there’s something that you do not know, be honest and say so in a non-imposing way. If you’re nervous about the conversation, admit it. By being honest about yourself and your intentions, you will find conversations are more engaging and more relevant.
The adage “you have one mouth and two ears to listen twice as much as you talk” provides a foundation to a career in sales. However, many struggle to accomplish it. This might be due to multitasking, focusing on the end goal, talking mostly about themselves or their product, or giving feedback too often. A good listener will respond, “tell me more, ” “what is your thought on that,” or “I can see how that would be frustrating.” These phrases ensure that you stay attentive, avoid making judgments, and gain greater insights about a prospects needs. Ultimately, this results in more trusting and mutually beneficial relationships with prospects.
Selling is all about adapting to new situations, technologies, and people. Whether taking courses, observing peers, reading (books, articles, blogs), asking questions to mentors, or listening to podcasts, make sure you are constantly learning. This leads to improving what you are doing well and identifying any challenges that are preventing you from growth. Additionally, expanding your knowledge gives you more perspective and viewpoints to build rapport, offer analogies and leverage social proof to best guide prospects. The more you know allows you to address more situations leading to greater confidence in conversations.
To be inducted into baseball’s hall of fame, a player (non-pitcher) usually has to attain a career batting average of over .300. This means to be considered as one of the best players of all-time, a player has to fail 70% of the time. The world is not going to end if you fail a test, get a bad grade, or if you get rejected by someone. Many sales hall of famers will fail 98% of the time. Recognizing that failure will happen and not taking it personally will separate you from your peers.
As stated previously, sales has a high failure rate. Due to this, it is easy to get discouraged or frustrated when you do not see results right away. However, sales is a numbers game, and persistence is the key to long-term success. If you keep pushing forward, eventually you will find success. When you encounter challenges, stay motivated by remembering your goals, the long-term benefits of your efforts, and the people who helped you get to this point.
The world of sales is filled with opportunity, and with a strong foundation, you can do well in the field. The essentials of sales provided above will help you get started, but it comes down to your desire to learn and grow. As you move ahead, surround yourself with successful salespeople, and emulate their behavior, and most importantly, their mindset. Those that put in the work, are open to coaching, and willing to learn from mistakes will find sales to be a fulfilling and rewarding start to a career.
Are you looking to hire recent graduates out of college? Want to know more about Gen Z students’ concerns and desires as they enter the workforce? Read our full 2022 job expectations report.