The Selling Factory
Written by Grace Chen
Grace Chen is an alum of The Selling Factory and graduated from Georgetown University with a bachelor’s degree in economics. Currently, she is an Associate Consultant at IBM.
When people hear the words “sales” or “salesperson“, there are several stereotypes that come to mind. These stereotypes include being pushy, commission-driven, and exaggerating a product or service to make people buy it. However, it is essential to counter and redefine these preconceived notions. As an SDR for a sales education software, I have first-hand knowledge on how a product or service actually helps people. Additionally, I take each experience in the sales process steps as an opportunity to continue growing professionally.
Prior to accepting this position, I was interested in sales, but had preconceived notions about the sales strategies. I erroneously believed that sales development representatives just read off a script for cold calling back-to-back. However, I immediately realized that this position was different. Instead of blind monotony, our cohort learned how the platform benefits disadvantaged populations that lack access to professional development and educational opportunities. Our team provides outsourced sales services to showcase how the product can help these communities.
The key for sales development representatives is to focus efforts on organizations and people who need the services, instead of forcing a product or service onto others. I realized educational and career development nonprofits could use our program to help their students become stand-out candidates in a competitive applicant pool. In our current economy, most applicants have comparable qualifications. Our software increases the chances of getting hired because it teaches them how to sell themselves to an employer by highlighting their qualifications and performing better in interviews. Additionally, they are given access to a network of recruiters and hiring managers.
People do not tell you how much rejection sales development representatives receive. I struggled with this at first. However, our SDR team instills resilience and grit from the first day of training. They teach us how to use these experiences to develop ourselves, whether we were changing our sales strategies or focusing on a different demographic. Furthermore, I was learning and growing professionally because of these experiences. Something you perceive as a “failure” is not actually a failure unless you give up. If you are persistent and learn from your mistakes, you will continue to improve and succeed.
My main takeaway from this SDR position is to remain resilient in the face of adversity. The sales process steps were definitely a learning curve. However, I discovered many new sales strategies and techniques I can use in my professional and personal life. My experience taught me that the path to success is rarely smooth, but the struggles become opportunities to better yourself. The lessons learned during my time as an SDR will help me in all facets of life, such as academics, athletics, or future jobs and internships. They have not only allowed me to grow as a young professional but as a person as well.
My experience within an SDR team has been unique and different compared to my previous positions. This position helped me develop different sales strategies and taught me how to be sympathetic to people’s pain points. Furthermore, I was not only given the opportunity to help vulnerable communities, but also learn valuable lessons as an SDR. I am confident these lessons will take me far personally and professionally.
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