Help me succeed in my first sales job!
July 22, 2012 8:20 AM   Subscribe

I've landed my first sales job. Yay! Please recommend books I can read, classes I can take, and other things of that sort I can do to succeed in the field.

I'm starting off by taking an Intro to Sales 6-month diploma course at Ashworth College. I have 0% experience in a sales environment, but I'm making my goal right now to succeed and kick-ass at this job.

The job isn't straight sales, I don't think, as you get callers and it's mostly reading from a script. But it's also commission-based and they check in on you every few months to make sure you're doing well. Just to give a little background information. It's all over the telephone, no face-to-face sales and incoming calls only. Still, I'd like to be well-rounded in the area to eventually be able to move up and such.
posted by Autumn to Work & Money (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Read How to Win Friends and Influence People

Sounds corny, but it works.
posted by vozworth at 8:38 AM on July 22, 2012

This one is really good and I used it as reference when I started my first sales job.

Basic steps for all sales:

1. Establish rapport
2. Establish need/desire for product service (the pitch)
3. Anticipate objections specifically and have the answers to them on hand
4. Go for the close
posted by TestamentToGrace at 9:25 AM on July 22, 2012

How to be Useful by Megan Hustad condenses 100 years of business book (and self improvement books) into an easy to read book for someone first starting out in their career.
posted by drezdn at 9:49 AM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Just about every sales book every written can be reduced back to How To Win Friends and Influence People. If you are working for a largish, reputable company, doing what they tell you is probably your surest path to success. They know what works and what doesn't for their products and market.

SPIN Selling has been the most valuable book for my 20 odd years in sales. However, the techniques you learn with SPIN Selling are actually counter productive in less complex, one call and close type of sales, which it sounds like you are probably doing. So it might be a good book for career growth, but not completely applicable to your current job.

Don't get discouraged if the first sales job doesn't go well. I think most of us fail at our first couple of attempts in sales, unless you luck into the right market and right product that essentially sells itself.

Also, I can't really think of anything you are going to gain from a 6 month home study diploma course in sales. Anything you get from that you can get from reading a few sales books from Amazon and following a few sales blogs. No future employer will ever care about that diploma.
posted by COD at 10:44 AM on July 22, 2012

i was thrown into a sales position years ago, mostly via phone, and i absolutely HATED cold calling (although it doesn't sound like you will be doing much of that). #1, be more than just familiar with your product or service; clients will "buy" because you know all the answers to their questions. #2, YMMV, but i pretended i was "super sales guy" and not me who hated to talk on the phone. this opened up all sorts of sales lines as i was able to freestyle (you mentioned a script, but you may need to derivate to close) and provide what the customer needed. #3, attitude is catchy. think about all those miserable sales calls you've received from whomever. be positive, sound positive, SMILE while on the phone, and the attitude carries to the customer.

it may be a different story for you,but these tricks/techniques helped me to triple my business segment within a year. Also, what Testament said.
posted by ps_im_awesome at 3:16 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Former sales exec here - I agree with COD re: Spin Selling. My biggest advice is to not be discouraged, to be polite and nice, and don't take anything personally.
posted by hrj at 4:30 PM on July 22, 2012

Books have been ordered. =)
posted by Autumn at 9:19 AM on July 23, 2012

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