If you’re new to sales, there are some sales basics that you really need to understand to be effective and really stick with the job.
In this post, I’m going to walk you through the “Sales 101” basics training that I think you need to master when it comes to being new in sales.
As a beginner in sales, there are some things, some skills, some steps, and some processes (aka sales training) you’ll need to master if you want to be effective ultimately in the role. And by master, I don’t mean you need to be a professional at them, but they need to become part of your routine, part of your regular habits.
Let’s jump into the first step.
12 Sales Basics for Beginners (& Beyond)
Sales Basics #1. Understand the Sales Process
All right, step number one. When it comes to whatever it is you’re selling, there’s got to be a sales process.
Now, I’m going to assume that you’ve entered into a company that has a formal sales process.
But if that’s not the case, connect with others who seem to be successful in selling what you’re about to sell or what you’ve just started selling. Ask them about the steps they go through to sell. Because that ultimately is your sales process.
Start by understanding the existing sales process. If that doesn’t exist, if that’s not something you can readily access, connect with others who seem to be successful and ask them about the steps they’re going through in order to sell.
Most people will be happy to share.
2. Be Okay With Annoying Other People
The second of these sales tips for beginners is really about mindset.
Let’s be honest. A lot of people get anxious when they think about prospecting and connecting with people that they don’t know, or making presentations because they don’t want to be seen as somebody that’s annoying or somebody that’s not liked by other people.
You have to get over that. The reality is, if you’re in sales, your job is to help people, and that’s the mindset you need to have: “I am here to help.”
And what I would suggest you do in the early days is that you say that out loud when you’re meeting with prospects.
“My role is to be here to help you, so I’d like to have a conversation about how we might do that.”
When you start to say it out loud, you’ll reinforce it for yourself, which will build your confidence.
3. Learn From Your Mistakes
Many, many years ago, I was told this phrase, you’ve probably heard it yourself, once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, and three times, well, there’s a problem.
When it comes to sales we have to be comfortable with making mistakes, they’re going to happen.
We’re going to lose the odd prospect, we’re going to lose the odd deal. That’s how we learn.
So one of the sales basics is that you have to be okay with making mistakes. That’s how you’re going to learn. Don’t beat yourself up!
Let me give you one quick tip that I learned early on that was helpful:
Make sure you get comfortable in your own mindset relative to you’re here to help people and also make sure that when it comes to mistakes that happen (and they will) that you’re okay with that.
Recognize it’s part of your learning process.
4. Define and Know Your Ideal Prospect
When it comes to being successful in sales, you need to be clear right out of the gate as to who am I selling to. That is the person that is your ideal prospect.
So, that’s the person that can say yes, that’s the person that has budget authority, all those things you’ve probably heard of, and then you need to be uber-focused on those kinds of people.
I know early on when I was in sales, I would talk to anybody that came my way. Why? Because I was nervous, I was new, and I didn’t know exactly what to do.
It wasn’t until I became very clear on who’s the person I typically sell to that typically has the authority, budget, and time to buy from me, that I became uber-focused on those people.
Meaning, if other people came to me that weren’t with that same title and persona, I wouldn’t spend much time with them if at all.
Sales is an activity-based role. You need to focus your time effectively, and in order to do so, be crystal clear in who you’re spending time with, which is your ideal prospect.
Define them, get clear on them, and ultimately make sure they’re the people that you’re focused on if you want to be effective in sales.
Sales Basics #5. Uncover Your Own Best Practices
Uncover your own best practices, that’s my next sales basics tip. As you learn and grow in sales, there’ll be things that work well.
When they work well, stop and ask yourself, “Okay, I just closed that deal. What were the steps I took to get there?” Or, “I just booked that meeting faster than I ever booked before? What were the steps I took to get there?”
You see when we stop and reflect on what worked well, we uncover our own best practices, which allows us to repeat them, which means we’re going to get better and better results.
So take some time, reflect on what’s working well for you, and then make sure you replicate them on a regular basis.
Sales Basics #6. Recognize the Value You Bring
Recognize yourself as somebody who brings value.
If there’s anything in sales that I find a lot of people struggle with, it’s the fact that you are here to help, and we said that earlier, but you’re bringing value.
What does value look like? Well, value comes in many different forms, but ultimately by meeting up with potential buyers, right? With your prospects, share with them insights about your product, about the market, how your product is positioned in the market, why your company’s unique, and why they should trust you and buy from you.
You’re adding value, you’re helping them because at some point, perceivably, they’re going to need to buy what it is you’re selling.
And what you’re doing is shortcutting all the research they’ll probably do online by informing them and helping them.
So if you take the right approach and the right attitude, you are somebody who provides value. See yourself in that manner and others will as well.
7. Be Responsive
If you are new to sales, there’s one thing more than anything else that you can do that’s going to help your chances of closing a deal. That is to be responsive.
If a prospect or as I often refer to a buyer, reaches out to you, get back to them right away. If that’s Sunday afternoon at three o’clock and you can actually respond, I’d suggest you do. Here’s why: In today’s day and age, the people that you are selling to are very confused.
There’s so much information out there, and they’re so busy that oftentimes they don’t have a lot of time to get back to us. When they do reach out, the salesperson who is the fastest to respond and that is helpful is most likely the person that will get the sale.
So ensure you use responsiveness as one of your competitive advantages, which will help you close more deals.
8. Pushback is a Good Sign
This next tip, and I think we’re about number eight now, if my math is correct, I’m losing sight, there are a lot of tips here. It’s this: Buyers will push back on you, right?
Think about it. The person you’re trying to sell to has probably talked to some other salespeople. Maybe they currently have a salesperson they’re working with, they’ve maybe done some research and they’ve created their own assumptions about what it is you’re selling.
With those assumptions, if you come in and share something that’s a little bit unique, a little bit different, they may push back. They may say, “Well, no, I don’t think that’s the way it is.” Or, “I don’t agree with that. I don’t agree with you.”
Don’t panic. That’s okay. If they’re actually having a conversation where they push back, that means they’re interested, and that’s step one to being able to have the opportunity to sell them.
If you’re in sales and you’re new to sales and the buyer’s pushing back and some of the things you’re saying, it’s okay, do not panic. That’s rule number one. The second thing you do, and once they give you pushback, simply say this, “Oh, why do you think that?”
That will allow them to explain to you why, which then allows you to say, “Oh, I can see why you’d think that, but here’s this.” Or, “That’s a really good point you raise. I’m still new to learning, so that’s something I’m going to consider next time.” All sorts of ways to respond. But if they push back, don’t panic- … simply ask, “Oh, interesting. Why do you think that?” And that allows you then to position the next statement to keep the conversation going.
Remember, pushback is a good sign, they haven’t walked away.
9. Systematize Your Day
Okay, number nine, as you get into selling and you’ve got the sales process set up, you’re using it, you’re uncovering and reflecting on your own best practices and then applying those as well.
You’re going to find you start to get busy, especially if you’re doing a lot of prospecting early. Your days can quickly become overwhelming, so you need to systematize your day, and set out blocks of time you’re using for different activities.
So for example, you might block out certain hours every day for prospecting. You might block out certain hours or certain days for travel to go visit or to have meetings with prospects. If you’re in an organization that has a lot of internal meetings, you may have to cancel some. Talk to your manager and say, “Look, I need to block out some time to be effective here, and there are way too many meetings scattered across my schedule to do so.”
Again, it’s going to differ depending on where you’re working, but what works best is if you focus on one thing at a time. You’ve probably heard of the idea of multitasking, but psychologically it’s been proven that multitasking doesn’t exist. Our brain can only focus on one thing at a time. So if you’re multitasking, it just means you’re being less effective at multiple things.
Focus on one thing, block the time out, and be effective with your day.
Sales Basics #10. Expect Rejection
This next one’s pretty short, but it aligns with many of the things we’ve said so far.
Expect rejection. Don’t worry about rejection, don’t worry about being rejected. Expect it.
If you go into every conversation expecting that, “Hey, at some point, this person’s probably going to reject me,” you get it over with, you’re not worried about it, and you tend to focus on them and helping them, versus worried about what’s the next step. “What am I going to say? What if they don’t like me?”
Expect to be rejected, and it makes everything else so much easier. I’ve produced a lot of videos on my YouTube channel that talk about how to deal with different objections, but let me share one that’s really important when you’re new.
11. “No” Means “Not Right Now”
If the buyer says, “No. No, thank you, not right now.” Whatever they say, that doesn’t mean “never”.
Never ever, ever lose sight of somebody that you’ve connected with through email, telephone, LinkedIn, or maybe you’ve even had a meeting, never ever lose sight. At some point, they’re going to want to buy, and you want to be the first person they think of. So if a buyer says no, that doesn’t mean no never. It means just not right now, so you’ve going to have to stay in touch.
12. Time is Money
This last one I think is really important.
Time is money, and that stands for not only your buyers, but you. We’ve talked about how to try and stay effective as you grow in your role, and new opportunities arise, but you need to make sure you use time wisely.
The most effective salespeople I know are very disciplined in their time. They’re very strict with their time. Even when it comes to meeting with buyers, they don’t set up 60-minute meetings virtually because that’s what the calendar defaults to. They might set up 20-minute, 30-minute or 35-minute calls. Why? Because they can use the balance of the time for other things.
Make sure you serve your buyers well by using their time wisely, right?
- Get to the point,
- offer value,
- be personable, and
- let them know what the next steps are. But,
- Make sure you use your time wisely.
Don’t waste it booking hour-long meetings when you don’t need hour-long meetings.
Framework to Implement Sales Basics for Sales Beginners
All right, if you’re new to sales, there’s one resource more than anything else, you’re going to need to be effective. I’ve created a free resource for you to use. It’s what I refer to as my 30-Day Sales Action Planner.
Simply click the link to download it and use it however you choose,. But, it will allow you to plan out the next 30 days using the strategies we’ve talked about and ultimately to be more effective. So grab your copy right now.
As somebody that’s new to sales influence is a skill you’re going to need to learn. Take these tips, and apply them.
Let’s get out there and go sell something!
© Shawn Casemore 2023. All Rights Reserved.