A friend of mine’s 20-something son recently received a promotion. He is a consultant and has been asked by management to help open a new office in a new city. They want to build a presence in this new outpost and have tapped my friend’s son as someone who can help them with business development as well as getting the newly earned business done right. He has excellent technical skills, yet it’s also his genial nature that earned him this promotion. So, my friend asked if I’d talk to him about the “sales” aspect of this new role. Below are my six pieces of advice.
1) BE YOURSELF, BE AUTHENTIC. You got this promotion because you are a 20-something with great potential. They trust you, because of who you are. So, be you, not who you think you should be.
But, how do you know if you are being authentic or faking it? Well, are you comfortable with the words coming out of your mouth when talking about your profession, your job, and your employer? Have you made the descriptions of your company your own or are you blindly using someone else’s script? Do the words work for you? You have to be comfortable in your own skin and your own “tongue.”
2) DON’T BE A LAZY QUESTIONER. Know your business cold and your prospect’s business as well. But, if you don’t, do a ton of research, and if you still are unsure of something, then ask questions. Yes, there are no stupid questions. There are, however, lazy questioners. At your age, you are not expected to know it all. You are expected, though, to know how to look something up yourself. Yes, Google is your friend. In a new city and new job, Google is likely your best friend. If you are about to ask a question, but are worried it’s a stupid question, don’t. Look it up first, then and only then, ask an intelligent question.
By the way, if the more veteran co-workers or your managers don’t appreciate your eagerness to learn…GET OUT!
3) IF YOU’RE NOT EXCITED, NO ONE ELSE WILL BE EITHER. While self-deprecation may be endearing in personal relationships, it’s not in business communications and conversations. You need to be excited about your new adventure with your employer. That excitement will be contagious as you make business contacts in your new city. And if your potential business prospects sense that you are just filling a seat, struggling to get through the day, unsure of your spot in the big picture, they will look for someone else with whom to spend time and money. So, smile more and share your excitement about your new city and new role.
4) PRACTICE YOUR EXCITEMENT. Friends, family and other well-wishers are going to hear that you are moving or you’ve moved and ask about it. In these conversations, practice your excitement. Be able to explain WHY this move is such a great thing for you, your employer and your new city. If their response isn’t “Gosh, that’s great! Good for you!” Then, keep working at it. Soon enough, it will become second nature.
5) BECOME A GOOD BIZ STORY-TELLER. Figure out the crappy situation you expect your new prospects in your new city to be in that you can help them fix and how you would help them. Better yet, know the crappy situations your clients were in before they met you and your team and how you helped them fix it. These are your usage and success stories and are why you are in this new role in this new city. Can you tell it to a stranger in 30-60 seconds over a cocktail or cup of coffee?
6) GET OUT OF YOUR APARTMENT. After you arrive, try to get a recommendation from every resident you meet professionally. Where’s the best burrito? Place to go for a run? Then, go experience your new city and be prepared to share your adventures. It’s human nature to want to help in this situation. And it’s endearing to seek this sort of help. Plus, it will give you something else to talk about the next time.
New job, new city, new role. Best of luck. Want another perspective on being in a new business development role? Check out this Harvard professor.
SalesReformSchool: Food for Thought
Another way to gain respect and enthusiasm in your new role is to be able to convey your company’s “Proven Process”. After you’ve explained “why” you do what you do, it will soon be time to show “how” you do it. In Traction: Get a Grip on your Business, by Gino Wickman, the author explains among many other things how everyone involved in revenue creation should know and be able to explain the “proven way you provide your service or product to your customers.” Let me know if you want to figure out how to get traction in all areas of your business. I will refer you to one of the best implementers in the world.
After stuffing my belly with all sorts of things for eight days in London and Paris over the New Year’s break, I found the perfect book for getting back on the healthy eating wagon: The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. Once again, I am a late comer rather than cutting edge: This book is 10 years old. Yet, I found it eye opening and educational.
As omnivores we get to decide what we have for dinner, yet that question is often fraught with difficulty. Will this food kill me now or kill me later? Will it lead to optimum health? The author confirms or challenges many widely held beliefs about what we eat in America and how it gets to our plates. Ever wonder what all the fuss is about organic food? Do you have friends who are vegetarians or vegans and wondered why but were too polite to ask? Is $6/dozen too much or appropriate for a dozen eggs from pasture-raised hens? Pollan is both a gifted story-teller and teacher of complex concepts. I highly recommend this book if you care about nutrition and health.
And yes, I’m now buying the $6/dozen eggs for my family.
Happy New Year and Good Selling!
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Through SalesReformSchool, I am available to you for Sales Process Design, Sales Messaging Creation, On-boarding/In-boarding Sales Team Workshops, Keynote Addresses, Facilitation, Group or One-on-One Coaching, Pipeline Reviews and other Sales Management Consulting.