7 years ago
February 21, 2017

5 Steps to Successful Sales Careers

By following some of the following steps, you can begin to develop the habits that lead to successful sales careers.

Claire McConnachie Recruiter
Claire McConnachie

There is no secret formula or magical recipe for making sure that sales careers are successful. When you find people who have had successful sales careers, you can be sure that they have a history of hard work and constant development. These are people who learned from their own mistakes, and from the mistakes others made before them. They took advantage of learning opportunities, and used the experience of better salespeople to learn to improve their own sales careers. Most successful salespeople can point to certain steps that they followed, time and again, to build their sales careers. By following some of those same steps, you can begin to develop the habits that lead to successful sales careers.

Learning to Listen

Many new salespeople end up talking way too much when trying to make a sale. They talk about themselves, the product, the company–everything but the customer. Therein lies the problem. Until you learn about the customers needs, wants, and concerns, you can only address them with broad generalizations that would apply to any prospect. Customers have come to expect more personalized attention. They want to know what value the product holds for them as an individual. Until you get to know them as an individual, there’s no way for you to answer those questions.

Ask Questions

The flip side of learning to listen is learning to frame your sales pitch as a series of questions. You need to learn about the customer, and you need to get them thinking about the personal benefits your products can offer them. With the right questions, the customer will talk themselves into the sale, saving you some time and effort. Many salespeople are amazed at the things they can learn from prospects once they learn to ask the right questions.

Follow the Leaders

Every sales team has a superstar. The one salesperson who seems to have the Midas touch. Some salespeople choose to complain about the superstar, and claim that some kind of luck or other advantage is the reason for his success. Salespeople who want to improve their sales careers don’t sit around complaining. They find out exactly what the superstar is doing, and then try to emulate those behaviors. Learning from the success of others isn’t cheating, it isn’t a shortcut or loophole–it’s common sense. If you see somebody doing something better than you can do it, ask them to teach you their methods.

Never Stop Learning

Maintaining successful sales careers requires salespeople to stay on top of the latest changes in the industry. This can be changes to products, new sales technologies, or just new techniques. There are seminars, conferences, and training programs that are specifically designed to keep salespeople on the leading edge of their industry. Attending conferences and reading industry journals are great ways of keeping up with emerging trends. Falling behind can make you look outdated and out of touch–not great qualities for a successful salesperson.

Keep on Keeping on

Things will always go wrong. You will always have bad days, weeks, and even months. The market will collapse, leads will dry up, and top clients will disappear without a trace. In all of these situations, the only thing you can control is how you react to them. People with successful sales careers have faced all of these problems, and continued on in spite of them. They know that sales careers aren’t built or broken on a few days, weeks, or months. Successful sales careers are measured over decades of cumulative success. All sales careers have peaks and valleys–the trick is to stick it out long enough for the peaks to make up the majority of your experience.

Claire McConnachie Recruiter

Claire McConnachie

Claire has 4+ years of experience in sales and recruitment. As a Director of Client Services, her main objective is to connect great people to great companies by building strong relationships with both top clients and candidates in the sales industry. She specializes in sales roles of all seniority levels for both enterprise and start-up clients North American wide. When Claire isn't networking with top talent, she enjoys being outdoors, traveling and spending time with friends & family.