A Beginner’s Guide to Sales

My name is Crystal and I am a salesperson… or am I? In my eighteen months as a HireArt sales superstar — my first official role directly in sales — I have learned many, many things. I’ve learned to take rejection like a champ. I’ve learned the true meaning of being aggressive. I’ve learned that not every single person in the world that I speak with will be charmed and enchanted by me (WHAT? INSANITY!).

What I haven’t figured out yet is if there’s a point at which someone can truly consider themselves a “salesperson”. Is it based on experience (check out “Experience: I do not think it means what you think it means”)? I’m still hesitant to tell people I work in sales because unfortunately, it has a bad reputation. When people think of sales, they usually picture the greasy used car salesman with the crappy comb-over, or Willy Loman, or that one acquaintance you knew in high school who consistently shows up on your Facebook feed marketing one sketchy pyramid scheme or another.

In my first job as a salesperson, I have found my stride by aiming to go beyond these stereotypes. I do this simply by being myself and being an honest, forthcoming, friendly person. Easy as that! I’d like to share some tips for other new salespeople, amateur to amateur, specifically around making an awesome and genuine first impression with your sales pitch.

You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile!

I never go anywhere without eye contact, a strong handshake, and a smile. Before you even begin speaking to a prospect you are laying the groundwork through nonverbal communication. Simple things like having a shabby handshake or an awkward “Hello” can undermine the entire interaction. Oh, you’re pitching by phone? Believe it or not, people can actually hear a smile as well.

“I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.”
– Anna Scott, Notting Hill (1999)

What can so easily be forgotten, specifically in phone or email interactions, is that the person you are connecting with is (gasp) ANOTHER HUMAN BEING! This may be cheesy, and granted some people may not have the time for some brief small talk, but I like to throw in a little sentiment about the weather or sports at the top of the conversation. It breaks the ice immediately and lets you develop some rapport before the diving into business. If the person does not seem into the pleasantries, obviously gauge the situation and skip the small talk.

KISS—Keep it simple, stupid

In the words of Winston Churchill, “A good speech should be like a woman’s skirt; long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest.” Your pitch is just the opening act; a sort of foreplay, so don’t tell them everything about your product up front. The purpose of the pitch is to elicit interest and excitement in the prospect and leave them wanting more.

You never stop learning…

The main purpose of any successful initial sales call or meeting is to learn about the other person! Once you’ve given your high-level overview, step back and listen. As the seller, the goal is to speak as little as possible and to learn as much as you can about that prospect’s current situation. Though you should have some insightful questions to ask your prospect, you should really just be an insightful and therapeutic set of ears for the majority of the sales call.

Let’s take a look at an example, shall we?

Crystal enters the room wearing a crisp Hillaryesque power-pantsuit. She smiles and gives Rebecca a firm handshake.

“Hi there Rebecca, it’s so nice to meet you, my name is Crystal. How’s everything going? Crazy weather, eh?”

She continues.

“Thanks so much for your time today, I would really love to give you the quick overview of HireArt, who we are and what we do, and I am certainly interested in learning about your current growth objectives and hiring processes so that we can mutually decide whether or not our service could be a fit collaborator for you, sound good?

Crystal gauges Rebecca’s interest and proceeds to pitch.

“Great! So we here at HireArt have developed a unique recruiting solution that is focused around the idea of candidates being evaluated on their full skill sets by going through a work sample assessment. By having these candidates show that they have the skills, knowledge, and personality for the position rather than just telling through a resume, it allows employers the opportunity to pinpoint those who would be the best fit for the role up front.

After a brief pause, she concludes.

“The ultimate result is an improvement in the success rate and retention of hires, as well as substantial time, headache and ultimately cost savings in the recruiter’s overall process. We deploy our service a few different ways depending on the needs and current practices of the client, so it would be really helpful to learn a bit about your situation at this point before I dive more deeply into an evaluation of where or how we could potentially partner. Would you mind quickly walking me through your current recruitment process for any given role?”

The whole interaction is short, sweet, to the point, and establishes curiosity!

Think you have what it takes? Don’t let that lack of “experience” hold you back. With HireArt, you have the opportunity to demonstrate the skills and traits that make you a great salesperson. Take it from me, a true HireArt success story!

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