My first job in sales was almost an accident. I had just completed my master’s degree and was in desperate need of a job. I looked in the paper under sales, because I naively thought that “I would be good at sales.” I saw an ad that read, “no experience necessary, make six figures.” I thought to myself, “I have no experience and I would love to make six figures, sounds like the job for me.” I called and set up an interview and the next day met with one of the company’s sales managers, who asked me a few basic questions such as, “Do you have reliable transportation?” “Yes,” I answered. Then he asked me a tougher question, “Do you like people?” “Ah……………………. yes” I responded.
He hired me and told me to come back tomorrow for my first day. When I arrived the next day, I was informed that there was no formal training and that I would do a “ride along” with Vinnie. Throughout the day I watched Vinnie sell and he would give me tips.
By the end of the day Vinnie and I reported back to the sales manager and he asked Vinnie, “Do you think he is ready?” I knew nothing about selling and I was sure I was not ready, but Vinnie confidently said, “Oh…. he’s ready.” The next day I was on my own trying to figure out this thing called selling.
The first quarter, my sales volume ranked me #6 out of the 32 sales people on staff. My success was based solely on my natural ability and some basic techniques that I had learned from one of the company’s sales managers.
After a few months something happened that transformed by career. A large company in the same industry was opening up a new office in the city I lived in. I interviewed with them because I heard they had a better pay plan. They hired me, but unlike my former employer, they put everyone through a week of sales training. It was at this sales training that I learned that there was methodology to selling.
It was also there that I learned that success in sales was not based on innate ability and that anyone could increase their selling skills through proper training and coaching and hard work.
During that training I made a commitment. I resolved to learn how to sell and relentlessly practice so that I could become the best sales person that I could be.
That training and my commitment to it literally changed my life. It awakened a hunger for improving my sales ability that causes me to devour books on selling.
Not only was my knowledge and skills improving, but so were my results. My first quarter I was the #1 sales person in the office. By the end of the year, I was flown down to the company headquarters to meet the CEO and be recognized for being the #1 revenue producing offsite sales person worldwide.
That’s why I believe so strongly in sales training. I have seen it revitalize careers and cause businesses that were on the verge of bankruptcy to flourish. But the first person that I saw sales training transform was me…