It’s a wrap on season 2 of What I Wish I Knew – what a year it’s been.
We were joined by 5 industry leaders who each brought unique perspectives to the table.
Watch the top 5 insights I gathered from this season:
Today, we are focusing on one of my favorite parts of the What I Wish I Knew series – Quick Questions.
It’s a lightning round, where in 2-3 minutes we discover everything from our guests’ favorite meals to advice they’d ignore as a seller. This segment was introduced to add some fun and brevity to the show, however our guests have dropped a lot of great advice for getting ahead in your sales career.
In this blog, we’re going to share some of that wisdom with you:
Sales Tips for Beginners and Experienced Sellers
Listen More, Talk Less
Bruce Jackson, VP of Strategy Services at Blue Horizons Group, suggests that it’s in a seller’s nature to want to do a lot of talking, but what you really need to be doing is listening to your buyer’s needs.
Gone are the days when buyers are willing to hear a seller feature-dump. Our customers want more from us. They want us to listen, reflect, and truly understand the problem they need solved.
Sam Cockerill, a seasoned sales leader, agrees. His advice is to be comfortable with the silence. If there is a pause in your conversation, embrace it, and don’t attempt fill the gaps. Because often, if you let the silence linger, they will offer up a golden nugget that can lead to a win.
Steve Jobs is a master of using silence in sales and his public speaking. Read up on the other benefits of giving our clients a minute of silence.
Recognize the Power of Your Sales Network
Amii also accelerated her success by tapping into the value of a mentor who could act as an executive guide for her career. Building these connections can be the stepping stone to opportunities in your early career stages and the secret to long-term business success.
Other sales career advice our guests shared?
Amii is a fan of the book Atomic Habits, written by James Clear. While not targeted specifically towards sales, the idea of small changes lead to big results can be applied to how you approach your customers.
LinkedIn is full of advice, sifting through the bad to get to the good can feel like a job in itself. That’s why we asked our trusted guests for their favourite LinkedIn follow.
- Sam suggests Sam Jacobs, CEO of Pavilion, for his candid insights.
- Sacha Bakht, Director of Global Operations at Volante Technologies recommends Sara McNamara for her expertise in marketing operations.
- Rachel Provan comes highly recommended by Amii, for her insights into customer success.
Just Starting Out in Sales? Career Advice To Ignore
Now, not all career advice is worth taking. Usually, only experience will tell what advice you should leave to the side. That’s why we posed the question to our industry veterans – what advice would you ignore?
Ignore This: Go After Any and Every Prospect
Sam wants you to forget the idea that everyone should buy your product. In a world where you could try to sell to everyone and every business, focusing on the ideal companies, the ideal people, and the types of problems your product solves improves the likelihood of winning a deal. In our conversation, Sam suggests that a “disqualification mindset” leads to loyal customers and repeatable revenue.
Ignore This: Technology Closes the Deal
Bruce strongly suggests to “put the phone down and focus on building relationships.” There is no doubt that technology is pivotal for helping sellers close a deal. But when you’re sitting across from a client, look away from the screen and prioritize listening to your client’s needs.
What Do Industry Sales Veterans Wish They Knew More About?
Continuous learning is the cornerstone of a successful career. In the spirit of this series, I like to ask each guest what they wish they knew more about. Here are their responses.
Amii is intrigued by the use cases for Artificial Intelligence (AI) in her field. Specifically, she would like to explore more about how AI can help her team be more effective at sales forecasting, sales targeting, technical writing, and sales coaching.
Amii isn’t the only one curious about AI. Sacha also wants to know more about AI, in much the same way, with a focus on how AI can help with sales enablement.
Sam said that he will always want to learn more about his customer’s journey. What’s impacting their decision making? Where do they go for advice? What barriers are in their way?
This is aligned with what Bruce wants to know more about. He continually seeks customer anecdotes on how things are going in the sales cycle, how technology is impacting buying behaviors, and how different economic cycles impact revenue growth. Bruce is a big believer that continuous learning better prepares you for navigating both good and difficult times.
Lastly, Ryan would like to focus on how to optimize training and education in post-COVID remote world. His concern is that human connection is hard through a screen. He wants to know how you can optimize the hiring and training process in a way that is meaningful and effective.
Firefighter, Nurse, Musician…. Salesperson?
Sales is a rewarding career choice. But it's usually not the first choice. When was the last time you heard a kid say “When I grow up, I want to be a salesperson.” Most sales professionals and sales leaders fell into the job somewhere along the line.
That’s why I am so curious about what our guests wanted to be when they grew up. The answers ranged from Royal Air Force pilot to veterinarian, but Sacha had the most unexpected answer: he was interested in import/exports.
Check out Sacha’s full Quick Questions segment, to hear more about his entrepreneurial plans as a 16 year old.
Coming up in season 3, we will be exploring more interesting topics that are top of mind for sales professionals in 2024. Topics like Artificial Intelligence (surprise, surprise), and building resilience as an organization and as an individual. Make sure you’re subscribed, so you don’t miss an episode.