Advice » In the Workplace» Starting a New Job » Have a Great First Year in Sa ...
Have a Great First Year in Sales

Have a Great First Year in Sales

Sales professionals, an old joke goes, have two modes of communication: talking and waiting until they can talk again.  

First-year sales reps in particular often personify this by “eagerly spouting all their newly learned product or service knowledge before learning the goals and needs of their customers,” says Marie Warner, president and founder of Warner Sales Architects and a 20-year sales veteran.

So if you’re a new sales professional and you’d like to not only survive your first year but thrive, your ears will come in handier than your mouth will. It all starts with listening to your prospective customers, but it certainly doesn’t end there. Heed these tips for sales success.

Focus on Making a Difference vs. Making a Sale

The most successful salespeople don’t behave like salespeople at all, says Howard Wallin, a sales performance expert who has 25 years of experience in sales training. Instead, they act like their customers’ business partners, listening for the real problems an organization is having and then offering targeted solutions.

One of Wallin’s clients is a US-based snowshoe manufacturer. For years, its factory ran at or near full capacity through the fall, when consumers gear up for winter snowshoeing treks, but then sat idle for several months.

Two years ago, the company launched a marketing campaign targeting new customers in Australia and New Zealand, where the seasons are opposite the US. This meant its factory would be busy producing snowshoes year round.

“Problem solved,” says Wallin. “And here’s the kicker: The idea came from a salesperson who sells manufacturing equipment to the snowshoe company.”

Bottom line: “Nobody cares about your product, service or solution,” says sales expert Jill Konrath, author of Selling to Big Companies. “All they care about is the difference you can make for their organization.”

Tap Others’ Wisdom

You may be new to the sales field, but you’re probably surrounded by potential advisors and sounding boards, either in your own company or through professional associations. Take advantage of this expertise whenever and wherever you can.

“Find a mentor,” stresses Nadine Keller, founding partner of Precision Sales Coaching. “While we’re in the training business and we’d like to believe that training is they key, we’ve found that successful salespeople typically credit their success to having the good fortune early in their careers to sit next to or call with a fabulous salesperson.”

Sell Yourself on Your Own Product/Service

If your inner voice is telling you, “I don’t much believe in what I’m selling,” you’re in big trouble from day one, according to Anthony Migyanka, president of Anthony Migyanka Financial Media.

“Life gets difficult,” Migyanka says. “Each rejection is an affirmation of what you already believe: That your product is junk.”

So before you start making cold calls or setting up meetings, ask yourself what you really think of what you’re selling. If you honestly believe in it, Migyanka says, “People will sense it in you and buy in droves.” If you don’t, they won’t.

Acknowledge Market Conditions Matter

It’s easy to take the inevitable rejections of your first year in sales personally, even in the best of economic climates. But when times are tougher, it can be that much more difficult to keep your spirits up and stay motivated.

That’s when it’s most critical to acknowledge that it’s tough for anyone to sell in a bad economy. Sales rep Nancy Spruiell was reminded of that fact just recently at the airport.

“I was telling the owner of one of the lines I represent that a buyer who wants to place an order cannot get approval from her management, and that they’re on a buying freeze and she can’t tell me when she might get approval,” says Spruiell, founder of Wholesale Spa Source. “The woman sitting next to me turned to me and started laughing and said, ‘I’m in the same situation -- no one is buying!’”

In other words, Spruiell says, it’s rough out there in sales these days, “and a first-year professional in today’s economy probably needs to know that and remember that.”

Learn more about sales careers.

Latest Jobs

Posted: 07/01/2015
White Marsh, MD, 21162
Quaker Chemical Corpora
Posted: 07/01/2015
Batavia, NY
Posted: 07/01/2015
Creative Circle
Posted: 07/01/2015
Tampa, FL, 33619

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile


Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
Create and connect.
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.


100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2015 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2015.12.0.54-301