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Prospecting As A New Sales Rep: A Salesman's Journey

For the last three years, I’ve been at The Citadel majoring in business administration where I choose a pathway in business development.  Choosing this pathway was very beneficial and put me at an advantage with knowing negotiation skills and learning a multitude of sales tactics throughout college.  

I started my role at Art’s Cube - in August of 2021 - thinking I knew everything I needed to know about prospecting and sales, but I was humbled quickly.  I’m writing this as a "greenhorn" with inexperience because I’d be lying if I told you I’m an expert.

The most important thing I’ve taken out of my first three months is you must be a sponge and absorb everything you need to know in a sales role.  You must constantly be learning whether it be the product(s) and/or service(s) you’re selling or the company and/or individual(s) you are prospecting.  You can be likable and know how to build rapport - which is extremely important in sales. Especially since COVID-19 rolled around and upended how we all conduct business.  Then it is time to buckle down, do your research, and be so prepared to where you feel like you know more about their company than they do.  

I’m a huge sports fan, and I feel sales and sports are very much comparable. If you’ve ever played sports or even battled it out in a spelling contest, then you know that practice is where you win and not when it’s the game.  In sports, you don’t win because you have the necessary skills, you win because you have a game plan.  You must have a game plan before the first call is placed in an attempt to set up a meeting with someone who is not expecting your call. 

Expectations as a New Sales Rep

Expectations for an entry-level sales rep coming out of college is to be a student of the game.  You don’t need to be overwhelmed by making calls and hitting your quota as soon as you start. Your initial goal should be to learn as much about the current trends in the industry and your focus is to implement this when prospecting.  

You want to have a student mindset by learning everything you can to eventually be perceived as an expert by everyone you are prospecting.

Four Things to Focus on when Prospecting

  1. One: Website

  2. Is their website up to date, do they have a click-to-call, forms to submit, etc.  Is their value proposition on the front page? Do they have pages for each service they provide?  The main reason you are looking at their website is to get every bit of research, so you’re not stuck saying this in the discovery meeting “tell me more about your business”.  The prospect automatically assumes you didn’t do your research when you do this.
  4. Two: Social media

  5. Are they getting enough exposure on all their social accounts?  How many followers do they have? how many likes do they have across each social media platform?  Connecting with prospects on social media brings a human factor into today’s virtual sales world. It allows you to get to know them better and vice versa.
  7. Three: Past conversation

  8. Prospecting someone who is familiar with your company will be more of a warm lead based on the conversation in the recent past.  Your research on the past conversation with the prospect is vital because you will have to trace back to see what their true pain point was.  Ask them if this pain point is still prevalent in preventing them from achieving their goals.
  10. Four: Buyer persona  

  11. A Buyer Persona describes who your ideal customers are.  Buyer Persona is most important when pertaining to prospecting and sales in general. It basically wraps the above three things into one by doing all the necessary research to identify who you are talking to.  You need to know if you are talking to the decision-maker or not and need to identify their goals in the initial conversation.

I am looking forward to mastering my craft every day! From "greenhorn" sales rep to VP of Sales (watch our, I am coming for someone's job).

This is my first blog article and I want to look back this time next year to see how far I have come.  My goal for this article was to provide content that can benefit any entry-level sales rep that can relate to when prospecting.  I’m aware this will be a process just like anything you try to master but with the right attitude and mindset then anything can be accomplished.