Sales Skill Arsenal: 3 Life Lessons From Working in Sales

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After many months at Vendasta, I’ve added many “weapons” to my sales skill arsenal.

From working as a Sales Development Representative at Vendasta for several months, to my current role as a Partner Success Manager, it’s fair to say I’ve learned a lot in the world of sales. Not only has my time at Vendasta taught me countless lessons about sales itself, but it’s also taught me many lessons applicable to life in general.

Here are the three most important sales skill lessons I’ve learned upon entering this new world.

You can get even more sales lessons and insights in our free Agency Survival Guide!


Sales Skill 1: If you don’t ask, you won’t receive

Often in life, we are faced with situations that leave us wondering “what if?”. When I began at Vendasta as a Sales Development Representative, the position had me calling prospects upwards of 50 times a day asking the same thing: “Can I interest you in a presentation to view Vendasta’s solutions?”

I woke up every day with the goal of booking presentations for our Business Development Representatives, providing Vendasta an opportunity to grow. I’ve learnt that if I don’t ask the question, then no matter how hard I try, I won’t achieve my goal.

The same holds true now in my position as a Partner Success Manager. Instead of looking to book presentations for our Business Development team, I now ask my book of partners “how can I help you grow your business?” during every call I’m on.

💡 Life lesson

What’s the worst thing that can happen when you ask the question? The person will say no. I’m rarely left in worse position than where I was before I asked. Most importantly, by asking the question, I am no longer in a position of “what if?”

Sales Skill 2: Learn to listen

What good is asking the question if you’re not willing to listen to the answer? Before entering the sales world, I thought I’d be a great salesperson because I’m a smooth talker. I’ve always had a way with words, and the ability to talk my way out of (and into) any situation. However, as important talking ability is in sales, it’s just as important (if not more important) to be able to listen.

I’ve learned that the greatest skill a salesperson can posses is listening to the prospect. By listening, I’ve been able to properly identify any pain points, and in turn, provide solutions by (hopefully) suggesting what Vendasta has to offer.

The value of listening as an SDR has only grown in importance in my new role as a Partner Success Manager. I currently manage a book of over 100 partners, and each partner is unique. Not only do I have to listen to the unique circumstances each partner is facing, but I have to remember these details for future interactions, and make strategic recommendations based on our previous interactions.

💡 Life lesson

Ask my mom how happy she is since I’ve started working at Vendasta, and learn to listen. Learning to listen has resulted in improved relationships, less clarification needed to understand a situation and improved memory as I now listen fully to what others have to say before talking.

Sales Skill 3: Be persistent

I’m rarely able to book a presentation the first time I’ve called a prospect—in fact, they say that 80% of sales require 5 follow up calls (The Marketing Donut). I am often calling the same number multiple times a week, leaving numerous voicemails, and then following up via email.

I’ve learned that there’s no such thing as being too persistent, or having too many follow ups (well, to an extent…let’s not try to be too creepy or annoying). If there’s one sales skill I’ve perfected in my time, it’s leaving voicemails (because getting a hold of C-suite executives is a lot harder than you could ever imagine).

By being persistent, you’re more likely to get a definitive yes or no. This means you’ve either accomplished your goal, or you can strike them off your list for good, and move onto the next one.

I’m in a unique role within our Partner Success team, as I specialize in the start-up companies that have signed with Vendasta. For many of these partners, it’s their first time running a business or even working in the digital marketing space. Persistence has been an important skill in this role to enable and encourage my book of partners to fully utilize their skills and our solutions.

💡 Life lesson

I’ve learnt that if you want something, then you have to go and get it. Nothing is handed to you on a silver platter, and life is hard. If you didn’t succeed the first time, then keep grinding. Eventually, you’ll either succeed and achieve your goal, or you’ll fail and have another lesson to learn from.

 


 

For those of you who don’t know, I spent five years studying Commerce while majoring in Human Resources at the University of Saskatchewan. If you were to have asked me two or three years ago where I saw myself working after graduation, sales would not have been the answer. I always envisioned myself sitting in an office dealing with employees benefits, pay and organizational culture.

Upon graduation, I took the risk and entered a world where pay fluctuates, morale can do a complete 180 after one phone call and days are never the same. If not for taking the risk, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I wouldn’t have found the profession I believe I am meant to be in.

My day-to-day is full of risks. Each time I pick up the phone, I risk the chance of the person on the other line hanging-up on me and telling me to go away (in not so nice terms). But it’s exhilarating, rewarding and demanding, something I wouldn’t change for the world.

My first six months at Vendasta have been nothing short of amazing. I’ve met great people, been a lot more successful than I could’ve imagined and continue to develop each day I enter the office. However, not only has my time at Vendasta given me the skills to succeed in the world of sales, but I’ve been able to apply what I’ve learnt in the office to become a better person outside of it too.

Nelson Vo

Nelson Vo is a Partner Success Manager at Vendasta who manages a book of over 100 partners. The only thing he enjoys more than assisting in the growth of his partners is assisting in the growth of his personal collection of suits and shoes.