Lack Sales Experience? Here’s What You Do!


During my days as a sales manager I was often asked by fledgling sales professionals as to what they could do to compete with the wealth of sales professionals out there with greater experience and knowledge?  What could they do that could negate that experience and make them the sales professional of choice?

The answer may well be nothing! Nothing negates the advantages that knowledge and experience gives.  It is something that cannot be taken away from the sales professional and there will be a day that you all will be glad about it.

However, there are some actions that you can undertake that will put you in a position to win, and your ‘weaknesses’ will be your strongest assets.

Know Your Assets and Use Them

Know your most plentiful assets and know how to constructively employs them to make the difference in how the client/prospect perceives a sales professional.


Question:  What does a new sales professional have in abundance over the successful sales professional?
Answer: Time

The new sales professional has the ability to spend mountains of time on individual prospects and clients, ultimately impressing them with his or her attention and presence.  Be wise about it; yet note the relationship building aspect of spending face-time and effort impressing the buyer and how this will pay dividends.


Question:  How can you make the client ‘dependent’ on you?
Answer: Make yourself indispensable and memorable.

How can you use your ability to focus on the customer?  Create memorable moments (Black Sales Journal 2/3/2011 – Make Yourself Memorable) by sending personally signed cards and notes that share information about products, industry news, and economic data.  Share outlooks and comment on how that might affect your customer/prospect. Increase the customer’s dependency on you, and a relationship is created.


Question:  Does your customer have a perplexing problem?
Answer:  Do Extensive research

Take on a project of solving a problem that could be a game changer.  I once was acquainted with sales professional that was asked to advise how to insure a totally new energy concept.  He researched, and researched, and once finished presented to the prospect and the prospects two biggest suppliers.  The project never got off of the ground, but the sales professional ended up winning the account for both of the suppliers (he already had the other principal) as a result of his spirited work.


Situation:  You need to find prospects…now!
Answer:  Use your ability to access technology for a full-out prospect blitz.

Find new, untapped prospects using your ability to research online.  Most experienced sales professionals have a wealth of work to do with existing accounts, and they are also about the business of sourcing prospects.  They won’t have nearly the amount of time, and potentially technology background to do this.  I have seen it done often, and it is often difficult for the vets to keep up.

Sound too Simple?

It is simple.  The problem with sales is that cumulative sales and existing clients generate a significant amount of work.  The sales professional who is the beneficiary of that account either does the maintenance work, or delegates it to an assistant or inside sales person.

Sales professionals vary in their ability to delegate, but no matter what, it takes time to do the actual work, or to delegate.  The new, but lean, sales professional can use that time to develop prospects and relationships as well as source them by spending the adequate amount of time finding those that have not been claimed.

Use your intrinsic energy to master the prospect system, find the relationships and then deliver solutions so that you can sell.  Spend valuable time working at relationships as you have the time to do it.  It is still a lot of work, but this is what you can be doing.

Here is the time to put together a good plan regarding which prospects to attack, and what sales assets to exploit.  You have something to offer, and it does not work with every buyer/customer/prospect, but with many it makes a significant difference.

Being effective when you are new is important.  Your sales plan executed well is the true meaning of effectiveness.

Always be effective!

Your comments are appreciated.

Are You Managing Your Manager? 6 Important Tips!

Sales Professional and Manager

This is the most important relationship that you are going to have in your career!  Don’t flinch because of the title, managing this relationship is the key to your success.  Invest the time to make it work for you while making sure that you take the time to “guide” it correctly!


I am a believer in this topic.  Managing your manager is the way to success.  I was a sales rep, and a sales manager, and know thtat

There should be no negative implications for a topic like this.  We attempt to manage time, territories, expenses, production, and performance outcomes as a natural course in our jobs.  I would hope that understanding how to “manage” your sales manager would be just as important.

“Managing” your sales manager involves important issues such as training, performance evaluations, potential merit increases, territory allocations, participation in sales calls, and the allocation of valuable resources such as prospect distribution, house accounts, and major accounts.

This is not anything nefarious, yet is respectfully making sure that you get the attention you need, and in some cases the space you need to do your job to the fullest.  It also would be designed to give you resources you need in a competitive atmosphere to be the premier sales professional in your unit.

As a Black sales professional, you are quite visible.  You need to be calculated in your performance, and how you frame that performance.  Your manager should be active with you as well as an observer in your performance and work activities.

Relationships Count

The most important relationship you have at your job is the one you have with your manager.  Your ability to ask questions, seek assistance, and suggest improvements should be natural.  Likewise, your ability to get feedback, accept criticism, and be generally evaluated should be a given.

This relationship is a give and take.  He or she is still the boss, and you have expectations of each other.  You need to work at this relationship if you are not the premier performer.  The premier performer has his/her results to support the relationship.  Until you get to that status, you need the manager a little more.

‘Fair Game’ Tactics

Here are some ways to effectively manage your sales manager:

Communicate Upward – Keep your sales manager knowledgeable of your activities, and the status of major clients and prospects.  Your managers should always be kept abreast.  Sales managers communicate upward to their managers regarding major prospects and clients, sales projections, and goal attainment.  The last things they want are surprises.  By communicating these things frequently, it will keep them from making projections and claims that cannot be met.

Request Assistance and Sales Manager Presence – Request your sales manager’s help for profile and difficult prospect/clients.  Remember, you will be in the boat by yourself to get the attention or negative attention depending on the results.  Sharing the attention when you win is better than ending up with the sole negative attention “spotlight” if you blow it.  You can more easily manage your sales manager if you make him or her look good.  Have the sales manager attend calls that you need help on, but also calls that put you in a good light.   You can choose calls that display the strength of your relationships, showcase your strong technical abilities, and calls that reveal your technical sales ability.

Be The Expert on You – Your manager can have as many as 12 direct reports, and the responsibility for getting results from them, and a particular territory.  He cannot possibly know you, your accomplishments, and your strengths, the way you want.  It is easier for the focus to be on your weaknesses.  You must be the expert on you!  Know the following:

Know Your Sales Manager – Knowing as much as you can know about your manager without being invasive is good business.  It will help you understand the motivations and better be able to answer questions and complete tasks.  Know where your manager went to school and the composition of his/her family.  Know his/her previous jobs, and what motivations are present.  A sales manager who was formerly a financial person may have a focus on the numbers and metrics, and you should know this.  The more you know, the better off you are.  Know the background and feel comfortable discussing it with him/her.  You will notice that the manager will be flattered.  Information from Linked-In, or your company’s website can help you here.  You may even use Google for this purpose.

Volunteer with a Purpose – Every manager needs some help, and you should be prepared to give some assistance and learn in the process when it benefits you.  I certainly am not suggesting that you be ‘oily’ and kiss “you know what”, yet when you can add something you should step-up.  Those that don’t step-up will probably get the items they would not have chosen.

Always be Prepared – Repeat after me “I will never go into a meeting with my sales manager and be unprepared!”  This is important.  When you go in to any meeting with this most important relationship you have at that company, you should go in with a solid agenda.  No rambling and no scrambling but a meeting with a purpose that you requested and are in control of. Have your questions written down, and stick to your appointment time.  Your manager will realize your efficiency and effectiveness.

Always Perform

Here is where you start to make the distinction between you and your counterparts.  To be most effective at this, you need to consistently produce sales results.  It is a given that you need to be in good standing, yet it always helps to be exceeding goals and be a sales leader.

If you do this, you will be “shining” the light on yourself.  This type of self-promotion is totally ‘legal’.  Make sure your managers sees what is necessary and knows your value.  This is something that you can do without seeming like a “weasel”.

‘Manage” this relationship wisely.  It can make a difference in your compensation and your future.

We appreciate your comments.