Look Who’s Confident Now

So you have decided to take on a new job as a sales representative, and you feel like you were somehow meant for this life! It looks very exciting, filled with travel, tons of flexibility… you just know you are going to kill it at this job. This was me 11 years ago. I was brimming with ego, I had never worked in wholesale sales like this but I had no doubt that I would just automatically be good at it.

News flash: I wasn’t. It’s not as though I was outright bad at it, I am a friendly capable woman that can follow instructions and hand out information, I just wasn’t the super-rep I thought I would be right from the start. I definitely had my confidence shaken, and it took some time, experience and great mentors to build back up to a place of tenacity and assurance.

Just like any new skill, very few people are just automatically adept at it, save for a few outliers and savants, the rest of us non-geniuses need to work to shape a guideline for success. Let me help you formulate your framework and build your rep confidence with some acumen I have gathered along the way.

Dress and deportment

I know this is not a new concept, I am not trying to reinvent the wheel here, I am simply drawing attention to its importance. Seems obvious that you need to dress nice as a rep, be clean, smell good and at the very least, don’t smell bad. But there is actual science behind this; your customers will feel different about you depending on how you dress. If you look good you feel good, and your accounts will feel much more confident in you and the information you are trying to impart. Remember, it’s always the guy in the wrinkly untucked shirt that gets eaten first by the dinosaurs in the Jurassic Park movies, so press your slacks and get out the lint roller so that pterodactyl (or OD) doesn’t take you out.

Know your stuff

Please don’t play power-point karaoke. Definition: when you kind of know the stuff so you use a premade power point and just follow along the words without knowing the information. This does not build confidence. The more you know about the products or concepts you are trying to sell, the more naturally and confidently you will be able to speak to the benefits. Many reps get caught in the “features” trap and can read off a list of what the product can do, but fail to explain why the product will benefit their business. The more intimately you understand what you are presenting, the more scrupulous you can be…..light them on fire with your knowledge! You have the ability to benefit their business so show them how.

Be something they want

The only way you can be what they want is to ask. A big mistake I made as a rookie rep was to assume I knew what my accounts wanted. You will never be able to predict the wants and needs of each individual office, so you will need to specifically ask. Get out a note pad, ask tons of questions, write it all down, and figure out where you fit in. Time to dig deep and really listen to what their values are, sort out where your products support those values. Don’t offer a solution to a problem they don’t have. It’s tacky and terrible to be offered something you don’t want; no one appreciates being offered french fries when you really wanted a plate of nachos, I don’t care how hot and delicious those fries are, give me my chips and cheese.

FOUR Get organized

This is the hard part. I know that the personality type that encompasses the sales rep, is also the same type that is not known for being highly organized. We are a travelling troop of free spirits, we are go with the flow-ers, we like to navigate by feel. I get it, this is not the fun part, but I promise you that having a bit of structure will improve your sales self-esteem; you need to make a schedule. I have a friend that said, in any relationship there is a kite and a kite flyer; in this circumstance you are in a relationship with your rep job, you are the kite, and your schedule is the kite flyer. Having some organization to keep you grounded helps you spread your rep-wings.

Find joy

You will pour your whole self into this job. You will be immersed and entangled and you can wind your worth into the fibers of the work. Your dedication is admirable and you will present with your heart and your accounts will feel your passion. It’s so memorable to have an inspired rep! Live in these moments, feel that high, and know that you cannot be everything to everyone. Try not to let the upsets and no-so good moments tear you down. It can feel very soul crushing when you territory is going sideways or people are mad. You are going to have to learn to let that go; take a walk, have a cry, pet your dog, hug someone you love. It is important to own your own mess ups quickly, but don’t dwell. And if it’s not your mistake and things are still going sideways, take credit for the good stuff. As for the bad stuff, just be like Elsa and “let it go”.

Take Away

My take home message is that you reps are a special sort of people, don’t let this job crush your spirit. Instead let it build you up! Build your confidence and your sales will grow, I promise. I have had the distinct pleasure of working with amazing accounts and mentors, my confidence is soaring due to insight and influence, and I keep my heart and mind open so it just keeps getting better. I am killing it at this job!

Article written by Dayle Whitecross

Find her here: Instagram | LinkedIn

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