When I started my sales career I was really raw and beyond my time of selling my own services as a business owner I did not have the experience in the world of Professional Selling that I needed. I was fortunate enough to be surrounded and welcomed by a great bunch of consummate professionals that saw in me a spark and took me under their wing.
What is a Mentor though? Wikipedia describes the modern interpretation of the word as: a trusted friend, counsellor or teacher, usually a more experienced person.
I would completely agree with that term. In my first 6 months in sales I really struggled. I didn’t understand the concept of a Sales Process, Funnels and all the other processes and concepts needed. I focused on what I was in the past…a trusted advisor and support professional, I would focus on the customer service, address needs and then if the timing is right…propose a sale.
I was really fortunate that the group of people that I work with are generally very approachable and while each of us has a unique style, the organization is large enough that you can find that person or people who can support you without changing who you are. That is key, change is a constant challenge but remaining true to who you are and what you believe in has to be a priority. Making a boat load of money is just not worth selling your soul for.
I had a good thing going with the provide service, focus on helping and building the relationship but only asking for the sale if the timing is right. My mentors had a combined experience of more than 30 years in both inside and outside sales and they gently nudged me in the direction of finding the comfort zone when it comes to the proposal of a paid service. I still prefer to sell myself first, I really do feel that the relationship is what is most important, I know that I would never make an annual commitment to work with anyone that I didn’t like for a year…even if the overall service was amazing.
Can I be everything to everyone…absolutely not and I don’t pretend to be. I work in the world of IT Research and Advisory Services. I don’t pretend to be an Analyst but I am not going to play dumb either. I strongly believe that the role of a Technical Sales Specialist is exactly where I should be. I fit a niche that my clients and prospective clients tell me all the time is a rare find…someone who is a Sales Professional but at the same time can address the Basic and Intermediate Technical Needs.
I think back to this week and the numerous conversations that I had around the globe. The topics varied from the mundane small talk to in depth questions regarding the services and assistance we provide in building and developing a Mobile Device Management Strategy in an environment that is rapidly evolving from one of a BlackBerry World to an iPhone/iPad ecosystem. I truly do love the work that I do, and the impact that I have on my clients ability to rapidly deploy new services in their environments.
As for my Mentors…well they have changed over time, now with nearly 4 years of experience, 2 President’s Club Awards and top Salesperson 3 times…I am really focused on not only continuing the relationship that I have with those who helped me but also paying it forward by helping others. My assistance is different than my Mentors though as I bring the depth of technical understanding to the mix.
Well, this is a Saturday and waxing on about my life as a Sales Guy is not something I should be doing on the last day of March…I do have places to go and people to see…in fact I need to go and visit my Mom who just celebrated a Birthday this week…I won’t disclose her age but lets just say her oldest boy turns 40 this year…so spring chicken she is not…luv ya ma!
Chris J Powell