What You Need To Succeed In Your New Sales Role – Part 2: The First 60 Days

October 23rd, 2013

What Gets Measured, Gets Done – Tom Peters

Congratulations. You’ve made it through your first 30 days in your new sales role.  What next? – More of what you did in the F.A.S.T.  30 days, but I’m also going to add further ‘knock-out’ strategies to accelerate your success.

You should by now be focused more on field sales and less on directed training. Get deeper into things. To start, review the first 30 days and ensure that you met all of your stated goals. Continue to fine tune your product, process, partner and customer knowledge. Submit your sales pipeline updates as required and discuss your accomplishments and challenges with your line manager.  Ensure you receive detailed and informed feedback from your manager on how you’re doing. Integrate what you learn into your plan. Read your plan and map out your goals at the start of every week. Create a sense of urgency by thinking ‘What can I do right now to make the most productive use of my time’.  Let’s S.T.A.R.T.

  • S – Sell Value
  • T – Turn Obstacles into Opportunities
  • A – Allies (Get them!)
  • R – Role Play
  • T – Taking Off On Your Own


S – Sell Value

You will have experienced a number of customer meetings and you will be gaining a sense of what it is that the customer values in the products and services your organization has to offer. But the customer will almost always raise ‘objections’. When a customer challenges the price of your product, your company or even you this is a good sign, as it may indicate a genuine interested in what you have!  What they are really asking is ‘What do I get for my money’ or ‘what will I get from you that I cannot get from your competitor for that additional investment’.

Firstly, demonstrate to the customer that you are at least an equal of your competitor, by matching all those features and benefits that your customer says are important. Get the customer to agree. Now differentiate yourself, by adding at least 3 reasons that show how you’re unique and demonstrate why they should buy from you. Write these down and memorize them. The principle here is never be afraid or lost for words when the customer asks you to show him that he’s getting great value.

T – Turn Obstacles into Opportunities

There have been many occasions when a salesperson has come to me, head low, and said ‘We’ve hit a problem’. And my response has always been, ‘Great!’  Quite frankly, anyone can sell when the going is easy. Turning an obstacle into a solution and then into a sale, requires real effort and wins trust and respect.

Look at obstacles as a learning opportunity. Face them head on. When you discover the answer to a problem, it’s empowering on many fronts. Call your mentors, gain insight. Your drive and focus will impress your customers and your colleagues. It will also require you to reach out to an increasing number of your team members (and with a specific question or purpose), helping raise your profile and network.

In essence, customers understand there will be challenges with any product or solution they buy. What they want to have confidence in is your ability and willingness to solve them quickly.  If they trust you, they will be loyal. If you can deliver more than you promise, you will create ‘Raving Fans’ (read Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard & Sheldon Bowles).

A – Allies (Get them!)

In Part 1 of this series, I mentioned how important it is to ‘fit-in’. Fitting-in is all about building relationships, being accepted as a team member and being included in the ‘office news’.  Let’s now take this a step further. Build on your new-found relationships by identifying potential work allies.

‘A problem shared is a problem halved’ as the old saying goes, and this is certainly true in a tough sales environment.

Allies are the people who give you backing, assistance, advice, information, protection, – and yes, friendship!  They are your support team – and these are the people that are going to help you find solutions to your problems unleashed in the section above.

Anyone and everyone who can help you achieve your objectives is a potential ally. Some of these allies are ‘natural’, as they are individuals who share a common interest with you.  But your strategic advantage often comes from allies that you find in unexpected places too. Finance, legal, product development and warehouse to name a few.

Having a network of allies can help your work go smoothly, accelerate your success and help catapult you to the top. However, it’s important to remember that these alliances should be mutually beneficial. In part 3, I will tell you how you can develop some really powerful allies from some unexpected players.

R – Role Play

It was a moment most salespeople could appreciate.  President George W. Bush held a press conference at which he was asked, “What would you say your biggest mistakes have been and what have you learned from them?”  The question left the President tongue-tied and he finally left the question up to historians to decide. Given some preparation he could have turned this poor situation into a PR masterstroke.

As a sales professional you will need to master questions such as ‘Why are your prices so high? Or ‘Why should I buy from you?’  Where do you learn winning answers to these questions?  Answer: Role-plays.  If your line manager doesn’t offer them, set them up yourself.

Role plays allow you to hear how veterans handle objections.  Ask seasoned team members to act as the salesperson.  You will hear what they say and how they overcome objections. In this way you can see and hear experienced sales professionals going through their presentations and benefit from wisdom that has possibly taken hundreds of calls to accumulate. The best time to mess up is during the role play and not in front of the customer. The role plays could also highlight objections that you have not heard previously – but almost certainly will, one day!

T – Taking Off On Your Own

You are responsible for your own success. Whether you are fortunate enough to have joined an organization with a structured on-boarding program or whether you’ve had to make your own way from day 1. Your goal is to get yourself up to speed, independent and contributing as soon as possible.

You will have asked your Line Manager “What are your expectations of me during the first 90 days”. Now is the time to clarify your personal objectives. This includes identifying and writing your game plan for your ‘Top Ten’ customers and your ‘Top Ten’ prospects. Remember to keep a complete record of the contact information of every person you meet. If your company has a CRM system, enter their details into the relevant fields and keep it updated. It may seem like hard work, but this discipline will pay dividends in the end because you will be a ‘master’ of your accounts.


Enjoy the journey – and remember, what gets measured, gets done.

I wish you continued success in becoming An Elite Sales Performer


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