Fake It Till You Make It: Selling as a Rookie

When I first launched my marketing company ten years back, I recall facing the task of going out to sell my services with absolutely no record of accomplishment. I felt immeasurably inadequate for the assignment due to the fact that I couldn’t brag about satisfied customers or walk prospective buyers through an extensive creative portfolio.

Whether you are embarking on a new career as a salesperson, laboring to get your startup off the ground or rolling out a brand new product from an established business, you too may feel as though you lack the depth to sell confidently. If that is indeed the case, I’d like to offer the following pointers for gaining your initial momentum:

Level with your audienceI have found that candor is a respected commodity in the sales process.  In other words, when you shoot straight with a buyer, they are more apt to buy from you due to the trust that is established in the beginning of the sales process. When I first started, I recall speaking with a CEO of a major company (quite intimidating). Instead of trying to fool him into thinking I was some high-powered hotshot, I told him that I was relatively new in the business and would do whatever it took to earn his business. My honest disclosure disarmed the executive – to the point where he gave me an opportunity to with work with his company.

Don't self-sabotageWhen you are new to the sales process, you may find yourself sharing too much information in attempt to snag a client.  Be mindful that you do not take the occasion to broadcast unsolicited information. More specifically, if your buyer does not raise an issue about your product, don’t introduce the very thing they did not bring up. I once was speaking with a client about a particular service that we offered; everything was going quite well.  That is until I mentioned that we didn’t provide refunds for creative services. It was a point that I just randomly threw into the conversation.  Once I did, they showed pause – the more they thought, it appeared that some sort of claustrophobia began to sink in. I was witnessing a personal train wreck – all in slow motion and I was the only person responsible.

Make some concessionsUpon starting my sales career, I went out and determined fair-market rates that I’d charge.  When I landed my first deal, I was ecstatic to receive what others get for like services. As I moved to get my first contract signed, the buyer requested a substantial reduction in rates. Naturally, I resisted.  However, I soon realized that if I did not make this concession, I could potentially lose my first paying client. I summoned the strength to swallow my pride. It paid off; I landed the deal and saw several high-paying projects from my first buyer afterwards. Know that if you are a sales rookie, you may have to be flexible to the point of pain.  If you can stick it out, you’ll soon be carrying around a laundry list of satisfied customers for future reference.

Walter Dailey is a proven creative strategist. He’s the lead consultant and executive producer for Dailey Sound Vector, a creative services organization that specializes in jingles, radio ads and marketing campaign development for small and mid-sized businesses.  Walter is finally on Twitter. Follow him here: @wrdailey