Yesterday was a really fun and interesting time for me. I interviewed one of the Reddit sales moderators in the forum.
His name is Trey King. It was a really fun experience and after listening to it over again. I realized I have a lot of work to do. Being that it is the first one I realized and had so many insecurities in regards to using a lot of filler words such as you know, hmm… and just random words. I noticed that I have an awkward laugh. You can imagine that this carries into my sales calls as well.
But I did learn a lot from that experience as well.
Some of my key takeaways are below.
Everyone has nervousness during their first calls especially if you have a technical product and you have no technical knowledge. Similarly, with myself. I have sold some highly technical products to CIOs, CTOs, and IT directors.
He said to befriend a technical resource and really able to partner with them to help you because you cannot do anything alone especially depending on technical the product is and who you are speaking to.
His product is an in-memory software application that is a middleware product that speeds up applications for developers.
His big break was when he closed Barclays Bank and realized the long term potential. The lesson was you really have to put in the work and there is no such thing as a shortcut or what people consider success to be like to be linear. It is more like peaks and valleys and really not what people think it would be like. It is also not as glamorous as people think it is. There are tons of sales memes that show how quickly you age in the high-pressure world of sales.
There are of course a lot of advantages as well. Some of the ones that Trey has mentioned are being that he is still only 23, most people with degrees are not making the type of money he is making. Just being in sales for 4-5 years, he has learned so much and is gaining skills with knowing how to set expectations and really manage the sales cycle internally.
Some of the other big takeaways that were really powerful was the ability to be an advocate for his clients and really thinking about his customer first.
It is easier said than done. Most people would read this and say no crap you should think about your customer first but most salespeople….. A lot of the ones I have studied throughout the years are putting themselves first and not truly being able to put the customer first but at the same time, you do not want to be a doormat just having the perfect balance of doing just that is a skill that separates the best from the middle of the pack.
He is just very conversational and is able to adapt to who he is speaking to. Truly knowing your audience and being adaptive to the different skills and pace depending on which region you are speaking to and people’s personality profiles.
Also being very consultative, aka not the bad representation or of a manipulative pushy sales person. He is pretty much the opposite of that. I did notice a very confident man. One beyond his most professionals his age. I am much older than him and I have noticed that he has the confidence of someone double his experience.
I have noticed that he is great at managing his emotions and not dwelling on negative thoughts. I think too often people let the emotions take the best of them and it does not serve you in sales. Especially in sales, because the stakes are higher and the opportunity costs are higher being that commission is why people do sales.
Some of the motivations are that he is going to be a dad soon and really all of the hard work means he gets a big paycheck at the end of the day. Which translate to being able to support his wife and kids one day and to be able to live a comfortable life he is proud of. Sales people are some of the highest paid professionals out there because they add a ton of value to any organization. Whether you believe it or not, you should probably do some research.
He is very strategetic with how he approaches sales. I know some people are pretty much robotic and are using the same pitch for every single people. This is the easy way to do things. Of course, it is harder to truly cater your pitch to the know your audience technique that takes a long time to master.
Preparation meets opportunity and the humbleness. Just really being able to prepare and do your research but do not assume you know everything about your prospect’s business so actually asking them the open-ended questions and taking really good notes is key.
Active listening and really it is just whale hunting as an analogy. The deals can be lucrative but it takes time and grit(look up Angela Duckworth- she’s the one who made grit popular). In the end it is really just about building value. What is the pain? What is the driver behind why we are even speaking right now? Asking the prospect if you can record the call so you can build better self-awareness of how you are being if you are truly listening and so that you do not miss any vital information to help co-create a business case with your champion.
You never want to be talking more than them. This is the number 1 mistake that all sales people make. I cannot stress this enough. Loving your product and knowing that it is adding value is underestimated as well. If you just look at the dollar amounts and choose a sales career based on that. It is not going to be as powerful as loving your product and really thinking that is an extremely valuable product and that you are making other’s lives better.
Being strategic about things such as giving your legal the necessary information and documents for instance if it is a healthcare knowing the complaince behind it and getting the legal team involved. Just a lot of these little things that help you navigate through sales much more easier. Managing expectations are important as well because you never want to oversell people can become skeptical or there is a lack of trust when you oversell.
Being transparent and genuine seem to be Trey’s secret sauce that really serves him well. This goes back to building trust and just being yourself is key. If you are strong at certain qualities and have certain attributes and have a decent sense of self awareness you really want to leverage your strengths and then you can know what to work on as well in your free time or at least leverage your partners to off balance that weakness.
Practice makes perfect. Only 6 months ago he really started becoming extremely confident which is noted in his tonality and his calmness, poise while speaking especially when he shared with me that he did not like it when people are recording his voice but clearly he agreed to do this podcast so you know it is something he practiced on alot.
This is the part where most of my readers can get a ton of value from. I know for a fact that a ton of people reach out to me to ask how to break into software and/or technology sales. Creating a 30,60,90 day plan and really showing your sales manager your process will impress them 1. because nobody ever does it and 2. every manager appreciates someone who is process approach and is systematic about his or her job search with metrics, analytics, excel spreadsheet, etc.
The humbleness was a huge takeaway as well. He claims he is successful from sheer luck but really it is being at the right place at the right time. Choosing to move to Silicon valley because that is where the opportunity is knowing how competitive that space is. Really having a series of small wins throughout life. I was doing some research and saw that he is a chess leader in college so I am positive that really talks about how strategic his sales approach is.
Asking people for help and not trying to do everything alone is something I have noticed one of my formal colleagues Justin Wiley from Alphaserve technologies does really well. His uses the technical resources really well and builds strong relationships with everyone at the company from all departments so he has no problem getting the management levels to vouch for him and to expeditate things when there is a roadblock.
Story telling is extremely important and is a skill that is extremely hard to master. Even the best are working on it on a daily basis, but the best sales guys are humble like Trey because they know they can always improve no matter how on top of their game they are.
IBM’s secret sauce is the creating a distinctive experience for your clients/prospects. This means really differentiating yourself and being an amazing story teller. He uses analogies to help break down more complex situations. I have observed that analogies really is a secret sauce I have personally noticed from sales reps that make over $200k a year.
Timing is really and key. That itself is a skill that takes patience and a lot of work to be great at. Prospects can hear the desperation in your voice if you are pushing your own agenda and not helping them with theirs.
Last and certainly not least. Keep paying it forward. This overwhelming simple advice is something that have noticed all of the sales reps making over 150k a year have and implement on a daily basis.
Givers are the ones according to Adam Grant that the richest people in the world, ex: Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Ray Dalio, Tony Robbins, Oprah. I mean I am sure you can think of hundreds of others.
Let me know if you found this blog post to be helpful. Even if you are not in sales this can be valuable. Even if you think you are not in sales you are wrong. If you a coach, consultant, lawyer, doctor, I mean basically anyone who has every interviewed at any job. aka everyone there are takeaways that can really accelerate your life.