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Starting out in sales.

I'm keen to kick things of and develop my sales skills though not sure of which direction to be heading in.

Whilst I've had some basic experience through a month long stretch as a product demonstrator in a department store, my sales experience is somewhat limited.

What do you see as the best route for someone who wants to start out in sales? - by Oliver.s
Hello Oliver. A course and/or reading on the fundamentals of selling will likely give you a general idea of what your options are regarding type of sales jobs available and an understanding of what a career in sales would look like. - by Jeff Blackwell
Hi Jeff, thatnks for the helpful reply.

Over the past few weeks I've been listening to a few audio books on sales (Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy being the 2 more notable authors) and its pushed me in the direction of B2B sales. Is this going to be an area thats hard to enter directly, as opposed to starting out in business to consumer and moving over after some experience?

I'm also keen to enter a position that supplies good mentorship and training, am I asking to much to enter directly into B2B in a quality position?

Thoughts appreciated. - by Oliver.s
A quick question to tac on here:

I've decided to start out a small project offering a unique form of advertising to local companies - with the student market specifically in mind (I live in the student area near a University).

The oppertunity offers several advantages over other advertising techniques such as flyers, directories and magazine advertising - leaving me confident that the product is very sellable.

My primary concern is in getting through to the right person, and managing to speak about the benifits I can offer without getting blown off before hand. Is there a key piece of advice you can offer to ensure I get through to this stage?

Any general advice on selling advertising to small businesses would also be appreciated.

Thanks. - by Oliver.s
Hello Oliver.

I cannot stress enough the importance of a basic education in the fundamentals of selling. You are not likely to get that from a few audio books.

What was it about what you heard in the audio-books that pushed you in the direction of B2B? Do you feel you have gathered enough information to make an educated decision on such an important career choice?

How much and what kind of B2C experience do you believe you would want before making a move from B2C to B2B?

What would the situation need to be for a company to be willing take someone with limited to no sales education and/or background and place them directly into a quality B2B position with good mentorship and training? - by Jeff Blackwell
Hello Oliver.

I cannot stress enough the importance of a basic education in the fundamentals of selling. You are not likely to get that from a few audio books.

Hi. What exactly would be considered a basic education in the fundamentals of selling? I'm not in a position to invest in training, and so the most feasible avenue seems to be in finding a position with a solid training programme.

What was it about what you heard in the audio-books that pushed you in the direction of B2B? Do you feel you have gathered enough information to make an educated decision on such an important career choice?

Good question. The reason I thought a B2B position would be more benificial is that I plan to eventually start my own business, or be a part of something of an entrepreneurial nature. I believed that B2B sales skills would be more helpful than B2C.

Your right in suggesting I might not have the information necessary to make an informed decision, which is why I'd appreaciate any further advice anyone could give.

How much and what kind of B2C experience do you believe you would want before making a move from B2C to B2B?

I really can't answer this. I made the assumption that B2C sales might be a necessary precursor to B2B salesthough am not really sure of this.

What would the situation need to be for a company to be willing take someone with limited to no sales education and/or background and place them directly into a quality B2B position with good mentorship and training?

I'm not entirelly sure on this either. I made the assumption that this would be highly unlikely, which was what lead me to believe a B2C background would be the more standard approach into B2B sales. - by Oliver.s
Hi. What exactly would be considered a basic education in the fundamentals of selling? I'm not in a position to invest in training, and so the most feasible avenue seems to be in finding a position with a solid training programme.
Check out "Fundamentals of Selling" at Amazon.com

I believe that once you've read that book many of your questions relating to a career in selling will have been addressed. - by Jeff Blackwell
Hi Jeff, thatnks for the helpful reply.

Over the past few weeks I've been listening to a few audio books on sales (Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy being the 2 more notable authors) and its pushed me in the direction of B2B sales. Is this going to be an area thats hard to enter directly, as opposed to starting out in business to consumer and moving over after some experience?

I'm also keen to enter a position that supplies good mentorship and training, am I asking to much to enter directly into B2B in a quality position?

Thoughts appreciated.
It's possible. I had some B2C experience prior to entering into B2B, but a couple of my colleagues had no experience at all. You could try the office equipment industry, keeping in mind turnover is exceptionally high in this industry however if you're lucky you might find yourself in a quality SPIN or solution selling class.

I find my B2C experience has given me little in the way of transferable skills into B2B however it did me confidence in other areas, had I not had this prior experience/confidence perhaps by first venture into B2B might have ended sooner. - by sales_ace
I'm keen to kick things of and develop my sales skills though not sure of which direction to be heading in.

Whilst I've had some basic experience through a month long stretch as a product demonstrator in a department store, my sales experience is somewhat limited.

What do you see as the best route for someone who wants to start out in sales?
Oliver--cut to the chase.

You think you want to be an accountant? Go talk to one. You think you want to be an attorney? Go talk to one.
You think you want to be a sales rep? Go talk to one.

He or she will direct you to sources that worked best for them or they may just offer you a job on the spot. Many sales positions offer in-house training.

But first separate the fundamental environments for selling. This is never discussed in books, seminars, workshops or CD's.

Surf-Turf and Amphibians.

This is the name of a very successful article I wrote for a local publication.

Surf Sales is where you cold call prospects through the Internet, phone or in person. You surf your market like surfing television channels. In this type of selling you spend most of your time surfing away from corporate headquarters. Wholesale Product reps spend their time calling on retail stores for example.

Turf Sales is where prospects call on you through the Internet, phone or in person. You work from your own turf. Working on a car lot is a good example. In this type of selling you spend most if not all your time at "home base."

Amphibian Sales is where you have your own turf but use it as a base from which to surf sell. Real Estate is a good example.

The difference is huge:

Turf sales offers the most security but the least freedom. There are managers and co-workers present to help you. If the sale is wavering, a more experienced rep will be happy to step in. You will also receive a pre-established income regardless of your sales. By the prospect stepping onto the lot, you know he or she is at least interested, and you have their undivided attention. Your income is determined by what you are selling and where you are selling it.

Surf sales offers the least security but the most freedom. There is no manager or co-worker present to help you. If the sale is wavering--you just lose it. You usually receive no income. If you do, it is a stipend and for a short period of time. You have to create the interest, find the money for the prospect and close. You are completely alone. However, your income is determined by you and you alone.

Amphibian sales offers the qualities both Surf and Turf selling again like Real Estate.

Those comfortable with Turf sales enjoy the security and sense of belonging that Surf selling lacks. Those comfortable with Surf selling needs the physical freedom that Turf sales denies. In fact, after 30 years of surf cold calling I have never trained a former turf sales rep that lasted more than 3 weeks. There is that much difference. At the minimum, a turf sales rep may make a modest living but will never reach his or her full potential by cold-call surfing and visa versa.

There is more to this but you get the general idea. Selling a Sears washing machine is not selling a $100K RV.

The more the prospects needs what you are selling, the less demand for expert selling skills.
(They come to you )

The less the prospect needs what you are selling, the more demand for expert selling skills. (You go to them)

Once you have made this decision decide on what you want to sell and go talk to someone living your future career.

So, maybe you cannot cold call but you enjoy the challenge of sales. Know that all sales are not created equal and make the appropriate shift.

I hope this gave you a few ideas. - by John Voris
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