So you landed your first sales gig. Congratulations! This advice is more for the younger folks who don’t have much professional work experience or how to navigate corporate America. Here’s some brief and common sense tips for the newbies.
- Shut up
You’re not the boss, you have little no experience, and no one really cares what you think anyways. You weren’t hired to rock the boat, revolutionize the department, or administer radical changes. You were hired to do the grunt work and follow instructions.
Ahhh I just mentioned following instructions didn’t I? You’re an entry level peon. What you want to do is learn and gain skills/competency so you can eventually move on to bigger and better things. Watch what people do right, watch what people do wrong, and soak in everything you can. You can learn a lot about not only the best way to do things but also what to avoid. Learn your industry, learn your product, learn your customers, learn your competitors, and study as much as you can about your sales process.
- Keep a low profile
Show up on time, follow the dress code, don’t talk too much, but don’t talk too little either. Just like gazelles on the savanna you want to find yourself in the middle of the herd, blending in from sight. Don’t be too far ahead or too far behind lest you get picked off by a predator. Your first few months on the job is not the time to make waves. You don’t know enough about the internal relationships in the organization or the office politics to be wanting to stand out too much. By all means excel as much as possible in your actual role but when it comes to social interactions, suggestions, criticisms, strong opinions, and gossip, you’d be best to tread lightly.
- Gain some allies
Speaking of office politics…. When you first start a job you should be Mr Mayor. Friendly to everyone and enemies with no one. This will come in handy down the line when it’s time for promotions, assignments, territories, projects, or for the chopping block. Perception is often greater than reality and if you manage to stay on everyone’s good side without needlessly rocking the boat you will have an advantage.
- Do your job well
Last but not least, do your job well. Conventional wisdom says this is the most important thing but I say it’s the least important. Especially for the first few months at an entry level position. There’s definitely going to be some ramp up time expected and as long as you’re not screwing things up or being completely incompetent, there shouldn’t be massive pressure for any type of stellar performance. Take the time to build good habits, learn how to do things well, and you’ll be a rock star in no time.