Today’s post is by Brittany Woodard, Annuity Account Manager at Hewlett-Packard Enterprise. Connect with her on LinkedIn.
As a young sales professional it can be very challenging to start a new job – especially if it’s your first one out of college. Speaking as a millennial, I can tell you one of the most important skills you’ll need to stay on track is discipline.
Sales is a rollercoaster, continually forcing you to confront change head-on. I’d like to share three tips I used to develop a disciplined mindset when transitioning to my first job out of college.
Tip #1: Find an Accountability Partner
Millennials bring new attitudes and ways of problem-solving that add value to the sales industry. In 2014, one in three employees in the workforce was a millennial, and 75 percent of the workforce will be millennials within the next decade or so. That means, if you’re a millennial, you’ll have a large group of peers to help you move forward in your career. Set yourself up for success by collaborating with others around you, sharing best practices, success stories, etc. This will create a stronger mentality for you as well.
Although it may be intimidating to transition to your first job, use your unique perspective to your benefit.
Almost every sales rep has a competitive itch when he or she is given a higher quota or sees a colleague close a deal. Make this competitive instinct work for you rather than against you. Finding an accountability partner will push you to make more calls than you did yesterday and help you have those uncomfortable conversations with your customers you haven’t experienced before.
Things are continuing to change in the market, so learning new skill sets from a partner will only benefit you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions as well. If you don’t know something, ask your accountability partner for help. The better you’re able to collaborate with your peers, the easier it’ll be to embrace changes in your environment.
Tip #2: Stay Mentally Focused
When I accepted my first job out of college in tech sales, I knew it would be tough, but I didn’t know what “tough” truly meant until I failed. One week I would be on top and the next I would get one no after the other – followed by multiple hang-ups. I didn’t truly understand the ballgame of sales until I gained the necessary experience of hardships.
One of the key components I learned over the years was staying mentally focused – whether I was winning or losing. Even today, I strive to maintain a clean mindset in order stay on course.
Let me try to paint a picture for you. Imagine being ahead by 25 points in the third quarter of a basketball game. Everyone on your team is in a rhythm and sinking baskets left and right. Physically, you probably begin to feel your body relax and hit cruise control. Mentally, you relax because you know you’re so close to getting that W. It’s the same way when you’re starting a new quarter at work. Often we mentally tell ourselves, “Okay, it’s the start of a new quarter. I have some time to revamp next week.”
Be careful if you catch yourself thinking this. You’d be surprised how quickly your results can change at the end of each quarter. Shifting your mindset to think you’re down by 25 points can create a sense of urgency that will sustain your success from one quarter to the next.
Tip #3: View Change as an Advantage
Transitioning from college to the “real world” is enough on its own; however, beginning a new job can be quite the eye-opener as well. The challenges of figuring out where you want to live, what your daily schedule will be like, and who you’ll be working closely with are all things you wouldn’t have thought of when you were in college. Although these things are inevitable, you do have control to view this an advantage. There will be so many learning experiences that come your way fresh out of college. They not only build a thicker coat of skin, but you become more knowledgeable the next time around.
For example, you may be hired to start in one position and, a few months in, be asked to work on two or three other responsibilities as well. You may have thoughts as to whether you’re ready for this or even experienced enough. Instead of questioning this change at work, run with the opportunity being presented. You will gain much more experience and knowledge that you’re able to add to your resume moving forward. Instead of being attached to your quota and only doing what’s expected, go the extra mile and embrace the changes that will develop a more successful career path.
It’s easy for us to jump the gun when changes come our way, but you should take the time to think outside of the box and learn from those experiences. Sometimes it’s best to take a deep breath, evaluate the situation, and lean toward others. This will help cushion what’s to come.