There’s no shortage of sales advice for rookies. We can all talk about how to make a cold call or write the perfect prospecting email until we’re blue in the face. But we can do better than that. Sales Engine seeks to help salespeople sell more efficiently and effectively at all levels so we decided to launch a blog series that provides an insightful resource for salespeople early on in their career. The “My Start In Sales” series “tells it like it is” (namely, that we’ve all been there and done that — and that’s a good thing!). We will feature one veteran salesperson in a standard Q & A format every few weeks. We’re excited about sharing these successess and failures with you.
Current location: Mountain View, CA
Current gig: Business Development and Small Business Sales Manager with Base CRM
One word that best describes how you work: Hungry
Current mobile device: Iphone 6
Favorite to-do list manager: Base CRM
Tell us a little bit about what you do now & whether or not you currently work as part of a sales function at your company.
I currently manage our business development team as well as our small business sales team at Base. I am very involved in the sales function of the company.
What was your first sales role and how did you get the job?
Selling Cutco Knives with Vector Marketing. I saw a website on one of my chalk boards at college that says “workforstudents.com“
Did you picture yourself working as a salesperson before you started?
No I didn’t picture myself as a salesperson. I wanted to be in business but didn’t think I could do very well in selling. I was in a near fatal snowmobile accident when I was young and, because of that, I have a very deep raspy voice which made me hesitant on how that would translate.
What do you wish you had known before you started selling?
Always learn from your losses.
Do you have a story to share about a mistake you’ve made as a salesperson? What did you learn from this situation?
A mistake I made early was not trusting the process that was laid out in front of me. I was told that referrals were very important to my business and I was on a hot streak with closing deals so I figured I wouldn’t need referrals as much. I was definitely wrong when I ran out of people to call. That really taught me the value of trusting the process. Whether or not I completely understand it at first but 99.9% of the time it was designed that way for a reason so trust the process and you’ll be fine.
Have you ever encountered the “sleazy salesperson stereotype”? How do you respond to this?
I definitely have. I’ve had this experience when I was trying to buy a car and another time when I was on vacation and someone was trying to sell me a timeshare. I clearly love sales and respect salespeople but as soon as you start to be sleazy, I lose all respect and immediately decide that I will not buy from you out of principle at that point.
What is one tool or resource without which you would not be able to do your job?
What are you currently reading?
Are you an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert?
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
2 things: 1: Outwork everyone! 2: Treat your career like a sales process!
Justin Johnson is the Business Development and Small Business Sales Manager with Base CRM, an all-in-one sales platform. He spent much of his early career working his way through the ranks at Salesforce.com and then started with Base as a MM AE. After that, he was promoted to a BDR/AE manager and in the past 6 months he has grown the team and the results by over 400%. He now oversees all of Bus Dev and directly manages the Small Business AE team. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.