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: Redmond, Washington
Current gig: President, Heinz Marketing Inc
One word that best describes how you work: Passionately
Current mobile device: iPhone 6
Favorite to-do list manager: Outlook Tasks
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.
Does the lemonade stand count? I literally did research around the neighborhood to see how other kids were marketing their drinks – price, feature, signage. I then undercut their price and differentiated on features!
How did you get your start in sales? What was your first sales role and how did you get the job?
OK, the lemonade stand was self-appointed, but my investors (parents) required a positive return in order to keep opening shop on warm days!
Did you picture yourself working as a salesperson before you started?
Definitely not. I studied journalism at the University of Washington, and also considered studying music. My early career was all about marketing, but sales is one of my favorite parts of the job now.
What do you wish you had known before you started selling?
How to be a buyer-centric seller. Too many companies and salespeople sell their products and services directly. You gotta sell the hole, not the drill! Your products are a means to an end, and are always purchased in context of something the prospect is trying to achieve independently. Understand that, and speak to that, and you’re really selling!
Do you have a story to share about a mistake you’ve made as a salesperson? What did you learn from this situation?
My urgency isn’t their urgency. The end of my month has no bearing on their interest in buying. And further, my urgency might put a bad taste in their mouth and hurt my chances of closing any type of deal down the road.
Have you ever encountered the “sleazy salesperson stereotype”? How do you respond to this?
Daily. I get emails and voicemails on a very regular basis from reps who are still doing it wrong, so wrong. Sometimes I actually engage to see if they’ll continue along that path (most do). Sometimes I’ll forward the email or voicemail to the company’s VP of Sales with some recommended adjustments. But most of the time (due to volume) I just delete them.
What is one tool or resource without which you would not be able to do your job?
LinkedIn. I’m in it daily. Aside from my CRM, it’s by far my most important selling tool.
What are you currently reading?
Are you an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert?
Ambivert. I didn’t know what that meant a couple months ago, but it’s definitely me. Introvert by birth, extrovert by practice, but I’m usually a mix.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Work hard. Never give up. Keep pushing. Being a business owner is about being persistent and stubborn as much (if not more) than it is about being right the first time.
Prolific author, dynamic speaker, and award-winning blogger, Matt Heinz is President of Heinz Marketing bringing 15 years of marketing, business development and sales experience from a variety of organizations and industries.
He is all about consistently delivering measurable results, greater sales, revenue growth, product success, and customer loyalty.
Matt is a repeat winner of Top 50 Most Influential People in Sales Lead Management and the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers.