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: Toronto
Current gig: Head up Renbor Sales Solutions Inc. offering professional development for professional sales people.
One word that best describes how you work: Hard
Current mobile device: Nexus 5
Favorite to-do list manager: Evernote
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 head up Renbor Sales Solutions Inc., working with B2B sales teams to help them improve their execution of their sales process. I have to sell all my gigs, so yes, very active in the sales function.
How did you get your start in sales? What was your first sales role and how did you get the job?
Well, I sold subscriptions by phone for the Toronto Star when I was 15. As a pro, selling securities for a small stock brokerage in Toronto. I had made some investments in the market, made some money at first, then lost on the next few, thought there must be more to this than meets the eye. I took the securities course, to do that you had to work at a registered firm.
Did you picture yourself working as a salesperson before you started?
No, not at all.
What do you wish you had known before you started selling?
How to play guitar. I would have joined a band instead.
Do you have a story to share about a mistake you’ve made as a salesperson? What did you learn from this situation?
I have a book full, working on the current chapter now. I guess the common thread is acting on un-validated things. It is good to leverage intuition, but it is better to validate, then act.
Have you ever encountered the “sleazy salesperson stereotype”? How do you respond to this?
Who hasn’t? Currently I don’t bother with them. In the old days, I may have tried to convince them about the error of their ways. Now I just win their customers.
What is one tool or resource without which you would not be able to do your job?
I would say my phone, but I think you are looking for something less cheeky, so I’ll go with Scott’s directories.
What are you currently reading?
Let the Elephants Run: Unlock Your Creativity and Change Everything – by David Usher
Are you an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert?
Don’t know, what do you want me to be. I have done the Myers-Briggs, and have come out both, depending on what was called for at the time.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Hang on to your reputation, and everything else will sort itself out.
Tibor Shanto has been a sales leader for over 25 years, helping companies improve their revenue goals. He is a sought-after trainer, speaker and co-author of the award winning book Shift!: Harness The Trigger Events That Turn Prospects Into Customers. He ranked 8th on the list of The World’s 30 Top Social Sellers, as presented on FORBES.COM 2014. He has received the Gold Medal Top Sales & Marketing Blog award, and was named OpenView’s Top 25 Sales Influencers in 2014, as well as Top Sales’ Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2013, 2014 and 2015.