Whenever you start looking into something new, you realise how little you know about it. Literally, you don’t know what you don’t know. When you start a new job, it’s one of the biggest challenges to your confidence. Knowledge is power and the feeling of being helpless can be hard to deal with.
When you interview for a role and get the call saying you’ve been successful, you feel amazing! You beat the competition, you’re going to hit the ground running and blaze a trail to show them they were so right to pick you. You imagine the future, when you’re established, you know the company, you know the products and prices and you know who your customers are. Great!
It’s easy to forget you’ll need some time to reach that ideal future and the reality of your first day on the job can be daunting, however experienced and sophisticated you are.
In a great company, you’ll have a proper induction with a pre-prepared schedule of meetings with principals, administrators and your team. If you’re really fortunate, you’ll be handed the Sales Playbook and that will contain all you need to know to get you in the market as quickly and confidently as possible.
Then there’s the moment, as you start to absorb all the new information and data, when you realise the more you learn, the less you know about the company and how much you need to know before you can get in front of a customer. This is the critical time when a good onboarding process can bridge the gap in your knowledge that drains your confidence when you’re a new starter. The better your induction and onboarding, the better you’ll be set up for success.
But it’s not just when you’re a newbie that you might feel overwhelmed. Insecurity and loss of confidence can strike any sales person at any time. There might be a disruptor in your market, you might be off your stride due to personal reasons or you might feel that you’re not valued. We are all prone to periods of self-doubt but as confidence and self-belief is crucial to successful selling, it’s important to have good processes in place to help guide sales people through rough times. These should include:
- Regular training to help build confidence and keep all the team at their peak selling fitness
- Team meetings with good communication and the opportunity to share experiences to create a supportive and collaborative culture
- Performance management to pick up difficulties early, ensuring corrective training is established to fix any problems
- Encouraging personal development to increase confidence and ensure individuals feel valued
- A dynamic Sales Playbook which is updated regularly to ensure that the team are up to date with activity in their market, their competitors and any new product and pricing strategies
So, when will you know everything you need to know? Never! Really though, it’s the moment you realise you don’t need to know everything. Allowing yourself to recognise your own knowledge boundary will give you the freedom to work within your capabilities. Keep up your confidence by focusing on areas you are really good at and share your knowledge with your team mates. Practice harder the areas that don’t come quite so easily, until they’re second nature.
There’s no template for a sales super-person and there’s absolutely no need for one. Good process is the engine room of the sales function, delivering repeatable, measurable and sustainable sales success. Learn the process, repeat the process, enjoy the success, simple!