When I first became a Sales Development Representative (SDR), I knew almost nothing about sales. Sure, I’ve seen episodes of Shark Tank and have answered random phone calls from salespeople before, but I honestly had no clue what I would be doing day-to-day. I imagine that’s how many people feel when they first start out.
Coming from a decade within the restaurant industry, I had equated sales to be more like standing at a cash register and taking a food order. That may be true in some cases, but inside sales is more like holding a sandwich and searching for hungry people. While both positions require knowledge of products, people skills, and a certain amount of other factors, there’s nothing like trying to hand someone a sandwich that either just ate or hates the idea of putting meat and cheese between two slices of bread altogether. As an inside sales rep, we are the ones holding the sandwiches, and here is where we will start our journey.
To be clear, my job is to sell third-party maintenance, not sandwiches. For those unfamiliar, I’ll give you the quickest explanation I can. I sell extended warranty support on hardware to companies that either cannot afford or do not need to buy new hardware. Simple right? Not exactly, but for our purposes, an SDR could sell anything and the principles behind their strategy will ultimately remain the same. We are providing a specific solution to someone’s specific problem.
So, what do I do day-to-day? Sure, I make cold calls, send emails, go to meetings, and browse LinkedIn for “hungry” people to sell sandwiches to, but that alone will probably not guarantee you a company quota trip to Mexico at the end of the year. In my experience, the real results come from the extra 10% you put in after you complete your daily tasks. In the movie the Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort talks about not physically putting down the phone in between calls and gaining an extra couple minutes a day just by doing so. In The Pursuit of Happiness, Will Smith takes a cab all the way across the city with a potential employer because it gives him a couple of extra minutes to impress him by solving a Rubik’s cube in the passenger seat. These examples show how successful people have gone to extreme lengths just to put themselves in the right position.
SDRs are in that same position. In an environment where computer screens take up 80% of our peripheral view, it is easy to get distracted. Using any of the downtime you have during the day to learn the business, speak to another department, make a couple of extra calls, or practice your sales pitch, will ultimately be an investment made back into yourself. And that’s where I believe the majority of salespeople fall short or why most people think sales is hard. If you have a sandwich to sell, don’t just stand at the register. If you’re selling a couple of sandwiches a day, how can you sell a couple more? And if no one’s buying your sandwiches, then figure out why and adapt (quickly).
Chances are, you’ll read more sales blogs about having grit and determination than there are places to post them. That’s true. They’ll tell you to work smarter not harder, and that’s true, too! The reality is, a great SDR is one that takes responsibility for his or her own success, regardless of how new or inexperienced they are. Remember that we all have to eat at some point, and a closed mouth doesn’t get fed.
About the author | Conner Davis
Conner Davis is a Third Party Maintenance Account Executive here at ReluTech. His top priority is introducing companies to third-party maintenance, which is a cost-effective alternative for supporting hardware outside of the manufacturers. Outside of the office, he enjoys playing basketball, cooking, fantasy football, and traveling.
Get in touch with Conner: email@example.com
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