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Remove the Anxiety and Reach New Heights in Your First Sales Job


Intense anxiety, unease, and insecurity sum up most of the feelings I had when I started my first “real world” job in my sales career.

At the time, these emotions really shook me. I am the type of person who is obsessed with making personal progress, pushing myself, and organizing a structured plan to get to the next phase of “successful.” Instead, I started questioning my abilities and my self-image. This came as a genuine surprise since, out of all my college friends, I was the one most excited about flying the college coop, starting my career, and making money.  

I felt like I bit off more than I could chew with a career in sales. I took on a territory of non-spending accounts and was tasked with building it into a lucrative patch of business. On top of it all, I needed to acquire knowledge about B2B marketing practices and the tech industry. And it didn’t help that I was surrounded by people who spoke with the very confidence, swagger, and intensity I felt had escaped me.

This is the point where I made my first truly adult decision. I asked myself the following questions:

  • Do I commit to the belief that I made a mistake by getting into sales — and start exploring less daunting opportunities?

  • Or do I dare to give myself permission to “try this job on” and really put the work into it — even if I feel completely out of my league and it’s painfully uncomfortable?

In the end, I realized that being uncomfortable would eventually correlate to positive growth. So I committed myself to seeing it through with my new sales job. Here are a few things I learned that may help if you’re just starting out in sales.

Put in the work.

Everyone told me ( you’ll probably hear this advice, too) that it will all work out. Seemed pretty unlikely when I was sitting at my desk with no prospects or meetings for the first few weeks. But I started the process of reaching out via email and making a certain number of calls per week. I was skeptical and thought, “Well, if I at least do this and put it in the CRM, at least they’ll know I did it.”

I began to feel confident that I was reaching out with a balance of quality and quantity, and exceeding the goals that my boss had set. I committed to meeting these goals weekly and would say, "Okay, I had a good week if I got through all of these calls and emails.

The work pays off.

Lo and behold, making all of those calls and sending emails actually worked.  I remember my first truly busy week when I had 14 prospect meetings scheduled. Then the next phase of feeling uncomfortable set in. How in the world would I make all of these meetings happen?

So I prepped. And prepped. And prepped. (I may have actually over-prepped.) And I listened to my mentor who was amazingly knowledgeable about the different companies I’d be speaking with. It made a world of difference to ramp up quickly. Always be sure to tap into the knowledge bases within your company and build those relationships. You can’t learn everything on your own.

In my first meetings I always made sure to disclose some knowledge or understanding of my prospect’s market before ever talking about my company. I continue this approach today and I always demonstrate that I know and care about them and their space — not just pushing a product. This approach also creates a feeling of comfort because you’re coming from a place of understanding and empathy, and not just trying to make a sale.

Remember your successes.

Not all meetings go well and sometimes you may be pretty stressed about making a number. Early on, I realized how much of success in sales is the ability to pick yourself back up. You can’t let those “noes” or bumps in the road get you down.

Remember the call where you absolutely crushed it (and your manager even gave you props in an email)? Or that week where you totally blew the rest of the team out of the water with sales-call volume? Devote one folder in your email account where you store all of those moments of success. Go back and take a look whenever you need that extra boost, and remember that you are doing an incredible job.

I can tell you that, three years later, you’ll not only see those messages grow — you’ll see the numbers to match them and the incredible customer relationships built. By embracing the realization that you may feel pretty uncomfortable in the beginning of your first sales job — and then discovering how to be comfortable and confident — you will discover your best self and success.

Always be sure to tap into the knowledge bases within your company and build those relationships. You can’t learn everything on your own. ”

Julia DePalma | Account Executive, TechTarget

Learn More

The 7 Sales Skills That CAN’T Be Taught By Dan Ross,
Sr AVP, Commercial Sales, Salesforce
Why It’s Now or Never for Social Selling with LinkedIn’s Mike Derezin Interviewed by Laura Fagan,
Product Marketer, Sales Cloud, Salesforce
Making the Tricky Transition from Sales Peer to Sales Manager By Keith Rosen,
Author of "Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions"



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