What I learned from helping college students

I have recently worked with many college student helping them prepare for interviews and getting off to a good start in new sales roles.  They are all bright, hard working and overall very impressive.  Early on, I had to eliminate expectations/ideas normally associated with experienced salespeople and found it was important to identify “where they are”.  More thoughts about what I learned and how it applies to a selling role…

Fair to assume – College Students

Most of the students I work with are trying to head toward a sales role after graduation.  It is fair to assume that college has provided these students many things including:

  • Good foundation of business related knowledge
  • How a sales process is structured
  • To varying degrees…opportunities to practice selling skills

Not fair to assume – College Students

While some students have had summer sales roles, most have not had the benefit of real-life sales experience.  So…it not fair to assume they, for example can:

  • Fully qualify an opportunity
  • Orchestrate other resources and prepare them for a customer meeting
  • Handle objections in real-time
  • “Manage their manager”

How this applies to your selling role

You should not assume your customer contacts know the following about you or your company:

  • Dedication to helping them grow/resolve issues
  • Capabilities
  • Value
  • Experience / Success with similar customers

Meet your customers “where they are”

I have certainly made the mistake of assuming the customer had certain knowledge or confidence.  Maybe I was in a rush or a bit lazy…avoid this by figuring out what your customers know and how they perceive you and your company.  Identify the gaps and invest time to educate them!

Feel free to contact me directly for ideas and/or help on this or other topics!

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