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after 10 yrs SAHM, offered a job….but am crap at it :(

(19 Posts)

It was so exciting, and I don't want to let my boss down.

But part of the job involves calling other companies and persuading them to join our new scheme. And I am just not good at it. I have gotten nothing but rejections over the past 2 weeks, not a single "yes".

I find selling a concept over phone/e-mail very hard, I am not a smooth sales talker. The first bit of the job was more technical, and setting it all up. That bit I was good at.

Now I am calling/e-mailing, I prepare phone calls (write things down, in case I lose my train of thought), I am polite and friendly. But I just don't know how to persuade people on the phone they need us.

I believe in the product, but I can also understand why some people would not want to join.

I can't quit, as I cannot let boss down who has kindly taken me on (friend of a friend).

WTF do I do?

Basically I am landed with a sales job, and I just can't seem to do it.

Any advice? Is there a golden rule for this kind of cold calling?

I dread it so much, that the 2-3 hours of work a day get me down down down.

HolidayCriminal Tue 11-Mar-14 12:57:04

I can't do sales at all, it really is a skill you have or don't I find.
Wouldn't you be better off telling the boss that you can see you aren't good in this role but are happy to take other roles or to step aside for someone else to have a go when he finds someone suitable? He may want to hear your patter & may be able to give you some tips about techniques that work, but I think it's mostly kind of confidence trick and I can't do it either.

Even if you end up leaving altogether you would leave with a good up-to-date reference, which after 10yrs as a SAHP is priceless in my book.

WipsGlitter Tue 11-Mar-14 13:01:28

I could never, ever do a sales job so you have my sympathies. I think holiday has some good advice that you could follow. Is there scope to pick up other things in the workplace that need done and you are good at?

but it would not be a good reference, would it?

Whenever I talk to him he tells me how to go about it, and I feel like I can do it. Then I get people telling me to go away, and I feel really affected by it.

My self esteem is a bit fragile after long term SAHM-ing.

The problem is, if I leave, that they invested a lot of time training me up. I know all the ins and outs of the system, tested it myself.

It is really only a 3 man band, so if I leave, I would really delay their roll-out.

Why can't I sell? I agree with you it seems to be an innate thing.


nobutreally Tue 11-Mar-14 13:07:37

I'm shit at sales too smile - and it is defn something you either do naturally or not BUT also something you can learn and improve.

I would talk to your boss sooner rather than later - maybe ask for an interim review? Stress the stuff you are good at/doing well - then tell him/her that your finding the sales element hard. You probably need a mix of: mentoring sessions with someone who has been selling this thing/service and can talk you through what works; someone listening into your calls and giving you helpful feedback and just experience/self belief - you WILL get better.

Also ask what the expected hit rate is - for example, dh has a sales guy at his office who is really good - but makes a sale no more than every 3 months or so - they are selling a high end, low penetration product, and sales/relationships take a long time to build. Are you taking notes on your calls (of reasons people say no/anything that might be helpful if you wanted to call them again in 6 months time, say)

Also, lots of people won't sign up to things on the phone - can you aim to set up meetings rather than selling on the phone - might be easier environment to sell in (although depends on your service of course!)

nobutreally Tue 11-Mar-14 13:08:52

You've been doing it for only two weeks, right? And you're good at everything else? Don't talk yourself down - imo this sounds like lack of training - which is typical in small offices. Don't give up, get better smile

SilverViking Tue 11-Mar-14 13:11:18

Have a search on the internet re selling. There will be lots of advice on what way to approach selling.... What is the benefit to the customer, why should they want to pay, why its it giving them value for their money, stategies for closing the sale..... Even how to phrase your conversation in a positive way to encourage them to buy.
Selling is a skill, but one you can learn and improve.... But selling is something not everyone is good at or enjoys!

Greywacke Tue 11-Mar-14 13:16:57

I found the Neil Rackman book on spin selling useful when I started out in sales.

WipsGlitter Tue 11-Mar-14 13:19:38

Are you cold calling people?

HolidayCriminal Tue 11-Mar-14 13:20:34

Unless Boss is a bastard he should be able to give you a good reference for the bits you have been obviously good at; he should also appreciate that sales is something that really doesn't come naturally to lots of us. You being honest & asking him for tips will show that you are willing to try hard and learn; if you give it a go & don't have the knack in the end but are hard working & diligent then he can still endorse you for being diligent & hard-working. Also offering to stay until he finds someone better (endorse you for not leaving him in the lurch), means he can endorse you for loyalty and teamwork.

Just don't go to another sales job & you could still get a good ref, even if you never learn to sell.

Odds are he's observed that you're not selling, so better to be adults & talk now about how sales are not going well & what strategy should you both embrace going forward to most benefit to the business.

scottishmummy Tue 11-Mar-14 13:23:06

hang on youve not been asked to leave,or resign.So stay put
giving up isnt advisable

TantrumsAndBalloons Tue 11-Mar-14 13:28:03

Is there anyone else doing this sales job that has been there longer? It can be helpful to just listen to how someone else approaches it and make notes.

Also you say you see why people might not want to sign up to something over the phone. Does that come across in your conversation? I was in sales, it was a long time ago though but I do remember that a part of it was overcoming objections- so if they are saying that they don't want to sign up over the phone are you trying to convince them or are you kind of agreeing with them because you understand how they feel?

Would it help to write down all the reasons people might give when they say no and think of ways you can counter their objections- sorry if you have already done that.

I think that some people are just naturally very good at sales and some of us have to work hard at it.

It's bloody demoralizing, to keep getting rejections and I think you kind of go in to every call expecting them to say no- the thing is, once someone says yes, it boosts your confidence in your ability IYSWIM it's just hard going getting the first sale.

mercibucket Tue 11-Mar-14 13:36:56

i couldnt do that job either. i am great at other stuff though. dont let it get to you. it takes time to learn, it is a skill, but tbh its not a skill i want or value so i would just move on, but if you want to stick at it, im sure you will learn

thanks guys, some good advice.

I have been doing the sales-side (well, it crept in) since January.

So far, I have more "yesses" than "no's", though the past few weeks it has just been "no thanks".

I think I am supposed to get 100% confused, which I guess reading on here is not a realistic target!

BAsically, everyone who says no is a problem, we are supposed to get the majority of all guys in this field on board (which I guess is pretty ambitious). If there are more No's than messes it's a problem.

My boss has never done this before, it is a brand new thing he thought off, I am helping him getting it off the ground. No team really, it is just him (ideas), the tech guy (building the tools) and me (everything else).

I wonder if part of the issue is unreasonable expectations….from him AND me.

This thread is helping me, big thanks for all responding.

Will look a bit more on-line as well. I need help and tips really.

vulgarwretch Tue 11-Mar-14 14:01:08

Without knowing the details of your product, your boss's business model sounds unsound to me. Expecting a 100% hit rate on cold-calling sales is just insane. If you are getting more than 50% I'd say you are excellent at your job.

Can you get your boss to do a few calls that you listen to? Maybe he has an amazing compelling argument to persuade people to buy the product, and you will pick up some tips. Or maybe he will realise that it's not so simple and he will reduce his expectations of you.

Apart from sales calls, what promotional/marketing strategies do you have?

WipsGlitter Tue 11-Mar-14 14:15:24

I agree, it's hard to know without knowing what you are selling. I've generally found people who really 'believe' in something find it very hard when the rest of the world does not share their passion.

Yes vulgar, I have asked him to call a few too.

It sounds really stupid of me, but I had not realised 100% was an unrealistic target.

Shows how long I have been out of "it"….

I feel better now about the ones I DID get on board!

Blankiefan Wed 12-Mar-14 06:47:17

Sales is absolutely a learnable skill set. Yes, some innate "soft skills" help but there are lots of tools and techniques to help. Your boss would do well to sort out some training. Before I started, I thought it was a bit if a "dark art" and that I wasn't a natural but with training I found my selling style and structures/techniques to rely on.

Re: the target - part of my team do cold calling (different to yours but still "cold"). If they get 1 yes out of 10 targets, I'm happy. Obviously this'll depend on your potential customer base but 100% in any type if cold calling is wildly unrealistic.

TheSumofUs Wed 12-Mar-14 06:54:45

At our company we split the sales role into the advisor and the consultant - the advisor does all the prep, set up, qualification and then to he consultant does the actual sale

From what you wrote is it possible you are confident at the first but not the second ?

Perhaps you could suggest to you boss that you believe you could help make key sales people more efficient by doing the set up for them ? You could support say 3 or 4 reps and take the admin of them so their sales numbers go up and everyone is happy

Anyway regardless of whether this is helpful, it takes about 6 months to settle into a role ... So don't give up before then or you might just throw the baby out with the bath water

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