A loaded resume is important to many employers but when you’re brand new, how do you land your first sales job without any experience? In this episode, we’re going to learn how to jump the line even before your first close. Mitchell Earl had his life planned out; however, a year into college, everything changed for him. He got involved in a startup that took off in his sophomore year of college. It started with a small team over the course of three years, the company grew to thousands of people. Working for the startup early on allowed him to work in many different positions within the company.
Mitchell eventually met the founder of Praxis and quickly became a valuable member of the team. Mitchell is now the COO. Praxis helps people take the first steps into the real world whether their clients are fresh out of high school, college, or they’ve left school before graduation. The goal is to help them begin their first careers, many of which are in sales.
Sales is one of the entry points where people care less about credentials and more about someone’s ability to learn quickly, be coachable, and handle rejection.
Before you set out, know what you want. For new graduates, you’ve already chosen a path and that’s great. Oftentimes, however, people get stuck because they can’t figure out what it is they want to do next.
Show your value
One of the best ways to impress a potential employer is to show how you can be valuable to the company. As a salesperson, an important skill is to be able to capture someone’s attention. To do that, you need to stop doing what everyone else is doing. Stand out by differentiating yourself. Once you’ve gotten their attention, secure your place by continuing to prove your value.
To do this, Mitchell uses a personal pitch deck and a project. For example, you can do preliminary research by going to a company’s website. Figuring out who their buyers are and how you can participate in problem-solving. Build your prospects list and with all this information, document your methodology so it’s duplicatable.
A pitch deck explains who you are, why you love their company, and how you can help with the problems. This is where you get the opportunity to present thoughtful solutions that show how you can be of value to the company. It should reflect that you know who their customers are. Taking this level of care in your presentation will help you stand out from others.
Employers will look at your experience. That’s a given. When you haven’t gotten the chance to build your experience, however, be prepared for questions regarding the value you bring without any back up to your claims. Remember, when you don’t have the experience, the effort is your best friend. Let your interviewer know you are willing to show up earlier or stay later than everybody else… They need to understand you are willing to perfect your craft and learn quickly. Give them all the reasons they need to give you a shot.
Also, remember everything is up for negotiation. Don’t assume that the rules of the job exclude you because the moment you do, you remove a way to create that opportunity for yourself.
Address your weaknesses head-on
In an interview it’s typical to be asked about your weaknesses. The best thing to do is to attack your weakness head-on before they even ask. Address the elephant in the room immediately and build trust at the same time.
Part of what makes a great salesperson is the ability to handle objections. As you talk about your weaknesses, you’re also able to share how you’ve overcome these low points. Being able to talk about your weaknesses and the way you’ve moved through them shows potential employers you have self-awareness and grit. This also helps you control the narrative.
More tips from Mitchell
It may be that you don’t get hired on your first interview. That’s okay. Give yourself the best chance by going back to Mitchell’s tips. Build a portfolio of sales projects, build your prospecting lists, and look at different ways you can approach a variety of companies. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for a referral from a company that doesn’t hire you. They may know another company who is looking for someone exactly like you. Just don’t let the first no stop you. Handle those objections. This is what salespeople do.
“How to Land Your First Sales Job Even With No Experience” episode resources
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