Monday morning again, it’s 8:30am and he’s just getting into work. The weekend flew by. He really doesn’t want to be here. His stomach has dropped at the thought of the next 9 hours. He hates this office.
It’s a hardcore sales floor with some intimidating guys doing big numbers. He’s on probation and has a script. He sits next to the sales director (who wrote the script) and is the most successful, well-spoken, super confident and daunting sales leader breathing down his neck.
The thing is, he really needs this job – he has credit card debt coming out of his ears, rent to pay and the general cost of living. London is expensive, and he really struggled to find anything else.
Outside of work he’s confident and sure of himself but has crumbled in this environment.
He has to make at least 100 cold calls today to doctors and leaders in the medical profession. They’re busy, smart, domineering professionals at the top of their game. The last thing they want is a cold call from some junior sales guy who has no idea what he’s doing.
The worst thing about this job is that he’s just as intimidated by his sales director and colleagues as he is about the doctors he has to call.
It’s a vicious cycle – he picks up the phone but doesn’t want the doctor to pick up or take the call, because that will mean being put on the spot and having to deliver a watertight introduction, which he just can’t do.
PA’s are just as bad. They hear the cracks in his voice and rip him apart.
He fake dials half the time so he can log an attempted call to show he’s working. It’s embarrassing but he can’t risk losing this job. He has no savings and no-one to help bail him out. He’s completely out of his depth and trapped.
With all this pressure it’s difficult to mask the nerves and sound confident, especially when your sales director and other senior guys are sat next to you hearing you fluff your lines.
Being asked ‘Who is this?? What do you want?’ firmly by doctors or PA’s, he responds weakly from the script he’s been given.
All his insecurities come through in his voice. He’s not selling anything to anyone. He can’t even string a sentence together. They rip him to shreds time and time again.
He’s never felt so dumb, small, insignificant, weak, or useless. His self esteem is out the window, he has no gravitas, swagger, or confidence like the other guys. He’s at an all-time low.
This was me in a junior sales role at the start of my career. There wasn’t really any support, and it was too humiliating to ask for help. Just a lot of testosterone and egos flying though in the air.
But guess what?
· I persevered
· I kept going
· I slowly built myself up in confidence.
· I faced my fears head on
· I overcame my insecurities
· I improved ever so slightly each week
It taught me the power of standing up against your worst fears, which are almost always in your own head.
It took me to the darkest of places, which I told myself I would never go back to if I overcame this.
Once I came out the other end, it completely transformed my career in sales, and accelerated my earnings beyond my wildest expectations. I grew into someone unrecognisable compared with before.
One of the most important things in sales is finding your own voice.
To help with this you need to breathe into your diaphragm, speak slower, pause, and avoid looking down. Stop panicking. Take your time.
Once you find your voice everything starts to fall into place.
Never try to compare yourself to others. Model and listen to others but never try to be a poor second version of anyone else. You must discover your own style.
This experience taught me how to confidently communicate with anyone, handle anything, and be whatever I wanted in my career.
I’ll always remember this period as the steepest learning curve, but also the most rewarding. It went beyond sales – it impacted every part of my life.
The reason I wanted to write this is to speak directly to anyone new to sales who’s really struggling and feels like sh*t about themselves – I know what it’s like to be at the lowest point. But I also know what it takes to turn things around.
So make a pact with yourself that you will do everything in your control to face your fears, fulfil your potential and become a top performer.
No-one should have to go through this type of thing at work but if things do become difficult just know that you’re not alone. And if I can do it then so can you.
Those top performers are not better than you – they are simply more experienced.
So never doubt yourself again.