What’s your career background so far and why did you pick sales as a career? Jordan: My last stop before entering the sales world was as an associate director of an English Language Institute at an upstart university in Northern Iraq while simultaneously building a settlement and aid program for over 6,000 Yezidi refugees.
I transitioned to sales after returning to the U.S. because I love the process of blazing a new trail and creating new opportunities.
What is sales development? Jordan: Sales development is having an insatiable hunger to break down doors and drive new business. It takes research, discipline, and perseverance along with an unquenchable appetite to walk down the next winding road to another sale.
What life experiences have made the biggest impact on preparing you for this current role in sales development? Jordan: My last role working with refugees was hands down the greatest preparation I could have had for sales. I was constantly pitching donors on our aid project, working through cultural barriers, and trying to learn the difference between what I thought was valuable for the refugees and what they- as a community- actually knew was valuable for them. Sound familiar?
What is the most challenging aspect of being a sales development rep? Jordan: Consistency. Rain or shine, it is my job to pick up the phone and dial, write emails, and bring it. It’s almost natural to find ways to hide when you are having an off day. When I’m tired- it’s easy to want to read another article instead of making calls during my call block.
When I’m sick- it’s far too easy to over research instead of pounding out emails. So it’s that consistent day-in-day-out persistence of calling, emailing, and navigating social media to shoot for even when it’s easier to just look busy.
What do you think is a more effective prospecting channel: phone or email? And why? Jordan: Upfront, we all know that it takes a variety of touchpoints to make a sale. It isn’t either/or it’s both and. Nonetheless, I think it is the phone that separates the run-of-the-mill sales rep from the one that is really interested in driving new business.
Almost anyone could sit a computer and write emails, however, it’s rare to find someone who is really willing to battle it out on the phone and handle rejection time after time until it eventually leads to a “yes!”
What 3 tips would you give a recent college grad about how to land a job as a sales development rep at a hot startup?
1) Research the company before you go to the interview. Startups are almost always run by passionate people who are excited about what their business is doing. Find out why they are so passionate and mirror it.
2) Ask questions at your interview. Don’t be one of those people who answers every question in the interview well and then doesn’t have well thought out questions to ask the interviewee. It shows that you are only interested in a job and not the actual company.
3) You’re applying for a sales position. Sell yourself. This isn’t the time to be modest. Ask them several questions based around what they are looking for in a sales rep. Then, explain why you fit everyone of those things and more. You are their solution!
If you had one piece of advice to offer a new SDR on being the best they can be, what would it be? Jordan: Learn how to listen. If you can’t listen, then you’ll never be able to sell.