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The Champion Forum Podcast

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TCFP121: Why New Salespeople Fail (And What You Can Do About It)

Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! New to sales? Don't quit! The first year in sales can be overwhelming, and salespeople often don't know what they should focus on. Without clarity, you will work many long days without results to show for it. In this week's episode, Jeff shares from his 20+ years of sales experience the top 5 things every new salesperson should be doing and how to get superior results.

"Every sale has five obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust." - Zig Ziglar

6 Reasons New Salespeople Give Up

1. They thought success would come easier.

2. They thought success would come sooner rather than later.

3. They lost belief in themselves, their mission, or their cause.

4. They let someone else discourage them or talk them out of it.

5. They failed to realize that anything worthwhile takes time, patience, and action.

6. They lacked the understanding that no product is excellent in and of itself — it's only excellent if it fulfills a customer's need.

Q: How do you feel when you think about sales? Do any of these reasons for wanting to quit/avoid sales resonate with you? Why? What would help you feel more confident?

Five Strategies for Succeeding In Your First Year of Sales

Product Knowledge

First, you should focus on understanding your product or service inside and out. Learn its features and benefits and how it compares to its competitors. Understanding your product will help you sell it more effectively to your customers and give you credibility with your prospects. Your customers are looking for ways to reduce costs, operate more efficiently, and serve their customers better. The better your product knowledge, the more you can explain why your product answers their problems.


Prospecting is the process of finding new potential customers. Focus on building your prospecting skills, such as researching and identifying potential customers, making cold calls, and using social media, email marketing, and other tools to find leads.

When you are new to sales, your closing rate may be lower. To make up for that and to grow your skills, you need to increase your activity and see more prospects. The more people you see, the more opportunities you have to succeed.

Set Goals

Every salesperson has a sales goal set by the company. Break down that quarterly goal into daily or weekly prospecting goals. If you want to close a certain number of deals monthly, it will take measurable daily activity to get there: prospecting, calling, pitching, and following up. If you don't get in the habit of setting smaller consumable goals, you won't come anywhere near hitting the bigger ones.

Active Listening

Forget what you want to sell and focus on what the customer wants to buy. The objective is to create a customer who is convinced that it's smart to do business with you. If you listen attentively, the customer will tell you everything you need to know to close their deal. As I mentioned, product knowledge is essential, but no one wants to hear a list of features. They want to hear how the product will serve their unique challenges. The only way you can do that is by asking great questions.

Training and Support

I've noticed salespeople new to the business often assume that the company they work for will provide them with all the necessary training. Don't wait for the training to come to you. Find a mentor or a group that will help you develop new skills, find solutions to problems, stay motivated and positive, and network with people who might be able to help you in your career. You cannot match the impact of hearing another person's experiences and advice on how they overcame the challenges you are facing today.

Stay Committed

You have to commit yourself. How you spend your time, educate your prospects, and develop activities to reach your sales goals is largely up to you. So, the first commitment is always with yourself.

You have to commit to your job. What helped you close sales two months ago may not work today. Past success doesn't guarantee future performance, especially during tough economic periods. Stay informed of new developments in your industry and that of your prospects, changing markets, and declining economies.

You have to commit to your prospects. Committed salespeople always try to deliver the very best to their customers. They are always available when problems develop and do everything they can to act in their prospects' best interests. Follow up with your clients and follow through on what you say you will do.

Application Activities:

  1. Try going through this active listening exercise with a coworker or friend. Have one person look at a picture and describe it to the other person. The second person should try to draw the image based on the first person's description. As you draw, ask questions and think about how to learn more details about the picture.

  2. Test your product knowledge. Find someone outside of your industry to talk to, like a friend or family member, and pitch your product to them. Have them ask you any questions they have about the product. Use the conversation to identify any blind spots you have in your product knowledge and frame the studying you need to do.

  3. Identify a mentor to work with or sales training to attend. Ideally, you can find ongoing training so that you can ask questions and get feedback as you face new challenges in your sales journey. We offer an online Sales Training Group that will help you develop your skills and get feedback from experienced, successful salespeople. Check out all the details here.

Resources Referenced


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