I think I was afraid to ask for stuff as a young sales rep. Maybe this was because I started in sales back in a time when sales still had a good dose of Alec Baldwin Glen Garry-styled managers around; guys in bad suits, aging, fat, and generally pissed off and negative all of the time. The environment was the opposite of supportive. I quickly learned that they didn’t matter.
The beauty of sales is the meritocracy of it. You are as important as you’re numbers, which you solely create. Create more numbers, become more important. Office politics do not exist in sales. So, there I was, young, starving, afraid to ask for help or support, proud- yes, I was also too proud to ask for help- so I just leveraged what I had: hustle. I simply worked physically harder. (Looking back at photos of myself in my late 20s and it was the sales gig that kept me thin- certainly not proper eating). And then at a certain point, the business started to self generate, and I had to rotate from growth to management, and then I had to work smarter.
This journey- hustle to build the snowball and get it going down the hill, then artfully rotating to get on the snowball while it’s careening down the hill and properly manage it’s direction…all with little, to no help…I’ve come to learn that this is business. I want to tell you that there are tricks and tips to make it easier. Yes, there are some (which is one reason why I started writing this), but in the end everyone builds their own snowball, and they and their ball go down the hill in their own unique way. So, you’re probably thinking- ‘well, that’s some completely useless, shitty, advice’. Followed up by, ‘I could use some real advice that might actually work.’
Ok, so here goes. Expect no help! Seriously. Expect no help. If you do get help, you will get a little advice here and there- certainly everyone has their Monday morning quarterback opinions. But, that really deep down, incredibly insightful, “geenie-out-of-the-bottle-solve-all-your-problems” help?…yeah, that’s not going to happen.
You can rely solely on yourself.- on your courage to push forward, -on your reliance and ingenuity to do so with little to no help, -on your own integrity, -and on your own common sense and logic. Now, yes, the bigger the snowball gets, the more people you will bring on it with you (staff, etc), but those fundamental decisions you will have to make, you will almost always make alone.
So, when you start at the bottom. Ask for nothing. Ask for no support. Build it all from scratch. Create your own numbers, and create your own solutions for hitting them, and then go execute. You will have to make adjustments constantly in order to do so. You will be scared. Embrace that. (By the way, everyone is scared.) You will win some weeks/some months, and you will lose some weeks/some months. Try and lose less, and when you do lose, lose less badly. But, trust me, you are definitely going to lose.
And if you do want help? If you do need advice? Well, I’m in the same boat…find people you admire and respect, who exist in the troposphere of business. Research them, and odds are they have probably either written a book, or have had several interviews or expose pieces written on them. Go read all of that. They faced the same battles you and I are facing. Think about how to apply their ideas to your situation. Then go think about how you are going to figure out how to grow and manage your business- by yourself.