First rule of sales: don’t call yourself a salesperson. Account executive, VP of revenue, business development representative… anything but a salesperson.
It can seem like there’s nothing but sales rules when you first start: numbers to hit, Salesforce fields to fill, words to avoid. Not only do you need to understand the sales fundamentals, but you also need to learn your product. And for those who sell complicated solutions, this can feel overwhelming.
But if you put aside some of the more detailed aspects of the role, there are a few major things that every salesperson needs to keep in mind. Unlike these sales rules, which we’ve written about before, fundamental rules should never be broken, because they lie at the core of what it means to be a successful (and fulfilled) sales rep. So if you ever wanted to spell out the most important things a sales rep should remember, these rules would be a great place to start.
Here are the five fundamental rules of sales no rep should ever break:
1. It’s about what the prospect needs, not about what you need
This can be one of the most complicated mindset shifts that a salesperson needs to go through, but at the core of selling is a fundamental tension between our needs (to hit quota and make a lot of money), and our prospect’s needs, whatever those might be. The best sales reps know how to focus on the latter while achieving the former, which takes empathy, focus, and the ability to put themselves in the prospect’s shoes. Whenever you’re working with a prospect or a customer, try to think about what they need, and not just about what you want them to do.
2. Listen more, interrupt never
Great sales reps are excellent listeners, and they never interrupt their prospects. Besides being the polite thing to do, there are two big reasons why listening can be so important. The first reason is that most people are not great listeners, which allows you to stand out and allows the prospect to feel like they’re being heard. The second reason is that when a prospect opens up, eventually they’ll tell you everything you need to know in order to close their deal, almost like giving you a map. The question is: will you be listening when they do?
3. Don’t let yourself get too high, or too low
Sales comes with soaring highs and abysmal lows. This rollercoaster can be difficult for many, and the ups and downs have chewed up more salespeople than you could imagine. But the way to deal with this isn’t to suffer through it, it’s to take the bad with the good, and to understand that when things are going well, you shouldn’t let yourself get too high, and when things are bad, you shouldn’t let yourself hit rock bottom. Consistency is the name of the game in sales, and that goes for your ability to stay even-keeled, not just your ability to close deals.
4. Never compromise your integrity
In sales, there will be ample opportunity to cut corners or compromise your integrity in exchange for money. You should avoid doing this at all costs. No amount of money is worth not being able to look at yourself in the mirror, and the slippery slope is real, because once you cross that line, you’ll be seen as an unethical and dishonest rep for life.
Don’t lie, don’t mislead, and don’t promise things you can’t deliver on. Conduct yourself with the utmost honesty and integrity at all times, even if it means you pass up on a few extra bucks every now and then.
5. Always try to improve
This last rule is overlooked by many, especially those who find themselves in a great place in their career. But staying stagnant is no longer an option, not with the rapid changes taking place in the sales world every single year.
New AI sales technology is changing sales enablement for the better, and those who embrace it (along with working on their selling skills) will escape the hamster wheel, while those who are content with where they are will eventually get left behind.
In fact, high performers are 2.8X more likely to use AI than underperformers, according to Salesforce. That’s because top reps know time is money and are constantly looking for ways to recoup unproductive time. Dooly users recover 5+ hours a week in unproductive admin and Salesforce gruntwork. Follow the required field rules without selling your soul (and free time). Sign up for Dooly for free in 30 seconds.
Join the thousands of top-performing AEs who use Dooly every day to stay more organized, instantly update their pipeline, and spend more time selling instead of mindless admin work. Try Dooly free, no credit card required. Or, Request a demo to speak with a Dooly product expert right now.