At 4:23am in the morning, I hopped in an Uber to the airport, and it was the start of something pretty amazing that would take place during the next 36 hours.
No, this amazing experience was neither a surprise free breakfast nor heated seats. Instead, I received the gift of new appreciation, clarity, a sign, and a message–all of which are relevant sales lessons for SDRs.
During our free online bootcamp and paid fellowship, we teach all of our students to take advantage of every conversation and strive to always be learning. Last Thursday morning, it was my turn to wake up and smell the coffee.
As I spoke with, my Uber driver, he quickly reminded me of a few core principles that apply to everything from driving for a ride-sharing company to working as an SDR:
- Outwork Your Competition and Peers
My Uber driver shared with me that he worked every night from 10pm-7am. When I asked him the simple question, “Why?,” he simply shared that no one else was working these shifts. This guaranteed him a steady flow of riders that gave him the best opportunity to make the most money while other people were literally sleeping.
- Build a Process, Test, Adapt, and Then Stick to It
This timing during the night that the Uber driver worked was no accident. When he first started working for Uber, he wasn’t happy with his income and decided that he needed to test and adapt his approach if he was going to make it. He found that early in the week, he could get airport runs at this time and during the weekend, he could get the bar crowd. He identified a time frame that would maximize his revenue.
- Don’t Complain– Do The Work, and Don’t Make Excuses
During our ride to the airport, as I sat in the backseat half awake, he turned up jazz music and did not complain. All sales people tend to complain all the time–even after they land great roles–and Fred should be a role model for anyone that says that their “job is too hard” versus taking the time to grind and do the work.
Fast-forward two days later when I was having dinner and came across the sign below. It quickly reminded me that:
- When You Have A Meeting Quota, Don’t Panic, Build Pipeline
With a short Q4, it is easy for SDRs to panic. The rocking chair quote should serve as a reminder to constantly keep focusing on your activities,, rather than worrying about the limited number of days and seasonality. Remember it is a numbers game–not a waiting game.
- Talk With Mentors and Peers
When you are feeling the pressure, remember this is when it’s most important to ask for help. Talk with your manager, mentors, and colleagues for their suggestions on overcoming these feelings, and work through the stress with their support.
- If You Stay Stagnant, You Will Die
If you chose to do nothing rather than putting in the hard work, you aren’t going to make it. Be honest with yourself about what is working, what isn’t, and then set expectations so you can hit your goals.
Racing back to catch up with work at the end of the weekend, I sat down to crank through emails. Someone had left the below fortune cookie note next to me at a local coffee shop, and it reminded me of these final lessons:
- Being a SDR at a Startup is Really F***king Hard
If you are going to go into sales at a startup, please take a moment and realize how challenging it is going to be. Landing a job is hard enough, but then add on the pressure to hit targets, fight through operational chaos, sell a product no one has heard of, and then make sure that you are ready for the battles that are about to take place and the lessons you will learn shortly thereafter.
- It is a Marathon, Not A Sprint
If you are going to be in sales for the long-haul, remember to breathe. There will definitely be ups, and definitely be downs, and everything in between. Set goals for your sales career so that you don’t measure yourself by the number of deals you closed, but by the relationships you have built and value you have added for others around you.
- Life Is To Be Enjoyed, Not Endured
My dad first shared this line with me, and I’d encourage everyone to think about it as they are at their current sales role or looking to take a new one. Being an SDR isn’t for everyone, so make sure that you are spending your time doing something that is important to you and that you care about.
If you made it through reading these nine lessons, you are already on your way. I feel extremely fortunate with everything I learned this past weekend and over the past few years. It is my hope that maybe just one of these reminders struck a chord with you and that it hopefully will make your week, end of the quarter, or even life that much better.
Mike currently works with Sales Bootcamp after Inside Sales Bootcamp was acquired. Mike has helped hundreds of people break into tech and sales roles. Reach out to Mike and join 300+ other Sales Development Pros Community on a new Slack channel
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