The Top 5 Things I Learned in My First 5 Months as a Business Development Specialist

By: Daniel Alvarez
The Top 5 Things I Learned in My First 5 Months as a Business Development Specialist

On May 20, 2019, I started my first day as a business development specialist – or BDS – here at COACT Associates.

Five months later, I’ve learned a lot about sales, business development, teamwork, and life in general.

Here are the top five things I’ve learned in my first five months as a BDS at COACT.

1) Patience: The Calm Acceptance That Things Happen in A Different Order Than the One You Have in Your Mind

Coming into your first true sales job, you want to see results QUICKLY.

When you are new to a sales team – especially when you are surrounded by coworkers with years and years of experience – it is hard to ignore how fast-paced and “easy” the job can come to them.

You are sitting at your desk, just trying to figure out what to say when someone picks up the phone, or how to react to an objection, but then you look to your left and see your coworker handle that same exact situation perfectly.

It was a rude awakening for me to learn just how much time and patience the sales world takes. Just because I want to close an opportunity with the consumer from my end, does not mean the consumer is in the right position to accept my offering on their end. It takes time.

Write a thank you card. Send an email. Set a follow-up task. These are all essential aspects of the sales process I had to learn in a timely manner to see the results I wanted to see.

2) Slow it Down: Let the Sale Come to You

In my first couple of months as a BDS – especially during phone calls – I had the tendency to “throw up” on the consumer.

Figurately speaking, as soon as I was able to get somebody on the phone, I wanted to throw out as much information out to them as I could, hoping all I would receive on the other end was: “Great; sign me up!”

I learned very quickly that I had to let the sale come to ME.

By asking the right questions, giving the consumer time to speak, and allowing them to become interested in what I had to say and offer, I saw more and more opportunities come my way.

Introduce your product or service as an essential need for the consumer and then allow them to decide if they want to move forward.

3) The Levels of Rejection

As humans, we hate hearing the word “no.”

As a BDS, you may hear this word 50 times a day.

Starting out as a BDS, it was important for me to understand the different levels of rejection and that not every “no” can be measured the same. Everything depends on timing. Maybe someone is just flat out not interested. Maybe, there is some interest, but they need some additional information before they make a decision.

Or maybe, that consumer needs to wait an extra quarter to see if the appropriate funds will be in place to purchase your product or service.

As an up-and-coming BDS, I had to learn the difference between these “no’s” and how to act accordingly to each one.

Because a “no” today might very well be a “yes” tomorrow.

4) Learn from Your Leaders

Being a young and aspiring BDS, it is understandable to want to do everything on your own.

Whether it was wanting to prove my value early on or to show my ability to do my job well from the get-go, I wanted to show my coworkers and leaders that they made the right decision to hire me. However, organizations have leaders for a reason.

I am fortunate enough to have great leaders in my organization, especially on my own sales floor. Having the courage to ask questions and do things the right way led to my success early on.

Leaders are there to lead and inspire people, and their willingness to help a young BDS as myself to achieve his goals and propel in his career led me to uncover large successes in my sales career early on.

Knowing your leaders are by side, wanting you to succeed, is the greatest tool a young BDS can ask for because it motivates you to want to put your best work in front of you.

5) Set Your Goals as High as You Can: Shoot for the Moon

“Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

Norman Vincent Peale

Our entire life, we have learned to set goals, no matter how big or small.

When I first started as a BDS, my only goal was to learn as much I could as quickly and efficiently as possible so I could prove I could do my job. Suddenly, after only a couple of months on the job, I decided that wasn’t good enough….

I looked at the people who were constantly at the top of our sales team, and I thought to myself, I know I’m just starting out, but why can’t I be up there? I didn’t settle. I set my goals high and aimed to be at the top of the leaderboard.

Suddenly, after only three to five months, the goals I had set for myself were starting to come to fruition.

I started to notice a higher respect for my ability to do my job. I was able to be someone who people can come to for help. My own self-confidence in myself and my work soared. The number of opportunities I was able to create were off the charts for someone with my level of experience.

In the end, I learned that there’s nothing wrong with shooting for the moon because even if you feel that goal you set is a little too high to reach, you will come across a number of smaller victories.

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