A False Sense of Confidence: School to Work

Let me get something straight right off the bat:

College or University is useful to develop a foundation for various soft and hard skills that you need to effectively function in the workplace.

Its true value is to give you a tool set to think analytically and allow you to not just view the world beyond a surface level – but really engage with it.

That being said, its fake value is in giving you a veneer that success in school with a  high GPA, and the false sense of superiority that comes with that, means you’re going to be a world-class professional day one.

You’re not.

I started working at In The Funnel in the middle of May 2019, roughly a month after finishing university. During my on boarding, I had a very clear sense of what I was learning, or so I thought. Theoretically, the way ITF functions is something that made complete sense to me.

It was clear we targeted small-to-medium sized B2B companies, primarily in Tech, Manufacturing, Insurance and start-ups. My goal in that sense is very simple, find prospects in that target market and create demand to our three workshops that target different levels of sales.

The goal every step of the way was to add value, with everything I knew about what we do, that seemed straight forward.

Then I started calling at the beginning of June:

All that great theory I had learnt went out the window as soon as I was on the phone. That false sense of confidence I had going into the call vanished when I was talking to someone for the first time. I was almost comfortable, at first, getting voicemail, as I could say rehearsed lines without feedback. However, getting someone on the phone made me realize that this is a hell of a lot harder than just learning theory – I had to apply it.

We teach this exact structure in our demand generation workshop; in case you’re interested.

This is what my development looked like:

1) The first thing I got comfortable with was leveraging the theoretical, knowing about the company, and the person I was calling and turning that information into a point of interest. This is the easiest part to develop, as having lots of fall-back info on a prospect gives you more options to keep the conversation going.

2) The second skill that became better is time management and organization. For each prospect we target, we employ a method of 7-12 reach outs over a 3-week period to get someone warm and engaged. Scaling that structure from 1 to 10 to 50 in a day is no small feat! Not to mention, I was starting to use our new CRM and learn how to manage this volume of calls in day. Being uncomfortable with calls and learning Salesforce does fill your day but forces you to learn FAST.

3) The third skill I built on top of that was breaking through the wall. Honestly, this just comes with practice and is the hardest part (in my opinion). Those 10-15 seconds of making your first impression are critical. Your flow, delivery, timing is everything, and if you did enough prep, the point of interest will engage your prospect genuinely enough they’ll open immediately.

Tip; talk about their work experience and their previous roles, the adage is true, we do love to talk about ourselves.

4) Here is where I am currently, I am now comfortable with engaging the conversation and asking leading question to a prospect to then develop those questions into potential problems In The Funnel can solve. However, the last step that I am still working on in July, is closing.

What is amazing is the structure I have been following, that we teach upon at In The Funnel, has worked and built up a skill I thought I would never utilize in the span of 6 weeks.

Finding that structure in sales is critical, and building that level of professional success is something that you cannot expect to achieve day one right out of school. 

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By Marius Royal
Sales Development - In The Funnel