27 Lessons from 27 Years in Sales

Once upon a time, I worked in an office with no internet, no smartphone and no laptop.

The only way to do business with a client was to pick up the phone and talk to people or have a long lunch where you shook hands and the deal was done with 1 person. Notes were later handwritten on an A5 postcard instead of a CRM.

There was no hiding behind email or social media in 1994.

Since starting off at the bottom as a sales executive, I’ve launched several products, become a manager, lost my job in the recession, risen to become a global manager, won several awards, been fired by email while on holiday and risen from the ashes to write the Amazon bestsellers Everybody Works In Sales and The Easy Guide to sales for Business Owners. I’ve now delivered 300+ sales training and LinkedIn training sessions to staff across the UK and Europe.

Here’s 27 lessons I’ve learned that will help you do progress in sales and get better results.

  1. Always be learning – the more you know and take action on, the more you grow.

  2. Kindness is one of the most underrated qualities.

  3. So is vulnerability. It makes you more human and relatable.

  4. Don’t work with terrible bosses…

  5. ... at the same time, learn from terrible bosses on how not to behave.

  6. Take 100% responsibility for everything you do.

  7. It’s okay to make mistakes, it's not okay to make the same mistake twice.

  8. Celebrate the success of your colleagues.

  9. Don’t make a phone call when you’re angry.

  10. Never send an email when you’re angry.

  11. Prospect every day. Even if it’s just for 1 hour a day.

  12. Mental Health is a serious problem. Take care of what you feed your body and mind.

  13. There’s no such thing as 99% integrity.

  14. Stop Selling. Listen. Ask questions. Listen. Recap. Listen. Recommend.

  15. Investing in sales training will take you further than you could ever imagine.

  16. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

  17. Client Testimonials are vital. Always overdeliver and ask for them afterwards.

  18. When you connect with someone on LinkedIn, don’t sell straight away. You lose credibility and often don’t get a second chance.

  19. Share your client’s content on social media. They will appreciate it. 

  20. Hitting target doesn’t make you amazing, that’s your job. Great salespeople overachieve.

  21. Surround yourself with people smarter than you and learn from them.

  22. Don’t criticise the competition. 

  23. Don’t gossip, it will come back to haunt you.

  24. Tone can be misread by email. Try to speak to people, have online demos or meet face to face.

  25. Most salespeople aren’t bad, they’re badly trained. If your company won’t invest in you, invest in yourself.

  26. Move With The Times – many salespeople over 45 years old refuse to embrace social media and think there’s nothing left to learn. Once you believe that, it’s time to leave sales.

  27. Virtual Selling will be here for a long time. Treat it with the same effort if you were seeing a client face to face

Niraj is a trusted sales coach, LinkedIn trainer and was recently announced as a Salesforce Top Sales Influencer To Follow in 2021.

He helps you with overcoming objections, mindset, prospecting, LinkedIn and hitting your target.

Contact him today through Professional Academy or LinkedIn to get results for your business.

If you'd like to further your knowledge and skills as a salesperson, why not take a look at Professional Academy's accredited ISM Sales Qualifications? Available at a range of levels, they can improve your practical skills and help you achieve your career goals. Get in touch with a qualifications adviser today for more information, or download a sales prospectus