How to be an accidental expert — with Jessica Keen

Even if you don’t feel like an expert when you’re at the start of your sales career, you can still make your prospect think you have it all under control. Jessica Keen from ComplyAdvantage will show you how.

Back in February, we staged another of our exclusive SDR-only events, in partnership with Venatrix. Every talk at this event was aimed at helping SDRs be as good as they can be, bringing value to the 100+ SDRs in the audience. Based on these talks, we’ve put together some articles. Even if you couldn’t be with us at the event, you can still get inspired.

Jessica Keen

Jessica Keen is Head of Sales for EMEA at ComplyAdvantage, showing the world that compliance doesn’t have to be painful. She is rightly regarded as a terrific sales leader. However, this wasn’t always the case.

‘Rewind back to 2010 it’s my first day in this 360 sales job. It was great. The not so great bit was that I closed only eight deals in the whole year, valued about $70,000. My target was $370,000!’

‘But at the end of year meeting with my boss, they said, ‘Hitting target needs work, but you’re doing all the right things. When you do the right things, the results will come.’

This appraisal gave Jessica confidence, that if you get the basics right, you can wait for the skills that only come with experience to arrive. Here are Jessica Keen’s three tips for making your prospect think you’re credible, even when you feel you aren’t.

1 — Be professional when you set up meetings

If part of your role is to set up meetings, be the best you can at that, without worrying about product knowledge, closing or anything else. When you do this, you make dealing with you a simple process. Your prospect will appreciate it and your credibility will grow.

Make sure you have these four areas covered:

· People — introduce yourself

· Purpose — tell them the objective of the meeting

· Process — control the process, with an agenda that your prospect agrees with

· Permission — make sure your prospect allows you the time you need

2 — Remember — you don’t need to know everything

Everyone talks about being an expert, but you don’t need to know your product inside-out and back-to-front. If you’re going to a meeting, understand the important stuff and don’t worry about the rest.

‘Treat everything as a conversation and have this kind of innocent curiosity. That will really see you through.’

When you’re curious, your lack of detailed knowledge can be a virtue. Ask questions of your prospect — most like nothing more than talking about themselves.

3 — Know the next steps

The most important tip (and one told to Jessica by her dad!) is to know the next step and get the customer to agree to it.

But what’s even better is to know all the steps of the sales process and get the customer to agree to the next two steps.

When you can do this, you can own the conversation. You learn to guide the customer through the sales process.

‘You don’t start making a cake without the recipe. It’s the same thing in sales. Know where you’re directing the customer.’

Over to you

Thanks to Jessica for that brilliant talk. Now, we want to know what you think.

When you were just starting out in the industry, how did you make sure you got the basics right?

Did you have to fake it till you made it?

Let the Sales Confidence community know with a comment below.

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