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Q&A with Ryan Huggon – SDR at Refract

Ryan Huggon has been an SDR at Refract since April 2019. We wanted to get to know him better, so we sat down with Ryan to get his thoughts on sales, mindset and much more besides. Enjoy.

Sales Confidence – Hey Ryan. We all know that working in sales isn’t easy. What do you do to keep a successful mindset when there are so many obstacles in your way?

Ryan – When I began my journey in sales, switching from my manual job to sitting in a nice office, I thought it would be much easier, but I was wrong. It’s very much an emotional rollercoaster!

I learned that simply making an effort to keep positive goes a long way to having the best mindset. However, it’s not always easy. I find speaking with my colleagues helps me to set my mind straight and overcome the hurdles. We are all in the same boat and have come across the same ’hurdles’, so they often help me to see things in a more positive way or show me a way over it. 

Finally, work harder. If I’m not getting the results that I want, there is always the option of putting in more time to get myself where I want to be.

SC – Facing challenges and rejection is part and parcel of being an SDR. Give us your top tips for building resilience.

This is something that I felt I could deal with coming into the role, as it takes quite a lot to annoy me and I believe I have ‘thick skin’. However, it’s never the best feeling. I look to remain confident and remember that you reached out to someone to try and help them; they just didn’t want your help. 

This also leads to not reading into it. They aren’t rejecting you; they are rejecting your service or product. So, I try to look at it that way. 

One tip I was taught is to reach out to simply have a conversation. Forget about the meeting; look to just speak to the prospect and I found better outcomes. 

SC – Sales is all about adapting, learning, developing and improving, right? What are the common mistakes and pitfalls SDRs fall into?

I think the main ‘pitfall’ Is becoming lazy in the role. As an SDR, the work can become quite repetitive and with that, the amount of research and personalisation on outreach can decrease. This will only lead to lesser results as it’s difficult to achieve a positive response if you aren’t putting effort into each outreach. 

Similarly, not asking for help or dealing with ‘hurdles’ on your own. If I’ve had a run of bad calls or not getting responses I hope for, it can affect your confidence and this can happen a few times a week. Not asking for guidance or getting back on the phone can be a slippery slope.

SC – What would you advise someone who is looking to get into sales but doesn’t know where to start?

I found my role through a recruitment company and there are plenty of them about that are focused on sales, so I would begin applying to them. 

There are other methods such as getting on LinkedIn, building your profile, connecting with salespeople and applying to companies that way. If I were to apply again, I would use LinkedIn. It is full of opportunities and full of people who want to help others progress in sales. 

SC – If you’re going to make a living out of selling something, you’ve got to know it inside out, right? How did you build your knowledge bank of the industry?

The honest answer is I use everything available to me. You have to be a student of the Industry you work in so I am constantly looking for advice, new methods and insights into any sales situation. 

My Head of Sales told me that I should always carry a pad and pen with me to any meeting or situation I am in. It helps me to take something from every session where I learn something new. 

One of the best resources is the office itself. I am often surrounded by fellow salespeople having sales conversations and discussions. It goes back to being a student, I do my best to listen out, ask questions and eventually put them into practice to build my knowledge.

SC – What are your top three resources you use to keep ahead of the game? – books, websites, blogs, magazines, podcasts etc.

I’m more of a visual learner than anything, which is why I think videos are a great way to learn and take in information. 

The exception to this is podcasts. I try to listen to a few podcasts a week, before bed or on the way into work. There are the Refract podcasts, where I can listen and learn from sales leaders speaking about different topics. 

Finally, LinkedIn is also very useful for keeping current with the industry and looking for creative ways to reach out to prospects. 

SC – Sales reps often get a bad reputation when it comes to what they do and how they do it. How much do you think an SDR role is about pushing the limits when selling to prospects?

I’m not sure that pushing the limits is always the best way to go about your prospecting. Sales reps can receive a bad reputation, as I imagine some reps do push too hard and in the wrong areas, to people who are not relevant. 

If you are reaching out to a prospect who you genuinely believe you can help and it is relevant to them, there shouldn’t be much need to push that hard. 

As I am reaching out to senior sales leaders who tend to have a lot less time on their hands, then tenacity and a little push is sometimes needed to get in front of them. However, there is a fine line between tenacity and just being pure annoying, so you have to get it right. 

The way that I see it is, if I make it personalised and relevant enough, then I should be in with a fighting chance. 

SC – Confidence is such a subjective term and can mean something different to lots of people. What does confidence mean to you and what do you do to nurture it?

To me, confidence means backing yourself, holding your head high and performing at your best. 

I often get told that I am ‘too hard on myself’ which could knock my confidence as I’m focusing on the negatives and in sales there are plenty of situations that can give you setbacks in confidence. 

In order to nurture it to be performing at my best, I focus on that positive attitude, reminding myself of the good conversations that I have had. I ask my manager where I could be going wrong and what we can do to improve outcomes – as it’s usually the bad moments in conversations that knock my confidence. 

SC – Salespeople have to multitask – from prioritising, delegating, managing their time and checking things off. Run us through how you structure and tackle your typical day at work!

Once I get in the office around 9 am and go through any tasks I have set myself: prospects I need to reach out to or give an extra nudge. I usually power through without interruptions until around 2 pm, as I work better with my head down working in solid blocks. 

The time between 9 am and 2 pm (meetings and coaching sessions on different days) is usually spent looking for prospects that fit Refract’s ICP and that I believe we can help. I take the time to research the prospect and their company before reaching out with an email, call or LinkedIn message depending on the circumstances. The most important thing to me is to make it as relevant as possible to them and pique their interest. 

I use lunch to head out for some fresh air and stretch my legs after being in the office all morning. After Lunch, it’s back in the office to repeat the actions with a fresh head. 

When 3:30 pm hits, we have a power hour as a team where we all hit the phones and book as many meetings as we can through cold calling. 

When 5 pm comes around, I’ll assess how my day has gone and if I believe I haven’t done enough or it wasn’t a great day, I’ll take my laptop home and continue to prospect and schedule emails to have a head start on the next day. 

I feel it’s best to schedule your day around what works best for you and helps you work at your capacity, but always look to work smarter, not harder.

Over to you

Thanks to Ryan for sitting down with us. Now you know how Ryan Huggon does it, we want to know about you. Leave us a comment to let us know what you think about any of the points he raised.

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