For this edition of the Central Station, I talk to Sophie van Woerkom, who has been working at Vandebron as a sales consultant since October 2018. Earlier this year, Sophie was appointed as one of the best from the sales team and therefore won Studentflex' Gouden Gieter.
Sophie van Woerkom about sales, smooth sales talk and staying critical
Are you about to start a new sales job, but do you have no idea if you are the right person for it? For this edition of the Central Station, I talk to Sophie van Woerkom, who has been working at Vandebron as a sales consultant and one of our alumni at High Potential Academy. Earlier this year, Sophie was appointed as one of the best from the sales team and therefore won Studentflex’ Gouden Gieter. I would like to know more about her view on the ‘ideal’ sales character, sales techniques and target achievements.
THE ‘IDEAL’ SALES CHARACTER
Sophie doesn’t agree that there is an ‘ideal sales character’ to be good at sales: ‘That salesman need to be extroverted and bold – à la Wolf or Wallstreet – is a bit outdated in my opinion. Especially in a team, it is important that you have a combination of all types of people’. However, Sophie does think that there are certain skills and interests that make you better at sales: ‘Of course you have to like customer contact, because you talk to (potential) customers all day long. And a degree of curiosity is really going to help you further. By building up some knowledge about people and trying to read what potential customers want and find important, you will notice that sales are flowing in. Besides, don’t be that annoying salesman with a smooth sales pitch, come across reliable instead and have the good knowledge at hand. That’s what customers appreciate.
DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS
When Sophie started her job at Vandebron, she made assumptions very quickly: ‘I immediately thought: “People réally don’t want me to call them”. It makes you take no for an answer more quickly. In practice, however, this turns out to be very different: many people like to discuss and clarify their contract.’ According to Sophie, you shouldn’t be afraid of rejection either: ‘Not every phone call or conversation becomes a sale, but a lot of calls do work out. Get over it, and you’ll notice how often you can turn a ‘no’ into a ‘yes’. And, besides, nobody expects you to reach all your targets within a week. Gradually you’ll get better and better. It’s a learning process.’
Sophie has always looked at her work with a critical eye: ‘If you want to grow in sales, you have to ask for feedback yourself. Ask others for improvements, listen to the conversations of your colleagues. This is how you develop your own style.’ Personal development is key for Sophie: ‘The skills you acquire in sales will always come in handy in professional life. Service-oriented work, recognising what a customer wants, daring to stand your ground. If I have to name one achievement that will help me the most, it is that it can make a world of difference how you communicate something. That can make the difference between success and failure. Because of my sales job, I now know how to handle conversations well and how to come across – a skill I will apply for the rest of my life’.
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