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Let the sunshine out

Let the sunshine out

Serena Underwood takes on her new BDM role with an emphasis on optimism

Connector Systems recently took on Serena Underwood as a BDM.

Serena has more than 10 years experience in the IT business including previous sales and sales support jobs at Cogent and Fujitsu.

"I have been in IT for my entire career — in customer service and sales administration before sales," she tells Reseller News.

As much as she likes what she's doing, she has considered other career paths.

"It has certainly crossed my mind in the past," says Underwood. "But in IT, there is new and exciting technology being developed constantly that changes our everyday lives. I am very passionate about what I do and will be doing this for a long while yet."

What has been your experience of cold calling?

Any cold call that achieved my objective has been the best. The worst is calling customers when it has been a bad day for them and they are not necessarily polite or willing to hear what you have to say.

So how do you increase your chances of success?

Set realistic goals for yourself as to what you want to achieve with each call. Some days are more difficult than others but there will always be businesses out there that require your product or service.

Is money your only motivator for being successful?

I have far more motivation to close sales, which is a great feeling. Money definitely plays a part but it is ultimately not the most important aspect.

What’s the most useful tip you can give to a struggling salesperson?

Be positive and let your personality shine through. This is the key to encouraging your customers to truly listen to your story.

What part does personality play in your sales success, versus brand or company?

Personality is essential to developing relationships with clients. However without a good product and a company with the right direction it will not go far. All factors rely equally on each other to be successful and I am fortunate to be working for a company with a great team that delivers quality products.

Does the pressure to hit targets ever make you stressed?

Occasionally. Being able to meet and exceed targets is rewarding and stress is a part of reaching any goal.

How would you sum up the craft of sales in one sentence to an outsider?

Sales is all about relationships and the ability to deliver on what you say you will do. The better your relationship with someone and the more times you exceed their expectations, the more you will sell. It’s as simple as that really.

How long does it take you to assess how you should approach your sales pitch?

It depends on the side of the deal and resources required, it can take anywhere from a day to a couple of weeks.

Have you ever put your foot in it when talking to a client?

Of course. Everyone makes mistakes and hopefully the relationship you have with your customer means that it doesn’t affect you negatively.

How did you get past the point of struggling to make a sale to where you are today?

Being relatively new to sales I continue to experience new things every day. I have been lucky enough to know some very successful sales people throughout my career who have always been supportive and willing to share their knowledge with me.

Do you consider yourself a persuasive person?

The ability to persuade is an integral facet of a salesperson’s personality – so yes, I believe that I certainly can be persuasive.

How do you balance time spent between product knowledge training with generating leads or opportunities?

Product updates and training is constant with our vendors, so I try to have weeks planned out in advance to be able to fit everything in.

What’s the best deal you have ever closed?

Any deal closed is a good deal, being able to deliver it to a high standard to ensure an on-going relationship with repeat business is rewarding.

Would you encourage your offspring to go into sales?

Definitely, selling is an element of any job and I would love for my child to be able to experience the excitement of closing a deal knowing that they had the best solution available and had exceeded the customer’s expectations.

Has anyone ever made you feel intimidated?

Yes, but I think that would mostly come down to nerves rather than actually being intimidated by someone. Confidence and seeing yourself as an equal in any situation definitely helps to remove any feeling of intimidation.


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