5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting in Sales

8 Mins


My top tips for billing success

Our 2020 Global Top Biller, Luis Rebmann, is now L&D Manager for our operation in Germany. Rooted in sales, Luis shares his tips on how to become a top biller!

Have conversations – good sales is all about relationships, so be prepared to talk to your potential customers, don’t just ‘sell’ to them.

Be persistent and consistent – this is really important. If you assume people ‘don’t want to hear from you’, you’ll stop calling before you should. Instead, keep calling and making contact, and have a consistent message. It works!

Use the 80-20 rule – when I was a Consultant, I think about 80% of my conversation was small talk, building a relationship with the client, and 20% was actual business. This helps to build those trusted relationships.

Always listen – listening is such an under-rated skill, and it’s critical to understanding your client and what they want. Don’t try to be the person who tells them what to do – listen, understand, empathise and show them how you can help.

Be honest – if something isn’t working, or you have an issue with a candidate, just say so. Clients will respect transparency and honesty and you can find ways of working together to solve any problems.

Of course, there’s much more to becoming a top biller – working hard, being focused, having a plan and being able to adapt. At JCW, our Academy training programme – now run by Luis in Germany, and available across the business – helps new consultants to understand their skills, see where they can improve and get on with helping clients as quickly as possible.

Five things I wish I’d know when I started in sales!

Our Global Top Biller for 2020, Luis Rebmann, now manages our L&D offering across our operation in Germany. He’s passionate about sharing his skills, and helping consultants not just to become successful, but to really enjoy their work. Luis came to us from a career in insurance sales, where there was little formal training. So what does he wish he’d known when he first started out?

  • Look for the most valuable business

Sales is a pressured environment, and it can be easy to fall into the trap of trying to get a few jobs from lots of different clients, so that your numbers ‘look good’. But actually, there may be more long-term value for you in looking at things a different way – closing a retainer client, for example, will help you to build a solid relationship, expand the recruitment potential and be more time-efficient.

  • It’s OK to be up-front

When you start out in sales, it’s easy to get into the habit of being vague with clients, or covering up errors or problems because you want the client to be happy. But in the long term, this doesn’t work, because the client can stop trusting you and once that happens, you lose the work. So even when it is hard, be honest and up-front with clients, candidates and your team!

  • It’s fine to grow in smaller increments

Good sales is all about building relationships – that’s what brings long-term value to both parties. So don’t try and increase your billing by too much too quickly. It’s actually fine to grow in smaller increments – the growth is the most important thing. As soon as you realise that, you can start concentrating on the value in your business and your client relationships – and the billing growth will follow.

  • Focus on your work-life balance

I joined JCW during the pandemic, and it was then that everyone started to realise how important their work-life balance really was. You can still succeed at work and have a life outside it! So set reasonable boundaries and take time for yourself. A burned-out consultant won’t be a successful biller.

  • Enjoy it!

Of course, work is sometimes stressful – it’s the nature of the business. But you must enjoy your work. At JCW, part of our interview process for new consultants is taking the time to see whether this is a role they will naturally enjoy or not. It’s important to be happy in your work – and it will motivate you to learn more, develop your skills and move your career forward.