It does not matter if you are a green salesperson, a one-man-band starting your own business or a career salesperson starting off with a new company. The rules are the same!
Sell or fail! This is true for every salesperson - everyday!
Not filling the sales funnel.Often, the new salesperson is uncertain of the company culture, the products, the policies, and perhaps even uncertain of their own ability. This often results in avoidance of actual selling.
In selling quality is better than quantity, however, quality takes time and so when first starting in a sales role it is important to create as much activity as possible - go for the quantity! Mistakes may be made but chances are that your own prospects and customers will teach you more about your business then reading sales literature at your desk.
When first starting in a sales role spend all of your time speaking to prospects and you will begin the process of filling the sales funnel. The conversion rate will be lower than later when you have more experience but you can make up for this in pure volume. Put in the extra hours and fill the sales funnel with prospects, referrals and opportunities. This activity will create a flow of business down the road. Building a sales territory is like filling a damn with water.
Not asking of questionsNobody likes to look stupid but all of us can be stupid in a new role. If you're uncertain ask questions. If possible ask for a mentor to help you during your first few weeks. An experienced salesperson will help you understand how things work in your new company and will know where your sales activity is best focused. Ask who the most successful salesperson is and ask them what they do everyday. Be humble and most people will be helpful. Don't only ask the salespeople as lots of others may know how a company works and what customers want - receptionists, drivers, and accounting people can all provide information that can make the sales learning process more informed.
Not getting an order quicklyIt does not matter what the business, when a new salesperson is hired management will be nervous until something is sold. Trust me, you don't want your managers nervous over your performance so just sell something! Quickly look for the low hanging fruit, the warm leads and quickly close a sale or two. You can then take a breath, and begin the process of building your sales territory.
Not documenting your activityManagement likes to know what is going on and part of this is often asking salespeople to complete reports on their activity. Lots of salespeople don't want to do this and so avoid the documentation or don't fully complete what is required. Not doing reports can be a sore point with sales managers. The last thing you want is a manager scrutinizing your reports - just do the work!
Not building an industry profileAs quickly as possible get to know everyone in your industry or market. Find the associations, clubs, pubs and meet and great! If your company sells to all industries then get work on building the highest possible profile. Build your LinkedIn connections, get busy on Twitter (use Hootsuite to schedule your tweets so as not to spend selling time Tweeting), go to networking events and hand your card to everyone you meet - even start a blog! If you spend two hours a day (that is fourteen hour a week) building your profile then in three months your business community will know who you are - I think this just might be helpful!
Good luck! Hard work is the best place to start a sales career.