As I hung up the phone of a successful cold call, it dawned on me how amazing it is that all the choices you made and things you learnt from previous years (that at the time seemed like they had little meaning) suddenly come into play in the moments you need them.
When I left university and went straight into PR for a small (but mighty) firm I had previously interned for as a student, for just under 2 years in total. This was the first taste I got for cold calling. I spent a lot of my days ringing journalists and pitching them our clients to get them a piece in the magazine or newspaper. I was thrown in at the deep end from the get go as the first project I worked on was the NTAs but after this, the Senior Manager left, thus leaving me, myself and I to take on his role, after 2 months, with the CEO. It was a brilliant learning experience because it meant I had to step up in every single way. There was no "settling in" time. It was learn it now, learn it well and get the job done. My skin had to become thick extremely quickly, tears had to be cried in toilets or at midnight whilst trying to access press releases on the google drive (which of course were no where to be found when you have a deadline on your hands) and sweat was most definitely dripped whilst running around London with props for press days.
After this I went on to do temp PR work for Parkinson's UK to save for travelling. ( I wanted more fulfilling work within PR getting important articles in the press to spread awareness of such an unfortunate disease, than get the likes of Z-list celebs on the front cover of OK!). I developed my writing skills for press releases further as well as having the chance to pitch for their newest marketing campaign in a Dragon's Den style competition. I had to pitch to the CEO, MD and Head of Marketing which, although I was nervous for, I was mainly excited to learn how to do this well. Creating an idea, creating a strategy on how we would execute it and then presenting this to the "judges" was all a huge learning experience. (p.s I won the competition!)
Once I returned after my 3 month trip, I wanted a change from PR and went into field sales for Candy Kittens which is where I learnt how to truly sell. I would take a rucksack on my back full of our sample bags, create a map of all of the shops/cafes/newsagents I was going to visit, then I would walk door to door asking for the manager of the shop and on the spot sell them boxes of sweets. I had to learn how to negotiate, I had to leave any awkward feelings at the door, I had to be bold and confident in myself and what I was selling and I had to get the deal done.
It was totally nerve wracking at first (though luckily the thick skin I grew working in PR helped with the blunt, moody managers) but once I found the right pitch, the right rapport and grew in confidence about the USPs I was selling… I found my knack and love of the job.
The yes’s the no’s, the rude people, the lovely people and the repeat customers made me hungry for more which is when I decided to pivot my skills towards property. I worked as a negotiator for just over a year and that is really where I learnt even more skills when it came to selling over the phone and in person.
It's what confirmed the most important thing in sales. It isn't just selling the product, it is selling yourself. It is building the trust, the rapport, the confidence in both yourself and the customer and creating a relationship that lasts from start to finish of the deal.
Forward to the next year, I worked for another company selling commercial space and rooms and managed to combine ALL of the skills I had learned over the previous 5 years into this job. As it was a start up, it meant I spent 2 years witnessing and learning how a CEO builds a company through its employees and what we (the employees) must do to get clients. At this point my skin was now well and truly thick, my confidence was pretty unbreakable and my love of building relationships with clients was fully developed!
So here I am now, almost 6 years later, being able to use all of the skills and lessons I have learnt to try and build my own company in property. I'm just as nervous, confused, excited and determined as I was in my first job, except this time I have the most powerful tools there are... knowledge + hindsight. Learning from past mistakes, past successes, the rights and wrongs, the do's and don'ts all have lead up to right here, right now.
I have no idea where this business is going to go. Maybe it will fall flat on its face and I will have to pivot towards something else. Maybe it will be the success that I can and have envisioned for it and myself over the years... I don't know. However I do know that my drive to do well, to grow and develop, to learn, to fall 7 times and get up 8 is what is going to take me forward. It's what is going to take me to 5 years from now, with even more knowledge, hindsight and lessons that hopefully I can build more or new success from.
As I always say to myself, if you don't ask you don't get and if you don't try, you will never know. So, here I am trying, let's see where it goes!