Keys to Becoming a Successful SDR: Coachability

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In this series, we turn to our amazing Always Hired sales bootcamp graduates to discuss the keys to becoming a successful SDR. The first topic we discuss is coachability. Here, Kate Turchin, SDR at Evident.io discusses her journey to Always Hired and her success at landing her role.

When I arrived at Always Hired, I felt like it was my last chance.

My name is Kate, and I’m a 29-year-old entrepreneur.  I spent most of my 20’s running around nightclubs from San Francisco to Vegas, indulging in after hours parties with groupies and selling bikinis to go-go dancers and costume stores. Not exactly what my parents had envisioned when they paid for my college ten years ago.

I’ve had a salesperson's attitude my whole life. While other kids were playing at recess, I was collecting pretty rocks from the playground, then selling them to the grown-ups who would give me two quarters out of respect for my diligence.

When I got to AlwaysHired, I knew it was time for me to change. A friend of mine who is in tech told me about the sales bootcamp, and I enrolled the next day. I was the slang-speaking, cursing, potty-mouth of the class.

My classmate Brian was the total opposite of me. He was the clean-cut, clean-eating, smooth kind of guy. We bonded over Kombucha and gossip, but mostly because we held each other accountable. When I flunked my test and got defensive, he called me out. “There’s no way you can be coachable when you are so prideful,” he said.

During the sales bootcamp, I received a lot of feedback about my speech. I used a lot of slang, and sometimes I didn’t even realize it.

“You can’t say, ‘how’s it goin’’ in an interview,” Gabe told me after a mock call.

“What?” I said. “That’s not slang!”

He gave me a look. Conversation, over.

I tackled my problems one at a time. After my first couple weeks of interviewing, I got no offers, but I got feedback. “I totally suck at phone interviews,” I said to my trainer at office hours. “The feedback I keep getting is that I sound too nervous.”

“That’s good,” he told me. “Last week all your feedback was about your speech. Now, it’s this. That means you fixed the old problem. So let’s work on the new one.”

There were times when I got discouraged, but through it all, I remained coachable. I asked for help, I owned up to my faults, and I took direction.

I remember one day at office hours, my trainer and I were role-playing for interviews. “Can I tell you about some feedback I recently got?” I said. “I was told that I ‘fail to express personal growth in my storytelling.’ I feel like they want me to open up, but I can’t open up to these people. I don’t know them. What if they judge me?”

“Everyone has a past,” my trainer said. “Your past isn’t bad as long as you own it. It only looks bad when you try to hide it.”

“What if I open up and they don’t like me?” I said.

“Well, you haven’t gotten any offers yet. What do you have to lose? You might as well give it all you’ve got.”

These coachable moments were the key to my success.  I took my trainer’s advice and I let my guard down. I learned how to articulate the challenges I’ve faced in my past, and most importantly the tenacity I developed as a result, and that made all the difference. In the end I got three offers, and an amazing new career in tech.

If there’s one thing everyone should be, it’s coachable. At Always Hired, the trainers will give you the tools and the knowledge you need to be successful, but after that it’s up to you to put them into action.

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