How to Play The Game of Sales


“I’m not a spreadsheet guy. I can barely use Excel. I can barely type,” says Jorge Soto, Head of Startup Education at Sales Hacker. “But I love selling. I love prospecting. I love doing the deal. I love the entire thing.”

Soto got his start in the old fashioned way, selling door to door for a company called Southwestern while he was still a graduate student. “I learned how to sell doing door to door sales, “ he says. “I understood how to actually negotiate and work through an organized conversation. I learned the game of selling.”

The game of sales

Soto introduces all his new reps to that game of sales. “The game is this for an SDR,“ he says. “You just got out of college. You don’t know what the fuck you want to do forever. But I hired you because I believe that you want to win. I’m looking to hire people that are willing to go through the trials and tribulations of what winning means.”

Winning in sales means dealing with rejection — a lot of rejection — just as Soto had to when he was knocking on doors. “You’ve got to get your mind right,” says Soto. “You’ve got to develop mental toughness. You’ve got to be able to deal with the roller coaster that is sales. Any moron can send out emails that say x, but how do you deal with the emotional ups and downs?”

So before you learn anything else about sales, you must develop a mindset which will help you to deal with rejection and with your own ego. “Developing that mindfulness around this stuff, that’s part of the game,” says Soto. “It’s setting yourself up for success when things get difficult. I box a little bit. When you go into a fight, you can’t believe that you’re not going to get hit. You’ve got to be ready to take a couple of hits.”

How to be the best salesperson

Once you have worked on your mindset, what do you do next? “In basketball it’s about getting the ball through the hoop as many times as you can,” says Soto. “In sales, it’s about the fundamentals. How can I make more calls? How can I get kicked in the ego a thousand times a day and keep moving forward and get better?”

You also need to become an expert on what you are selling. “You need to understand, why are we selling to these people?” says Soto. “You need to understand all the market trends, read the books, understand your craft.” When it comes to the best books to read to learn your craft Soto has a few suggestions. “I really like a book called, The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino,” he says. “I like Spin Selling because it’s a psychologist researcher talking about sales. It’s a very unbiased perspective. I’m going to plug Sales Hacker and our blog for sure.”

Why play the game?

His last recommendation is more unusual: Start Where You Are by Buddhist nun, Pema Chodron. “I love a lot of Buddhist, eastern philosophies,” says Soto. “It’s not about being only awesome at sales. It’s all about being a better, more holistic comprehensive person.”

That’s why what’s important is not just learning to play the game of sales, but asking yourself why you want to play. “There’s a reason why I played this game,” concludes Soto. “Although I love basketball, I’m probably not going to be able to dunk in the NBA. This is a game that doesn’t actually have physical limitations. It’s not really about selling this software thing. Who cares about that? It’s about how can I challenge myself on a daily basis to be able to meet or exceed my goals.”

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Ciara Byrne
Ciara Byrne
Lapsed developer, current tech journalist, would-be media mogul, Ciara is fascinated by how new technology can help create a better world.

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