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Every Black Belt Was Once A White Belt

Every Black Belt Was Once A White Belt

I came across this quote a few weeks back and it stuck with me. (Panda Express fortune cookies are deep!)

In this post, I intend to draw some comparisons (or lack thereof) between Sales & Karate.

I know what you’re thinking… “This is going to to be just like every comparative X is like Y LinkedIn post riddled with metaphors about how karate will prepare you to be roundhouse kicked in the face by Chuck Norris on a cold call” or “This is going to be full of stupid Dad jokes about how the Bruce Lee’ds are weak”

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I can go all day with the Dad jokes, but this is about something more important.

This is, in my humble opinion, about the foundation and future of sales:

When I joined Vendition over two and a half years ago, I joined with a purpose. I recognized the same gap that CEO, James Nielsen recognized. There are over 4.5 million people each year earning some sort of college degree, and a very small fraction of them have ever even heard the term “Sales” as a profession.

In addition to the millions of college graduates, there are people switching careers from other industries, coming to your tech hub with all the ambition, communication skills, resilience, tenacity, accountability, coachability, grit, intellectual curiosity, competitive drive,(Insert your ideal SDR characteristic here) that your open SDR seat really needs.

These “Entry-Level” aspiring SDRs are out there and they are met by SDR/BDR/ADR/MDR/LDR/ISR jobs posted on LinkedIn that look like an amalgam of the following:

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“Companies are looking to hire Entry Level Black Belts.”

Here is what it looks like when you pull up Frequently Asked Questions for a local Karate Dojo:

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Don’t get me wrong…I don’t believe everyone is cut out for sales, and we all have a number to hit. But imagine for a second if karate dojos started only admitting Black Belts into their class… Where would the future Black Belts come from?

If companies/dojos fail to adopt the responsibility to identify (within a White Belt) the DNA of a future Black Belt and give them the foundation, coaching & mentorship they need to launch a successful sales career, the future of Sales Development and every position Sales Development supports (or feeds into) is grim.

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A tradition we have at @Vendition is sharing our first job on our first day. To every CEO,CRO, VP of Sales, SD Leader etc. out there making a hiring decision right now, take a second to remember that someone took a shot on you early in your career and you wouldn’t be where you were today without that shot.

When it comes to making your next SDR hire, try a different approach. Instead of looking for something on a resume, look for a character trait. Instead of looking for a Black Belt, find a White Belt that will never quit. The future of sales depends on it.

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Leave a comment with your first job ever so I can see where everyone got started.

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