No prior sales experience? This article may change the way you think about not having sales experience. An interesting fact is that some of the top producers here actually had no prior sales or cold calling experience. They are successful because they came here with qualities more important than sales experience. We have numerous examples of people who have had tremendous success working from home as appointment setters who had no previous formal sales training or experience.

A great example is the story of Laurel Hummel. Twenty-one years ago, Laurel Hummel was busy moving from Michigan, back to Houston with her three young children. Laurel had a dream of finding a job with enough flexibility to allow her to spend more time with her kids and be able to volunteer at school and church.

Laurel started with TeleReach Corporate’s virtual call center as a part time appointment setter, then became a top producer and later became a manager helping others to be successful. Laurel had no sales or cold calling experience but she did have some important other qualities that made her one of the company’s most productive people. This article is her story about how she found her way to a successful, long term career in an unexpected way.

Success in an unexpected career.

Over the years, Laurel has broken production records, and I’ve heard people say many times how she makes the job look so easy. Given such long-term success, it’s safe to say she’s found her calling, and it turns out that her calling is calling.

Laurel explains, “It’s funny to think about now. I actually prayed to find something I could do from home, anything but telemarketing. That was my prayer. Then I saw an ad in the Greensheet about attending an information meeting about working from home. I was very skeptical but I went anyway. I was determined not to put my kids in daycare or hire babysitters. My interviewer, Janelle McShan, offered me the position but expressed to me her doubts because of my lack of experience. More than 20 years later, Janelle and I are both still here and we both still laugh about that. At the time I didn’t realize that what we do here at TeleReach is not at all what people think of as telemarketing.

Now, when I hear someone refer to us as a telemarketing company, I don’t like it because it does not accurately convey who we are or what we do. We are professional business to business lead generators and appointment setters. We take pride in the quality of our work and in our relationships with each other and our clients. Technology has changed so much since those days. That was so long ago, our leads were on paper instead of a computer, and everybody had a fax machine.

I was able to earn more money than I thought I would and still have the flexibility to drive my kids to school and do the volunteer work I wanted to do at their schools and at church. The part time appointment setter position working from my home allowed me to support my family both physically and financially. When my kids got a little older, I attended college at night, which I really enjoyed. Before TeleReach, I jumped around in several fields, including restaurant management, dental and banking. Little did I know that the variety of work experiences I had would come in so handy with the diverse client base we have at TeleReach.”

Q: Laurel, you’ve been here a long time. What do you see as the primary reason people fail?

A: “Once someone makes it through the hiring process, it means they can do the job if they put their mind to it and show up with discipline and commitment. If I hadn’t kept an open mind that day many years ago when I decided to attend the information meeting, I would have missed an important opportunity to make great money, take care of my kids and work from home.

When people start to work here, we see most of the turnover in the first two to three weeks. It’s sad to see people throwing in the towel when they are actually much closer to the other side of the learning curve than they realize. The main reason people fail is attitude. They focus on the pressure of not making daily quotas and that turns into a bigger ball of negativity for the week. Instead of sticking with it, they throw in the towel. When people stay with it for at least three months, they tend to stay with us for a long time. We read the famous Napoleon Hill story about being Three Feet from Gold. What happens here is the same analogy as R. U. Darby doing all that work, then quitting and the junkman buys the mine for pennies on the dollar and makes a fortune. It happens in many other aspects of life too, but it is still sad to watch.”

Qualities more important than sales experience.

Here are a few of the qualities that have proven to be more important than sales experience. Of course, Laurel has demonstrated these qualities over the years, but in the beginning when things were new and challenging, she was resolute in her commitment to make things work for herself and her family. Here is a list of some of those important qualities:

Perseverance. Perseverance is the ability to stick to a plan, to persist in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. It is said that it took Thomas Edison 1000 tries before successfully inventing the light bulb.

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thomas Edison

Common Sense aka Horse Sense. We say it all the time – “common sense just ain’t common.” Common sense is practical intelligence, having good sense and sound judgement in practical, everyday matters. Common sense is also known as horse sense, the ability to be smart, practical and make good decisions. It’s the kind of sense that makes you light the match first before turning on the gas burner.

“Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success.” – Dale Carnegie

Emotional IQ. Emotional IQ is emotional intelligence, also known as EQ or emotional quotient. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, use and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and diffuse conflict.

“It takes something more than intelligence to act intelligently.” Fyodor Dostoyevsky

If you have these qualities but no sales experience, maybe calling is your calling too! We’d love to hear from you.

About the Author

Tracie Chancellor, CEO and Founder of TeleReach Corporate, national business to business call center specializing in sales appointment setting and lead generation, based in Houston, Texas. Chancellor is an MBA graduate of the University of Houston with over 20 years hands-on sales and marketing experience, working with privately-held businesses, universities, non-profit organizations, as well as Fortune businesses in the business to business marketing space.