Do you have a mentor to help guide you through your sales career? This week on INSIDE Inside Sales, Darryl is joined by Sales Executive rockstar and co-founder of RevGenius, Galem Girmay. Darryl and Galem discuss how to best find support and guidance from your network to help you grow and advance your career. They also share valuable advice on finding a mentor such as making sure your relationships aren’t transactional, disregarding your naysayers, and how to avoid the echo chambers that keep you misinformed. Learn how to find the supports that will help you develop your sales superpower on this episode of INSIDE Inside Sales!
The One Step You Need to Take To Put Yourself Out There (and Reap the Benefits)
- There have never been so many resources available for salespeople to learn and grow at every stage of their careers. Books, blogs, podcasts, videos, and online communities abound. But the best way to develop both professionally and personally is through relationships with others.
- Building your network and finding mentors may seem intimidating, especially in difficult times. (2020, anyone?) But RevGenius co-founder Galem Girmay says you can forge new relationships no matter who you are, where you’re from, and what’s going on in the world. Just make sure you do it with integrity.
- Galem shares her best tips for approaching potential mentors, networking through getting involved in communities and causes, becoming a role model for others –– all while growing your confidence and leveling up your sales game.
Lurkers, ghost followers, stalkers –– whatever you call them, most people who follow us on social media don’t engage at all. In fact, 90% of social media activity is passive. It would be creepy if it wasn’t so common.
(Wait, maybe it’s still creepy.)
Anyway, there’s an advantage to this absurd reality: You can stand out by jumping in. Real, consistent, enthusiastic engagement with a community (either one you join or one you build) is the quickest way to grow your personal brand.
That’s because even if you have thousands of followers across the spectrum of social media, only a relative handful will actually interact with your posts. And even fewer people create content (and thus provide value.)
That’s what Galem Girmay did in 2020. She launched a podcast, blew up on Clubhouse, and co-founded RevGenius, a multichannel community of revenue-generating sales, marketing, and revops professionals that has had a huge influence on the industry since it launched in June.
Even so, she knows that you have to hustle to make a splash.
“That’s the thing about communities, regardless if it’s on Slack, LinkedIn or any other socials: You can have tons of connections, but that doesn’t mean you have great engagement and a following that will go with you regardless of which platform you migrate into,” Galem says.
So it’s important to be generous to those who do –– without a quid pro quo mentality. She’s confident that authentic, generous interactions with like-minded folks always pays off. I’m totally on board with that — how can you not be, folks?
Born and raised in Sweden, Galem knows what it’s like to be the only Black person in a room. And even though she’s fairly young, she’s wise beyond her years. Now based in London, she is passionate about lifting up others –– maybe just like you. On an episode of INSIDE Inside Sales, she shares her best advice for networking with integrity.
Networking 101: A warm intro always wins
Galem is a thoughtful networker. Her approach to networking in general, and mentorship in particular, is “about being intentional, strategic and thoughtful about who I reach out to and why,” she says.
“I wouldn’t just randomly reach out to someone just because they seem to be a nice person, unless I’ve heard something interesting about them that I want to have a conversation about.”
It’s all too common –– and “so awkward” to approach a prominent sales leader as if they’re a celebrity: “They’re just other human beings,” Galem adds.
It hasn’t happened to her (yet, because her star is clearly on the rise), but if anyone did that to her, she’d think it was weird. A red flag, even.
“I don’t know how I would respond,” she says. “I would probably feel like Beyonce.”
But not in a sipping-mimosas-on-my-private jet way. More like in a screaming-paparazzi, get the hell away from me kind of way.
Instead, she has grown her network, made new friends and even found mentors by connecting with people organically –– through warm introductions. And she did it all online.
“Over the past eight to 10 months, I’ve lived in a virtual world like many others,” Galem says when we talk in January 2020.
So she’s using social media to do one of the things it was meant to do –– “match people up,” she says.
“If I know you know somebody I’m interested in and curious about, I’ll ask if you mind making an introduction. And if I’ve already created a relationship with you, I already know before asking that you won’t have a problem making it happen.”
Rising up while being locked down: The birth of RevGenius
2020 was a hell of a journey for, well, everyone.
But for Galem, it was actually a year of incredible growth. It was around March, when lockdowns began, when she “got really involved, really hyper-intentional, and focused on executing to grow and to build my career,” she says.
Back then, she was not feeling nearly as confident as she does today “about who I am and what I have to share with the world,” she explains. “I was afraid of being judged … I wanted to protect myself.”
But Galem also knew she had far to go, both professionally and personally. She was “desperate for information and connections,” she says. She wanted to meet people and learn from them, but her lack of confidence was holding her back.
She reached what she calls “f*ck-it level,” which meant she finally asked herself: What do I have to lose?
The answer? “Absolutely nothing.”
So she thought: It won’t hurt to try. Let me see where this goes.
And that’s what she did. Galen “put herself out there” like never before.
She applied for, and was accepted to, the Top One Percenter Academy, a private, members-only sales network focused on mastering the art of sales.
She became active in Sales for The Culture, a Slack group that supports Black sales professionals. And perhaps most notably, Galen co-founded RevGenius.
But that’s not all (it never is): She began to give back, too. Galen joined an advisory board for School the World, a nonprofit that works to end extreme poverty through education. She began hosting a podcast called What Is Your Legacy, which dives into… exactly what you think it might!
By the end of the year, she made a huge move in her career as well, taking a new position as a sales executive at a new company, GoContractor.
“I really am focused on building a long-term career in sales,” Galem says. “I made the right move for myself and my family to do that. So that’s what’s happening on the professional side of things. But here’s the thing about being focused. It’s not transactional for me, it’s about building relationships.”
Be you, ‘be the domino’ in all your relationships
So how, exactly, did Galem gain even enough confidence to level up to “f*ck-it”?
She didn’t, really. She just had to do it and come out on the other side.
Now she knows it’s about figuring out who you are and owning it –– “constantly becoming a new version” of yourself.
“Here’s the thing I want to be very clear about,” she says. “You’re not supposed to be like other people.”
As a child of immigrants who grew up in the foster care system, Galem defied the odds to get to where she is today. But once she recognized how inspiring her journey is to others, she found a way to define it as a skill.
Galem says she has “always been the domino” in her relationships, both on and off the job. That means being a connector and starting something others tend to follow –– “something people look at and say: Wow! I can do that too.”
That’s the most important lesson she learned in the era of social distancing.
“Now I’m at a new ceiling,” she says. “I have other places to go and things to explore.”
Now, she sees empowering others as her mission. And she thinks every one of us can find their individual superpower.
When you do, Galem says, “Do more of that. Then get other people to do it too.”