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Mastering The Art And Science Of Sales, With Rana Salman

Sales is a fusion of artistry and strategy, where every rejection is a step closer to connection. In this episode, we have Rana Salman, founder of Salman Consulting, LLC, to uncover the secrets behind mastering the art and science of sales. Rana shares how the process of writing her book, Sales Essentials, paralleled her sales journey and taught her the profound impact of collaboration and partnership on her success. She reveals the importance of prospecting and the psychology behind navigating rejections and feedback. Rana emphasizes the significance of curiosity, adaptation, and embracing discomfort to refine your sales approach. Tune in and discover how it’s not just the techniques, but the mindset that sets exceptional sales professionals apart. Hit play and get ready to transform your perspective on sales and empowerment!


Check out the full series of "Career Sessions, Career Lessons" podcasts here or visit A full written transcript of this episode is also available at


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Mastering The Art And Science Of Sales, With Rana Salman

Sales Expert, Entrepreneur, Author, And Speaker

My guest is Rana Salman. Rana is an expert in the sales industry who is transforming the performance of sales teams worldwide. With a background in marketing and years of experience in enterprise-level B2B sales, she's established herself as a trusted partner for global organizations seeking to elevate their sales strategies and their execution.

As the Founder of Salman Consulting, she collaborates with mid-size and Fortune 500 IT companies to create tailored sales strategies, develop compelling sales content, and deliver impactful training sessions. Beyond our consulting work, Salman is a Cofounder of WiSE, Women in Sales Enablement, a thriving networking group connecting female sales enablement professionals from around the world.

Through WiSE, she facilitates the exchange of ideas and knowledge-sharing among industry peers. She was recognized as one of the women making an impact and enablement by Sales Enablement PRO in 2022 and was named one of the Top Female Sales Practitioners by Sales Hacker in 2021. She has been a guest speaker at prestigious events like the Texas Conference for Women, the Sales Enablement Society Conference, and the Competitive Marketing Summit. Rana, welcome, and thanks for joining me.

Thank you for having me. I'm so excited.

It’s good to get a chance to get to know you. Tell our audience a little bit about Salman Consulting and the work that you do.

For your audience, my name is Rana Salman. I lead Salman Consulting. We work with organizations to elevate their sales team's performance, and that is done through the strategy and then also the content tools and training to execute that strategy.

Who are the types of clients that you tend to work with and what kinds of services do you provide to them?

I work with hypergrowth in large IT organizations. We look at the sales process and we provide them with content tools and training that will help them address a gap within that sales process. That could be in the form of training, simplifying or defining the sales process, or coaching. It depends on what we're trying to achieve and what problems are we trying to solve.

Do you tend to focus on certain industries?

We usually do mostly IT organizations.

Is that because of your background?

I started out in sales and sales consulting serving the IT industry. However, I've been fortunate enough that I've sold in different industries in addition to IT, such as healthcare, higher Ed, and general nonprofits. I got to experience selling in different industries, but I've been selling in IT for a while.

Is all the work for corporate clients or do you do anything for individuals as well?

All of my work is for B2B. However, I do have some micro courses, Rana Sales Tip Series Unteachable, that are available for consumers that they can purchase and use. They have access to it. That's the way I wanted to scale and make sure that I'm taking care of these folks who just want a taste and they want to invest in themselves.

How does that platform work for you in terms of generating additional business and revenue for you? Is it a small part or a bigger part?

Small part. Usually, I also use it for my own customers. When I'm selling them a solution that is part of that reinforcement process. I can package it and if they don't have a learning management system, they can leverage that as well.

You started this back in 2017 if I'm not mistaken. What led to you breaking out on your own and going into the consulting practice?

It's been a while. 2017 seems like it just passed. I have sold in several industries, as I mentioned, and I've been in consulting prior to opening my own company. As I was evaluating the next phase of my career and wondered what I wanted to do, I was an immigrant. I was raised with entrepreneurs around me and not entrepreneurs in terms of having a tech company.

I was raised with folks who really worked hard in the restaurant business and in the car dealership business. I saw the hustle of being an entrepreneur. I saw the good, the hard work, and the challenges that come across. It took me a while to want to do it. Once that time came about, that little immigrant hunger inside me, I was like, “Maybe now it's time.”

How have you found the experience of being an entrepreneur?

Empowering, challenging, amazing, stressful, innovative. It's all of it. We can't just talk about the amazing time without also looking at that it is challenging and you have to have the discipline and you have to believe in your why to be waking up every day and wanting to do it. It's very easy to sit in the background and say, “I don't have a boss. I can go to the mall or do an extra aerobics class.” The reality is, you got to also have that discipline.

Somebody described it to me you have to have at least a little bit of crazy to be willing to be an entrepreneur.

It is that little bit of crazy and that crazy gets you to think about the possibilities. When you work on your own and you have, you are empowered to do that, you can come up with some crazy ideas that are helpful.

That passion and thinking about possibilities as opposed to all the reasons why you shouldn't do it. That's what fuels a lot of entrepreneurs is that they think more in terms of what can, as opposed to what can't or what might not be.

I agree. You have to be able to give up some things. The stability of a corporate job, the paycheck that comes every month. You have to be able to be realistic and recognize that there are times when you need to work hard. The ROI is going to come later.

What are your goals for the company over the next few years?

To keep on scaling it, keep on growing. Part of what makes us successful is I listen to my customers. I actively listen. We create programs that will help them. We collaborate with our customers. The minute you start thinking that you are the expert and stop listening, you miss out. Scaling our business, designing solutions that we keep moving forward, especially with AI, and with what's coming up, how that is going to change the sales atmosphere, all of that is part of our growth strategies.

Let's talk a little bit about the sales process. You talk about the art and the science of sales. I assume you have some cardinal rules that underpin your approach to sales. Besides listening to your customers, what are your top do's and don'ts?

The do's are, 1) Put the customer at everything you do. 2) Be disciplined. Follow the sales process. Trust the process. That comes with experience because when you don't trust it, you end up seeing the impact of not trusting the process. 3) Deliver on your promise. At the end of the day, we're working with other human beings and there's trust, a relationship that is formed. Are we delivering on our promises? 4) Always be prospecting. To me, the minute you stop prospecting is when your pipeline dries out. It may not dry out this quarter, but it will catch up with us. That's something that I always talk to reps on. Take control of your destiny. Always be prospecting.

5) Actively listen. As I mentioned, design solutions that meet your customer's needs and do the right thing. At the end of the day, it's important that when you look back at what you left, you want to be proud of it. Doing the right thing is critical in terms of being proud of what we're delivering to our customers.

Now, the don'ts. Don't look at the customer as a number. They're people. We tend to look at these Excel files and I've been in sales and leadership, and you look at these at the Excel files and you start looking at your quota and you're looking at them as numbers. That is one thing I don't believe in. I believe every person I work with, no matter how big the organization is, I'm not working with that organization. I'm working with that human who has a problem and has an initiative that I want to be part of their success.

Don't sell solutions you don't believe in. That's important. If you don't believe in something, it shows across. They can see when we're faking it. Make sure that you are selling something that you truly believe in. Also, don't show up and throw up products. We learn that as we start selling and seeing the impact of selling value to selling to the business outcomes, instead of showing up and just talking about how great we are. Who wants to work with someone who all they do is talk about how great they are? Last but not least, don't let go of your values. It's important that there is a non-negotiable and you visit that. In sales, we have to visit that because sometimes there's this deal and there's a quota that we want to meet. We have to ask ourselves, “Are we doing the right thing?”

You've covered people being at the center of what you're talking about, which I'm sure is one of the essences of the art. Are there other things that you would lump into the art of selling?

That's a great question. The art of selling. What makes you unique as a seller is an art. It's not just about your products. People are buying from you. They're buying from Rana. How are you showing up as a person? How are you connecting with people? How are you developing a relationship? What about your EQ, your emotional intelligence? All of this is unique to you as an individual, in my opinion.

Where does the science come in?

The sales process, the tools, the analytics that we have. All of this is part of that science, that predictive analytics, all of that is going to help us in helping that human and also in helping us grow our business.

Besides the obvious, which would be, what are the other tools that are your favorites or that you feel have the ability to have the most impact on a sales organization?

There are AI tools. For example, ChatGPT, Perplexity, AI Genius, and LinkedIn Sales Navigator. There are a lot of tools out there. What we need to do is to make sure that we understand how they work together. We're not just using tools because we want to use tools. At the end of the day, we have to think about it. How is this translating to our buyers? Are we using them to help them solve a problem, to be efficient, to be productive? There has to be a business case for why we're using these tools.

CSCL 74 | Sales Essentials

Sales Essentials: There are a lot of tools out there. What we need to do is to make sure that we understand how they work together and how they translate to our buyers and help them solve a problem.


Sometimes you get into an organization and there are so many tools, and they're disparate. They're just disconnected. It ends up being a law of diminishing returns. The ROI is not there. If the rep is trying to figure out, “How do these all work together? How are they going to help me help my customers? How is it going to help me close deals?”

The data matters too. You can have all those tools, but if the data isn't integrated, if it isn't accurate or timely, all of those kinds of things, you're just managing garbage in, garbage out.

You just said what I wanted to say. Garbage in, garbage out. We have to make sure that there is data hygiene and that we are setting our reps up for success from a sales ops perspective.

You were in sales before you started this business. How did you learn to be an effective salesperson?

I learned by looking at how others doing it, the top performers. I learned by reading and attending conferences, joining networking groups, and from my own mistakes. Those oh-darn moments where you're listening to yourself and you're cringing and you're thinking, “I need to work on that.” That self-awareness is such a gift. It's a painful gift but when you open up and look at some of the areas of your strength, but also areas that are gaps that could be a liability in your future success and you work on it, those are some things that have helped me be where I am now. I'm always learning. Right now, I'm learning from you. Every person we meet, we get to think through that growth mindset. How can I learn from that person?

With every person we meet, we have to think through that growth mindset: 'How can I learn from that person?' Click To Tweet

One of the reasons why I started this show in the first place was to interact with people I might not interact with. Even with people that I've known for many years, when you start going through their career process and hearing what they've done in more detail, why they made decisions, and where they would do things differently, you learn a lot from that.

The moment you feel like you've learned everything, especially in sales, the moment you think, “I'm so great at it. I don't need to learn anymore,” it's going to come back and bite you.

What were some of the mistakes or the tough lessons that you learned along the way?

I sold to the wrong buyers. I was working on a deal and I thought I was selling to the C-Suite. I thought they had the power to sign that check and get me that PO. Last minute I learned that it needed to go to the board. That was one instance. My mistake was I assumed. I didn't ask the question, “What does your internal decision-making process look like?” That is one area where we tend to mess up because we assume.

There's something called what we call happy ears in sales. This is where you listen to what you want to listen for. That happens because we believe hope is a strategy. We believe when our boss tells us, “Is this deal going to close?” Of course, it's going to close. They start asking us questions and unpacking. This is again, an oh-darn moment. I was listening to what I wanted to listen for.

Also, not showing up and throwing up. Being so passionate about your product that you show up and you think everyone loves your product, but let's step back. I had to learn to step back and get to know the person, what they care about, what their problems are, and then share with them how we can help them. Those were some mistakes among many others.

Now that you're working with other sales organizations in a consulting capacity, when you go in, how do you diagnose what they're doing well and what they're not doing well?

There's informally. In the sales process, there's that discovery phase. The discovery phase in our sales processes is where we meet with these stakeholders to determine what they’re trying to achieve, their problems, and the impact of these problems that are not solved. What have they tried before? What has worked? How we can help them? That's the informal part.

That discovery phase of the sales process, especially in enterprise deals, doesn't happen in one meeting. There are several meetings. There are several decision-makers in our sales process when you're doing enterprise complex deals. It could be up to 10 people, 6 to 8 to go through that discovery. There are a lot of decision-makers that are part of it.

Formally, what we do is go in and objectively look at their pipeline. We interview folks. We try to identify what is working and not working. Also, how can we help them and address some of these areas of improvement? Some of it may not be something that I do, they may need some other expertise to help them in certain areas as well.

Are there common bad habits that you help them break?

From a skills perspective, one of the things that we all struggle with as salespeople is talking less and listening more. The bad habit is we get in and we talk. That's an area that we work through. We also work through how we sell value. What do we do? What does the preparation process look like to take an outside perspective? When I get in front of you how do I ask the right questions? How do I share the right insights? How do I position myself as a credible source? How do I embrace silence? How do I share these customer success stories that are relevant to you? Those are areas that we work on.

One of the things that we all struggle with as salespeople is talking less and listening more. Click To Tweet

Another area that reps that we all also find a challenge, including myself when I started my career, is prospecting, generating leads constantly. It's a challenge because the rejection rate is high. It's psychologically challenging because imagine you are making so many calls, you're sending so many emails, you are using social, you're doing everything, and yet you're getting rejected or ghosted day after day. How do we work with them to help them?

Folks are using social selling, but they may not be optimizing it. Where I can build familiarity, where I can position myself as a credible source. We work with our customers to help them not use it as a promotional tool but as a social selling tool. These are some of the things that we work with our customers on.

Explain the term social selling, just for people who aren't as familiar.

The way I look at it is the process of connecting with your customers, nurturing existing relationships, and generating leads using social media platforms where your customers are. You have to go where your tribe is. For B2B, our tribe is on LinkedIn. How am I leveraging LinkedIn to build that familiarity, to generate leads, to nurture existing relationships? It is a powerful tool. I don't work for LinkedIn, but I've used it as a seller and I've also trained on how folks can use it to effectively build that pipeline. Also, to nurture existing relationships, we can't forget about our existing customers.

You've codified all of this into a book that you published called Sales Essentials: The Tools You Need at Every Stage to Close More Deals and Crush Your Quota. It's a great title. What led to the book?

CSCL 74 | Sales Essentials

If you look at my background, I am a research nerd. In fact, before I wanted to go into selling, I thought I wanted to be a researcher. It was natural for me to get to a point in my life where I wanted to provide the reps worldwide with this reference guide that includes the essentials of how to sell value in a way that is consumable and digestible. Not just because of my own learning, but because I've been doing sales consulting for a long time, even before I opened my company. I was fortunate to see how top performers and folks around the world have done it. What were the mistakes? What were the best practices? To put it all in one place.

Something may sound cheesy, but I also wanted to give back. I have been helped throughout my life by amazing people who came across and helped me, mentored me, and challenged my thoughts. I wanted to give back. I wanted anyone in the world who is tuning in to your show when they pick that book, they see, “I can also sell, I can change my life.” The fundamentals are that you have to have discipline, be hungry, and want to serve your customers. Everything else, we can learn. You can learn the skills.

You can learn a lot about the sales process, but there is certainly an aspect of it that you've got to internalize what it means to be a salesperson. It goes back to your point about the human side of it and building a connection with people. It's more than about the product. It's also about you.

Sometimes we tend to miss that as we sell complex deals and the numbers start getting up more. We have to step back, even in your negotiation. You got to remind yourself of the why and you got to make sure that you are connecting with that person. That changes the conversation from, “I got to close that deal because I need to meet my quota,” versus, “I got to close that deal because I know you have a timeline that you need to talk to your board about how you solve that problem. We're here to help you.” It changes the conversation. We have to be authentic about it because people can see through you.

How did you choose to organize the book and how would it help somebody crush their quota?

When I wrote the book, I wanted it again as a reference guide. The way I wanted to create it is anywhere in the sales process, I take away all the jargon. I'm not a person who uses jargon, big words, or branding words. I wanted any person lay term to pick up the book and figure out, “If I'm selling a deal, before the sale, I'm going to go to this chapter. There are specific titles in that section that will help me prepare for these meetings.” During the sale, there are specific chapters such as discovery, doing a demo, closing the deal, and negotiating.

The titles are so real and so practical that I wanted the rep to go to that chapter, read it quickly, use the tools that I have included, go do their business, come back, and then say, “Now I'm in the next phase of this conversation. Rana, what have you got around that?” I've heard reps that the way they're using it is they put it in their laptop bag, and right before they go into calls, they open that chapter and they're just reminding themselves of some of these best practices.

You were published by McGraw Hill, how did you sign with them and when in the writing process did that happen?

When everything aligned, they reached out to me and I was recommended by it to them. I had already made up my mind that I'm writing a book. I started the process and I envisioned what we needed to do before, during, and after the sale, and I started writing it. They came along and they took it to the next level. They asked questions. They challenged some of my thinking. I loved it because that's how you take things to the next level when you have people asking the why or why not, and we got it to the finish line.

CSCL 74 | Sales Essentials

Sales Essentials: You take things to the next level when you have people asking the why or why not and you made it to the finish line.


Everybody I know who's published a book talks about it being a grueling process because they do come in. Even if you think you're a fantastic writer, they're going to find 1 million things they don't like about the way that you've organized it or you're writing style or the examples you use or whatever. It goes back to your point about prospecting. It's similar writing. Potentially, you're going to get a lot of rejection from publishing houses and feedback that you might not want to hear about what you've written. People find that psychologically hard.

I was so blessed and fortunate that I worked with an amazing editor who was so professional. Even when she gave me advice, input, and insight, we formed this relationship where we were collaborating on our book. In fact, we called it our baby book because we are creating something. I'm fortunate that I haven't experienced the other side of where it was more of, “You do it my way.” There was a lot of collaboration and conversations. It was a total partnership because it made the product something that we both are very proud of.

How's it gone so far? You just released the book in June 2023, so it hasn't been all that long yet.

I'm happy and I'm very humbled. When we released it several times, it made it to the number one new release in Amazon's Business Sales category. Even before we released it, we started talking about pre-orders, the network. When you do the right thing for your customers, people show up for you. The pre-order phase was amazing. When we released it in June 2023, it made it again to the number one new release. In the first week, it made it to number one bestseller in Amazon's business sales category. I have the screenshots. It has been a great experience.

The best experience has been when I get emails from sellers that this book has helped them. They’re talking about it and when they see me in conferences or when they see me on LinkedIn, they're reaching out and giving their input. I love it because we as a community need to be having two-way conversations and learning from one another. That's what makes my heart happy.

It's great when you feel like the thing that you've worked so hard on creating is bringing value to people and they're taking the time to tell you that.

In the world, we hear a lot about the nay. People are complaining. When you see positivity and people cheering you on, even a stranger, that to me says a lot about our community and sales.

Alongside all of that, you also cofounded Women in Sales Enablement, WiSE. Tell our audience a little bit about that.

Along with three amazing cofounders, we found WiSE, which brings Women in Sales Enablement from all around the world together to learn, grow, and celebrate one another. We started it by accident. It wasn't like something we planned, but then it grew as a community and we opened it up for everyone.

How much are you involved with it at this point? I know that you've got so many other things on your plate.

In 2022, we started recruiting global leads who are taking it to the next level. I'm still in the background if they have any questions. The cofounders are still in the background with any questions, any insights. We have an amazing global lead, ladies in sales enablement who are doing amazing things in our community. This is what WiSE is. WiSE is not about one person staying and getting all of the glory. WiSE is about embracing collaboration and growing other women. That's part of our process and also shows in how we're handing it over and letting it fly with these amazing women who are taking it to the next level.

I had a similar conversation with somebody who I interviewed way back at the beginning of my show, who started a group for women who were in the restaurant business during COVID as they were helping each other figure out how to get through the pandemic. She describes a similar journey. It's called Let's Talk Women. All these chapters have developed and it's taken off. It's a little bit hard to see your baby go beyond your personal ability to be deeply involved in it anymore. When you see these leads, as you were describing, working to help build chapters around the world and spread the gospel, if you will, is a great thing.

I love seeing it. When we started WiSE, we were four women who wanted to go out for dinner in South Austin and have a meal and talk through enablement. It was supposed to be 1 hour, but it ended up being 4 or 5 hours. We have to be moved outside of the restaurant. At that moment, we recognized we were learning, but we were also having fun, being authentic, and being ourselves. The next day we asked ourselves, “Do you want to do it again? Next meeting, bring a friend.” One brought a friend and then other people on LinkedIn saw it and they started wanting to grow and to grow the movement. It’s been amazing.

Let's talk about your career journey. You've mentioned that you grew up around entrepreneurs, but what did you envision yourself doing professionally when you were a kid?

In our age group, you don't think about, “I want to be in sales.” These days environment, there are some amazing sales college programs, but when I was growing up, I wanted to be a researcher. I was a nerd. I love to learn and find solutions to problems. That's what I wanted to be. I didn't know what that would translate to, but that's what I wanted to do.

You did have some childhood experience in sales.

I was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, suburbs of Beirut. When I was eleven years old, my sweet dad sold life insurance policies. He had an appointment and it was at a customer's beach house. I wanted to go to that beach. I don't remember the details, but I somehow convinced my dad to take me with him. At that moment, I didn't know that this was going to impact me later in life, but the way my dad conducted his business, prepared, talked to these customers, cared about people, and made sure that they got the right solution. Later on, as I started remembering what I learned in sales and who I learned it from, that experience stuck out for me.

My father was in sales as well, and I can remember getting dragged to a few of his sales meetings when he took me out to look at colleges. We were traveling through part of his sales territory and he was popping in to see some of his customers along the way. I was so visibly bored that I got a dressing down when we got back out to the car I was yawning too much. It was at that moment that I realized that I wasn't cut out for sales.

Such a funny story. Your dad did the right thing. Anytime we travel anywhere, that's all I'm thinking of is, “Where are my customers? Where can I see them?”

You studied public relations though in college. How did you end up zeroing in on that?

I'm going to tell you the honest reason. I was in my third year of being a Computer Science major, and I was so tired of sitting in these computer labs and spending days sometimes trying to find a small syntactical error. We didn't have the tools that you do right now where you automate, you can find some of these. I was programming in C++, Java, and even COBOL. I remember in the middle of my junior year recognizing, “I can't do this. I'm a people person. What am I thinking?”

When you're almost crying, sitting next to that computer, you recognize, “I need to go. I need to look at what makes me happy and not look at the dollar signs.” When you find your passion, the money will follow. That's when I had this a-ha moment where I love to write. I love to interview people just like you. I love to be around people and tell their stories. That's where naturally I met with my counselor and that's where I landed.

When you find your passion, the money will follow. Click To Tweet

You've talked a little bit about some of the jobs that you had along the way, but give a little bit more of a sense of the things that you did in between college and starting the consulting.

I was a bank teller. My first real job was bank teller, which was so important when I look back because it taught me about being a frontline employee and customer service. It was a great boot camp. Had great leaders that I learned from. I was a marketing assistant in healthcare, a marketing specialist, a content developer, creating enablement programs, a VP of business development, and an SVP of sales. All of that has shaped me into being the person that I am now from a professional perspective.

Are there any particular experiences that stand out when you look back?

There are so many of them, and I was thinking about this. Each experience, to me, built upon itself to where I am now. It's been many years ago that I was a teller, but being a bank teller when I was 18 or 19 years old, taught me about the importance of actively listening, telling people's names, and remembering people's names. The importance of building trust quickly with a customer that just walks in to cash their check. The importance of conflict resolution when someone's check is bounced and you have to tell them or they don't have their ID. That part helped me.

Marketing to me helped me in making sure that I understand my buyer persona and the importance of researching and tailoring your value proposition. Content development helped me create programs that I create now. Sales helped me build a business. All of that prepared me for where I am now. The good and also the hard times as well.

I described sometimes the analogy of the boy becoming the man in Slumdog Millionaire who's playing Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. All of these questions, they're coming from all of these seemingly random directions, all had some linkage to some past experience in his life. It's not a perfect analogy, but I've always felt the same way that everything I've done, and I've done some different things too over the years, you learn from all of those experiences. Your professional approach is an amalgamation of what worked for you and what hasn't worked for you. The things you've done right and wrong. You can learn from any job you have, even when you don't appreciate it at the time.

I agree with you. I have two boys, and I tell my kids, “If you take one thing out of your life, it will change the trajectory of where you're at.” You have to go through some of that pain and growth that will lead you to a point where you say, “I made it. I'm proud of myself. I did this, but you can't take those pains out.”

We were having a funny conversation with coworkers. It was out with coworkers at dinner at one point and somebody asked the question, “What was the worst job you've ever had?” This is funny because you all go back to those things that you did when you were younger. One woman in our group who's about 5 feet tall, maybe a little bit taller, said, “I slaughtered animals.” We're all like, “You win. This end of the conversation's over. Nobody's going to top that.” When you look back on your career so far, what are the consistent strengths that you've drawn on again and again?

Discipline and hard work because sometimes you're not motivated. If people are saying, “Motivation's going to get you successful.” Some days, you wake up and you're like, “Man.” This is one of my competitive differentiators that I can't outwork people. That's something that I've learned from my immigrant family, from people that I've been raised around, speed is a competitive differentiator. You don't need to be the smartest person in the room, but if you don't have that hard work and that hunger, you can miss out. That's one.

CSCL 74 | Sales Essentials

Sales Essentials: You don't need to be the smartest person in the room, but if you don't have that hard work and that hunger, then you can miss out.


Customer centricity is another thing. It's part of my marketing background. I always look at the customer at the center of the universe and try to figure out, “How can we help them? How can we approach them? What are they thinking of? What's that day in the life?” Also, intense curiosity to learn. I love to learn. To me, it's like, “Tell me what did you do in your life? Talk to me about this talk.” Always that researcher's brain is working. Sometimes it's tiring though because you can't turn it off.

We'll talk about intellectual curiosity. It helps a lot. It goes back to what you were talking about earlier. You can learn from any conversation. Having a growth mindset is about learning. Having that inherent curiosity about things and being open to challenging your views and refining your thinking is something that benefits people as a strength for those who do have that. What were some of the things that you've had to focus on developing along the way? How'd you go about that?

Part of my problem, because I'm fast and I want to get things done and I want to keep going, is early on in my career, it was harder for me to delegate. I had to learn that because I thought I was faster and I thought I could do it better. The reality is I learned that I'm not. If I delegate to the right people and if I have a process in place, the product and the outcome end up being better. Delegating was one of these areas, and I found that out through coaching, having a career coach, working through doing a 360 assessment, and determining, “What are my strengths and what areas of weaknesses will be a liability for my growth?” If you can't delegate, you can't lead effectively. That's one of them.

If you can't delegate, you can't lead effectively. Click To Tweet

The second thing is not expecting everything to be done the day before. That's something that I'm constantly working through and I had to learn as well. To also make sure that not everything is a sense of urgency. In sales, it's awesome. If you're always like on, you're going to close deals. When you're leading, you want to make sure that you have a balance of things. There are some things that we're going to be working on all weekend and all of us are going to be doing it. There are some things that are not to that extent.

Was there a point at which you had a particularly big challenge in your career that you had to work on overcoming?

One of the challenges that I faced was when I was trying to complete my PhD with two kids under the age of five. Getting that first chapter back and it's all red. You’re like, “How am I going to make this happen?” This experience has taught me grit. It also taught me to integrate my personal and professional life. My kids did not get the nursery stories. They got marketing books, chapter one. I was reading to them about buyers and segmentation. I had to integrate my personal and professional life, and it taught me to push myself.

It's very easy to give up when you're like, “I can't do this anymore.” To overcome this challenge, the number one thing I had was the support of the people around me. I built a network of folks who were going through similar experiences. I had a partner and a husband who was there for me and pushing me. I also had to always go back to my why. Why am I doing this? That helped me get through, and every time I face a challenge, I go back to that time. I'm like, “I can do it with two little kids and defend that dissertation, then I can do anything.”

Are there routines or habits that have helped you?

One of them is waking up every day and having the mindset that I am going to be successful, prospect continuously, disciplined in terms of following the sales process, and trusting that sales process. Also, I always show up. One of the things that I teach salespeople is how you show up matters. Are you prepared? Have you done your homework? Do you understand the purpose of that meeting? Do you have some of the questions that you want to ask them? Have you identified some insights and customer success stories you want to share? Being prepared is also something that has helped me get where I am.

You mentioned running before we started. Is that how you recharge your battery or are there other things that are important to you?

I'm like you. You're a runner and a hiker. I'm only a runner, but I do. I've been running since I was seven years old. To me, it was the cheapest sport. All you need is the running shoes and you run. I learned that early on in my life and it stayed with me until now. I ran my first marathon in 2022. I run several half marathons every year. Another thing that I also wanted to share with your audience is in the last few years, I've started every year to find something that scares me, that I don't know how to do, and I try to learn it. In 2023 is swimming. I've never learned how to swim. I hired a coach and am happy to say that I am swimming 15 meters. It's such a great way to challenge and humble yourself. To me, it's important that every now and then, you shock your system.

Partly, getting comfortable being uncomfortable is the expression goes. In Grit, Angela Duckworth describes it as doing a hard thing. She makes everybody in her family pick a hard thing that they're going to do, and they can't give it up other than at natural break points. They all have that hard thing that they're always working on. It's an interesting idea that I took away from that book.

In order to grow, you have to embrace discomfort. There were so many times when I wanted to quit. It's telling yourself, “The grit. I can do it.”

Last question. If you could give advice to your younger self, what advice would you share?

Lots of advice. The one that stood out for me is to be present and not always think of what's next. As an entrepreneur, and also as someone who is an achiever. You see that with folks who are always trying to achieve and grow, they're always thinking of that next thing. I had to learn as I got older, that be present. For example, I published my book. Be present. Enjoy it. It takes me a little bit more. I'm still working on that.

People who are always trying to achieve and grow are always thinking of that next thing. Click To Tweet

You didn't bring it up in terms of what you need to do as a salesperson, but certainly, you talked about preparing and all of that. Being present at the moment makes a huge difference. You can tell when a salesperson is not into it. They may have a great product that they believe in. They may be an effective salesperson, but if they are not enough when they're with you, they may blow an opportunity.

In my presence is where I closed the deal. Instead of celebrating and saying, “Good job,” what's next? I had to learn to embrace those wins and be like, “Let's take a deep breath, be present, and enjoy that experience.”

I'm a bit like that as well, and it's something I'm still working on. Thank you for doing this. I appreciate your time. It's good to hear about your business and your book and whys and the other things you've been doing. I wish you the best of luck and all of it going forward.

Thank you for having me, for having a place for folks to learn from one another, and for taking time with me. I truly appreciate it.


I'd like to thank Rana for joining me to discuss her focus on sales effectiveness and how it's played a role in her own career journey and in her consulting work. If you're ready to take control of your career, visit If you'd like more regular career insights, become a PathWise member. It's free. You can also sign up on the website for the PathWise newsletter and follow PathWise on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Thanks. Have a great day.


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About Rana Salman

CSCL 74 | Sales EssentialsRana Salman is an expert in the sales industry who is transforming the performance of sales teams worldwide. With a background in marketing and years of experience in enterprise-level B2B sales, she has established herself as a trusted partner for global organizations seeking to elevate their sales strategies and execution. As the founder of Salman Consulting, LLC, Salman collaborates with midsize and Fortune 500 IT companies to create tailored sales strategies, develop compelling sales content, and deliver impactful training sessions.

Beyond her consulting work, Salman is a cofounder of WiSE (Women in Sales Enablement), a thriving networking group connecting female sales enablement professionals from around the world. Through WiSE, she facilitates the exchange of ideas and knowledge-sharing among industry peers. She was recognized as one of the Women Making an Impact in Enablement by Sales Enablement PRO in 2022 and named one of the Top Female Sales Practitioners by Sales Hacker in 2021. She has also been a guest speaker at prestigious events like the Texas Conference for Women, Sales Enablement Society Conference, and Competitive Marketing Summit. She and her family live in the Austin, Texas area.

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