Hey guys 😀
I’m Molly and I started working in a sales role at WalkIn in Feb 2019. After being here for over a year we thought it would be cool to write a blog post reflecting on my experience joining the team and any advice for any potential WalkInites out there! 🤘
A little context about me: I was born and grew up in London, was always involved in theatre, studied History at Edinburgh Uni for 4 years, am really into working out, 90 Day Fiance, books (currently reading Anwar el Sadat’s autobiography), food (at least 1 bowl of popcorn every night), I’m a dog person, a social person but also an I-love-my-own-space person and I’m also Amos’s (Am), our CEO’s, sister 🙇🏻♀️
When Amos, Archie and Frazer started WalkIn I was living with Am at our parents house. While I was working at another company, I got to hear about the exciting ups (and not so exciting downs) at WalkIn. I was quickly inspired by Amos’s drive, his stories on selling and his experience being immersed in the start-up life. I quit my job and asked to join the team.
As I’m Amos’s sister, the team decided to not hire me as a full time employee but rather as a contractual worker for a few reasons; none of us were sure how a brother-sister duo would work out, would I be a culturally good fit in the team, and could I sell. I’d never had any sales training so whether I’d be able to succeed in the role was also unknown. Reflecting on my childhood I realised I’ve always had a natural tendency to sell, whether it was stale cookies in the cupboard (count this as a public apology to anyone who bought them), necklaces and clothes online, and then more professionally to workout guides when at University. So the prospect of learning techniques of selling was something which really interested me 🤓
I remember my first week, sitting in on Amos’s meetings while I tried to absorb everything he was doing and saying. He got a meeting with Ichibuns, a Japanese restaurant which had just opened in the heart of China Town. In a dimly lit room on the lower ground floor of Ichibuns I sat with my WalkIn hoodie on, sweating, next to Amos as the meeting commenced between him and the owner. I was amazed at how much information Am knew about virtual queueing, about restaurants and most astoundingly how he seemed to understand the questions he was being asked. The idea of feeling confident in his shoes as a salesperson at WalkIn felt like a million miles away. 20 minutes later and Ichibuns had agreed to a trial.
So how did Am get Ichibuns from A to B? And how would I get to a point where I was projecting confidence? (Rather than nervously sweating through my jumper…)
On my first day I was given the sales ‘script’, (Check out Amos’s previous blog post ‘Help us make great restaurants more accessible’ for a more indepth look at this). I’ve put this in apostrophes because every meeting is different and so the information we learn on the script is not rigid, it’s free flowing. Imagine features in the script (e.g. a cool data dashboard) to be more like big lily pads in a river which you can use as reference points but not as safety nets. It’s helpful to map out where they are, but you must submit to the tide against you as you navigate your way upstream.
Learning the script was manageable, I had participated in a lot of theatre growing up so big chunks of text to memorise was comforting to me. The challenge was then re-enacting the script with Amos acting as the manager/owner at a potential restaurant. I was grappling with trying to remember product info, tonality and picking up on cues (e.g. when someone says ‘no because of X’ trying to then ask the right questions to find out what the real blocker was). I struggled with this a lot for the first few weeks, feeling awkward and embarrassed that I wasn’t doing a good job and pretty self conscious that the devs could hear me in the other room. I knew the only way for me to get better was to keep going so with Amos and the teams encouragement I kept at it.
Amos continued to take me to all his meetings which inspired me to get better, I was determined to learn how to similarly build rapport and trust with our clients. In all honesty my confidence ebbed and flowed on an hourly basis. Times I felt eager and sure of myself that I would pick up on this cue or adopt a tone with more upward inflection and we would get into practising and I would realise how little I knew and be demotivated by my long journey ahead. I so badly wanted to do well, I wanted to help WalkIn become one of the best queue management and virtual queueing systems but I also wanted to make Am and the team proud and show I could be a valuable player.
Looking back, it would have helped if I had spent time solely dedicated to learning the product and then tackled tonalities, body language and listening, but sometimes start-up life involves struggling as you do new things. However, start-up life is also about quickly learning from your mistakes and adapting, hence why we have now altered this onboarding process for sales people to prioritise learning the product and then tackling the script 👍
🌷After a month or so I had become relatively comfortable practising with Am as I started to shift my focus less on myself and more on on the prospective client. As I started to know WalkIn more and understand the ins and outs of our virtual queueing system I understood that what we were doing wasn’t what I had traditionally seen as ‘selling’ but rather that we were helping. I understood that we could genuinely help the busiest restaurants in London. By managing their queue we could drive in more diners in an orderly way while making restaurants more revenue and their lives easier. The perspective of my role suddenly changed, I was now eager to listen to clients’ problems and figure out on the fly whether we could help them and how. It became an interesting challenge which surpassed my own insecurities of how I sounded as a salesperson as I sought to contribute to our mission of revolutionising the way we dine.
Since joining I’ve contributed to helping sign some of my favourite restaurants including: BAO, Honest Burgers, Paesano & Sugo Pasta, Mildred’s, Sweet Chick, Morito, Blacklock, Cafe Strange Brew, El Pastor, Pastaio, Purezza and more. I’ve built meaningful relationships with all of my restaurants and have a special bond with each one. I feel super proud strolling around central London and seeing our WalkIn stickers on the windows, each WalkIn restaurant has its own backstory of how, why and when they signed up and we cherish every one 💙
My advice to anyone thinking about going for a sales role at WalkIn, would be to only do it if you truly care about our mission; to enable diners to get a table anytime, anywhere. While I was excited to join the team and was able to get valuable meetings which led to signed contracts, the joy in my role comes from listening to problems and collaboratively reaching solutions which takes us one step closer to our goal. If you care about the WalkIn mission, I believe you’ll also get that same joy which we all bond over and even though you may feel just as uncomfortable as I did at times, you’ll realise that what we’re trying to achieve is bigger than that and it’ll make it all worthwhile.
If you also see a world where getting a table at any time is automated, where people don’t have to stand outside in a queue waiting to eat their favourite food, where restaurants can deliver the best experience possible, then, you get it, and you should phone us! (To find out what additional visions we have in mind) 😉
There’s still a lot I have to learn and areas I want to develop in. I want to be able to manage a sales team one day and ultimately run our New York City division. There’s a lifetime of business and personal development in between myself and that goal but I’m confident with my strong team of cheerleaders at WalkIn and our eyes on the goal, that it’s possible 🙌
Love, Molls [email protected]