“There’s no such thing as a born salesperson. Anybody can be a good salesperson if they want to be. All you have to bring to the table is a desire, and an understanding of what is entailed in being successful, and a willingness to do that day after day even when people aren’t looking over your shoulder — that’s where the discipline comes in.” — Jack Sayler
Every week at Praxis, participants and alumni gather for Praxis Wednesdays, our weekly group discussions featuring guest speakers, academic debates, and skills workshops.
This week we were joined by former salesman, sales manager, and business owner Jack Sayler for a workshop on the art and science of sales. Over the course of his career, Jack has hired hundreds of sales people, run administrative teams, and built multiple companies. He joined us to share the insights he’s gained along the way.
Jack shared some of the key elements it’s important to understand when going into a sales role:
- Maximizing your organization and discipline so you can maximize your productivity in your selling time.
- Remembering that you get a lot of rejections in sales, but that’s not personal — that’s not about you at all.
- You have to have mental drive and the desire to learn.
- In sales, you don’t just show up and all of a sudden you’re successful. You have to be willing to work at it. However, sales reps that are successful tend to move up in the company very quickly.
“If a company doesn’t have sales, then it doesn’t have revenue, and if it doesn’t have revenue then there’s no opportunity for profit. If you don’t have profit, you aren’t creating any value, and you can’t exist as a company.” — Jack Sayler
Jack also covered:
- What to look for in a company when going through the job application process.
- How to build a culture of personal responsibility and enthusiasm in your team.
- How building a successful career allows you to make the money to support the lifestyle you want to live, and how freeing that is.
- The importance of learning from the people around you, and communicating with the rest of your team.
- The value in setting personal non-negotiables — standards you never fail to meet — and how effective those are.
“Your attitude is 60% of your success, your skill is 25% of your success, and product knowledge is 15% of your success.” — Jack Sayler
Jack also shared with us the basics of understanding emotional IQ and body language — some of the most important things to understand when striving to be an effective communicator. He shared some of the most common body language signs with us — how someone rubbing their neck indicates that you’re a pain in the neck, and how rubbing their eyes means that they can’t see what you’re saying. Putting their hand over their mouth indicates that “I want to speak but I can’t.”
He also left participants with multiple challenges/action items, including this one: think through possible solutions before you take a problem to a manager. With the exception of emergency cases, where an immediate answer is imperative, try to understand all of the facts of a problem before taking it to your manager, and come up with three ideas for solutions.
“Degrees and grades are good, but [as a hiring manager] what I’m really looking for are the things that they don’t teach. The things that people have that they really can’t learn in college. Things like leadership and the ability to communicate, emotional IQ and understanding situations — understanding themselves and understanding people. I’m looking for motivation and initiative.” — Jack Sayler