I am the founder and host of the Sales Mastery Summit. I have had a few sales positions over my career. I was lucky enough to absorb a few important sales tips from smart people and through work with the National Association for Professional Saleswomen. But I was too young to appreciate all that I learned at the time. Oh, if I could go back to those jobs with what I know today!
Today as a business owner I value the importance of great sales skills every week that I grow my businesses. I really believe selling, in the broader sense, is the most important skill to master for any business. Does it make you as insane as it does me when you see a really good business struggling because they are not doing a good job with customer follow up and upselling, smart partnering to reach a whole new customer base, even putting up an adequate sign so you know what business is behind the door and what it does? I wish there was a Sales S.W.A.T. team I could send in to do turnarounds, like the show Bar Rescue?
Why did you start the summit?
One skill I learned early in my career is the fastest way to become the best is to model the best. I wanted to make it easier for any ambitious sales pros and business owners to get exposed to the best in sales. Then they can get a steady diet of new sales tips to keep getting better. If I take the time and work out of locating and interviewing the best, then our viewers can invest their precious time in fast learning and experimenting with what they learn.
The short answer is – my Strengths Finder traits are Connector and Maximizer.
How do you come up with your interviews?
I make sure the experts and top performers I interview have a solid track record. From there I tease out what they know as if I am a student who wants to learn their secrets so I can use them for myself. An important part of their secret is knowing why people who try to do what they have mastered stall out and fail. Knowing that at the start helps me and others go in eyes-wide-open so we avoid the failure points.
What inspires you?
While no one is guaranteed success, it does have a proven formula that has been documented throughout the ages. And one of the consistent proven strategies is
Learn what the Best are doing and then model it.
It doesn’t mean you have to become a clone, but you really can’t argue that if you do what successful people do, then you are on a parallel path. Career, marriage, raising kids, finding your own peace. I like being able to focus on something I want to improve and then dive into studying what the experts are doing so I can master what they have figured out. It amazes me how fast people have considered me an expert with this approach. But it makes sense because I am immediately modeling the practice of people who know what they are doing instead of spending a lot of time as a newbie figuring out a new skill.
One good example from my life was when I started at 3M as a new product development marketer. I set up a forum (could consider it my first summit) with the experienced marketers from 3M’s major new product launch successes. I was green – straight out of grad school and so I soaked it all in and modeled what they had done. Sure enough, my first launch was considered the best in my business’ history. Instead of simply modeling what they had always done, I had sought out the best in the whole company so I could learn beyond my own four walls of our office. And it worked. I have been using this “lead user” expert approach to learning new skills ever since.
What do you do when you are not working on the summit?
I am currently raising two amazing little sweeties, 6and 8, who just learned to water ski this summer and are downhill ski racers in the winter. I do a lot of S.W.A.T. team volunteer work for new and existing entrepreneurs in the Twin Cities through my work with WomenVenture and the Minneapolis Economic Development Program. And my husband and I travel a lot for fun.