How does one go from living out of van attempting to be a ski bum in Jackson Hole, Wyoming to running an executive search firm for sales talent with only 4% turnover?
That’s exactly where Dan Fantasia (@DanFantasia) finds himself today as President of Treeline, but that’s not to say the path was easy. Like a lot of today’s reps, Dan fell into his first sales job and started with a negative connotation of the profession. In fact, for his first six months he was the lowest producing employee in the entire company.
“I was horrible. I was easily influenced. I just didn’t get it,” he said. Dan was naive and believed everything his prospects told him to be true. Without challenging or pushing back to understand the real problem he was set up for failure.
To this day, he still believe not every company is a perfect customer. In order to build a sustainable business, you can’t sell on fear. Instead, you have to build a foundation of clients you can repeatedly satisfy a need for.
Dan talked about the biggest challenge he sees today is leadership not understanding what type of sales environment they actually have. They believe any sales rep that has seen success somewhere can see success again. Unfortunately, the characteristics that make a rep successful in a high volume transactional organization don’t transfer to the needs of a long sales cycle consultative company.
- Write Your Own Rules: If you’re going to be a consultative salesperson, you must empower yourself. You must be able to think on your feet without sounding like a robot. You’re not always going to be able to have someone whispering in your ear or reading off a script, so when you see something wrong, fix it. One of the biggest challenges I’ve had to overcome is thinking about what everyone else expected of me and trying to prove something to them instead of charting my own path.
- Overcome Rather than Avoid Burnout: As Dan mentioned, burnout happens whether you’re the CEO or the SDR, so accept it and learn how to overcome it. You could get burnt out on your car, the breakfast you eat every day, or even your favorite sub shop, so figure out the things that trigger the high highs as well as the low lows and work to maintain balance between the two.
- Failure is Not Finite: It’s only truly a failure when you decide to give up. I recently came off the biggest professional failure of my career and I can assure you there were times I felt like I should just take my ball and go home as if this game wasn’t the one for me. Fortunately, I was able to pick myself back up, start another business (which included this podcast) and face the world that I thought would forever reject me because of my my recent performance.
- Costello – What if every sales rep inherited the habits of your best rep? With Costello, they do.
- How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie