Let’s get down to business. Having a direct communication style means being open and honest with one another and if there’s any deviance from that, then someone gets called out on it. Kristie Jones, Principal of Sales Acceleration Group, uses this style of communication with her clients because this is how she provides them with the most efficient and productive support. This is how goals are achieved and if Kristie sees anything getting in the way of reaching those goals, she knows how to get teams back on track. Kristie’s areas of expertise include new business development, retaining and upselling existing customers and sales management, mainly with small and mid-size companies. Her passion is taking someone else’s vision and bringing it to life and now she’s putting pen to paper with her debut book out in 2023. Recently, Kristie took time out of her busy schedule to speak with us.
In your personal and/or professional life who do you look up to?
From a very early age, I looked up to my dad. Some of my early memories of my dad professionally were when he was working for the United Telephone Company, right out of college. My earliest memory was when we’d been transferred to a small town in Kansas. I remember him taking me to work with him on the weekends and letting me sit with the operators as they manually connected calls for residents in the town. I LOVED being in the operator room and helping them connect calls. It didn’t occur to me until I was older that I got to tag along because dad was working on Saturdays and I was out of school, so he had to do something with me, to me it was a special treat, something he did just for me.
After our time in that community, we were transferred to the opposite end of Kansas in a rural western town. I remember a huge snowstorm had hit the town and Dad had to go to work because some of the telephone lines were down (no buried lines, think telephone poles.) He couldn’t get the car out of the garage because of the snow drifts, so he bundled up and walked several blocks until an employee could pick him up and drive him to the office.
Those are just a couple of my earliest memories of my dad’s work ethic and commitment to the company he worked for. Over the years he continued to set examples for me professionally. When he bought the real estate brokerage it really became our family business, and I got to see more of his professional skills firsthand; leadership skills, negotiation skills, ability to motivate others, his compassion for people, and probably the best example of all was the importance of making time to relax and recharge. He loved the water and boating, and we’d take a week’s vacation every summer to a Midwestern lake. That’s when he was happiest and I’ve never forgotten that no matter how hard you work, or how much money you make, being happy is what really matters.
If someone came to you and said that they wanted a career in sales, what advice would you give to that person?
Know yourself and your definition of success.
Really understanding who you are, what situations you’re most comfortable, what superpowers you possess, and what your level of risk tolerance is will help you decide what type of sales job would be the best fit for you and will give you the best chance of succeeding.
People think that sales is sales, and they don’t realize all the options out there: inside sales, outside sales, hunter, farmer, gatherer, prospector, technical seller, selling a product vs. selling a service, etc. I often see people fail at sales because they chose the wrong type of sales position that wasn’t in alignment with who they are.
Likewise, someone who doesn’t know what success looks like and feels like to them is never going to be fulfilled in sales no matter how successful they are by other people’s standards.
What do you want your audience to take away from your book?
Two things. I want them to understand that being a top sales performer is a deliberate choice that will require thoughtful decisions, self-awareness, discipline, a desire for constant self-improvement, a higher risk mentality, association with people who will push them to be better, hard work, and a little luck. I also want them to understand that anyone has the potential to create a career that will allow them to “sell their way in” to the lifestyle they choose. They just have to put themselves in the right role and do the right things.
This book should inspire those who are already motivated to be a top performer and give them clarity about what it takes and how to build that foundation. Being a top 10 percenter isn’t for everyone or everyone’s goal, but for those who want to be the best sales rep in their company, industry, or territory, this book will lay out the strengths they need to build on, the decisions they need to make, and the strategies that they will need to execute to get there.
In the future do you think you will write more books?
I do. My next book will be for sales leaders instead of salespeople. Sales leaders usually are top performing sales reps that got promoted to sales leader without being given any leadership training at all. My profession loves to do this, and I believe this really is a great disservice to the sales leader, the reps that report to them, and ultimately to the company and their customers. No one is really winning if the sales leader is struggling. So, I’d like to help sales leaders improve their skills so that sales reps have a better chance of succeeding and more companies are really thriving.
When it’s time for you to chill out what type of books do you like to read?
I love to read business books and personal development books. I’m a Brene Brown junkie. She’s perfect for me. As a data chick, I love that she’s a researcher and that all her conclusions are based on her research of people and situations. I also love her no bullshit communication style. I appreciate a tell-it-like-it-is person.
In the last few years, I’ve begun getting my professional knowledge from podcasts. There are so many good sales and business podcasts out there. My guilty pleasure though is true crime podcasts. Psychology is an important part of selling and I love learning what makes people tick, it makes me a better salesperson.
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