Make Up of a Great Sales Rep

I often get asked from what the “secret” is to being successful at sales. I wish it was as simple as just knowing a “secret”, because if it was, I’d write a book on it and retire. There is no secret. It’s a mixture of genetics, hard work and mindset.  If you aren’t willing to fail 1,000 times and go to work everyday with the mindset that you’re job is on the line, than sales isn’t for you. Luckily for me, I’ve been surrounded with incredible sales people to learn who have taught me to avoid some of the mistakes they made. This group of people ranges from my father, my best friend, my mentor and my current colleagues. Below are the 6 things I’ve learned from them that make a great sales rep.

 

 

1. God Given Abilities: Just like Lebron James was born to play basketball, some people are born for sales. You need to have strong gut instincts on how to read people and you need to be a person who can easily build friendships. Simply put, some people got “it” and some people don’t. You need to love interacting with people and be a thrill seeker. Personally, I don’t know of a better feeling than closing a deal, and I live my life seeking the next thrill of closing a deal.

2. Commitment to process: Sales is as much of a science as it is an art. The most successful sales reps have a process that they follow. Whether if it’s the way that they qualify deals to find good prospects or if it’s the way they prospect, good sales reps create successful, repeatable, processes. It takes a while to define these processes, but once you do, you’re essentially shooting fish in a barrel.

3. Work Ethic: Sales people are the hardest working people in your organization. No if’s, and’s or but’s. Be prepared to work long hours and be prepared to do whatever it takes to be successful. Sales is a  24/7 job. When a client/prospect calls, money is calling, so you need to be ready to pick up the phone. Expect to regularly take calls on nights/weekends to accommodate your prospects needs.

4. Mindset: You need to be money motivated or accomplishment oriented. Sales is the most transparent job in any organization. Everyone knows how much money you make and everyone knows how well you’re doing. Personally, I’m accomplishment oriented. What that means is I care more about hitting quota than making commission (though I know that hitting quota means a lot commission).Great sales reps are also even keel at all times. You’re under the constant pressure of your quota, but  you need to keep your cool through it all and keep doing your job.

Pressure makes diamonds

5. Confidence: There’s no room for people with a low level of confidence in sales. People with low self esteem fizzle out quickly due to all of the rejection they face in sales. You need to believe you’re the best sales rep in your organization and approach every meeting with that belief. If you’re not confident in yourself, that means your pitch won’t come out confidently, and that means your clients won’t believe in you or what you’re selling.

6. Challenger: You need to challenge your prospects mindset. You need to be able to consult your prospect while selling them. The selling landscape has changed. Not only do you need to sell your prospect on your product, but you also need to sell you prospect on why what they’re currently doing is wrong. This can be intimidating, but prospects will buy an inferior product 100% of the time if you can sell them a better solution to their pain.

These are the 6 things I’ve seen to be common in very successful sales reps. Personally, I believe that point #1 is most important to a successful sales rep. Some people are born to do certain things, and the quicker you realize what you were born to do, the quicker you’ll find success.

3 Ways to Lock in a Promotion

Having worked at a high growth company for close to 2 years now, I’ve noticed a lot of common trends in the people who get promoted. I’ve also noticed that most people think that performance is the only thing that determines promotions. While that’s true in some cases, it might take longer than expected to get the promotion that you wanted if you solely depend on performance. Here are things that I’ve seen people exhibit who get promoted often/quick.

  1. Work Ethic
    • If you’re up for a promotion, performance isn’t the only thing that will be taken into accord. If there are two people who perform equally well in the same role, work ethic can be a determining factor as to who gets the promotion. As you get more senior, your role carries more responsibility and becomes more complex. People would rather promote a person with strong work ethic because they’re willing to work harder to learn the new complexities of the role.
  2. Visibility
    • A quote that I heard that I’ve found to be very true is “nobody is going to promote your brand quite the way you can”. For example, if you’re coming to work early and leaving late, find subtle ways to let your manager know that you’re working hard. This could be something as simple as sending an email with a question early in the morning/late at night. Also, keep in mind that your manager isn’t the only person deciding if you get promoted. His or her manager, (likely a director or VP) will also play a large role in deciding who gets promoted so make sure to stay on their map as well.

      You should be a bit more subtle than this.
  3. Ask
    • Simply put, let your manager know that you’d like to be promoted. That puts you on the front of their mind for a promotion. This is the easiest thing you can do to increase your chances of a promotion, and it also lets your manager know you’re thinking about a future within your company which is always a good thing. You’d be surprised how much managers value people who make it known that they want a promotion. You’d also be surprised how few people actually take this step.


These are 3 things, that tied with performance, will almost guarantee your chances of being the next person on your team to be promoted. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me @aghanomics.

Selfish Generosity

That looks like a pretty good lollipop.

Selfishness and generosity two polar opposites. People who are selfish seek to take, take, take and people who are generous seek to give, give, give. However, I’ve seen that being selfish is counterproductive . What I’ve seen is that people who who try to take the most get the least and the people that give the most get the most.

I work in a very sales oriented role. Most of my day is spent networking with people and building relationships. The key to building powerful relationships is by being mutually beneficial. Simply put, nobody likes the guy who comes to a Christmas party without a gift, but they might tolerate that person. By being mutually beneficial, and by “bringing something to the table” it invokes a reaction in the other party involved. As Sir Isaac Newton put it, every action, has an equal and opposite reaction. By adding value to someone else’s life, they will seek to add value in yours.

My friend who is a commercial realtor put it best. When he’s working with young, start-up companies, he tries to help them grow their business in any way possible. Whether it’s introductions to investment sources or helping them with their sales strategy, he focuses on their growth in the hopes that when they do grow, and need additional office space, he’ll be the guy they call.

Networking, and helping people out, is key for building successful career. What I have found so far is that 90% of the battle in networking isn’t meeting somebody, it’s turning that person into a friend. Your network would be completelely useless if you didn’t have friends. That’s why you should treat every new person (or prospect) you meet like your best friend. This way, you will have a network of friends who want to help you out, rather than a network of acquaintances who only know you because your connected on LinkedIn.

 

 

 

 

7 Things the NFL has Taught Me about Getting a Job

The NFL off season this year has been pretty crazy. A lot of big names being shifted around (Let’s go Revis!!!) and a lot of unlikely, last minute deals happening. Technically speaking, the NFL off season has nothing to do with your life, however, if you take a look at how players go about finding their destination for the fall, it is actually really similar to what it’s like to find a job. As a matter of fact, we could even learn a thing or two from the NFL off season. Below is what I’ve learned.

1. Test the Waters: Case in point, DeSean Jackson. This is probably the biggest takeaway I’ve had. If you’re up for a promotion or if you’re in the final stages of interviewing, assess what the market values your skills at. Pretty much every single NFL free agent worth anything will receive multiple offers before they sign on with a team. However, if the company you’re in talks with offers you a deal you simply cannot refuse, then you have no choice. This is just like being franchise tagged in the NFL.

2. Negotiate: Case in point, Julian Edelman. If you didn’t get the “franchise tag” deal, but you’ve realized you’re being paid comparably well to other people in your position, then now is the time to negotiate to try and get more. Julian Edelman is a perfect example of this. He got a solid offer from the Patriots, but decided to test the waters and see what other teams would offer him. Once he got the insight into what the market values his skills at, he came back to the Patriots and actually got a better offer than the original one he received. What this means for you is once you receive your offer, ask for more. You’ve only get 1 shot to ask for more money, and a company will never pull the offer (unless you ask for an egregious amount of money).

3. People love a hometown hero: Case in point, Colin Kaepernick. Teams and fan-bases love the hometown hero. Athlete’s also love being the hero as well. You’re familiar with the area, and most importantly, familiar with the playbook. Knowledge of how to operate within a system is invaluable, and a lot of times, you will be heavily rewarded if you have a deeper understanding than most people within your organization.

Those are Colin's actual socks.

4. The competition will likely pay you more but may stunt your growth: Case in point, Aqib Talib. Got a monster contract from the Broncos. The Bronco’s offered him that contract for 2 reasons. To get better and to hurt their biggest AFC rival, the Patriots. Double the value in 1 move. However, no one likes a journeyman. With performance based postions, like the NFL and sales, if you perform, you will always find a high paying job. However, if you continue to bounce around, the odds of you establishing a leadership type role is nearly impossible. Let’s think after football, do you think the Patriots would ever offer Talib a job as an assistant coach? No shot. Same with your job, a company will not promote you if they fear you’re going to bounce somewhere else in a couple months.

But he should be worried about his future!

5. You might be a great talent, but you might not be the right fit to the puzzle: Case in point, Brandon Spikes. Arguable a top 3 linebacker in terms of run stopping and penetration capabilities but ask him to defend a pass and he looks like a fish out of water. The Patriots cut him because his skill set is simply not valued with the Patriots (along with some attitude issues). If you look at what the Patriots value in a linebacker, they seek hybrid linebackers who can defend the run and also cover the pass very well. What this means for you is even though you might be great at what you do, the company you’re working for or applying for might not value your skill set the way other companies will. Again, all the reason to test the waters and see what the market dictates your skill is worth.

6. What have you done recently? Case in point, Julius Peppers. A one-time perennial pro-bowler and absolute nightmare for Quarterbacks, the bears wouldn’t give Peppers the contract he asked for because he was coming off of one of the worst seasons in his life. Doesn’t matter that Peppers is one of the best defensive ends of our generation, he simply didn’t perform and the Bears are not going to pay Peppers because of what he did 3,4 and 5 years ago. Same with you! Especially sales folks. Doesn’t matter if last you crushed it a couple quarters ago. What matters most is how you did last quarter.

See you next year buddy!

7. Don’t settle once you get the payday: Case in point, Chris Johnson. He came off of an incredible 2010 season for the Titans, got his franchise contract (was then the highest paid RB in NFL history), and has yet to have a season as good as his contract season. Now, Chris Johnson plays for the Jets and is making a fraction as to what he used to. Maybe he just got old and he doesn’t have the skill anymore, but my guess is he took his foot off of the gas pedal and got complacent once he got the payday. Don’t become complacent unless you’re happy with just one nice commission check! Complacency is lazy’s ugly cousin.

Did I miss anything here? Let me know by tweeting at me @Aghanomics. Thanks for reading!

Why You Should Be Rich In Your 20’s

I read an article about a week ago titled “You Don’t Have To Be Rich In Your 20s: How Much Money You Should Actually Be Making”.

How stupid is that?

 

Why is that ok? Why are you setting a limit for yourself and settling for “going shopping and returning everything you buy” or “traveling on trains but never in style”? Personally, I’m working every damn day to make sure I am rich while I’m in my 20’s. I want to travel in style and I want nice things. Is that so wrong? After all, that’s what ambition is, at least the way it’s defined in America. Simply put, your success is measured by the number in your bank account.
Wait a second. Ambition is defined by the size of your wallet?

 

That’s the problem with capitalism. Everyone is out for their own good rather than out for the collective. We have the smartest people in the world working on tools to help us “sext” and working on Wall Street rather than working on solving the worlds largest issues.


WhatsApp was recently acquired by Facebook for $19B. To put that into perspective, making sure every man, woman and child on this earth would have clean running water is worth ~$10B. Let that sink in.

 

WhatsApp ($19B) > The ENTIRE World Music Industry ($16.4B)

 

Hunger, disease, global economics, and education are all things I feel like could be improved upon if we had the world’s smartest people trying to solve them. Imagine if Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffett and Sheryl Sandberd all dedicated their lives to solving world hunger. It may not be completely solved, however, we would be a hell of a lot closer to a solution than we are today. Imagine the impact they could make. The world NEEDS entrepreneurs to step in with innovative ideas as to how to solves these issues.
However, that’s not the world we live in. We live in a world powered by money. What makes America so great? The fact that we are free and that we have money hand over fist. People emigrate to this beautiful country for the opportunity to be free and to make a lot of money. Everyone reading this post today is already  free, so why not be rich in your 20’s?

 

21 Signs You’re Over the Age of 21

Since I’ve turned the page on being 21 years old, I’ve noticed some changes in myself, both physically and mentally. Some changes have been pretty great, some changes not so much. It’s all a part of becoming an adult though (as scary as that sounds) and change is good thing!
1. You get legitimately excited over getting a good night of sleep.

 

2. Hangovers are very real, and very brutal.
 
3. You don’t talk to 90% of the people you went to high school with.
 
4. You’ve had a taste of the office life and cannot wait for 5:00 to come around.

 

5. You’re slowly becoming a morning person.

 

6. You now have more drinks in your wheelhouse other than jack and coke and beer.
 
7. You actually understand your limits and hardly ever black out anymore.

 

8. You save getting belligerent for very special events.

 

9. You can drink alcohol neat and actually enjoy it.

 

10. The thought of Rubinoff makes you gag.

 

11. You laugh at freshman who ask you to get liquor for them.
 
12. You’ve acquired a taste for champagne (other than Andre) and craft beer if you hadn’t already.

 

13. Gray hairs are popping up. 

 

14. You comfortably drink in front of your parents.

 

15. You pass up on opportunities to go out to stay in and just relax.

 

16. You look at photos of your 18 year old self and wonder what the hell you were thinking.

 

17. You can successfully nurse drinks.

 

18. Open bar doesn’t mean drink as much as humanly possibly to you anymore. 

 

19. Tequila shots have become almost unbearable.

 

20. When you go out to the bar now, you don’t wind up spending 15% – 25% of your bank account.
21. Birthdays just don’t have the same pizazz they once did. 
Did I miss anything or can you think of any others? Comment on the boards below with anyones I missed!

Common Myths Around Sales Jobs Debunked

Since I started my career in sales about 7 months ago, a lot of my friends have asked me about what a sales job is like. Sales is one of those professions where most people think they know what the career entails, but in reality, their assumptions couldn’t be further from the truth. Before I started at Bullhorn, even I was bit confused as to what to actually expect with a career in sales. Below is the top 5 myths I have heard about sales careers and what the reality is actually like.

This guy is not who you should think of when you think of sales people!
  1. Sales is 100% commission based with no guaranteed salary.

    • This couldn’t be further from the truth! Most sales jobs out there will give you a base salary, and a generous one at that. Our contracts work like NFL contracts. We have guaranteed money and incentive packages. The way I see it, if a company isn’t willing to invest into you with training/base salary, then they do not value you and you shouldn’t work there.

  2. Sales is all about “selling ice to an eskimo”.

    • Sales is NOT about screwing people over. Good salesmen (and women) take a consultative, empathetic approach to sales. It’s all about figuring out the customers “pain” and diagnosing a solution for them, not about selling them up a river with something they don’t need. You might be able to convince some uneducated shoppers to buy things they don’t need, however, you will not be successful if that is all you rely on.

  3. Sales is just a place to start your career.

    • While sales is a great place to start your career for a number of reasons, it is not just a jumping off point. There is SO much room for growth in sales. You can move on from “inside sales” (small market) to “outside sales” or “field sales” (mid market). From there, there is multiple areas your career can go. You can turn into a sales manager or continue on up into enterprise level sales. No company in the world doesn’t need sales people and sales is at the core of every successful company.

  4. Sales is all about cold calling and just hammering the phone.

    • While cold calling is certainly a part of sales, about 90% of what I do at Bullhorn is dealing with inbound leads generated by our marketing team. An inbound lead is someone who has expressed interest in our product and has asked to be contacted. If you do sales at a reputable company, odds are, you’ll be dealing with mostly inbound leads.

  5. If you don’t hit quota, hit the bricks.

    • While hitting quota is very important, you don’t get immediately fired if you miss quota once. It all boils down to the company you are working for. If you work at reputable company, they likely are not just churning and burning sales people. I’ve actually seen a person get promoted after a quarter where he missed quota!

Don’t just believe everything you hear out there about what a sales job is like. For all you know, sales could be perfect for you!

Highlights of 2013

Wow, another year has gone by and we are on the brink of 2014. It’s unbelievable to think how much time has passed in what feels like such little time. A lot of us graduated college this year and are onto a different chapter in the story of our lives. I’d like to take a moment and reflect on all of the best moments of this year for me as we get near its close. During my reflection, I’m going to focus on how great the good times were and how I can improve from my mistakes. Here is my top 5 moments from 2013.

5. Moving Out

Living room in my apartment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving out of my mother’s house was a really big step in the stairs of life. Granted, she still makes me food and I still do my laundry at her house, but it’s a step towards independence and a step that should not be overlooked.

 

4. First Job Out of College

Landing my first job upon college graduation was a big milestone for me. I wasn’t sure where I was going to wind up or what I wanted to do, but I’m really happy with my decision to become an Account Executive at Bullhorn. In these past 6 months at Bullhorn, I have learned so much about the art of selling and a lot of it ties back to Simon Sinek’s TED talk about how great leaders inspire action. Never sell anything material, only sell solutions. I’m proud to say that as the year is closing out, I’m at 115% of my annual quota.

 

3. Graduation from UMass Amherst

College came and went by in what felt like just a couple of months. I’m so proud of everyone who graduated with me and it makes me really happy to see people going out and doing great things. People are starting companies that will change the world and others are excelling within established companies by crushing their quotas or by bringing innovative ideas to the table. There certainly isn’t a lack of ambition among the class of 2013 and I am so excited to see what the future has to hold for this class.

 

2. TEDxUMassAmherst

 

Co-founding TEDxUMassAmherst with Nate Tepper was the best learning experience I’ve had to date. Getting to work with 25 students and raise $25,000 (without UMass giving us any monetary donations) provided an avenue for me to meet a lot of unbelievable people who changed my life. Getting to speak to an audience of my peers is honestly my proudest moment of college and I thank everyone who helped make it happen (you can see my speech below). Watch out for even bigger things from TEDxUMassAmherst this year on May 3rd.

 

 

1. Becoming an Uncle

Being an Uncle has been an experience like no other. Growing up, I wasn’t very close with any of my extended family so getting the opportunity to be there for my niece has been really special. Additionally, becoming an uncle also means my brother became a father! It’s crazy to think how the same person I used to play Super Nintendo with growing up is now raising a beautiful little girl.

All in all, 2013 was a great year. There were some downs, but there were certainly a lot more ups than downs. To be honest, before I wrote everything out, I didn’t really how much was actually accomplished this year. Taking a moment to reflect on your year before 2014 rolls around can be beneficial to remind you of all of the great things you did in 2013. Additionally, it will help you set realistic goals for 2014 as well.

Best of luck to everyone in 2014 and happy New Year’s! Be happy, be healthy, but most importantly, make a difference.

 

 

Why New Years Resolutions Are Bogus

Every year, people create their list resolutions of things they hope to achieve in the coming year. The most common resolutions are to quit smoking, save money, lose weight and volunteer to help others. These are all great resolutions, however, 99% of people are not going to follow through with them.

New years resolutions are bogus because you are setting a goal for yourself and plan on taking 0 action on that goal between now and the new years. Rather than waiting for the ever distant future to come around, take action NOW. You can begin your journey to quitting smoking, losing weight, saving money and community service right now if you really wanted to. The problem is, most people don’t want to actually quit any of those things, they just like the idea of thinking they will quit them.

 

Another flaw with new years resolutions is how lofty and unplanned the goals are. There is
a reason why so many people sign up for the gym on January 1st but quit by January 15th. They don’t see the immediate results they were hoping for and quit on their resolution before the even gave it a real chance. If you plan on losing 30 pounds in 2014, set out your goals for each month and plan exactly how you’re going to get there. Additionally, don’t wait until 2014 to create a workout, sign up for a gym and implement a diet. Get all of the prep work done in 2013 so you can hit the ground running in 2014.

 

 

For anyone with new years resolutions, I challenge you to take action on them before the new years. I guarantee you you will be way more successful if you took the leap to start today vs January first.

It’s Not Who You Know, It’s How You Know Them

As I have expanded my network within Boston, I’ve quickly learned that accruing a massive rolodex of business cards doesn’t mean much if no one remembers you. It means even less if people remember you for the wrong reasons. What this means is that when you meet someone that you want to network with, don’t just hand out a business card; make an impression. (Unless the person your speaking with is Christian Bale from American Psycho and he obsesses over business cards).

At the end of the day, people don’t help people they know; people help people they like. Knowing someone means close to nothing but having a friend can take you anywhere. Rather than going to a conference and handing your business card out to 100 people, identify 5 people who you want to meet and strategize on how you can befriend them. Look them up on LinkedIn, search for them on Google, identify some interests and figure out a way to have a meaningful conversation with them.

Last year, I went to a conference called the UnConference and I had the personal mission of recruiting people to speak at my conference, TEDxUMassAmherst. There were 3 people I had identified as great speakers: David Meerman Scott, Sean Dalton and Scott Kirsner. I created 3 separate notes on my iPhone with some info on their past, what they currently do and what their interests are. Long story short, I was able to recruit David and Scott to speak at my conference and I am still close with them to this day (I never had the chance to meet Sean at the UnConference).

Focus on your reputation. Focus on building a network of friends vs building a network of acquaintances. A lot of times, a friendship won’t be built the first time you meet someone. Make sure you follow up with the people you meet and ask to grab a coffee or lunch. They may be busy and may decline your invitation, but just the fact that you went the extra step in asking will go a long way with whomever you’re talking to. A network of 100 friends will always be more powerful than a network with 1000 acquaintances, so build strategically and nurture your relationships.