As an eager and restless child growing up in a small coal-mining town in Western Pennsylvania, I didn’t have much exposure to the world of sales. Most of the men in the neighborhood worked in the coalmines or steel mills, and my family members worked at my grandfather’s strip mining company.
Everyone, that is, except my father. He was considered the black sheep of the family because he wanted to build something of his own. He enjoyed working with his hands and wasn’t afraid to get them dirty. In my younger days, I remember him constantly working odd jobs at unusual hours to provide for our family. He installed three-hundred-foot electric power lines across Western Pennsylvania and Ohio, started his own asphalt paving company, and drove a snowplow for the state of Pennsylvania during the cold winter months. I remember him saying that when it snowed it was “pennies from heaven” because he was able to go to work.
As I look back on those years, we didn’t have a lot of money, but there was nothing that I needed or wanted that wasn’t provided for me. I’m sure that any savings our family had was spent on the occasional beach vacation to the Blue Star Motel at the Jersey Shore. In addition, there were always plenty of Christmas gifts for my three brothers and me, and we could count on new outfits and shoes for church on Easter Sunday.
I distinctly remember the day that things changed for our family. My father told me that he was changing his job and he was going to be a salesman. I was eight years old at the time, and I remember laughing and saying to him, “Daddy, you’re not a salesman. Why do you want to be a salesman?”
A family friend got him involved in a company called Bestline, which in those days was equivalent to Amway, and somewhat of a pyramid scheme. He was going to have a career selling detergent, disinfectant, and home cleaning products. He worked hard to get as many friends and family members selling Bestline as he could.
I recall helping him carry cases of carpet cleaner, air freshener, laundry detergent, and shampoo to the cellar of our small home. He and my mom flew to Florida for their first sales conference and convention. That experience was life altering; it changed the course of his life and mine.
My father came back from that trip with renewed energy and the confidence to take on the world. He had heard the legendary Jim Rohn speak at the conference and purchased his motivational cassette tapes. All of a sudden, he was blaring motivational cassettes throughout the house.
I remember hearing Rohn’s prominent voice, loud and clear, repeatedly as those tapes played seemingly day in and day out. Rohn would often refer to change saying, “For things to change, you’ve got to change. When you change, everything will change for you. When you get better, everything will get better for you.”
I recall profound messages like, “You don’t have to change your market, your plans, the economy, countries, or circumstances, but rather look within and see if you can change yourself for the better.”
At the impressionable age of eight, those words had significant impact on how I viewed the world, how I would deal with challenging circumstances, and ultimately who I am today. At that time, I saw my father changing. He was not only learning a new trade, but also becoming a businessperson who was thinking more strategically, developing selling skills, and demonstrating leadership. He was the consummate salesman and truly became a sales leader for his company.
Fast-forward 44 years; it’s ironic how Jim Rohn’s messages and my father’s mentorship and spirit still influence me. They’ve inspired and guided me in my 20-year career as a sales leader and today they’re even more meaningful to me, as an entrepreneur and executive coach. Remember, if you want things to change, you need to change. Race to Amazing is about awareness and making intentional changes for the better.
The number one differentiator for companies that are slow to grow and those that are knocking the ball out of the park is… Effective Sales Leadership. So often, salespeople are promoted to management prematurely, without the skills and experience to be an effective sales leader. Small and midsize business owners may lack resources or talent to lead a sales team successfully. Large organizations face the daunting task of developing the next generation of millennial sales leaders.
There is an urgent need for companies to uplevel their sales leadership in order to innovate, continue to create customer loyalty, strategically compete in global economies, and win new business against disruptive competitors.
This is an excerpt from the first chapter of Krista Moore’s new book Race to Amazing, Your Fast Track to Sales Leadership which deals with looking inward and making the necessary changes. Order Here
Author Krista Moore has codified her winning approach through combining her personal experiences growing up in a small coal-mining town, leading sales for multimillion-dollar startups and Fortune 500 companies and coaching successful sales leaders throughout the world. Learn through her relatable stories, shared experiences, and practical applications of how other sales leaders have struggled, yet quickly created a winning system and style.