If you want to get lucky in your sales career, then I seriously want you to meet someone.
Many in the sales world know of Jill through her writings, the series of books she has written and her desire to help those around her. What many don’t know is the type of person she is to those who do know her.
If her name is not familiar, then let me tell you a story, to put this article into perspective.
In 2001 I left my sales role at Xerox Australia and decided to go out on my own as a speaker – because back then coaching was only for sports professionals and not yet viewed as a method of peak performance for sales professionals. Back then the internet was also fairly new, nobody had personal websites, let alone personalised HTML newsletters. I was fortunate in that my husband built mine for me (Sales-Meetings.com), we were early adopters of autoresponders for newsletters and before permission marketing, my database was fairly large purely because I was speaking where-ever I could – some would say, even at the opening of an envelope.
One day I decided to search online for female speakers that I could model, reach out to and use as a benchmark. Speakers who were in the sales space doing what I wanted to do. Just quietly, there were not that many, but then a woman by the name of Jill Konrath, whose company was Leapfrog Strategies, Inc., appeared on my screen.
I checked her out and she seemed to be cut from the same cloth as myself. A mum with a daughter and a son, ex Xerox, experienced in the B2B space, a female, and a writing style that was very conversational and personal and filled with great ideas. So I reached out and we began an online relationship. She joined my newsletter and I joined hers, even though this relationship was to be short-lived.
Like anything in life, we all take paths that weren’t signposted as clearly as they could have been and the path I took saw me leave the consultancy world and buy my own bricks and mortar wholesale and importing business with my husband. With a story for another time woven over a ten year time-frame, circumstances eventually led me back to the world of B2B sales. Inspiring people through my writing and speaking on main stages around the world, coaching and mentoring sales leaders and salespeople across the globe, is the work I am good at and meant to be doing.
And I have Jill Konrath to thank for a huge chunk of this.
Sitting at home one day, about 5 years ago, I said to my husband, ‘Whatever happened to that woman, what’s her name? Jill… Jill someone. Jill Konrath. Whatever happened to her?”
And so I did another online search.
And there on the screen in front of me was this same woman from ten years earlier. Alongside her photo were two other images – ‘Selling To Big Companies‘ and ‘SNAP Selling‘ – her two brilliant books from back then.
At that moment, personally vowing to make up for ten years of lost time, I immediately purchased both books. After consuming them in record time I felt so compelled to thank her for writing what she wrote, not only because it immediately helped me as a consultant, but because she re-lit the fire in my belly, and so I reached out online again.
What happened next seriously caused me to roll my chair back and my heart rate to quicken!
In under 3 minutes she had personally replied to my email, with a message that simply read:
‘Whatever happened to you?’
She hardly knew me, yet she remembered me.
We chatted, I explained my story and she then invited me to become a part of her inner circle of women sales professionals and fly to the USA for a two day conference.
At dinner one night in Bostons’ Seaport District, she listened to my story and shared her story, complete with desperate and uplifting similarities. She inspired me to ‘go for it’. That my stuff was, and is, good and that I could be a leading light in the world of B2B sales. That it was my turn to take my turn.
And my professional journey began in earnest.
- Her reaching out and caring, reading the play and being so open and honest has without a doubt, given me a baseline of support, camaraderie and experiences that has literally changed my world.
- Her support of women in sales has created a sisterhood that is impacting the world of business, speaking and gender diversity.
- Her generosity of spirit has provided many of us with introductions that have led to fantastic commercial relationships and for me personally, allowed me the vehicle to speak around the world, write for global publications and help sell a difference in people’s businesses and lives.
- Her writings have shed light on all of us in sales. Yes! Even those of us who instruct, influence and inspire those in sales environments, on topics from how to get your foot in the door, to understanding the power of learning in today’s world, the necessity to be agile from her newer book ‘Agile Selling’, and now, her latest book ‘More Sales. Less Time.‘ The hottest topic of all – productivity and sales – which of course, today, go hand in hand.
What she has given the most, though, like many great leaders, is herself. She has proven that we are all the same, yet different. We all have insecurities, we all have opportunities, we all have the ability to pursue luck by never giving up on our dream. She taught me not to be someone who quits too soon and more importantly to reach out to someone.
As a mentor of mine, a friend and a peer, it would be remiss of me not to share her latest body of work with you to help you on your path. Not just to support her in return, but to open up an opportunity for you.
To take your learning, your productivity, your relationships, your results and even your stress levels, and improve them all.
I guess, in a nutshell, this is my blatant invitation for you to join me in Jill’s world, too.
Here’s what I suggest you do: Download a copy of her latest book ‘More Sales. Less Time’ or at least a copy of her first chapter right here, right now and I guarantee you will appreciate this timely introduction.
Be Bold and Brilliant,
Bernadette McClelland is a Keynote and Sales Kick-Off Speaker, Executive Sales Leadership Coach, and published author. CEO of 3 Red Folders she ensures her clients create double digit, sustainable sales growth and marketplace differentiation through unique programs based on ‘The NeuroScience of Sales Leadership and Sales Process’