Fireside Friday with David Fox
Sales Assembly: Give us your quick background in sales.
David: When I was young, my grandmother was an antique dealer. I loved going to antique shows with her to help buy/sell antiques. That's where I developed a passion for meeting new people, asking questions, negotiating and the thrill of a yes. For the past ~10 years, I've been lucky enough to manage sales teams for Aramark, Groupon + OrderUp and now Sigstr.
Sales Assembly: What's your biggest accomplishment in sales or sales leadership?
David: My director of sales at Aramark had six sales managers reporting to him. At one point in time, three of the six were people I hired, trained, and helped prepare for the promotion. I've always been extremely proud every time someone on the team earns a promotion or hits an important milestone.
Sales Assembly: What's the best piece of sales advice you ever got?
David: One piece of advice that stands out was told to me years ago by a Regional Account Executive at Aramark, Brad Prickett. It was about 11 p.m. at night, and we were in a hotel room finalizing a sales deck for Nestle Foods the next day. I was driving him crazy by obsessing over their possible objections and our planned responses. After we finished, he told me, "You need to look up more often."
It's too easy to get busy and focus on the day to day minutiae; especially the negatives. Make sure you stop every once in a while and look up. Look up and notice how hard your peers are working to make you and the company successful. Look up to see the positive impact your accounts are making on your company. Look up to see how much you've grown. Just look up!
Sales Assembly: What's the biggest challenge facing a sales rep today, and how would you recommend they overcome it?
David: I think there's a ton of white noise: a newer/shinier prospecting technology, another company is hiring, somebody posted something hilarious on Slack, etc. There're only 40 primetime selling hours in a week, so be intentional about filling the day with as many sales generating activities as possible: prospecting, appointments with prospects, etc.
Sales Assembly: Do you currently have a sales mentor, or have you ever? If so, what did they teach you?
David: I've had and have several great mentors. One of the first was Dawn Busenbark. She's still the greatest sales person I've ever met. Out of 500+ sales reps, she finished in the top ten 18 years in a row.
Most of my strategic selling skills came from trying to copy her. My biggest takeaway was: Huge accounts are just as easy/hard to sell as small/medium accounts...and nobody sells huge accounts by themselves. There's absolutely no reason to shy away from them. Your peers will have your back.
Sales Assembly: What's the best sales book you've ever read? What are you reading now?
David: Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi is my favorite business book. It's about networking, creating/maintaining relationships, and adding value through connecting people.
At the time of writing this, I'm not currently reading a business/sales book. All recommendations are welcome!
Sales Assembly: Best sales or business related books, articles, podcasts or newsletters?
David: Sales Tuners Podcast, Sales Assembly's Fireside Friday series, FlipMyFunnel Podcast, SaaStr Podcast, BiggerPockets Podcast, and Ted Talks (lots and lots of Ted Talks).
Sales Assembly: What's the best advice you'd give to someone just starting a career in sales?
David: During an interview, the candidate typically asks some variation of: "What makes the best reps better than the rest?" And my answer, at every company, has always been the same: Effort x Skill = Success. Effort is the most important part of the equation because "there's nothing wasted more in the world than potential."
So, jump in...head first. Especially when it's uncomfortable. When you're uncomfortable, you're learning.
Unless you are selling a product that can kill or maim someone, you don't need to know everything, and you'll improve your skills much faster.
Sales Assembly: Do you see any interesting future trends as it pertains to sales?
David: Right now, it's becoming more and more difficult to connect with a top prospect, because they are getting bombarded with solicitations from every direction on every medium. Nobody wants to click on a link, answer a phone number they don't recognize, open an email from an unknown source, etc. That's why a high majority of buying decisions happen before the prospect officially interacts with a company.
I feel relationships are going to become the fastest and, maybe the only, way to engage with a prospect or company. People take a meeting, a phone call, or open an email from someone they know almost 100 percent of the time.
Relationship Marketing is one of the biggest reasons I decided to join the Sigstr team. Our newest product, Sigstr Pulse, allows you to leverage your employees' relationships to drive marketing and sales alignment at scale.
Sales Assembly: What's your favorite quote?
David: My favorite quote is: "“Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.” - Chuck Close. Here's a short YouTube video!