This is our interview with Kris Krisco, Chief Customer Officer at Buildout. You can follow Buildout at @BuildoutInc.
Sales Assembly: Give us your quick background in sales.
Kris: I’ve been in “sales” since I was 19. While attending Arizona State, I bartended during the school year while starting my own car detailing service, which I ran when I was home in Chicago over the summers. I grew up in an entrepreneurial commercial real estate family, so after graduating I held a couple of jobs with my mother, brother and step-father including commercial development, construction and management. From there, I moved into brokerage where I advised clients on acquisitions and dispositions of multi-family investment properties. It was during this time that I met the founders of Buildout (Jason Tillery and Vishu Ramanathan) - who later became my partners. I recruited our talented VP of Sales, Mark Garcia, and with his help we’ve been able to scale an impressive sales org over the last several years.
Sales Assembly: What's your biggest accomplishment in sales or sales leadership?
Kris: I don’t see myself as “accomplished” by any means. I’ve hit a few major goals but I’m a long, long way from the finish line. Having said that, there are a couple things I’m proud of: 1 - In my time at Buildout, I’ve never prioritized my own needs or the needs of the company over that of a customer. 2 - That feeling when you’re staring into a teammate's eyes (after years of working together) where the lights come on and they realize their unlimited potential. It literally stops my breath every time - and I’m fortunate to say I’ve experienced it with over a dozen teammates at Buildout.
Sales Assembly: What's the best piece of sales advice you ever got?
Kris: "Work harder than everyone and learn something new every day." - Papa Kris
Sales Assembly: What's the biggest challenge facing a sales rep today, and how would you recommend they overcome it?
Kris: Machines, AI, automation...whatever you want to refer to this next wave of technology as - it’s coming. I think it was John Barrows at the Sales Assembly Summit said something like, “The good sales people will be great, the great salespeople will be spectacular, and the average sales people will be eliminated." I couldn't agree more. To overcome these challenges, I’d recommend they work on becoming GREAT. Start with TRUST, build relationships and be human - these are things machines can't do.
Sales Assembly: Do you currently have a mentor when it comes to sales, or have you ever? If so, what did they teach you?
Kris: Too many to name. Everyone associated with The Junto Institute, Ethos, and Sales Assembly have been great. If you don’t know who these organizations are or what they do, PLEASE reach out to me and I’ll be happy to discuss them with you. My email is Kris@buildout.com and my cell is (708) 828-1990.
Sales Assembly: What's the best sales book you've ever read?
Kris: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Covey is the best book I’ve ever read. I review/re-read it once a year. This book has been a driving force for any success I’ve achieved, in business but more importantly, in my personal life. The Maverick Selling Method by Brian Burns is pretty powerful, too. Right now I’m reading Principles by Ray Dalio. He's an interesting and obviously very accomplished dude. I’m just now finishing up his “life principles” and understand he’ll be talking about his “work/investment principles” next.
Sales Assembly: Best sales or business related articles, podcasts or newsletters?
Kris: The ‘Entrepreneur’ section on Flipboard is fantastic. I particularly enjoy when experienced professionals share the inevitable pitfalls of businesses at scale. Avoiding even the littlest mistakes can go a long way.
Sales Assembly: What's the best advice you'd give to someone just starting a career in sales?
Kris: Sell something you believe in for a company that shares your values and beliefs. Take your time developing your own craft that’s rooted in building trust and developing genuine, long-term relationships. Don't chase the money, develop your skills. If you're one of the best in the world at what you do, the money will find you.
Sales Assembly: Do you see any interesting future trends as it pertains to sales?
Kris: Yes, I guess I'll call it OVER-automation. I’m a predicting a trend where salespeople who understand the importance of being (a human) Trusted Adviser will make more money than at any point in history. Also, you'll live a life of integrity - how awesome is that!?
Sales Assembly: What are your top 5 movies of all time?
Kris: These can change from day-to-day but right now: 1 - My Cousin Vinny, 2 - My Blue Heaven, 3- Big Daddy, 4 - Rocky, 5 - The Godfather Epic (9 hours straight, in chronological order - you’ll love it).