Episode 10: Jim McInerny

This week JR sits down with one of his personal sales heroes for a chat and they cover it all from where and when the seeds of “Merchants of Change” were planted to Jim’s current role as the CRO for an exciting startup, Blink, whose app is revolutionizing the way companies and front-line employees communicate and collaborate to create cultures of success.

Our podcast is called Merchants of Change so you can only imagine how excited I was to sit down with Jim McInerny, the man who introduced me to the three words that completely changed the way I think about sales, of my role in the process, and the impact that my efforts have. Our conversation covers the origin of the expression; offers highlights of our shared history; and explains some nuts and bolts about breaking into sales, developing the skills and behaviors needed to sustain success, and how to be happy (most of the time) doing it.

Lesson #1: Be all in. You need to have faith, stick to the process, and good things will follow. But if you’re not all in, forget it.

Lesson #2: Dumb luck might get you started, but hard work keeps you going, and a commitment to learning makes you successful.

Lesson #3: When you’re breaking into sales, you’re only as good as the people you train with. If you’re around strong people, you’ll get stronger. As you progress in your career, you’re only as good as the network you can tap into. Nobody is good enough to do anything on their own. Build a strong network. Surround yourself with good people.

Lesson #4: Find people you want to be like, then emulate them. You’ll learn a lot and your confidence will grow.

Lesson #5: The job will be hard no matter what. Find a place where you can make it fun.

Lesson #6: You can’t be successful without discipline, ambition, and accountability.

Lesson #7: Don’t be disingenuous. Be respectful, thoughtful, prepared, and vulnerable. It starts with trust and these qualities will help you build it.

Lesson #8: Find your voice and have range, because you’re going to be talking to all kinds of people.

Lesson #9: Be a student of your prospect, not of your product. Focus on the customer’s problems and find the right solution.

Lesson #10: Be prepared and purposeful. Use LinkedIn and other research tools to your advantage. This will help you when you’re interviewing for a job and when you have a job. Learn about the person you’ll be interviewing with or selling to—find, make, and explore connections.

Lesson #11: Ask questions. Natural curiosity comes through and can generate critical conversations that lead to high-impact outcomes.

Lesson #12: Non-verbal cues tell an important part of the story. Bring a pen and paper to meetings and use them—it says something about you when something matters enough for you to write it down and remember it.

Lesson #13: When you’re looking for a new role, be prepared to tell your story in a compelling way. Why sales? What can you do? How do you use your time?

Lesson #14: Differentiate yourself. Take advantage of the small opportunities to do things that most other people wouldn’t do. This will set you apart and make you memorable.

Lesson #15: Take ownership and be accountable. Leave nothing to chance.

Lesson #16: Make a good impression on as many people as possible.

Lesson #17: Dare to be different, but always remain professional. Everyone’s hugging the tree trunk so take chances and get out there on the skinny branches.

Lesson #18: Don’t hide behind technology. Get good at the social aspects of selling. Ask questions. Be empathetic. Someone not answering your emails? Pick up the phone.

Lesson #19: You don’t necessarily need to be confident. But you do need to be prepared so you can take advantage of whatever opportunity a given moment presents you with.

Lesson #20: Be aligned with the people you’re working with—culturally, make sure you fit.

Lesson #21: Make sure you understand what problems the hiring company’s product is solving and what makes it unique.

Lesson #22: How big is the hiring company’s addressable market? It’s an indicator of opportunity size.

Lesson #23: Be a good listener, and learn from everyone.

Lesson #24: Want to be considered a Sales Pro? Develop and maintain relationships that create customers for life.

Jim is unbelievable. Listen to the podcast to hear for yourself, and to get his insights on why and how these lessons matter.

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