Welcome to CloserIQ’s Sales Leadership Q&A Series! We invite top sales leaders to share their experiences in everything from career choices to favorite sales strategies. Today we’re talking with Ben Asnis, Director of Sales, at SinglePlatform, the NYC-based SaaS platform helping small businesses, associations, and nonprofits create and build lasting customer relationships.
Q: How long have you worked in sales?
Ben: It’s been about 10 years now, which is crazy to say.
Q: Why did you start working in sales?
Ben: Honestly, I didn’t plan on being in sales. If you had asked me, I would have told you that sales was my least likely path. After college I moved to San Diego from Arizona. I saw a flyer asking if you thrived in a competitive, team-oriented environment. It sounded like my kind of opportunity. I went in for the interview and accepted the job on the spot. Before I knew it, I had a list of leads on my desk and I was using a ruler to work my way down it to make sure I didn’t miss anyone.
Q: What’s your favorite part of working in sales?
Ben: Sales is like a sport. It’s a craft that you can always be honing. No one is ever perfect but there is always the opportunity for you to improve and advance and I love that.
Q: What do you think makes someone successful in sales?
Ben: Sales is hard and you won’t make it in this field if you don’t have a reason to keep you going. No one can make it in sales because someone told them to be here. Your motivation has to come from within yourself. You have to have a goal in mind that you can look to when days get hard.
Q: What is your most memorable sale?
Ben: It was my first sale and it took forever. He was such a sweet man but he was just not tech savvy at all. It took me an hour and a half just to get him into the pitch and then another hour and a half to get through the pitch. He needed a lot of education and it took a lot of patience for me but he was a loyal customer. He called me back once a year to refer a new customer. I’ll never forget it.
Q: At your previous company, your career in sales grew as the company grew. What was that experience like?
Ben: When I started at my first company, I wasn’t the best sales person. In fact, I was probably one of the worst. It took a lot of bumps and bruises in order for me to get to a position where I was one of the better sales people in the company, but I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. I learned a lot about myself and a lot about the process of developing sales skills in myself and others, which helped me to grow at my company.
Q: What’s your favorite part of growing with a sales team?
Ben: My favorite part of growing with Yodle was promoting people. My success often came hand in hand with other people’s success. When I got to advance it gave me an opportunity to help other people advance and that’s something that has been very meaningful to me in my career.
Q: You recently took over an established sales floor at SinglePlatform, what has that experience been like?
Ben: I have to start from scratch because I have no track record with this team. My main focus right now is building that trust with all of my sales reps and managers. In a situation like this it’s important to only make promises you can keep and to keep all of the promises you make. Don’t take for granted that people understand your reasoning for making decisions. Over communicate about everything.
Q: What’s your favorite part on this new challenge?
Ben: Learning. It’s easy to come in with the mindset that I’m going to teach, teach, teach, but at SinglePlatform I have to learn before I can teach. So everyday I am focusing on learning from our sales reps, managers, and other departments. It’s been really exciting so far to delve into the ways to make our sales floor the best it can be.
Q: How do you keep your sales reps motivated?
Ben: I find out what matters to them. What exactly is it that they want to accomplish? Not just at work, but throughout their lives and making sure I am helping them do that.
Q: If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting their career in sales what would it be?
Ben: Build a great relationship with your manager. Trust them, open up to them, follow their advice even when your gut tells you the contrary. A lot of people in sales are self-directed and overly confident. Key traits that they need to be successful, but can also be their downfall. Let yourself learn from your managers mistakes.
Q: If you weren’t in sales?
Ben: I’d be a coach. I’d want to continue helping people improve themselves.
Ben Asnis is the Director of Sales at SinglePlatform, the most widely-used business listing platform helping businesses reach and engage local customers online and on mobile. Previously, Ben was the Director of Sales at Yodle.