EPISODE 056: With Over 18 Years at the Same Company, Cision Sales Leader Chris Cutino Offers a Wealth of Ideas on How to Continually Stay Ahead


EPISODE 056: With Over 18 Years at the Same Company, Cision Sales Leader Chris Cutino Offers a Wealth of Ideas on How to Continually Stay Ahead

CHRIS’ FINAL THOUGHT FOR SALES GAME CHANGERS: “Make everything that you do worth your time. It’s an over-simplification of investing in yourself. It’s very easy to get distracted at work, it’s very easy to get yourself in a position where you feel like you’ve got a good pipeline and it’s easy to go on autopilot. Make everything that you do worth your time and you won’t let yourself down.”

Chris Cutino offers a unique career perspective in sales and sales leadership being that he has spent the last 18 years in the same industry with the same organization.

He’s currently the Vice President of Sales for Cision, a provider of technology solutions and services for communications professionals. During his tenure, he’s seen the organization grow from 40 employees to a public offering on the NASDAC in 2005. In 2014 Vocus was acquired through a private equity firm and merged with Cision.

Prior to his entry into communications technology sales, he held sales leadership positions in the licensed apparel industry as well as the not for profit space at the AIIM international, a technology trade association.

Find Chris on LinkedIN!

Chris Cutino: I’m really glad to be here and be a part of this podcast. I’ve been listening quite a bit lately and some very interesting guests and certainly some great insight. From my perspective, I’m one of those guys who is really kind of a family man at heart. A lot of what I do is not only supported by my family, needs to be, but it’s also done for them as well.

I have two children, I’ve got a lovely wife of 23+ years at this point and they’re very supportive and that’s really important when you kind of dig your head into the sales arena. It takes a lot of time and you have to make sure that what you’re doing is not only something that you want to do but also your family is willing to support as well.

Fred Diamond: That’s actually an interesting point. We interview successful sales leaders from around the globe and so many of them had had very happy and successful private lives as well. Spouses going on, two, three decades and just that continuation and stability which definitely, I found, leads to some of the sales success that we’re going to be talking about today.

Chris Cutino: Absolutely.

Fred Diamond: Let’s get to it. Let’s talk a little bit about your career and get some of your journey and understand how you’ve gotten to this point. Tell us a little bit about what you sell today and tell us what excites you about that.

Chris Cutino: Sure. Cision provides solutions for communications professionals, we’ve talked about communications folks for years as PR professionals, communications people but really the tool that we give them just from a tactical perspective gives them the ability to target influencers, to distribute their content to influencers and make sure that they manage their brand properly. It gives them the ability to monitor news and when we talk about news, that’s certainly changed over the years as well from traditional news to online news, social media.

It gives them the ability to track that content not only about themselves, their competitors but also their industry in general. Then they can analyze that content and really make much smarter decisions based on what’s happening in those conversations but what’s really exciting and what we’ve done that’s very different – especially this past year – is we’ve moved into this area that’s always been held by marketing and advertising which is attribution, and there’s always been a struggle in trying to attribute the value of communications and PR to a dollar amount.

They’ve always had kind of a corner on that market and a corner on that budget. We’ve done a really good job this year in incorporating attribution into the communications life cycle. It’s a lot of fun to talk to organizations, teach them how they can do that now, how they can get a bigger slice of that overall attribution pie within an organization.

Fred Diamond: Explain what attribution means for people who don’t know what that means.

Chris Cutino: Absolutely. When you’re putting together an advertising campaign or maybe a campaign where you’re putting up banner ads, people will click through that. There’s content that’s attached to them through the magic of the web that follows them through to your e-commerce site. Once that person buys your product or your content, etcetera, you have the ability to attribute that back to that initial click.

The historical process with communications professionals has been we put out a press release, we communicate with the media, we get all these news clips and you thump this down on the CEO’s desk and raise your hands like, “This is what we’ve been able to accomplish”, but it’s always been really hard to say, “If we spend more money on communications, it’s going to result next number of dollars.” That’s what we’re able to do now, send out a press release, track the content and the people that are actually viewing that content, track their information all the way through to the sell cycle and be able to attribute a dollar value to that.

Fred Diamond: That’s pretty powerful. Who do you sell to? Who are your customers?

Chris Cutino: We don’t focus on one particular industry because everybody really has to focus on that communications life cycle for different reasons. B2C customers, obviously they’re targeting new customers. B2B customers, they want businesses to come in and use their products. You have non-profits that are really trying to find donors or find people that will actually donate their time to help those organizations. Even government agencies, they’re trying to deliver a message and shape the way people are thinking about it so really it’s those communications professionals until recently.

It’s all PR professionals and communications professionals. We’ve raised the game now where CMO’s are getting involved in the process because of that attribution model.

Fred Diamond: Tell us how you first got into a career in sales. We mentioned in the intro that you’ve been with the same company for the past 18 somewhat years, that is definitely remarkable in this day and age, good for you, but tell us how you got started in sales.

Chris Cutino: I think probably 95% of the time, people kind of fall into sales. It’s purely an accident. I don’t know anybody who when they were 9 or 10 years old used to call up their friends and they’d get together and play make believe procurement process or anything along those lines.

I think what happened was initially, if memory serves, a very close friend of mine was a part of a family-run business and they offered me the opportunity to come in and help them coordinate their sales efforts. They had a bunch of independent sales reps and what they sold was licensed apparel. What they would do is they would get these sales reps together who would carry seven or eight other manufacturers’ products going to JC Penny and pull out all of their different brands and items and bring back basically order forms.

They needed somebody to come and manage that process and as I got in there I started to learn from these sales reps but I also realized how little structure there was there and I was very young and these were very grizzled veterans. But what I started to figure out was they needed more than a coordinator, they needed something to put things like goals in place. We had to be able to project what type of revenue we were going to get, set expectations for the reps that aligned with what we were trying to do as a business so it turned into more of a sales management role and it was an accidental sales management role.

Fred Diamond: What are some of the lessons that you learned back then that have stuck with you through today?

Chris Cutino: I think some of it was just watching those sales reps, some of them that had a lot of tenure, some of them that were a family business themselves and learned from the grizzled veterans within their family. You had a lot of smooth-talking, pressure-based sales people, you also had people that really understood the relationship sale. Creating that long term relationship and being able to go back to the well over and over again.

I quickly learned that no one wants to be sold, I learned that business people want to take advantage of an opportunity and if they can find somebody that will help them become successful over the long term as opposed to somebody who’s going to solve a short term issue and maybe they’ll be successful based on that short term, building that trust and building that long-term opportunity was far more successful and it really made an impression on me.

Fred Diamond: We mentioned a couple of times already you’ve been with the same organization for close to 18 years. You just talked about bringing value, long term success, are there customers that you’ve been working with for close to two decades being part of this organization that you saw those relationships with?

Chris Cutino: It’s very interesting, I do have quite a few of those customers. My main focus is on business development and the new business side but a lot of those organizations that I originally sold as an individual rep here are folks that still come back to me when they have questions about new product and I’ll assist the current sales rep to make sure that we align what their needs are with what we have to help them.

Fred Diamond: Tell us a little more about you specifically. What are you an expert in? Chris, tell us a little more about your specific area of brilliance.

Chris Cutino: Expertise and brilliance? It’s kind of a heavy word. I’d like to think that if I have any brilliance at all it’s openly admitting and finding comfort in the fact that I can learn from people around me, that I can always continue to hire people and surround myself with people that are much smarter than me and openly embracing that. I think that if you work with really smart team of people and you learn to utilize their strengths and an understanding of all levels of the business that you have long coupled with theirs that’ll put you in the position not only to fool everybody around you to make them think that you’re smarter than you actually are, but to take advantage of this collective identification of potential land mines.

Making certain that what you’re doing is you’re getting all levels of historical knowledge and experience to say, “I’m now two levels, three levels removed from a lot of the direct sales that happens within the organization and it’s terrifying to me to make a decision about what might affect them without really understanding what their day to day is.” Getting the right people around you and constantly gaining that feedback is really important to me.

Fred Diamond: That’s interesting. I’m going to ask you a little different question here: How do you describe your sales management style?

Chris Cutino: It’s a really good question. It’s interesting because what I do know is that I’ve worked for a lot of people that probably have their own self-image and a version of how they believe that they are projecting themselves to their sales team and so I want to be careful of not stepping in that mud puddle. The reality is what I really do is I take a very collaborative approach to making decisions.

Once those decisions are put in place, then it’s all about accountability and it’s not a democracy by any stretch but it is a very collaborative approach. The net result is we have to grow as an organization so when it comes to really focusing on getting that insight, that’s where the collaboration happens and I’m certainly not a “My way or the highway” type manager but what I do believe is that once we sign on for something, it’s our job to go and get it done.

Fred Diamond: Yeah. It’s interesting, you mentioned that when you had that first job selling licenses apparel that there was the high-pressure sales person, if you will, but then there was also the ones who looked to the long term benefit, if you will.

Chris Cutino: That’s correct.

Fred Diamond: That kind of describes how you just described your management style as well. Working with teams that were all here to help the company grow. That makes a lot of sense and maybe some attribution there.

Chris Cutino: If I can add to that, also one of the other things to that as we go through this process, I trust the team that I have around me and I feel like giving them more information gives them the ability to understand their direct impact on the organization as well and I think that’s something that is often missing.

If people understand what they do on a daily basis and how it impacts the overall targets and goals and what we’re trying to accomplish as an organization, it gives them a much easier pass to buy in as to, “Here’s how I’m propping up that table.” It works really well for me and my organization.

Fred Diamond: We took a walk around the office today, it’s very imaginative, very creative place and I saw a lot of engaged people. I’m just curious, a lot of them seemed to be – to throw around the M word – millennials. Is there anything specific that you want to share about managing millennials that you have found to be successful?

Chris Cutino: That’s a great question. I think that’s one that everybody kind of grapples with but I think it still comes back to that human factor in that being a sales manager and being in direct sales, there’s a large portion of that that really relies on psychology. There’s a huge different between psychology and spin and I think a lot of people get those intermingled, they use them interchangeably far too often. I think the psychology, it goes back to exactly what I just talked about which is giving them a reason to be vested in the success of the organization and tying their success back to the organization’s success as well.

I think that if they understand that their success is #1, it absolutely needs to be in place in order for the organization to be successful but #2 recognizing that success on a regular basis, we often say that a pat on the back is only 18 inches above the kick in the butt and it’s very important to make sure that everybody recognizes when those successes are happening and play those up quite a bit. They really want to be recognized for doing a good job.

Fred Diamond: Very good. Take us back to parts of your career when you’ve had an impactful sales career mentor. Tell us about one or two of the mentors that you’ve had and how they specifically have impacted your career.

Chris Cutino: It’s interesting because I’ve been listening to podcasts and trying to pinpoint one or two people that have had a huge impact on my career and I could certainly name a handful of people but it’s turned into this amalgam of probably a half dozen people or so. It’s really the things that I learned from them and in many cases they were the same things from the leaders that I felt were true mentors to me. I’ll be clear that they weren’t formal mentors, I don’t know that I’ve ever put together a formal mentorship with anybody so when I think of mentors, it’s people who have made real impact just in doing what they do on a daily basis and that’s the way that I model my approach.

I’ve never sat down with somebody and said, “I’m going to mentor you”, but look at the way that I’ve done it, here’s what’s happened to me and take that into account when you’re trying to figure out what’s next. When I talk about those areas, the things that I learn from them I think first and foremost it’s trust your own instincts and I think that we typically – as sales people – have either a very narcissistic approach to how great we are and it’s often false or we fall into that impostor syndrome approach where we’re always second guessing ourselves. You’ve got to find a combination of both of those, that narcissism has to turn into confidence and that impostor syndrome has to turn into more of a, “Let’s be introspective and let’s make sure we know what we’re doing well and where we need to get better.”

Great sales people, another great one that I learned was you have to succeed in spite of. In spite of as opposed to failing because of, it’s easy to find excuses, it’s really hard to say, “I know it’s hard but I’m going to succeed anyway.” That’s one that I learned early, I use it all the time and simply don’t let anybody outwork you. I will say that probably my biggest mentor, my father, inadvertently whether he meant to or not probably taught me at a very early age that nobody’s going to outwork you. He’s still the voice in my head when I tell myself, “No one’s going to outwork me. It’s just not going to happen.” I think that’s the key and it’s important that you surround yourself with really smart people along the way.

Fred Diamond: You have to succeed in spite of, not fail because of. Very powerful. Chris, what are two of the biggest challenges you face today as a sales leader? 

Chris Cutino: First and foremost it’s probably training and sales readiness and it’s really more around the way that our products and services continually evolve and the expectations of our client base evolve. With us, again, we have to have very consultative conversations with our clients at every level. That’s the person with six months of tenure and the person with six years of tenure, they have to come across in a very consultative way because our job is to get them to think differently.

People will call us looking for a commodity, looking for a media database, we’ve got to basically pivot that to a conversation about what they could be doing so we have to be able to challenge them. That takes a level of confidence that comes with really understanding all of the new offerings that we’re providing every two or three months, and so that’s one of the challenges.

Second, I think it really is – as you go through a lot of mergers and acquisitions  – it’s taking all of these various sales cultures and sales processes and making certain that we can merge those together and continue to grow and win the hearts and minds of people who aren’t used to doing things a certain way. That’s been a real challenge as well.

Fred Diamond: Chris, why don’t you take us back to one specific sale success or win from your career that you’re most proud of?

Chris Cutino: Sure. Early in my tenure here at Vocus I had moved into an enterprise, new business sales role. I carved out this territory focused specifically on non-profits associations and foundations and I was working with a very large, very high profile charity that had gone through a very lengthy sales process. An RFP profess and a sales process to find a solution for, at the time, was probably about a 40 to 50 person communications team. It was a very large team.

We had put in front of them a 6 figure contract. At the last minute, a competitor which later turned out to be the organization that we merged with had rolled out a brand new product and because they were such a high profile organization they came with them and said, “We’ll give this to you for free if we can tell people that you’re using our services.” It was a decision that they had to make. As a charity, we’re trying to save money every step of the way, we can spend 6 figures plus, get what we believe will work or we can do this for free and we can try it out and if it doesn’t work we can make a decision six months later to spend the money.

But through a combination of reiterating my understanding of what their real needs were, how to line with the products and services that we provided at the time but also challenging them to think about different ways of doing what they were doing to gain better insight and then you certainly sprinkle in quite a bit of fear and uncertainty and doubt associated with being that guinea pig to try a new product. I was able to secure that 100 K plus deal with the charity which was kind of hard to come by at the time.

Fred Diamond: Very good. Just curiously, is the decision making process for not for profit different from what you’ve seen for profit companies?

Chris Cutino: It’s interesting, the decision making process is very different across all industries and certainly the federal government has its own way of buying that certainly keeps us all in therapy [Laughs]. I think that there’s also the bigger challenge is larger organizations have a standardized process when it comes to procurement whereas the smaller the organization or the less sophisticated the organization, typically what happens is you almost have to challenge as a part of the sales process, you have to challenge the buyer to make certain that they understand the process.

A lot of times they’re not used to buying services like ours, so they don’t know the answers to a lot of those challenges. It’s one of the things that we train very heavily around is make sure you partner with them so that they understand the procurement process prior to making a decision because a lot of times if they don’t, once they make that decision we could still be looking at six weeks to another two and a half months out before they can actually sign on the dotted line.

Fred Diamond: I’m just curious, you mentioned that communications professionals are your main customer, has it ever happened where you’ve really sold the communication customer they get it, they understand and then procurement or the CFO or the controller puts a kibosh not because there’s not budget but for other reasons, is that a challenge or not really?

Chris Cutino: Absolutely a challenge. I will tell you that value is in the eye of the beholder and if the beholder is not the one with the purse strings, it makes it a much more difficult process and there is always risk involved until you actually sign on that dotted line.

The challenge is obviously when you go up the ladder within an organization, pain is less pain if they’re not directly involved in the pain and the outcome is the same so efficiencies aren’t always what sells a product to somebody who actually owns the budget for it. It’s really more around what’s the overall value for the organization so we’ve really had to pivot away from, “We can save you time, we can make you more efficient.”

It’s we have to be able to show them that, “We can get you better results and ultimately you’re going to gain additional revenue for your organization by using these tools.”

Fred Diamond: Chris, you obviously had a great, successful career in sales. You would not have been here for 18 years with these examples and learnings if you hadn’t been successful but did you ever question being in sales? Was there ever a moment where you thought to yourself, “It’s just too hard, it’s not for me.”?

Chris Cutino: [Laughs] Yeah, it’s interesting because I think this answer is pretty universal in that I think any job that is as difficult as sales, you always have second thoughts. Certainly there are tough days, I think another mentor of mine, the old CEO of Vocus used to say all the time, “Some days you’re the windshield, some days you’re the bug.” I think that’s true in any career but with sales it’s black and white. Your success is black and white, you’re either hitting it or you’re not.

It’s the work that you do ahead of time to make sure that you don’t get to that point where you are the bug. The nice thing about it, though, and what I always stress to people and I think what has really kept me in the game is that when you talk about getting targets and the tactical part of sales it’s our job to align our solution with our client’s needs and at the end of the day we have the ability to be creative around that. They give us the easel, they give us the pain and to the same extent I do that with my sales team but it’s your creativity that’s going to give you the ability to be successful within your role.

So if you point a good rep in the right direction, give them the tools but also let them be creative, as long as they’re using the right morals and certainly staying within specific guard rails, it’s amazing what you can learn from the people around you, even the people that work for you. I’m amazed every single day by the creativity of sales people that have been on the job for a year and they come and they said, “I tried this and it’s amazing the response that I’m getting” and I roll it out to the entire team.

Fred Diamond: It’s interesting, one thing that you brought up is that originally your customer for years has been the communication professional, the PR professional if you will, and you said recently because of I guess the analytics and because marketing and communications is getting a lot of boundaries have been crossed, you have mentioned that a lot of your new customer over the last couple of years have been the CMO, the chief marketing officer or other marketing directors and marketing leaders so there’s different mindsets with that type of a professional versus your traditional communications professional.

Different things you need to communicate, different things that are of value, different things that they look for so if you were selling the same way to communications professionals that you are to marketing professionals, you may not be successful.

Chris Cutino: You’re right, it may not convey and I think that the beauty of where we are right now is that communications professionals historically have been involved in buying services. Whereas when you sell a software package combined with services, that’s a more difficult process for them to go through. If you can get to that point where you can show that attribution, that sales process with those marketing professionals, they understand that.

And part of our job really is educating the communications professional and say, “No, I can show you how successful we’re going to be.” I think one of the great things about where we are right now is organizations have always felt that there is a value that’s associated with their communications efforts, managing content and influencer management, but they’ve had a hard time attaching a dollar amount to it. So while they feel good about it, it’s hard to go into the CEO and say, “If we spend more, we’re going to get more.” Now we’re giving them the ability to do that.

Fred Diamond: That’s powerful and that’s become more and more of a demand on the marketing professional to be able to prove their value as well.  Chris, what is the most important thing you want to get across to junior selling professionals to help them improve their career?

Chris Cutino: There’s always a propensity to kind of jump into one of those sales management platitudes when a question like that is asked and that’s always a dangerous thing. So really what I’ve learned over the years, the first thing is surround yourself with people who are successful and figure out what they’re doing that’s successful.

There’s a translation process as well, so what may work for you Fred, when it comes to your sales process may not completely work for me but some of the things that you’re doing are things that will translate really well to my process. I will tell you this, and this is an over-simplification of the sales process, I worked with somebody who was very technical and was very good at going through a discovery process and was almost like an interrogation. That did not work with my style but I understood what he was trying to get to and I turned that into my style. I have more of a bit of a self-deprecating approach when it comes to ingratiating myself with a prospect and it works for me.

I’m trying to get to the same end game which is I need to find out what their challenges are and listening to him and understanding exactly what he was doing well and turning it into my style was really important. I think secondarily, treat your sales goals as the base line of what’s expected of you. Most people come into an organization as a sales person and they say, “If I hit my goal, I’m a success.” That’s true, but from a career perspective if you really want to be successful, treat that as the base line and then to go above and beyond that make yourself useful to everybody you possibly can across the organization.

Learn everything you can about the organization itself and everything that you do make sure that people are seeing you as kind of a go-to and somebody that can help them.

Fred Diamond: What are some of the things that you do, Chris Cutino, to sharpen your saw and stay fresh?

Chris Cutino: It’s interesting. I think I do a lot of the things that most sales leaders do today, outside of reading. I’ve never been an avid reader of books. I read business publications, I read obviously newspapers, I try to stay up on what’s happening in current events, certainly but from a business perspective, sales podcast, obviously. I spend a lot of time listening to those.

I listen a lot to customer and prospect calls, I also review win-loss data quite a bit and try to figure out, “OK, what are the things and what are the recurring issues that I’m seeing on a regular basis? How can we take advantage of why we’re winning and how can we improve upon why we’re losing.” But I think one of the most important parts of my daily process is it revolves around pure introspection in that I spend a lot of quiet time in my car on the way home trying to figure out what I did well, what could I have done better, what decisions need to be made and what potential land mines are not being considered around those decisions.

Some of it is who do I need to include in making that decision to make sure that I have a full view, 360 degree view of the impact that that’s going to have on all areas of our organization more so than just my sales team. And what would any of my mentors do in this situation? Both it from a knee jerk responsibility, a reaction to what they would do after they put some thought into it. And what are some of the people that have worked for in the past, how would they have responded to it, probably incorrectly and how do I make sure that I don’t do those things. So I think without introspection and that daily review process, the act of ploughing forward without learning becomes a dangerous path.

Fred Diamond: That’s powerful. What’s a major initiative that you’re working on today to ensure your continued success?

Chris Cutino: From a tactical perspective it’s taking all of these mergers and creating a standardized process and not losing sight of the growth that’s expected out of the sales team. As we’ve merged all of these sales organizations together, my focus has been around maximizing return, identifying duplication and unique processes to each of the legacy organizations as we’ve merged them and creating one go to market strategy that works and it’s based on, like I said, collaboration.

I need to understand why these organizations that we’ve merged with or purchased do things a certain way. Is it because they have to or is it because it’s the way that they’ve always done it? And is there a better way to do it or is there something in there that I hadn’t thought of before that I can incorporate into this merged process that we’re going to go to market with. And it really takes an understanding of the nuances behind each of the businesses so you do have to dig into the weeds and that’s where that collaboration really comes in.

Fred Diamond: That’s good. Chris, sales is hard. People don’t return your calls or your emails. Why have you continued? What is it about sales as a career that keeps you going?

Chris Cutino: It’s funny. I think from a tactical perspective there are things about every single job that are very difficult. I think from a sales perspective – I just had this conversation with one of the mentors we were talking about the other night at dinner and it’s funny, I said to him the hard part about sales is that it’s not like being a construction foreman where you can step back at the end of the day and you could say, “Look, I put that roof on and it’s done.”

It’s a daily grind and you don’t necessarily get to see the results of that daily grind for months to come so it’s staying focused on what needs to be done. That pipeline management, it’s that constant back fill of opportunity and making certain that you’re identifying issues along the way. But we were talking about it and in 18 years here he spent probably about 14 of those 18 years as my boss within the organization. We took a step back and said, “Look at all of the people that we hired, that we moved through the organization that are still here now in a senior director role or in some cases a VP role or have gone onto other roles and have found success as senior vice president or chief revenue officer for other organizations.”

And that’s the stepping back and looking at the roof at the end of the day. It really is that, it’s the people that you work with, it’s the potential in them that I see and to be frank, it’s the potential that they see in me and the fact that they count on me to make sure that I’m helping them be successful. I think that’s what really keeps you going from a sales perspective, it’s the people around you and being able to help them get better and certainly at the end of the day, the money doesn’t hurt as well.

Fred Diamond: I have one more question before we ask you for your final thoughts, here. Again, I’ve mentioned this a number of times on the podcast, you’ve been here for 18 years, it’s quite remarkable. You just talked about various people who have also been here who’ve progressed, who’ve gone to director level, to VP level as well. What does it take to be a good sales professional selling to communications and marketing professionals?

Is there something unique that that person has? Just give us a little bit of an insight to what is it about someone that would make them very good, because we talk to a lot of people who sell to IT professionals or to financial professionals or business people in general. Give us a little peek into what would make you good, that’ll help you do a little recruiting here, if you will. What will help someone who’s good at selling technology to communications professionals?

Chris Cutino: I think that you put that into two different buckets. Everything that makes any typical sales person good we need that characteristic. It’s that tenacity, it’s the ability to wait through a thousand no’s to get to the yes. It’s the recognition of what a good opportunity is and the ability to step away from a bad opportunity and not keep chasing it. I think it’s also a knowledge of how the product works and that’s going to be the case anywhere that you go. You have to be able to make that service a translator between what their needs are and what we provide, and you have to be able to provide that in what we’ve always called the Aunt Betty Pitch. I can overwhelm you with technical specifications and you can walk away and go, “Ugh.” But if I can sit down with you and tell you the same way that I would tell my aunt Betty what we do for companies, not what we do, you have a much better opportunity to simplify the conversation and get to the meet of what’s going to ultimately provide yes.

What’s unique about our sales people, I think the ones that are most successful here, and it’s probably not necessarily unique across other industries but it’s those that find that they come in with that intellectual curiosity. Outside of the standard training process, do I ask a question every time I don’t know the answer or do I go and find it first and learn from that? Because the more that becomes a part of your filing cabinet, your mental knowledge base, you can have much more consultative conversations and there’s a real talent in being able to have that conversation and provide value just through your own knowledge to the prospect. They have to feel like they have a smart partner in you.

Fred Diamond: Why don’t you give us one final thought to inspire the Sales Game Changers listening to today’s podcast?

Chris Cutino: Sure. I use this all the time and people have worked for me for a while kind of make fun of me because it’s become kind of my catch phrase, but it just means a lot to me and I think that it’s made an impact on others as well. Make everything that you do worth your time. It’s an over-simplification of investing in yourself. It’s very easy to get distracted at work, it’s very easy to get yourself in a position where you feel like you’ve got a good pipeline and it’s easy to go on autopilot.

Some of the things when we talk about investing in ourselves, we often talk about finding ways to invest our money or to make it grow to get a solid return. If you think about that investment from yourself, it comes from education, it comes from knowledge and even from some of the rewards that we give ourselves based on our success. But when we invest in ourselves when it comes to coming in and getting a job done, it really is more along the lines of that work ethic that’s associated with everything that you do on a daily basis.

Is it making me better? Am I putting in enough effort? Am I learning from what I’m doing wrong? So when you’re committed to a job and you have to maximize the time that you’re there as an investment in yourself. That’s my final thought, make everything that you do worth your time and you won’t let yourself down.

 

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