EPISODE 665: How Women in Sales Can Take a Quantum Career Leap with Elyse Archer and Gina Stracuzzi

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Today’s show featured an interview with Elyse Archer, CEO & Founder of She Sells. The show was hosted by IES Women in Sales Program Director Gina Stracuzzi. Elyse’s customer appeared on the show as well.

Find Elyse on LinkedIn. Find Amy on LinkedIn.

ELYSE’S ADVICE:  “Instead of making a list of reasons why you can’t, in your head, why don’t you make a list of reasons why you can and quit going from worst case scenario to best case scenario. You have to be your own best advocate, not just in sales, but in life, in all areas of life. Make a list of reasons why it’s possible for you.  Your customers, your money, your job opportunities, they’re just going to mirror to you how you’re feeling and thinking about you. You’ll see things start to shift, but it has to start with you validating you first.”

AMY’S ADVICE: “Reach out to another woman in your organization, in your network, in your sphere and offer support. Send them a podcast, “Hey, you know what? I read this, I thought about you.” Just share and really be intentional on the communication with other women, encouragement, uplifting, all the things. Because that’s something we can do today. We need to value the women in our business.”


Gina Stracuzzi: I can’t wait to introduce my guests. We have Amy Kniseley and Elyse Archer, and they’re going to talk us through some amazing things on really upping your career in sales. As we always do, I like to invite my guests to tell us a little bit about themselves and how they got started in sales and where they are now. Elyse, do you want to go first?

Elyse Archer: Thank you so much, Gina and Fred. This is so fun. I did not anticipate going into sales as a career. I think probably a lot of people can relate to that. I went to school for journalism, and I have vivid memories of sitting in my college journalism class and our professor, this is going to date me, I went for newspaper writing, news ed. I remember our professor saying the average salary of a newspaper reporter. Even at that time, in my late teens, I had a sense that just wasn’t going to cut it. I was like, “Mama likes shoes. This is not going to cut it.”

Quickly paved a path into sales, got into corporate media sales, and what I found, and that’s why I love the work that you all are doing too, I think it’s so important. What I found was that so much of what was taught in the sales space, in terms of how to be successful, how to achieve goals, some of it just downright didn’t feel ethical or aligned. A lot of it for me as a woman also didn’t feel right. Hard closing, pushing, hustling, grinding 24 hours a day to try to achieve goals. I found myself in my late 20s top of the leaderboard in sales, but struggling inside with anxiety, panic attacks, and eating disorder, and just thinking, “There’s got to be a different way to achieve success.”

I’ll keep the long story short, went on a journey, studied under incredible mentors who I found were achieving success in a different way than was being taught in the corporate sales training I had been exposed to up until that point. It was so impactful I decided to go out and start coaching and training others to try to support others in achieving big results in sales, but doing it without the hustle and grind and burnout, and also being able to do it from a place of ethics and integrity as well. My company, we actually have two different brands, She Sells and Superhuman Selling, and we support sales professionals and entrepreneurs in quantum leaping their results. But again, without hustle, overwhelm, or burnout.

Gina Stracuzzi: Amy, how about you?

Amy Kniseley: Thank you so much for having me. I head up business development at Highland Capital Brokerage right now for the broker dealer and the investment advisory side. I have been in financial services for 20 years. Unlike Elyse, I actually thought I was going to be in sales. My parents owned an insurance agency in a small town in Wisconsin. I grew up on a pig farm too, kind of an interesting background. But I’m sure that because that really catapulted the journey into just, through osmosis, being around a sales environment, being around community. My mom was always a big impact person in our community to like, open the doors if you want to use a fax machine. She just took so much pride in helping in all sorts of different ways besides just facilitating protection and risk management for people.

It wasn’t intentional that I got into financial services. I fell back into it after I graduated college, moved up to the Twin Cities, spent some time at corporate. Quickly went out of corporate, by my choice, into more of an independent state. Then all sorts of business lines. Like I said, it’s been 20 years, so at this point I am overly passionate about women in our industry. There’s trillions of dollars are going to switch hands and women are going to be at the helm of that making decisions. I’m passionate about diversity in our industry. We need more of it, and it’s so important. I am a mom of four and I do a lot of charitable stuff, and I use the financial services side to quarterback, whether it’s education, money-raising, and all the things. I’m really excited to share some of that today.

Gina Stracuzzi: Elyse, you spoke a little bit about the quantum leaps that you like to coach people on, and particularly salespeople. Tell us a little bit about what a quantum leap is in your estimation and how you’ve used them to grow your career in sales.

Elyse Archer: I’ll say this too, for anyone who feels stuck or frustrated, where you feel like you keep getting the same level of sales results no matter what. Before I talk about this, I feel you, because that was my experience for a very long time in sales. When I talk about quantum leaps, and I’ll share a bit of my own backstory and how it’s contributed to what I believe in and teach now and our methodology. I found myself first in sales and then later on as an entrepreneur, where we have unlimited earnings potential. We all do. But no matter what I did, I kept earning the same amount of money, and it would always be within about 5%, give or take, every single year. Again, people could just listen and maybe relate to that. I think a lot of people can relate to feeling stuck, or feeling like, “I’m working so hard, but no matter what I do, I can’t break past a certain threshold.”

Again, the power of mentorship, I finally said, “There’s got to be a different way to doing this.” I was investing tens of thousands of dollars at the time in coaching, which was helpful. It was all strategic tactical coaching. I was doing all the right things, but no matter what I did, I couldn’t break past a certain income threshold. There’s a bit of a personal side to this too, which maybe our listeners will find helpful.

I remember at the time that this happened, and some of this was only three, four years ago, our first son was about four months old. I was up late at night nursing him, and I was reading Bronnie Ware’s Top Five Regrets of the Dying, which is a powerful book. If anyone hasn’t read it, it’s a good book to ignite some action in your life. She was a hospice worker who sat with people on their deathbeds, and she shared their top regrets. One of the top regrets was, “I wish I had had the courage to live a life true to myself, rather than doing what everyone else expected of me.” I’m going to close the loop on how this relates to quantum leaps in sales in a moment, but I think the backstory is maybe helpful. I realized how much in my life at that point, I had been playing small, playing safe, I kept looking to others for external validation, looking to my customers to tell me I was good enough, looking to my money to tell me I was abundant and worthy.

Something just clicked in that moment and I said, I was pretty young at the time, but it was like, “I don’t know how long I have. I don’t want to keep putting my life on layaway and putting these dreams for a really epic life, epic impact in the world, making way more money, contribute,” like Amy was talking about. I love how focused she is on charity and giving. That was something I wanted to lean into, giving more, performing at the top of my class as an entrepreneur and being really successful there. I said, “I don’t care what it takes. I’m going to figure out how to break past this level of being stuck that I’ve been at for over a decade so that I can live that fullest expression of me, whatever that is, and live true to myself.”

My own belief is when we ask for something, we get nudges and guidance of what actions we can take to get there. Got a nudge the very next day to listen to a podcast from a mom who coached women to become millionaires. Didn’t listen to it a lot, but I tuned in. I listened. Of course, she has a spot for a private coaching client available. I reach out, I get on a discovery call, it’s yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Then I find out the investment to work with her for six months is $50,000, which is half of what I had made the previous year, and I had not been putting that aside for coaching.

I don’t know if you can relate to this. There was a knowing in me at the time that even though it felt so scary and so risky, and so unlike the old me, that I had to take action on it to blast myself out of my comfort zone. I figured out a way to scrap together the deposit on a credit card, invested, and I proceeded. I had to face every limiting belief I had about myself, about what was possible, about how much income I could make, about how worthy I was to be seen, to achieve my goals. It was a really tough time in my household, because I was the breadwinner. I was like, “Oh my gosh, did I just put us in financial jeopardy?” But within six weeks of having made that really big, scary decision and investment in myself, because I’d been forced to look at every limiting belief I had about what was possible for me, and I had been forced to transform my thinking about how much money I could make, about who I was, about what I was capable of doing, I turned my annual income into my monthly income after having been stuck at a plateau for over a decade. It wasn’t by working harder either.

This is something I’ve learned since then. This is the crux of superhuman selling and what we teach. We teach these four quadrants of quantum sales growth. Your results will never supersede your identity. I think this is the problem that I was up against and that I see in a lot of the sales and business world, is that so much of the training is great. It’s all strategic and tactical, which according to neuroscience, the strategic tactical is only 2% to 5% of your results. The remaining 95% to 98% are based on your subconscious programs, which contribute to your identity of who you think you are, how successful you feel you can be in the world, how much money you feel worthy of making.

This is what I did in that process, when we learn how to develop the identity of the person who has the results that we want and step into that boldly, that’s when suddenly we can quantum leap sales. We go from having been stuck or making the same amount year after year, only having incremental gains, to being able to do uncommon things which we see happening in our community. Amy has done beautiful, amazing, uncommon things in her life. Other women and men in our community do the uncommon because we get under the hood.

Gina Stracuzzi: It’s a lot to think about and a lot to process, but it is stuff that intuitively we know. But if we don’t step out of our way, to your point, then all the knowing in the world isn’t going to change anything, if you don’t take that bold action. Amy, why don’t you build on that if you’d like and talk about a bold action you’ve taken, a quantum leap you’ve done, and how that’s helped you?

Amy Kniseley: I was one of, I think, Elyse’s first folks in one of your programs. Much like Elyse, in corporate, it was like, “You want to make more money, you got to do more work. If you’re going to make 100 calls, you better do 200 then if you’re trying to double things.” It just didn’t align well with my gut and my soul and my personality. To Elyse’s point, there had to be a better way.

I’ll tell you, Elyse, I don’t know if you know this story, but my first quantum leap was probably in my late 20s. I was married and divorced in my late 20s, not my proudest moment. However, it all happened very quickly. It was a rather volatile relationship and I decided to quit my corporate job. I decided to say I was getting a divorce, and within two months, I moved to Atlanta. I literally moved out of a house that I put a down payment on. I was like, “You have it. We’re good. I’m good.” That was a very bold move in my late 20s when society at that point was probably like, “What are you doing? Work it out. Stick in there. You’re moving to Atlanta? All your friends and family are here. What are you doing?” It was a lot of that.

At that point, I learned very quickly and I realized, follow your intuition. Double down. You know what you have in you, Amy. Your intuition and your resilience, I think resilience is probably the best word at that point, is going to take you on this significance journey that is going to be amazing. At that moment, I decided I wanted a different life and I was going to make a different life. That was all just a decision of what I had told myself.

That jumpstarted a whole different Amy Kniseley, if you will, in terms of me personally, me as soon to be a mother, in my professional career and all the things. That was my first quantum leap where it was like I needed to take bold action. I needed to follow my gut. I needed to take the nudges and it didn’t matter what anyone else was telling me. This was the right thing for me and I could feel it through my bones and soul. I moved to Atlanta, which was a big move, by myself in a car. I drove. Story goes on where I have various other quantum leaps, but I was thinking about this.

Sometimes a quantum leap, we can see it, like you can see a title change. You see it in your paycheck, you write a check to hire a coach. Those are things that you can see. But for me, my quantum leaps have all been when I feel stretchy and super uncomfortable. That’s a feeling I’m getting and I’m saying, “Whew, everything I want is on the other side of this decision I’m going to make.” You got to put fear aside, and I don’t really believe in fear anyways, and maybe we’ll talk about that. But for me it was an absolute belief that I’m ready for anything. I’m where I’m supposed to be. I’m exactly in the place at the right time that I should be.

Another quantum leap was moving out to Virginia. I picked up my family and moved. I had nothing to lose. I only had to gain. What was the worst-case scenario? I share that because sometimes you have to take very bold moves. Every time I’ve done that, there’s been a significant up level. Sometimes it’s not even an up level of money, it’s me as a human. It’s me as who I’m meeting. It’s all the things related to me, which has been really fun and cool.

Gina Stracuzzi: Let’s talk a little bit about how our listeners, women in sales primarily, although we get a lot of men listening too. Really how people in sales can use this idea of a quantum leap to really improve their sales. Sometimes people think they’re living their best life and they’re good. Yet if we don’t keep pushing ourselves, we get stagnant. Even for those who may feel like, “I’m good. I’m making big money. I’m happy,” what kind of quantum leaps are there for people?

Elyse Archer: With a quantum leap, Gina, I think you have to want it. I think this is really important because the reason I hadn’t grown past a certain threshold for over a decade was that I was not complacent. I was growth oriented, but I was relatively satisfied with where I was. A lot of times people decide to change because of something negative that happens in their life. There’s a layoff, there’s a diagnosis, and that prompts us to actually finally look at ourselves and see, “Who have I been being? What have I been settling for less than in my life?” Whether it’s financially, career fulfillment, time with my kids at home, versus how much I’m putting in at work. But I also believe now, and this is how I prefer to change now, is really we can just decide that we’re ready for more and it doesn’t have to be from some traumatic event.

However, what I do know about the quantum leap is that unless you have a firm enough level of determination, where you’re willing to take some bold, stretchy action, just like what Amy was talking about, it’s not going to happen. I don’t want to blow smoke or tell people that it’s easier than it is, because there has to be something in you that says, “I’m done with staying where I am, and I am ready for change.”

I see people quantum leap from different scenarios. A lot of times the people who come into our community, they are living that life that’s good. It’s good. They checked all the boxes, they did the right things, and yet there’s this inner gap. It’s a voice. It’s the gap. They’re like, “There’s got to be more.” But they’ve reached a level of success where probably most people on the outside would say, “You should be satisfied. You should be happy.” Again, it’s like giving our power away to something outside of us. But there’s this knowing in them that they’re meant for more.

From that place, the first step is you’ve got to make a decision, because you’re going to be forced to show up in a very different way than the old you would’ve shown up. You’re going to be forced to take uncomfortable, stretchy action, just like Amy was talking about, that the old you would not have taken.

One of the first steps we do with our clients, and this is something everyone can do, it’s super sexy. You pull out a spreadsheet, we do identity work. Your identity is composed of your thoughts, your feelings, and your behaviors. These three things compose how you show up and your results in the world. Now, a lot of people think that’s hardwired in us. Research shows that for most people, by the age of 35, your personality is a hardwired set of programs and just conditioned responses. However, again, according to neuroscience, we can change that. That’s what’s so powerful and beautiful, but there has to be a firm intention that you’re going to change.

What you look at is what are the results that I really want? One of my favorite questions, if there were no consequences or limitations, what would be happening in my life right now? You write it down. What would my career look like? Would I be getting a promotion? How much money would I be making? What would my team look like? What’s my family life like? What’s our lifestyle? What’s our house? All of that. You write it down.

Then you want to look at, well, who has that life and what are her or his thoughts, feelings, and actions that that person would be doing every single day in order to have those results? Because in life, we don’t get what we want, we get what we are. We want to get clear on what are those thoughts, feelings, and actions. I put that on one side of the spreadsheet, that’s the new personality.

Then without any judgment, but with a lot of conscious awareness, we want to look at, well, where am I not showing up in that way right now? What are the thoughts that I’m thinking that I wouldn’t be thinking from the end result? Whether it’s, I’m not worthy. I’m scared this deal isn’t going to close. I don’t feel confident leading my team. Just think about all the limiting beliefs that show up in our head day-to-day. What are the feelings that I’m feeling every day that aren’t in alignment with the results I want? Lack, anxiety, doubt. Then what are the actions I’m taking that if I’m being honest with myself, the person at the end result wouldn’t be doing, holding back, not going for it, not trusting their intuition, like Amy talked about. Not making that bold move.

Then your job, and this is why you have to want it bad enough, because you’re going to feel massively uncomfortable, is if you’re really committed to having that different result, you get to start showing up as that person every single day and decision making from the end. From the end result of this goal accomplished, what choice would I make in this scenario? What thought would I be thinking? How would I show up? This is a process called metacognition where we start actually thinking about what we’ve been thinking about, and we are able to analyze and create a different behavior and a different path than what the old version of us would’ve done. You do that consistently enough and with enough intention, and you will start to get very different results. You will quantum leap. It’s not a matter of if, but when, it will happen. There’s more to it than that, but I think that’s a great first step that your listeners could take.

Gina Stracuzzi: Amy, thinking about that, and one of the questions we always ask our guests on the Women in Sales show is challenges that women in sales face. You’re a card-carrying salesperson and you’ve spoken about some of the challenges you’ve had and how you’ve overcome them. Using some of Elyse’s thinking, how do you use that to overcome the challenges you have?

Amy Kniseley: Probably I can list various challenges, but if I’m going to relate it directly back to Elyse, it’s I think women in general struggle with biases or limiting beliefs in their roles. Maybe they don’t feel like they’re qualified as much as a man. If a position opens, it’s like, “Well, I only have 60% of these qualifications and not 100%. I’m not going to apply.” Or maybe deep down it’s like, “I don’t deserve to make $300,000. I deserve to make $200,000,” or whatever. I think sometimes they don’t think that they deserve a seat at the table, even though they absolutely unequivocally do, because they have everything and probably more that they could bring to that seat than perhaps the people at the seat.

I think that’s one of the things that me as a leader in my company, honestly, even in our business, it’s really important to come from a place of support, and being very intentional with support. That could be, take a listen to this podcast, read this book. How are you doing? I just had a situation yesterday with another female in the organization. I said, “You have nothing to worry about. We’re going to get this figured out,” anxiety put at ease. No worries. You keep doing what you’re doing. You focus on what you need to be focusing on. I think directly correlated with Elyse, it’s like getting rid of those biases and the limiting beliefs and putting ourselves on a playing field that’s coming from that abundance world and what we do can be complimentary and creative and all the things that someone else can’t bring. We bring different types of thoughts and we bring our intuition and we bring a whole different element into a process with our clients and our prospects. That’s a beautiful thing. We need to double down on it and share that message with so many people in our industry. Then we need to recruit more people into the business too, because there’s just not enough numbers.

Gina Stracuzzi: We talk about intuition quite a bit in the forum, because to me it’s a superpower that when really harnessed, women will fly. We’re at that point in the conversation where we like to ask our guests for one final thought, something that our listeners can put into place to help their careers today. Amy, why don’t you start and then, Elyse, we’ll let you close it out.

Amy Kniseley: If there’s one thing right now, and this is very actionable, reach out to another woman in your organization, in your network, in your sphere and offer support. Send them a podcast, “Hey, you know what? I read this, I thought about you.” Just share and really be intentional on the communication with other women, encouragement, uplifting, all the things. Because that’s something we can do today. We need to value the women in our business. I think that’s one way we can do it very quickly and very intentional, and in the meantime, create even just stronger relationships and connections.

Elyse Archer: I think it’s easy to listen to a podcast like this and see something in someone else and say, “Gosh, there’s something that resonates. I would love for that to happen for me, but I can’t do it because of this,” or, “I can’t have a quantum leap because of that.” Here’s something that’s true. You spot it, you got it. Anything that you see, whether it’s listening to Fred or Gina, or today, Amy or me, something that resonates in you, where you’re like, “I’d love to do that.” The only reason that resonates is because you actually have the ability to do that as well. Instead of making a list of reasons why you can’t, in your head, why don’t you make a list of reasons why you can and quit going from worst case scenario to best case scenario, because you have to be your own best advocate, not just in sales, but in life, in all areas of life. Actually, make a list of reasons why it’s possible for you. Then you start moving forward confidently in that direction. Because again, your customers, your money, your job opportunities, they’re just going to mirror to you how you’re feeling and thinking about you. You’ll see things start to shift, but it has to start with you validating you first.

Gina Stracuzzi: Thank you so much. I’m sure you did enjoy this episode very much. Thank you very much for listening, and we will see you next time.

Transcribed by Mariana Badillo

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