Alumni Talk about Sales and the Consultative Selling Program

Ruth Guthrie


news-photo.jpgIt’s the end of the day and three engaging alums joined the Advanced Selling class in the CoLab for some straight talk about what it’s like to have a sales job. Three alums, one senior and one Executive In Residence, John Tush, met with Dr. Fabrize’s class to invite students to apply for Cal Poly Pomona’s elite sales mentoring program.

Nick Gable, Andres Rodriguez, Steve Coppell and David Martinez are personable, humble, extremely well spoken. Quickly, it becomes obvious that these four are the real deal. They’ve gone from simple student jobs to building lucrative careers in jobs that they love.

Nick used to work at Wendy’s and talked about asking his manager “What isn’t moving?” and then pushing that product in the drive through. Nick joked that he used to tell customers, “If you buy the fries, I’ll give you some free ketchup.” He also talked about the value of building relationships with clients. “If you only slash cost, another sales person can come in and offer another discount. If you build a relationship, the customer will call you before making a change. If your customer thinks that you’re just a number, they’ll find someone else to do business with. You need to find ways to create value.”

Andres, who got his start changing billboards, agreed, “Follow up is key. A lot of people knock on doors but, not many of them follow up with a visit. A thank you card is important. Make yourself memorable. Following up is a massive differentiator in business and in life. It costs you nothing.”

John Tush, The Center’s Executive in Residence, helps to launch careers in sales. The first question he asks students is, “What have you ever sold? When you apply for a job, that is what an employer will ask you. So, it’s a requirement of the sales program that you have a job that actually involves selling.” With over 40 years of sales experience at Access Partners, John gives blunt, honest advice about thriving in sales. John personally provides scholarships to students in the program and then helps them open a brokerage account to start saving their money and planning for a wealthy future.

David Martinez who is also an MBA student says what he loves about sales is being your own boss and setting your own schedule. Sales is entrepreneurial. How well you do is a direct result of your hard work. He shared with the class the wisdom “Never overpromise. Under promise and over deliver. Your clients will love you.”

Steven Coppell, a student from Collins, is already employed in sales at Access Partners. He spoke to students about how difficult it was to balance everything and that you’re so overwhelmed, you’re not even sure where to start. Steve gave the students advice on how to break those goals down into achievable steps, prioritize them and then accomplish them. Steve acknowledged that John helped him to exactly that, including giving him advice on buying an engagement ring.

When asked about how much they like their jobs, the alumni did not disappoint. Nick describe work as having a job where you go visit your friends ever day. Andres claimed his Yukon was a travelling samples show. They stressed the importance of staying motivated and not being afraid if you don’t have all the answers to the future. “It is not shameful to ask for help in your career and in life.” As Andres put it, “If you’re hesitant to ask Dr. Fabrize or John about what a sales career is like, talk to any of us, our footprints are still fresh."