You Want To Sell? Andy Olen Says You Can Do It!

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The Sales Warrior Within | Season 2 Episode 61 – You Want To Sell? Andy Olen Says You Can Do It!

Host: Andy Olen

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Many reach out to Andy Olen, asking him, “How do I get into sales?” Further, people who do not have a sales background are often concerned that they can’t be in sales. In reality, the opposite is true. If you want to sell, we’d love to have you. Andy Olen shares his thoughts and perspectives for those of you wanting to break into sales and potentially into medical device sales.

You likely exercise communication, connection, and cooperation skills if you’re in any relationship. Apply those same skills within your sales career.

A fun and motivating episode to gear you up for your journey into sales!

Get in touch with Andy enjoys engaging with the Sales Warrior Community.




Speaker: Andy Olen

Andy Olen:

Hello and welcome to the Sales Warrior Within podcast. My name is Andy Olen. 


You know, I’ve spent a lot of time recently connecting with and talking to a lot of folks that want to move into medical device sales. And the reason I spend time talking to folks with medical device aspirations is because I used to work in medical device. 


I had management responsibilities for global teams. US teams and marketing and sales and general management leadership roles. And so when I go back to sort of home base for me where I probably can add some of the more valuable insights, especially for those folks that want to get into medical device sales, I can speak from a long, long history in that space and a joyful history as well. And what’s really exciting is that there are a lot of people that are wanting to move into sales. specifically into medical device sales. Medical device sales is a fun environment to be in. There are great companies out there, Boston Scientific, Phillips, Medtronic, Abbott Vascular, Striker, you know, you get into all the orthopedic companies, Depuy, they may be a part of a bigger company, actually that may be part of J&J. 


You know, you get into lab diagnostic companies like Beckman-Coulter and Roche and Abbott as well. There’s just so many different cool companies you can go work for. And they’re all looking for great people. And they’re looking for people that can come in and really make a difference, that can be able to connect with customers, to be able to communicate effectively, to cooperate. 


Of course, the skills that I wrote about in the book, the Trilogy of Yes Connection, Communication, Cooperation, three skills that can inspire customers to say yes, just really the three foundational skills that any salesperson needs to get going. trusting connection, if you can be an effective communicator, share messages and insights succinctly. I also think part of communication is being a really good listener as well. And then cooperation, forming that cooperative team with another person, in this case, salesperson and customer coming together to form a cooperative team. That is so powerful. And what I really recommend to people is, hey, think about the relationships that you have in your day-to-day life. Think about friend. friends or family members, significant others, and just sort of inventory what makes those personal relationships so good, what makes them great relationships. And you know what you come back to? There’s a common connection. 


There’s similar values within those connections. There’s great communication that goes back and forth, and then a level of cooperation to solve problems together. And so when I talk to people, What I often find is there are a lot of folks that want to get into medical device sales. There are also a lot of people that want to get into sales, but they don’t see themselves as salespeople. And they don’t see themselves not only as not being salespeople, but they don’t have the skills or the ability to get into sales. And what I tell them is stop believing that you can’t do it, rather start believing that you can. And I asked them, are you involved in any relationship of any kind with another human being in your personal life? And if the answer is yes, and we unpack what makes that a good relationship, they quickly realize that they have the foundational skills to be in sales. And so I just want to send a note out and a podcast message out to people here that if you want to be in sales, if you want to be in medical device sales, If you want to be in a high impact role that makes a difference in other people’s lives, then yeah, get into sales, get into it, enjoy it and feel confident that you can do it. And I’ve spoken before on the podcast about why people don’t want to be in sales, they have this idea that it’s sort of a slimy profession. And there are some obstacles that salespeople have to overcome for sure. No customer wants to be sold to. 


They don’t want to be swindled. They don’t want to deal with the snake oil salesperson or the horse trader. Or they don’t want to deal with the goofy Chris Farley from Tommy Boy character or the deceptive Leonardo DiCaprio, who played Jordan Belfort on The Wolf of Wall Street. So yeah, we want to avoid that kind of selling. I would never recommend that. In fact, that is quite ineffective. Rather effective salespeople do the opposite of that. They just spend time building trust, building a relationship, listening, and really being honest with their customers about whether or not the salesperson’s products and services are a good fit for them. Because when people buy from you, especially when it’s a highly material purchase, maybe it’s a… home, if you’re a real estate agent, maybe it’s a car. If you’re a car salesperson, maybe it’s a home remodeling project, if you’re a general contractor, or if you’re in the business to business environment, where you’re selling a product on behalf of your company to another business, then that person’s career would be on the line, potentially, if they don’t make the right investment and right decisions. 


So ultimately, what salespeople want to do is build that effective relationship. And then over time, have an expectation that it’s not just a one and done relationship, but it’s a long term relationship where there will be a lot of care, a lot of cooperation to solve common problems, and possibly many transactions going back and forth between salesperson and customer. That there’s that idea, and I’m sure it’s proven out almost down to the dollar, but it costs so much money to gain a new customer. And it costs a heck of a lot of money. It costs a lot less money, a heck of a lot less money to retain that customer. So to gain a customer costs a lot. To retain a customer doesn’t cost that much at all. I’m going to work on saying that a little bit more clearly next time because it wasn’t coming out of my mouth really well there. But you get the idea and you get the point, which is, hey, if you put all that effort into building a new client relationship. all those calories, all that time, then nurture that relationship because it will be the most profitable or one of the most profitable relationships that you have as a salesperson. It’s valuable to you and it’s valuable to your customer as well. 


There’s some imposter syndrome when people think that, hey, I wasn’t trained in selling. I don’t have the skills to sell. There’s some imposter syndrome or this belief that you don’t belong. I want to tell you that you do belong. You don’t have to go through some formal high end education on how to sell. In fact, most universities, at least in the United States, most do not have a major in business in selling. It’s usually marketing or it’s operations or it’s financial management or accounting. Very few have a degree pathway in college for sales, which I think is criminal in some ways, it should be there now. More and more schools are beginning to offer. cert certificates and different types of certifications along with a more formal business degree formal in quotes. And so it’s really not something that’s taught. It’s something though that you can learn. 


And for me, I never thought that I was going to build a sales career and have a podcast for crying out loud called the sales warrior within. I didn’t get to sales until I was in my, what was it? Late 20s, early 30s. And But I took steps that got me really ready to do it. I was unaware. I was in roles and jobs running political campaigns where I had to communicate, connect, cooperate. I was in roles in software technology and where I was coding, but I had to work with customers. And guess what? Communication, connection, cooperation to write the best code back in the early 2000s, or that Y2K remediation on the mainframe computers, if you remember that. Yes, I did that. I don’t know if I saved the world or not. I’m not going to give myself or any of my fellow programmers at that time that kind of credit, but not a formal sales job, but building the foundation, building the skills to be able to do it more formally later on.  


Then I found healthcare after business school, both as an intern during business school and then after in a full-time capacity. I found it, but I was in an HR role, incentive compensation. I was close to the sales force, but I had to sell incentive plans. If you ever work… in incentives and commissions and variable pay for salespeople. That’s one of the most emotional parts of the business, because people care a lot about how they get paid and they want to know what they have to do to earn that variable compensation. And so I was always around sales, but then I got into it through marketing, launching a big product, the Zion Struggle Looting Stent, and then being an offer, then being offered an opportunity to continue on in marketing by going to Japan. or taking on a sales role in Canada. And I chose sales because I wanted that formal experience. But I found that I was really ready for it. I learned from great salespeople. I had been practicing the core skills and strengths a salesperson needs. 


Again, connection, communication, cooperation. And then mentally, I just got to myself and I said, you know what? I belong. I can do this. And that’s what I want you to be able to do as well, no matter what journey you’re on, no matter what path you’re taking. towards sales, around sales, thinking about getting in the sales, you are very welcome in our community. And if you have been doing a good job throughout your life, both personally and professionally, in building thoughtful relationships with other people, high impact relationships with other people, guess what? You’re going to be able to do it now in more of a formal setting and role. 


What the company… is going to invest in with you if they hire you, if you join a healthcare company, med device company, or any other type of company in the sales world, they’re going to train you on how to talk about how to manage, how to engage with their products. Awesome. They’re not going to teach you how to say hello to a customer, how to ask how are you, how to shake someone’s hand. That’s up to you. And I can certainly help you with that as well too. In fact, in a lot of sales trainings I do, especially if it’s like a new hire training type exercise, we break it down to the most simple things. those things that I just said, saying hello, introducing yourself, getting going in a conversation with your customer and even yes, how to shake someone’s hand appropriately because we all know when it’s a good handshake, yeah, we sort of expect that but boy do we really know when it’s not so good, a handshake and that feels really, really awkward. I want you to get through that and not have that awkward moment at least not an awkward moment created by you. But net net, boy, you can do this. And that’s really the message of the podcast today is I want you to get out there, put your neck out there a little bit, step forward. 


You’re gonna realize it’s really low risk to jump into the arena. You’re gonna thrive once you’re in. And again, take that self-inventory about, hey, how—what is my approach, my style to building up good relationships with other people around me in my personal life, even professionally? And if you’re feeling pretty good about that, then that becomes what you want to address and talk about in your interview. is going to be how you’re gonna go about building relationships with the customers that you’re gonna call on because again, you’re gonna get the training on the products and the services. It’s gonna be up to you to get out there and get out there, say hello to people and start that process, that very deliberate process of building long-term trusting relationships. It starts with hello but most great relationships start that way anyway. 


So I’m super thrilled for you to get out there and to jump into our sales arena. You are very, very welcome. And thank you for everyone who’s reached out, shared their story, shared their opportunities with me. And I’m hopeful and optimistic that things land the way that you want. And I’m always here to help in any way possible. And by listening to the Sales Warrior Within podcast, just know you are helping yourself as well. So if you have an opportunity, a desire, a wish to become a salesperson. 


There are no barriers that you can’t step over. There are no walls you can’t break through and there are no doors that you can’t open. You can get into our arena and I think you’re absolutely going to be thrilled with it. Dare I say, you probably will love it too. I know I do. 


My name is Andy Olen. Thanks so much for listening to this episode of The Sales Warrior Within podcast. Look forward to talking with you soon and in the meantime, good selling, good leading. and good living.