Today I am thankful for my first sales coach, Mike Molitoris.
Today was an epic day. Between boat rides, ocean life, seeing other countries, incredible meals, great times with friends, and many memories being made it was nothing short of extraordinary. Seriously, look at this picture… We were swimming with turtles and sharks… At the same time!!!
So you’re probably asking yourself, why isn’t that what Mike’s thankful for today?
The reason that I am thankful for Mike Molitoris is that he was my first sales coach. He was the first teacher I had in professionalism. He was my trainer in managing a team. Without the lessons learned from Mike I would very likely not be on this work trip. Don’t get me wrong, I was still pretty raw when I started with Express over 16 years ago, but I was even more incredibly raw before I met Mike.
I met Mike when I started selling discount books (never say coupons) door to door during college. He proceeded to teach me many of the sales lessons that I use to train my new team members. Mirroring, “Feel, Felt, Found,” isolating the objection, and sales persistence were amongst the sales lessons he helped me with. But it wasn’t just the technical side of sales that he taught me.
He was the person who introduced me to reading sales and business books to grow myself (pretty sure he’d be happy to know I hit my goal of reading 25 business related books last year, and would also push me to read 30 in 2016).
He was the first person to help me understand the importance of first impressions and appearances. While I didn’t always follow his advice right away (I finally shaved off my goatee about 8 years after he told me to), I’ve kept most of it stored in my brain.
Mike was also the person who helped me understand what it meant to be a leader. You work hard, you get there early, you stay late, you lead your team by example, and your success is measured by your team’s success.
Through my lessons with Mike he reinforced the concept of grit as it relates to sales. If I wanted to be successful I had to knock on a lot of doors. If I wanted to be successful I had to fight through objections. If I wanted to be successful I had to swallow the no’s and put on a smile in my short walk to the next house.
You put all of those things together and then appreciate that everything he taught me was condensed into an incredibly short period of time, we worked together for less than a year. Also, that was when I was in the prime of my “Dude, I’m 22 and already now everything, so don’t even try” stage. The guy had the patience of a saint to keep working on me for that long.
Deep down I think he saw a lot of potential in me, way more than I saw for myself at the time. I am incredibly thankful to have had him in my life as I’ve started to see more and more of the potential he saw me. He’s a coach who never gave up on me, pushed me through struggles, and helped me learn, understand, and appreciate many of my core values.
So while I’m having an unbelievable experience here in Belize, I can’t help but take time to be thankful for my first sales coach. Without him who knows if I’d be where I am today.