Kady is also one of my best friends. I must confess that I hang out with her because she always laughs, even if the joke is not that funny. Anyone should be a friend like that.
Kady is also an intense boxer. Every Saturday morning she wakes up before anyone else and goes for her boxing class. Who would not want to sleep in after a long week of work?
I joined her on two occasions, it is more physical than i can handle. But I could see her absolutely into the activity. Everything from the warm up to the jabs and undercuts, she was performing with the utmost dedication. I would have never guessed that underneath those boxing gloves are a set of very neat red nails.
I think for Kady, boxing is not just the one hour of sweating and jabbing on Saturday morning. Her every day is a boxing session. She starts the morning with a warm up. That is any admin and preps for her meetings. She also thinks about a contingency plan, in case any of the meetings are cancelled last minute. No day is lost.
This first part of her day is critical: just like any boxer will not go for a match without the warm up, she doesn’t go into the fully-fledged client-facing bit of her role without the preparation.
Kady is a territory manager for a medical device company. This is the fancy corporate name for a sales role. Her clients are hospitals: clinicians, doctors, nurses, procurement and anyone else that can make a financial decision in a hospital.
A sales job is very dynamic. It could be a 9-to-5, but it is rarely repetitive. Just like a boxing match: there are only so many moves, but the match is always new. Kady makes her own schedule. She has to decide whom to meet, for how long and where. These are all important factors and can influence as much of a yes in closing a deal as they can prolong or completely overturn it.
Not every meeting she sets is to sell a device. She would have serious meetings with clinicians and doctors to get their interest. A business meeting with procurement will often lead to closing of a deal. She stops by many offices on the way to make sure current clients are happy with their purchases and to provide any additional support. Her schedule is also full of lunches and coffee breaks that add a friendly continuity to the relationships she has built with her clients.
Kady believes that ultimately people buy from people. Becoming a great sales person is all about building a rapport with your clients. And this is not just the financial officer who will sign the contract, or the doctor who will use the device, but every nurse and clinician that works with them represent a team that you have to conquer. You never know who will champion for you and speed up that sale.
Even though you might not be thinking about pursuing a sales career, a collective of sales skills are critical to your whole life. Kady takes a lot of her work experience into her personal life – when giving an advice to a friend, convincing someone of an idea, or even selling a vacation to her partner.
Kady, like all of us, has heard a lot about office politics. And even saw too much of it on some TV shows. The one thing she is disappointed about is that nobody exaggerated. She is definitely not a fan of office politics and the competitive work environment that some corporates are creating. Some situations might lead people to lose themselves. And if there is one thing sales people should always remember is to keep their integrity and values in those kind of situations.
When I asked Kady about the most unexpected thing she has done in her job, she told me – marrying my client and not even getting a sale! We both laughed for a very long time.
Her advice, even if you are simply selling food in a restaurant (waitressing), no matter how little your input is, always pretend that you are being interviewed and give the best you can. Every boxer started small. You will get noticed.