What drew you to being a sales professional?
I played football at the University of Arizona and I enjoyed the competition and adrenaline rush of the game. For me, sales was a natural transition from sports. You have to set a goal, analyze the industry and competitive landscape, and execute a game plan. Football taught me the importance of a highly functioning team that works together towards a win. Instead of defending opponents on the field, we’re using Vanguard resources to give advisors an advantage in the marketplace.
Sales is also about helping people arrive at a conclusion they hadn’t considered. Some of my favorite advisors are the ones who have never partnered with Vanguard. I like the challenge of establishing a new relationship, building credibility, and helping advisors manage their assets. When you’ve made a difference for a client, it can feel like making a big play in a big game.
You’ve worked in sales in other roles at Vanguard. How did these previous roles prepare you for this one?
I started in our Business Development Group (BDG), a department that specializes in bringing new clients into Vanguard and introducing them to our advice capabilities. This was a tremendous opportunity as it allowed me to hear thousands of investor’s stories, understand the issues they were facing, and support them through the global financial crisis.
Working in BDG was like going to sales university–it taught me how to have a consultative sales conversation. Talking to someone who trusts you with their financial life is powerful and humbling. There can be a lot of uncertainty and we were able to help clients financially and emotionally through the investing process. After you master these skills, you are ready to move on to a different level of client, with different needs.
So obviously you like sales, but why sales at Vanguard instead of another firm?
I’ve been at Vanguard for eleven years and the culture is very different from other firms where I’ve worked. Vanguard puts clients first. We have no outside shareholders to answer to. No conflicting interests. It’s gratifying to walk into an advisor’s office and know that I can do good and do well at the same time.
What advice would you give someone who’s interested in a sales career here?
Be a good listener and learn how to disagree well with those who hold opposing views. Both of these take time and practice, but give you the ability to connect with others and overcome real objections.
Being successful at sales is more than identifying current needs and providing solutions. Deepening your business and investment acumen will help you deliver differentiated perspectives that add value. Clients need us to offer something that enhances what they’re already doing and make them more successful.
It’s also key to remember our guiding values – focus on doing the right thing and giving all investors a fair shake. It’s truly why we’re here.