Jason Putnam is a Porsche sales consultant at Park Place Dealerships in Dallas, Tex. Jason was awarded Porsche New Car Sales Consultant of the Year for the past two years. He has experience in high-end sales, as well as financial services.
MO: What initially attracted you to sales?
Jason: I genuinely enjoy working with, and meeting, new people. The ability to be exposed to a wide variety of people with varying backgrounds, experiences, and personalities creates ongoing variety in what I do. I was also attracted to the overall freedom to be my own boss in a sense that my livelihood is dictated by my work ethic, abilities, and performance.
I can’t say that I’ve always wanted to be in sales; in fact, like many people, the idea of “being in sales” was not appealing to me in the slightest. Looking back, I realize that it was not until the last semester of my senior year in college that I had an eye-opening conversation with my stepfather. He explained that the lifeblood of any successful business is its ability to generate revenue via sales of products and services. It sounds ridiculously simple, and it was certainly not the first time I had thought of how sales attributed to a company’s success in such a simple form, but it was the first time someone had taken the time to make a personal connection for me. We discussed my love for people, as well as my ability to communicate and “sell myself.”
Following that conversation, I didn’t run out and look for a job in sales, but I believe that, subconsciously, I recognized the opportunity to couple my love for being around people with my ability to win others over through conversation.
MO: You were awarded top Porsche salesman the past two years. To what do you attribute your success?
Jason: It’s all about the ability to help clients attain what they need, even when that often isn’t the same as what they think they “want.”
People think they know what they want, based on limited research or personal exposure, recommendations of friends, etc. I start by trying to get to know my client via his exposure to the brand (past ownership, “my dad had one growing up,” “I’ve always wanted one,” “it was the poster on my wall”) and how he intends to utilize the product (daily driver, weekend/fun car, fifth car, etc.). People’s perceptions greatly affect what they perceive are their “needs,” and more than half the time, the information they base those decisions on is inaccurate (“my friend told me 911s are loud, low, rough, and most definitely not reliable,” when I come to find out that the friend hasn’t been in a Porsche in 35 years).
MO: What are some strategies you use for landing a difficult sale?
Jason: Closing a difficult sale is the culmination of rapport built with the client, value built in your product, and a true personal belief that the product/service is the right fit for the client.
That’s not necessarily a strategy one can execute or carry out; rather, it’s a mindset and a guide to help put you in the right frame of mind in order to earn someone’s business. By getting to know a client and truly understanding what makes him tick, what excites him, and what he truly “needs,” you can earn his trust and develop a relationship that ultimately culminates in you earning the right to ask for his business. The sale closes itself.
MO: What is the most rewarding part of working in sales?
Jason: The most rewarding part is developing lasting relationships that extend beyond the realm of products I provide my clients.
I get to know the client outside of the product I provide. What are his hobbies? Does he have kids? Does he travel? What does he do for a living? It certainly doesn’t work with every client, and I can’t say that I’m friends with each person I sell a car to. I can say that I try to take a genuine interest in each client I work with that extends beyond trying to sell something.
At the end of the day, almost every product has a direct competitor or another source from which it can be obtained. You have to create a reason for people to come back to you. People buy things from people they like, period.
MO: What is one success story you’re particularly proud of?
Jason: I enjoy it when I have the opportunity to pick up the phone, call a client, and tell him his new car has arrived – when he didn’t even know he was looking! Being able to creatively engineer sales by maintaining relationships and knowing your clients is particularly rewarding.
At this stage (just shy of 3 years in sales), I try to do this at least once a week. I’ve noticed that after the initial sale, each subsequent sale becomes easier as trust and rapport are built.
MO: What is one piece of advice that you can share with other aspiring salespeople?
Jason: No sales tactic, strategy, or technique can replace hard work and integrity.