This week I have the great pleasure of interviewing Jason Bagshaw of Deltek.  Jason is one of my very good friends and quite honestly one of the hardest working and most successful salespeople I know.  His answers are spot on and it is obvious to me why he is so successful in sales.  His views on LinkedIn, prospecting, hunting, and karma are something everyone who is in sales should listen to and implement in their sales strategy.  He is a christian and one heck of a tennis player! He lives in Austin, Texas with his wife Alexis, and 2 kids Asher and Allister.

Introduce yourself.  What company do you work for?  How long have you been there?  What products do you sell? My name is Jason Bagshaw and I have the privilege of working at Deltek, as a new business sales executive.  Deltek is a software firm headquartered in northern Virginia which is hyper focused on helping project focused companies win more business and complete projects on time and on budget.  I work remotely in Austin and my focus is to sell our government market intelligence solution, called GovWin IQ, to enterprise organizations looking to capture more federal, state, local and education contracts. GovWin IQ is the #1 resource in the industry, which is used by 95 of the top 100 government contractors.

Where do you rank in your organization in terms of sales people? I have been blessed to be one of the top new business sales reps for GovWin IQ for the last 13 years, and I have been the number one revenue producer for new business sales for GovWin IQ, for 6 of the last 8 years.  And by percent to quota, I have been the number one rep 4 of the last 8 years.

How do you prospect for new clients? I am a hunter, so I am on the phones all day, but I employ the social selling model to gain a more intimate understanding of my prospects.  We know how much research buyers do these days before they pick up the phone to speak with a sales rep, and sales reps need to do our own research before calling a prospect, as efficiently as we can.  I am also supported by an SDR who is focused on setting appointments for me.  My company also feeds me some leads to call on.  But at the end of the day, I am responsible for managing my book of business to meet and exceed my quotas.

How often do you use LinkedIn and what do you use it for? I live on LinkedIn Navigator, and I keep a tab open in my browser on their site.  I use Navigator for a host of reasons, but mainly to see if the person I plan on calling has worked at a firm that uses our solution.  I also want to learn more about their job responsibilities and see if anyone in my network knows my prospect.  I relish in learning every possible nugget of information about my prospect, as it warms up my conversations, so I can build that trust and rapport quicker.

What % of your business is referrals and what do you do differently to get referrals from businesses? Overall we do get a lot of referrals for our solution, but the majority of our business comes from our own sales and marketing efforts. The one challenge is that when you do get a referral, they are often not in your sales patch. But I am a believer in good Karma, and what goes around comes around. So I will ask my prospects to pass on our information to anyone they think can benefit from our solutions. But I could do a better job at asking for referrals.

Why did you choose a sales career? I think it chose me. It wasn’t really on my radar as a career path, but in my senior year at University of Arizona, I picked up a job at a big clothing chain for the holidays, but despite winning every sales contest they had 8 weeks in a row at that one store, they didn’t keep me on, because they had to absorb a lot of veteran staff from another nearby store that shut down.

I had so much fun with the first sales job, I joined another clothing chain at the same mall, and at the new store, I was their top sales associate for the first 25 weeks in a row, and broke almost every sales record they had. I realized at that point, I was headed down the right path.  I got a kick out of breaking sales records in the company, but I was more humbled by how I was often able to lift whatever store I was working in, to be #1 in the nation, among 550 stores after just 3 weeks of working at a new store, as I often closed 40% of the store’s weekly sales.

After the first 3 weeks on the job using the trial and error method, I discovered the key to my success in retail sales was using the right body language and greeting, when customers walked into our stores.  I purposely avoided walking up to customers to greet them right away and beyond a casual glance in their direction with a genuine smile, I waited until they started looking for their size in a stack or rack of clothes and then asked them “What size were you thinking of?”  Those six words worked 100% of the time and when folks came in for one or two items, they often left the store with a whole new wardrobe.  The trial and error method I used at the beginning of my sales career 23 years ago, still pays huge dividends to this day.

Why do people buy from you opposed to your competitors? I am very fortunate to be selling the best solution in the industry, which comes with raving fans, because in addition to many other differentiators, GovWin IQ is the only resource in the industry to provide early visibility into federal, state, local and education RFP opportunities, before they hit most government websites.  But since we are not the low cost alternative, we need to make sure we address the tangible and intangible pain points our customers are experiencing.  With great probing questions, and responsive listening, I really try to sell the right combination of features to address their needs.

What does a typical day/ week look like for you? I reserve my calling and emailing activity to the main part of the work day, but I do some of my best work in the evenings. My typical day starts at 8:30 AM with me clicking send on some impactful emails I crafted the night before, and then reading some industry news and following up on any leads.  If I don’t have a live demo scheduled that I am hosting, I will pull up my pipeline and make sure I am on track with action items on each deal.  And the rest of my day is spent prospecting for new business.  What ever work I have left over at the end of the day, I will almost always finish up after dinner, to make sure I am truly ready to spring into the next day.

What are some tools you use to stay organized? Besides LinkedIn Navigator, Outlook and my company’s CRM, I also like to use an Excel spreadsheet to manage my pipeline of deals.

What would be your suggestion to someone who is struggling in their current sales role? Never give up! Selling can be frustrating, but if selling were easy, we wouldn’t have a job.

Any other pieces of advice? Stay humble, but always shoot to be #1, because if you fall short, you will most likely end up number 2 or 3.  If your goal is to be just a top rep, if you fall short, you may end up in the middle of the pack.  Never be satisfied!  Be a student of the industry.  Don’t be motivated purely by financial reward, be motivated by the challenge or the hunt of the next deal.  Always work your territory or your competitors will gladly do it for you.  Never sandbag and never pull your foot off the gas pedal!  Be professionally persistent!  Remember your chances of a call back is significantly greater after 7 attempts.  I like to think of myself as a Pit Bull with a tie on. Remember that your prospects are constantly busy running the gauntlet every day (like on the TV show Wipeout), so you need to craft all of your written and verbal messaging to really get their attention.  Nothing motivates a buyer more then when they find out their top competitors use your solution.

Know your product or solution inside and out. Don’t be good at something, take pride in being the best, there is a huge difference.  You can always benefit from quarterly lessons learned review sessions.  Use at least two or three computer monitors for easier multitasking.  Find a mentor and be a mentor when asked.  Find time to give back to your community, it is incredibly rewarding.  Also find time for yourself, and get your daily exercise in (personally I am a huge fan of tennis and yoga).

What I do is not my job, it is not my career, it is my life. I live and breath what I do, so when I sit down to the dinner table with my wife and kids, I know I have done everything in my power to maximize each and every day.  And most importantly, find something you are passionate in, and you will never work a day in your life.  Lastly, I could not do what I do, without the support of my wife, who I am incredibly grateful to, as she always asks me what she can do, to help me achieve my goals.