Real Faces of Sales: EverString’s Jack Veronin Explains Why It’s All About Trust
As EverString’s Jack Veronin explains in this Q&A, the ability to earn a client’s trust is a make-or-break skill for salespeople.
November 2, 2017
In the eyes of Jack Veronin, “sales” has become a dirty word. In his role as EverString’s Sales Development Manager, Veronin’s message to his sales team is always the same: Use honesty to build trust.
We sat down with Veronin to discuss where this insistence on trust-building comes from, as well as how he prepares new sales representatives to develop skills and thrive in a modern-day sales environment.
LinkedIn: What do you enjoy most about working on a team?
Jack Veronin: What I like most is driving towards one goal. I grew up playing sports. I played sports through college, and I just love having a goal out there in front of me, and always striving to meet it or exceed it.
Teamwork and working together is huge. And that’s also one of the core values here at EverString: We’re one team, with one goal.
LinkedIn: What’s the one value that connects playing for a sports team and working for a sales team? What ties those experiences together?
JV: I’ll use the example of baseball. I was a pitcher at San Francisco State University, and I wouldn’t be able to win the game without the support of my teammates. After I pitch the ball, it’s in my teammates’ hands.
The same goes for sales. We’re on the front lines. We’re setting up the meetings, but we rely on our team or our account executives to go ahead and convert those meetings into sales. So relying on one another is one of the biggest things I see transferring over.
One of the most surprising things about sales is, I don’t know if I expected to work together in a team so much. We all know that, a lot of times, it’s individuals that get all the credit. But it really does take a team.
LinkedIn: How do you think most people perceive sales teams, or sales people?
JV: I think their first reaction is hesitance. A big part of sales is being honest and earning the prospective client’s trust. So if you can be honest and credible upfront, you know what you’re talking about, and you have proven that you’ve done your research on the prospect’s needs and desires, those things are going to leave a positive impression. You want to turn a reluctant person into someone who trusts you and believes that you’re credible.
LinkedIn: So if you had to pick one negative label that consumers associate with salespeople, what would it be?
JV: Dishonest, unfortunately. I read that a lot. I can’t think of the source right now, but 70 percent or so of executives find salespeople unable to make the cut. So the way EverString does it, and what I tell the team, is to make sure that you’re very upfront about your goals. Be honest, and prove that you’ve done your homework. Show the prospective client that you know them better than another competing salesperson might. Earn that trust. I’m all about trust.
LinkedIn: So with that in mind, what do you see as the most important value for salespeople to embrace?
JV: The one I hold most important is honesty. It goes back to being credible: Making sure that your product or service is in line with the prospective client’s needs. You don’t want to sell something to someone who has no need for that solution.
Make sure you’re well versed on that prospect’s business, as well as what your product or service can do for them. That process starts with being honest upfront, setting an agenda, and making sure that you and the prospective client are on the same page. That way, if things go well, we have a mutually agreed-upon outcome upfront, and there’s no kind of hiding or trickery involved.
LinkedIn: So when you’re setting up that potential client meeting, what's the first thing you do to set the right tone or impression? Is it like picking a place to go and meet them? Do you give them background on you and your selling interests?
JV: It’s a variety of things to kind of start things off on the right foot. Here at EverString, we really strive for personalization as well as relevancy, so when we’re reaching out to someone, we want it to be on a personal level as well as something that’s very relevant to their business.
Right now in sales there’s a lot of noise, for lack of a better term, and that comes from a lot of people in our position not doing a good job of understanding those needs upfront before they reach out.
For example, I have an SDR who works on businesses with more than 2,000 employees. He’s required to read through reports and understand from the very, very top, from the C-level view of the organization, what the goals are for that organization. Then we try to align our solution with those goals.
LinkedIn: Just to emphasize this concept of sales and its role in the world, how do you think sales makes the world a better place? Obviously it offers benefits to a company, but what are its larger contributions?
JV: Sales is a process of connecting problems with solutions. Sometimes it’s about finding solutions to a problem the prospective client might not be aware of. It’s the salesperson’s job to not only find that company or that person they want to sell to, but also to unearth the pain points that they may not identify on their own.
So a good salesperson is able to uncover those pains by asking the right questions, listening to the prospective client, and then prescribing the right solution, if the product or service offered by that salesperson truly is the right solution.
LinkedIn: What gets you up in the morning? What drives you to do this job?
JV: My team gets me up in the morning. Right now, I love working on a team and making sure they’re successful, they’re getting to the next level. That’s huge for me. I’m always super proud when an SDR gets promoted to account executive or into a manager role here.
So that’s what really drives me: Having a successful team, but making sure that the individuals are also progressing in their careers. The SDR role is kind of your entrance into sales. We want to make sure that people are developing and getting better every day and ultimately moving on.
LinkedIn: On a personal level, what’s a big goal you hope to achieve in the next five years?
JV: Where I see myself in five years is sales management. Right now, I enjoy managing the front lines of the EverString organization, but within the next five years I’d love to be director level or above in sales management, carrying a quota, having dollar signs attached to my name as well as my team.
LinkedIn: In your rise from an SDR to the Sales Development Manager, what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
JV: Persistence. Actually, pleasant persistence. We have a motto here: We like to be pleasantly persistent, and what that means is every time you reach out to someone, whether it’s an email, a phone call, Twitter, a LinkedIn message, you find a way to add value at every step.
When you first come in as an SDR, you really start to learn the importance of adding value right away. Buyers or potential buyers do not respond to messages that are all about your company or your service. They respond and engage when you’re speaking about them, their potential problems, and how you might be able to help them improve their business.
It’s important to make it about the customer, make it about the prospect and do your research. Make sure you’re on point, because someone else you’re competing with is going to be on point, too.
LinkedIn: And when you say add value, is that like knowing the research that adds the value, or are there other things that add value when communicating with potential customers?
JV: The thing to remember is you have to be human. A lot of salespeople fall into the trap of reading a script. I think the best interactions are when the client or potential client is talking half the time and you’re talking the other half. There’s actually research coming out that backs up this approach.
It should be a two-way street, and it’s the salesperson’s job to make it a two-way street, to get them engaged on a topic that they care about, so that we can solve this problem together.
LinkedIn: How has the sales profession as a whole evolved over the past 10 years?
JV: What has changed is our access to data, no question about it. Data is one of the most valuable things you can have in sales. It helps you be more informed as a rep, more prepared.
Sales should never really be a cold call anymore. It should be more like, maybe they aren’t expecting your call, but there’s a bunch of information that you can gather on your own before you ever reach out to a prospect. So this access to data is changing the way sales is done, no doubt about it. Really, what separates reps today is how they use it. Who is using this data the right way, versus who isn’t? That’s the difference-maker in modern-day sales.