Sales Hustle is now Sales Transformation
Dec. 23, 2020

Episode #36 S1 - EP36 Finding Great People with Jason Jovanis

Joining Collin Mitchell in this episode of the Sales Hustle Podcast is Jason Jovanis. Jason shares his story on how he started in sales and what he’s been doing. He also shares the dos and don’ts in the recruitment practice in sales.

Jason Jovanis is the Founder and CEO of The Jovanis Group. The Jovanis Group is a boutique recruitment practice focused on matching talented individuals with progressive organizations and great leaders.

He is also a Coach at GoCoach. Through GoCoach, I provide coaching to individuals & leaders who want to grow in their careers.

You can find more information and reach out to Jason Jovanis on the following links below.

If you’re listening to the Sales Hustle podcast, please subscribe, share, and we’re listening for your feedback. If you are a sales professional looking to take your sales career to the next level, please visit us at and set a time with Collin and co-founder Chris.

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Episode 36

Welcome to the sales hustle. The only no BS podcast, where we bring you the real raw uncut experiences from sales makers across various industries. The only place where you can get what you're looking for too. Uh, your sales game today's episode is brought to you by sales cast sales cast helps sales professionals transform the relationship building process and win their dream clients.

[00:00:30] I'm your host, Colin Mitchell. What is happening, uh, sales hustlers. Welcome to another episode of sales hustle. I've got Jason Giovanna's of the Johannes group. We're going to talk about sales. We're going to learn a little bit about his story, and we're going to talk about some tips. If you are in sales and maybe looking for your next role, or if you're a sales leader, looking for some do's and don'ts about hiring your next sales.

[00:00:56] Um, Contributor. So Jason welcome. So, so much for coming on the show and appreciate you being here. Thanks, Tom. Appreciate it. So tell us a little bit about your story and how you got into sales. Yeah, so, um, I got into sales at a company called Paychex, uh, which is a big national payroll provider. I started, uh, with the amazing title of spit, which was sales person and training.

[00:01:18] So kind of like. You are before the rest of the RS, they call them spits. And I did a, you know, lead gen and eventually got my own territory and parlayed that into a sales leadership role, managing a team of eight, eventually managed the team of upwards of a hundred and, uh, and kind of the, you know, the rest is history and, uh, it's been a great ride.

[00:01:35] Wow. Wow. Okay. So I mean, you know, we all know about, you know, when you're out at dinner party or something and people are like, Oh, what do you do? And people kind of shy away from the, the, the, the term, Oh, I'm in sales, you know, because people have this misconception of, of salespeople or have had a past bad experience.

[00:01:51] But I can't imagine saying I'm a spit. Yeah, it wasn't, uh, it wasn't fun telling my parents death, but you know, it was only a year. So I got my, I was well motivated to get out of that role with kids that way I could see why for a number of reasons. Um, so tell me a little bit, you know, when you were fresh in the, in the sales seat, you know, um, doing lead generation, what are some of the things that you learned early on that kind of still stick with you today?

[00:02:17] Yeah. Um, one thing I would say, you know, that Paychex is great at is it gave me just so many foundational skills that I still use today. And in that first year, looking back, I think that I, the thing that I learned the most, you know, I'm sure this is not totally uncommon is you're going to get rejected a lot.

[00:02:34] Uh, and at the end of the day, You know, sales is an activity job, you know, even with all the tech that we have today at our disposal, you know, at the end of the day, you've got to get in front of people. So I learned very quickly that it didn't really matter if I knew more than the guy sitting next to me, if I didn't talk to enough people, the whole thing would kind of fall apart.

[00:02:50] So that's, that's the lesson I still use today. Um, yeah. So, so activity is important, but what you do with those opportunities as well. Right? So, um, so tell me what are some of the things. You know, being a, being a recruiter in placing a lot of salespeople, where, what do you think are some key differentiators from the people that make it in sales and the people that don't.

[00:03:11] Uh, that's a really good question. So the people that I talked to for the most, most part have been in sales for a good part of their career, right? They're usually, you know, let's say anywhere from three to 20 years in sales. So when I look at them, um, the people that are consistently progressing and succeeding, I'll kind of answer the question that way that are moving on a track that is, you know, increasing their earnings and increasing their, you know, helping them boost their career are making.

[00:03:38] Very smart tactical decisions about the positions they take, the leaders they work with and the types of companies they join every, uh, you know, you could, you can unpack all of that, right. But like, and the ones conversely that I see that are having a new job every year, it's almost like things are happening to them as opposed to them architecting their own future.

[00:04:01] Mm. Okay. So being very particular about who they work with, where, and, and, and having the trajectory of their, of their career path kind of planned out a little bit in advance and not just taking any, you know, which is tough right now, because I think. You know, with the job market. And a lot of people potentially have been laid off salespeople, sales roles are always available, right.

[00:04:24] But finding the right sales role, that's good for your career is the next best choice for you, um, is, is extremely important is what you're saying. It really is and, and it's, and I get it right. So, and I work with people that are, you know, have been unemployed in some cases for upwards of a year, and that's a really scary spot to be in.

[00:04:43] So I recognize, you know, sometimes you just need a job, right. And if you need to feed your family, obviously do what you need to do. But if you have the ability to. Hold out for that right opportunity. And you really have to define what right. Looks like that will Paige pay huge dividends down the road.

[00:04:59] Like, so for example, you know, there are times where I talk to candidates where they'll say, you know, I knew, I knew that I didn't click with the hiring manager. I knew that our personalities were clashing right away, but I took the job anyway, you know, and here I am eight months later now looking for another job and it's.

[00:05:13] It's those kinds of things that when they happen, you wish you could go, ah, like don't, don't do that, right. Or if you're going to join a, you know, a fledgling startup and you haven't worked for a tiny company before, and you're going to be their first sales rep and they're telling you, Oh, you're going to be in a sales rep and you're going to be the sales leader.

[00:05:28] And it sounds too good to be true. Well, it probably is. Right. And there's a reason why they're chasing you the way that they are. So, you know, it's just things like that where we have to be. I have to be real careful of the opportunities we get into, because we don't want to be in a spot where we're hopping, you know, two, three, four roles every year.

[00:05:45] That's where things really get dicey. No. Do you think that, you know, the environment has changed a little bit where, you know, it's a little more common that people do hop around. It is, um, you know, the guideline I give to people is, you know, if you're going to move, you know, if you've got, let's say two and a half years or so at each gig, I don't know that a hiring manager is going to hold that against you.

[00:06:07] But if it's six to eight months, maybe a year and you do that three or four times sequentially every year, that is going to give a hiring manager pause. Even at, even in the world we live in today where, you know, you've got a lot of hot startups. They're still going to go at like, What could you, by the time you ramp, right?

[00:06:25] Like, and it takes you three months to ramp. If I only get another six to eight months of production out of that person, what are they really going to do? You know, is this really a good business decision for me to bring me up, break for me to bring them on board? Okay. Now let's talk about, you know, potentially taking a role at a startup, right?

[00:06:41] What, what should a candidate or, you know, sales person either, you know, without a job. Looking to get a job or, you know, moving from one place to another place for maybe a better opportunity. What should they be looking for in the companies before they decide it's the next best move for them? Right. So I would look real closely at the company's funding history.

[00:07:01] Right. So go to Crunchbase, you know, see what their trajectory has been. So you see what their, what their burn rate is and what they're, you know, what and who their investors are. Um, so that's one, two, and this is very basic, but does that product or service resonate with you? You know, do you feel like you could get excited representing what they do?

[00:07:19] Um, So many times I talked to folks who just don't, you know, they, they can do it. They're just choosing not to, because it's not exciting to them. So make sure that there's, that there's that fit from that standpoint. Uh, what else I would look at on the company level is like, what is their total addressable market?

[00:07:33] Uh, is there a big enough market to serve what they're attempting to do? Um, how big is the sales team? Um, what segment do they sell to meaning in terms of size of organizations, uh, who are they selling to from a persona standpoint? Uh, and that there are no perfect answers here, but what I'm looking for is how.

[00:07:52] How much, or how little does what this company is doing compared to what I have done successfully in the past. Right? And if this is, if this is completely different than anything you've ever done, well, probability says you're going to probably have a tough go of it. Right? So that's, that's what I try and coach people on is be, you know, there, there should be a crate list of criteria.

[00:08:11] You're going through that where you're comparing it to what you've done successfully. Uh, in previous roles. Okay. Now it sounds like you're, you're what you're saying is really going deep on the research before, before evaluating, if it's a company that you would, you know, would be good for your career or good for you individually.

[00:08:26] Um, so are you, when is the right time to do that research before you even apply or when, so the right time to do it? Um, we have to, we should talk about how to apply to a grant cause that has all sorts of landmines in it too. Um, but once. My advice would be you do your research once a fall, your first phone interview or zoom meeting gets booked with whoever the hiring manager is.

[00:08:52] Right. Um, and so that would be, you have to do it before then. Now if you're in search mode and you're trying to figure out different companies that you might want to work for, and you're kind of getting, you know, figuring out your, the, the landscape of, of companies that are out there, then you want to profile a lot of them very quickly just to see what's going to resonate, but you really want to deep dive before that first meeting.

[00:09:11] Now, what, is there a benefit of D I mean, I guess it depends on how much time you have, right? Whether you're working or not working could make a big difference on how much time you have to do this sort of research or when to do the research. Um, but I'm just thinking, let's say for the unemployed person, right.

[00:09:29] Um, how beneficial is it to do the research in advance and use that for your. Uh, you know, apply that to, when you reach out to show up differently than everybody else, who's just sending off their resume doing nothing. Yeah. If you're, if you're between gigs right now, like your job really should be to be out there profiling companies and finding opportunities.

[00:09:51] Um, can we talk about the, how people should apply? I feel like that's another area. I really see people. You know, goof up on, and this is going to sound self self-serving, but it is not. The advice I give to folks is if you're interested in a company, the last thing you should have do is apply directly on their website.

[00:10:08] You can do it, but make that the absolute last thing you do, the best thing you can do is use your own personal network to gain access to the appropriate sales leader, right? Maybe, you know, somebody that works there or someone, you know, know somebody that works there, do that first. Because, you know, you'll get having that personal, uh, having that person vouch for you is going to be much more powerful than you landing in somebody, some of the company's applicant tracking system.

[00:10:33] Right? So that's the first thing you do is use your network. The second thing you do is use, use an external recruiter, somebody like me, you know, and if you talk to enough folks, ideally you'll find a recruiter that has those relationships at the higher end company, and they can effectively represent you.

[00:10:47] And once again, bypass the ATS that's. To me, like I see more candidates get hung up there where once you submit a PDF of your resume to some applicant tracking system, you're almost at the whim of whatever filters they built to, you know, the kind of route that resume to the right person and the bigger the company, the more problematic that is.

[00:11:08] So you're, you're taking too many chances by applying directly with bigger companies. Aren't aren't they going to always, for the most part, wants you to go through that process, regardless of who you know, or who you're connected or who your network is or what recruiter you're working with. Yeah. No, no. I, if you, if you go direct, let's say that, that, you know, you, you want to get into Salesforce and you, and you have a buddy who who's on a team at Salesforce and he introduced you to his manager.

[00:11:31] You might go through half of the interview process, right. With that sales leader. And eventually when, when he or she is very serious about you, they'll say something like, all right, call, like, now that we're here. Go ahead and apply directly so we can get you into the system. So HR knows what we're doing right now, but they'll, you know, the hiring manager very often will be disconnected from HR as they move through the hiring process with someone that they meet like this and the way that we're talking about and that's to the candidate's advantage.

[00:11:56] So, but so building your network constantly, you know, maintaining those sorts of relationships and then tapping into them when you're either in between gigs or looking for your next gig is a huge advantage. Massive massive. So when I see people on LinkedIn that have been in sales for five years, that have like 200 LinkedIn connections and like no profile picture on LinkedIn, I'm like, what are you dealing like that just, you know, that's your, that's your vehicle to land your next gig in most, in many cases.

[00:12:27] So, yeah, spot on call. Uh, I know, and I, I, I, I rarely see people with no profile pick these days, but when I do, I'm just like, why, why are you even on there? Like just. Just, just delete your account. Like just you're hurting yourself more than you're helping yourself, you know, and maybe they don't know any better, but I mean, you know, LinkedIn is, is I I, and, and tell me a little bit about how LinkedIn is, how important is your profile and your network and LinkedIn in the hiring process?

[00:12:56] Because, you know, I've talked to other recruiters before and they said, you know, plays a huge role where, you know, a lot of times that's the first thing people are looking at before they really dive into your resume. It's way more important than your resume. It's way more important. Um, because it's, it's, it's so much more, more dynamic than what your resume can can show, right?

[00:13:18] Like it's a resume static, right? Or your profile hopefully is a living, breathing thing. That's going to change based on the content that you are consuming and the opinions you're sharing. So it, it has the capacity to help you way, way more. Um, so yeah, like I agree with you most profiles now, how we picture are, are those pictures good?

[00:13:39] Right? Are they really like, that's the first thing people hiring managers are looking at before they drill in they're looking at is, are you smiling? Is it a good, um, are you representing yourself in the best possible way or is it a, a picture of a picture from some president's club trip? 10 years ago, you know, like I see those all the time.

[00:13:56] Like, so people have to be careful there. Um, the other thing I see from a profile standpoint is no detail. I'll see, you know, the company name dates, and it'll say sales executive, or VP of sales. But if there's no underlying data around what that role was a, I have no idea who the heck you are. Right.

[00:14:15] You're not giving me information. That's going to help me know if you're right for my client and B, you're not going to show up in any searches. Right. So on a typical, typical clients are, I might have 15 different searches built inside of LinkedIn to effectively find candidates. But if there's no detail in the, in someone's LinkedIn profile, well, there's nothing for LinkedIn to return back.

[00:14:37] So they just won't even show up in a search. Right. So it's crucially important people build out their profile. We just start from the top. Number one, have a, a good professional looking recent, uh, profile pic, right? Yep. Um, how important is like how many connections you have, how active you are, things like that.

[00:14:59] Yeah. Um, so it's, so number one, profile pic, number two detail in, in your role, number three. Activity. Right. Um, so if you don't have, like, if you don't have 500 connections on LinkedIn, get them right. Like just connect with whoever you need to, because as we know, once you get over 500, it stops, it stopped showing it.

[00:15:17] So below that just makes it stands out in a weird way. Right. Um, and to your question around activity. Yeah. Like this is back to my comment before about making LinkedIn dynamic and making it an asset for you. Hiring managers today wants to know. Not just where you work. They want to know who you are. They want to know what you care about.

[00:15:37] They want to know what you believe in and what you're passionate about. So engaging with content and commenting on other people's posts is how you demonstrate that. Um, just random likes here and there of like those goofy, inspirational things we see on LinkedIn. Really gonna do anything. Like you gotta be a part of the conversation.

[00:15:55] Um, so that's, that's usually the thing I coach people on the most is like, you gotta be a part of the conversation, even if it feels weird, you gotta make yourself do it. Yeah. Yeah. So do you think, so, you know, from the sounds of it, you know, if it was say coming down to the last couple of candidates, candidate, a.

[00:16:14] Dialed in LinkedIn profile active has a network candidate B no profile pick, maybe old profile pic. No, no context, really to, to the profile, not being active, you know, less than 500. Connections. Who do you think gets the job? I won't even get that. Yeah. They won't even get to that place. Like it won't even get to that.

[00:16:36] They won't even make it through. Sometimes I can't, even when I'm trying to present someone like that for a first interview, they will, they'll get screened out right away. Um, probably buy by the show, especially if you're working with a recruiter, you'd get screened out right away. You wouldn't even get presented to the client.

[00:16:51] Right. Correct. And that's usually, if I give someone that advice, like generally I won't submit someone to a client if they don't have some of these basics done. And if I get resistance on that, well then, like it's kind of a knockout factor on my side, right. Because it's my credibility. Every time I submit a candidate to a client.

[00:17:09] And do you see that, uh, individual contributors versus leaders, you know, does one or the other tend to struggle more with, with, with, um, with the LinkedIn profile itself? Yeah, ironically enough it's sales leaders that I see struggle more with it. Um, I have a lot of theories as to why that is. I feel like it's.

[00:17:31] Maybe they feel like they don't need to, that the title should be enough. Right? VP of sales should be all you need to see. So there's a little bit of ego that I sent sometimes there, and sometimes they just forget about it and they don't think they need it until they need it. And then we're trying to kind of hustle to try and make something look good.

[00:17:49] When they're in search mode. Yeah. And, um, and, and to be fair, like individual contributors are typically using their profile more frequently, right. For prospecting, for building relationships where, you know, your leaders might be more focused on their team and like, kind of see like, what's the point until they need it.

[00:18:05] And then they're like, Crap. I should have been doing this. Yeah. That's a fair point. And yes, definitely. Mm, okay. And so tell me some of the other common mistakes with, uh, you know, people reaching out or, you know, submitting or, you know, going for it, the job that you're seeing. Yeah. So I guess what I see is, um, That people are forgetting as they move through the process is they're not thinking of the interview process, like a sales cycle and they're not using what they know as sales professionals through the interview process.

[00:18:37] They're, they're, they're kind of forgetting like you should be selling right now. And to me, the whole purpose of an interview is to demonstrate your sales skills. Right. So as a, I was a hiring manager for, for over 20 years. And that was the number one thing I looked for is, is this person, can they probe effectively?

[00:18:53] Are they closing me consistently? Can they build rapport? Can they do all the things that I know I'm going to need them to do when they get in front of her, in front of her prospect, right. Or referral source, uh, and. If a candidate is in demonstrating those skills, and they're just talking about, you know, their, their, their numbers, or they're kind of, you know, keeping this, keeping it to limited, they're really gonna hurt themselves.

[00:19:14] So, and I see that happen a lot people where people forget to close at the end of sales interviews all the time. And sometimes when they do close, the close they give is weak, right? Like you mean examples shouldn't be closed versus a strong, close in an interview. Number one we close is, um, so great. Um, what's the next step in the process?

[00:19:32] Colin. Like, you know what, we're going to go for it. Just, you know, sit by the phone. We'll get back by the phone. Jason, we'll get back to you. Oh, well we've got a few more candidates you want to see. Okay. Well, I'm looking forward to hearing from you like that. Like it's, it's we laugh at it like that never happens, but it happens all the time, you know?

[00:19:50] And, and to me, what good looks like is, you know, Colin based on his conversation, we've had, you know, my feeling is, you know, based on how you, you described what a good performer looks like. I think these are the ways that I kind of check those boxes. Do you agree? What do you feel like I bring to this role that would help you?

[00:20:06] Are there any concerns that you have, you know, and, and then maybe from here based on this, I do think it makes sense for us to continue the conversation. Do you agree? You know, and who else might I speak to on your leadership team that will help us figure out whether or not I'm a right fit for this job?

[00:20:22] Okay. Yeah. That's a big difference night and day. Definitely. Now what's. What about the followup? What about after this key, right? Yeah. So give you the bad first, right? So the normal follow-up email, if it even happens, right. Sometimes there's nothing, but it might be, you know, um, enjoyed our conversation, looking forward to next steps.

[00:20:43] I see those all the time. I'm like, you shouldn't have even sent anything. Right. Cause that's not what you'd say to a prospect. Right. What would you say to a prospect? If you, when you end that first call and you want to keep engaging them, you're going to remind them of all the reasons why they should buy you and your product.

[00:20:57] Right. And that's what the followup should be here too. Right. So what did you take away from the conversation as the candidate? What did you learn? What did you hear that hiring managers say, as they described, what good looks like to them, what their challenges are and then your email. Should indicate that, and she'd very cleanly in a bullet point or to describe how you're solving for those needs.

[00:21:18] Right. How does your background neatly address the concerns that hiring manager has and then recommend a specific next step, including your availability and close on that? Mm, wow. All right. And what would you say are, what, what percentages are you seeing with people doing things the right way versus the.

[00:21:38] Not so right way. Hey yeah. So 80% of the followup I see would fall into the first category where there it's just weak, you know? Um, and I guess the good part of that is if you are, if you're out there in a job search and you do it the right way, you are going to stand out, you're going to look amazing if you do it.

[00:21:58] Right. So. It's kind of good that there's this disparity, because it's going to make the cream really rise to the top. Mm Hmm. Okay. Awesome. This is all really helpful stuff. I think a lot of the sales house stores that are either EMBB in between gigs or looking for the next gig will find a ton of value in this, um, and you know, help them maybe show up in a different way and do things the right way.

[00:22:21] Uh, when looking for that next home for them. Uh, Jason, any final thoughts, tell people where they can connect with you, where they can learn more about, um, the things that you teach folks. Sure. So you could I'm most active on LinkedIn, so you can look me up that way. Jason Giovanna's. Uh, I also have a website Giovanna's

[00:22:40] You can check me out there, but LinkedIn is where I'm hanging most of the time. So we'd love to connect and help the audience out however I can. All right. Awesome. We will drop those links in the show notes, sales hustlers. If you're listening to the podcast, please subscribe. Write us a review and share with your friends.

[00:22:54] We're listening for your feedback. Thank you for tuning in to this episode of sales hustle. Are you a sales professional looking to take your sales career to the next level? If the answer is yes, then I want you to go over to sales, check us out. And if you feel that you are ready, set up a time to talk with me and my co-founder Chris, I'm your host column Mitchell.

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