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A Genuine Sales Professional, with Leslie Venetz [Episode 832]

Leslie Venetz is the New Business Development Director for Procurement Leaders. Occasionally I have the pleasure of meeting people who have a genuine passion for sales and helping others become the best they can be. That are giving back to the sales community. Leslie is one such person. In this episode we talk about her inspiring professional journey in sales.

Episode Transcript

Andy Paul: Leslie. Welcome to the show.

Leslie Venetz: Thanks so much for having me, Andy.

Andy Paul: It’s a pleasure. So where have you been sheltering in place?

Leslie Venetz: Mostly in Chicago in my high rise condo in Chicago looking out at the world, I used to inhabit. But did get to spend six weeks in Montana. I’m a native Montanan. So that was a really lovely reprieve. Yeah.

Andy Paul: Nice. Yeah. So where in Montana?

Leslie Venetz: So I grew up in Great Falls and have a huge Italian family. Most of them are still there. So went back and spent six weeks in my childhood home in my childhood bedroom, which is, gosh, something I never thought I would do, but it was honestly a treat.

Andy Paul: Did you feel younger being back in your childhood’s bedroom?

Leslie Venetz: Did I feel younger? I don’t know. I felt very spoiled because my mother is an absolute Saint. And so every morning I’d wake up and, a cup of a pot of coffee had already be made and my dad loves making breakfast. So I’d always have a fresh, like full breakfast to eat. So I felt very spoiled while I was there. And, my parents had also just, picked up a yellow lab puppy. So I was quarantining with a perfect little adorable puppies. So it was a pretty good combination for me.

Andy Paul: That sounds great. That sounds absolutely great. Yeah. We’ve been fortunate. My wife and I the last week we’ve been looking after my daughter’s dog, sort of a German shepherd mix. It was just absolute sweetheart. And it’s yeah, this is a good time to have a dog.

Leslie Venetz: yeah, it brings a little extra dose of joy to the day.

Andy Paul: Yeah. So you got, yeah. If you felt you were being confined to quarters, that’s a good way to get out and walk the dog and see what’s going on as long as you’re wearing your mask.

Leslie Venetz: Yep. Yep.

Andy Paul: And keeping your distance. What took you to Chicago then?

Leslie Venetz: I am, I would say, a very deliberate decision maker. I have grown up in Montana and then I stayed there and got an amazing state school education for $15,000 a year. I knew though that I wanted to leave. I wanted an opportunity to live in the big city, to get closer to different cultures, different ways of thinking. So I made a big matrix on an Excel document and on one side or.

Andy Paul: Wow. You are organized.

Leslie Venetz: Yeah, it’s just a little bit crazy. But on one side for all of the kind of big cities that I thought I might want to live in, and at the top I, charted everything that at the time, at whatever 20 something years old was important to me and then assigned point values and Chicago just had the most points. So I sold all my belongings and moved without a job.

Andy Paul: Alright, we’re going to dig into that, but what were the criteria you’re using to evaluate where you wanted to go?

Leslie Venetz: Oh my gosh. Some of them are what you would think, right? Job market safety, stuff like that, cost of living. Some of them were a bit more nuanced, a really important one was the ability to get home. How easily could I get back to Montana and how much would it cost me? Luckily the cost of those trips has gone down quite a bit over the last decade. and then stuff like access to live music. I’m a huge fan of live music and concerts and theater. it was a combination of what I think anybody would be looking for. And then a couple elements that were especially important to me.

Andy Paul: And what type of music.

Leslie Venetz: Gosh, I am pretty eclectic. I like everything from, I guess sort of the pop that everybody likes to underground hip hop. My favorite band is a band called Widespread Panic, which is more of like a jam band. I’m all over the place. The only thing is I can’t get behind. I really struggle with country music. Ooh, sorry. Contemporary country music, not like the Johnny Cash. And I can’t get behind jazz music. I just, I can’t do it any.

Andy Paul: Okay. you’re talking about like real modern jazz or.

Leslie Venetz: I don’t like the way it makes my brain feel. It doesn’t follow the, I don’t know the sort-

Andy Paul: I’ve got some recommendations for you. I’ll do well, we’ll talk after

Leslie Venetz: I’m always open to trying things.

Andy Paul: Yeah, I had never thought I was a big jazz fan and, but actually I write to jazz. I find that for me is that’s the thing when I’m writing and I trained myself, I’m sorry, like Pavlov’s dog at this point as certain jazz piece I put on and I just started writing.

Leslie Venetz: I love that. it probably helps you with, I would think creativity because it’s not predictable. it’s probably forcing your brain to create new pathways.

Andy Paul: Gosh, that’d be great at my age. I’m afraid I’m losing the pathways. That’s what I’m gaining them. So how’d you get your start in sales.

Leslie Venetz: I absolutely fell into it. Not intentional at all, which I think it’s a pretty common story. I, so I moved to Chicago without a job, but had set up quite a few interviews at the time. It was right before the recession. So markets were booming and I primarily was looking at like marketing because I got a marketing degree or I was looking at nonprofits because I’ve done a lot of nonprofit work in college.

And it was something I was really, am still really passionate about. And, then quite a few event companies, because I’d done a lot of work in that space. didn’t have a lot of focus in terms of this is what my career path is. And ultimately ended up taking a sales position with an event company, with the thought process of I’ll show them I’m great at sales and then demand that they transfer me to a differen t business unit, different department. And.

Andy Paul: Mean, like becoming a planner?

Leslie Venetz: Yeah. Yeah, because they didn’t have, that’s such a part filler position for folks and they didn’t have any open positions at the time. So I took the open sales position and it was. it was almost immediate within weeks. I realized that I just loved sales. It was something that came very naturally to me.

Something that I, it was easy for me to get excited about every single day. And I decided pretty quickly that sales was it. For me, it was something I wanted to make a profession.

Andy Paul: What were you actually selling?

Leslie Venetz: So I was, they’re called Summits, which is, I don’t know, a fancy word for a small conference, but I was at the time selling to CFOs of Fortune 500 organizations, opportunities to attend these small, like 50 person, intimate closed door, networking event. So it was. It into the deep end selling immediately to Fortune 500 CFOs, like a couple of weeks after I graduated from college.

Andy Paul: You were obviously doing this on phone. I imagine.

Leslie Venetz: Yup. I’ll tell the sales. And it was old school telesales. No computers at the desks, even you were working off stacks of paper. And then when you needed to send emails, you would get up and go use a shared computer to send off your emails.

Andy Paul: Wait, this was like 2008. You’re talking

Leslie Venetz: About. Yeah. Yeah. 2007, 2008. Yeah. I’m telling ya.

Andy Paul: So this company, Marcus Evans, I take, it was not very well invested in sales infrastructure or marketing infrastructure.

Leslie Venetz: No, they weren’t in. And I know because I’m still heavily connected to the company. They’ve made a lot of strides and certainly not just for Marcus Evans, but for many companies, the pandemic has catapulted people forward on their path to digitalization. I think it’s still a bit old school, but Hey, if it works for them, it works.

Andy Paul: Yeah, they were only conservatively in 2007, maybe 20 years behind at time. So obviously no CRM system. So how’d you build y our list?

Leslie Venetz: Yeah, I would say one thing that was extraordinarily well-timed into, along with my entry to the job market was LinkedIn. So that was the advent of LinkedIn. I created my profile in 2007 when I think. There were less than a million people on the platform for sure, but I think significantly less than a million people, had a chance to start building my profile and start connecting with folks immediately.

So LinkedIn was a great Avenue to get closer to my customer and build relationships where know there was a bit more of an opportunity to ask for referrals, ask for feedback and advice. But a lot of it was having go into association, less pulling names off of those, going to the company website again, through press releases, to see what you could find. It was just, it was a lot of very creative google searches with you know, quotations and quotations plus dot excel, our last two to try to uncover a few names that we’re going to, to meet the criteria.

Andy Paul: Google searches on a shared computer.

Leslie Venetz: Correct? Yes. Correct. I would do. I would do all my research at home.

Andy Paul: was going to say,

Leslie Venetz: Yeah, I would wait and I would get home and, certainly straight out of the Gates, I would do two or three hours of research and I, every single night, so that I was walking back into office the next day with fresh leads to, to be able to call. And that way I could spend my days actually on the phone. because it’s, maybe not surprising, but CFOs don’t tell the pickup their office line that often.  It takes a lot of calls to get to them.

Andy Paul: So tell us what you’re doing. how are you recruiting their assistance and so on to help you get in front of them?

Leslie Venetz: Yeah, interesting, process in that we were not recruiting assistants at all. And it’s funny because I think that mentality stuck with me for many years, that gatekeepers are enemies and you don’t want to give them any information. You don’t want to leave any messages with.

Andy Paul: Where was that coming from, was that the sort of the culture and the company, or, how’d-

Leslie Venetz: Definitely the culture in the company, but anecdotally, a lot of it sussed out. Like you would see your colleagues cave and not follow the process, leave a message with an admin and it was done. The lead was burned. They were never going to let you through to the CFO because now they knew why you were calling and in particularly because you were selling an event. And so it had a specific date, it was such an easy opportunity for the admin to get the date and say, no that person’s not available. When you know, we know that when we reach the CFO and actually talk about who else is going to be there and what topics are being discussed, that more often than not, the CFO would make the time, they’d rather change their schedule to be in that room. So definitely company culture, but anecdotally, it didn’t go well when we did try to leverage gatekeepers. So it was an insane amount of cold calling just absolutely insane amount. We also didn’t leave voicemails. So it was just cold calling until somebody picked up the phone.

Andy Paul: Oh, wow. Sounds like such fun. So what did you enjoy about it?

Leslie Venetz: I learned a lot. I learned a lot, gosh. Just in terms of. The importance of an impact statement, the importance of speaking the language of your customer, and making sure you’re not going into those conversations with fluffy language or, the kind of that internal lingo that only means stuff to your staff.

So it helped me really refine my pitch, refine my impact statement. Really understand what was going to be most compelling most quickly for my audience and I think, even today, when I’m having a tough month or a tough quarter, that’s a lot of what informs my ability to go back to the basics and say, where have I tweaked my pitch? Where have I strayed away from those fundamentals and how I’m explaining this solution to the customers? So, I think that was really significant and just the courage element to Andy and being young and naive enough to not really understand how important the CFO of a fortune 500 company is to the global economy and just, picking up the phone all day long and more or less. Demanding that they give me a few minutes. That’s a very their time to make my case. So it was really good experience. What did I like about it beyond that? We would sell a ton of different summits, so I wasn’t always working with CFOs. I’d switch and I’d be selling to CHROs or CTOs. Later Igot really heavily invested into building out our energy portfolio: transmission companies, power companies. And that operation to constantly be learning about a new vertical and that opportunity to always be flexing that the sort of curiosity muscle was really compelling to me.

Andy Paul: My type of person. So you got your first management experience at Marcus Evans. And were you the proverbial top rep that got promoted or did you want to go into management?

Leslie Venetz: Both. I was a top performer and I deeply disagree with the premise that top performers should automatically become managers. That’s the natural next step. I don’t think that is the correct thinking in this situation I not only was a top performer, but I was also really passionate about opportunities to coach and train and invest in my peers. love that. Especially when you have an opportunity, to partner with an invest in those more ground level or entry level folks, because they’re often so hungry to learn and to grow that you see such an ROI on the information you’re giving them and they’ve rushed to the phones to put it in place.

So it was a little bit of both. I was doing the job well, and I felt like I had a lot to offer my peers and helping lift them up. And helping them better understand the process and execute it to close some deals.

Andy Paul: Were you so very interested with peer coaching thing? Cause I was in a conversation yesterday with a well known sales industry analyst who was putting forth the case that in his perspective, the future forward and sales in terms of bringing more coaching to sellers was really peer coaching. And trying to more formalize that within companies and provide incentives for people to do peer coaching and so on. Were you structured about it or it was just an ad hoc or how did you approach it?

Leslie Venetz: Very structured. I will say that the role at Marcus Evans came with an incredible amount of training and part of that was coaching. And while they were maybe a bit behind the dime on some technologies where they did, have great technologies, was the ability to shadow calls, do live call coaching, record calls, and have a chance to sit down and, go through them with the, with staff later.

A positive was that there was a very active culture around the importance of coaching and certainly a mindset that everybody needs to be very open to being coached live on the open sales floor, which I think that’s another skill set to build straight out of colleges is being critiqued by your supervisor in front of all of your peers and yeah, and, realizing that they’re doing it to make you better. And if you listen, you’re going to then reap those benefits.

Andy Paul: But you were point about peer coaching, but you were doing that before you got promoted.

Leslie Venetz: Yeah. yeah, definitely.

Andy Paul: And so was being promoted one of those things where, in my case, my first promotion, my first job, I just remember the manager saying, cause I was doing the same and him just basically saying, you’re fundamentally already doing the job. Why don’t we just formalize and make you a sales manager?

Leslie Venetz: Gosh. I don’t remember if that conversation happened. I don’t know. I think. Based on what I remember. If I’m being honest, it was probably more okay, you just hit your numbers every month for the last six months you’re eligible for promotion. Do you want it? I think it was probably a bit less romantic than Leslie you’re doing such an incredible job, pure coaching. Let’s highlight-

Andy Paul: They didn’t say it that way.

Leslie Venetz: But I, I think it’s a really interesting point that

Andy Paul: My, yeah, my boss had always said that the, excuse me, so that you had asked him once I’d said, how do you know when somebody is ready to be promoted? And he said, when they’re already doing the job.

Leslie Venetz: Yeah. Yeah. There’s a platform that I contribute to called Almanac.

Andy Paul: Yeah. I checked that out.

Leslie Venetz: Yeah. I love them. Yeah. and it’s interesting because I just contributed a document on moving from IC to manager and one of the four critical pieces of advice I gave was start doing the job. Start becoming that mentor start acting like a leader, start speaking like a leader and you are positioning yourself to be promoted much more quickly.

Andy Paul: You’re giving a cue to management. They’re giving a cue to management that, yeah, I’m somebody that’s, I’m just not a top performer that should automatically promote, but I’ve got an interest in this.

Leslie Venetz: Yeah. Yeah. And I think an extension to that is at least for me, something that I’ve found very important in my career as a manager is to continue to lead from the front. So it always maintained at least a small portion of my own territory or some key accounts. So that what I’m asking my staff to do I’m also doing too to the extent that it and my current company, which is a research and advisory company, I turned down a promotion because it was going to be purely management. There’s no opportunity and I’d be hiring all new people that have never seen me sell before, with no opportunity to do the job and really show them, that I am worth listening to. So I, I love that concept of not just peer to peer coaching, but coaching from a viewpoint of somebody who’s also doing the job.

Andy Paul: It’s interesting. So what you’re bringing up, it’s this ideas that, and I’m a believer in this by the way, is that the sellers need to see their managers talk the talk and walk the walk. And this role modeling is hugely important. And I agree with that a hundred percent. It’s yeah, I always trying to think of what time in all the years, I was managing teams and growing sales teams at companies where I didn’t have something I was working on myself as well. I think it’s really important. I think it’s a lesson that gets missed oftentimes by managers, especially these days where managers are weighted down, oftentimes by reporting requirements and keeping track of KPIs and yada, and they claim they don’t even have time for coaching, let alone working a deal themselves.

Leslie Venetz: Right..

Andy Paul: When you were at Marcus Evans and was this a predominantly male oriented sales organization? What was it? Was there somebody there that similar role, other women or woman manager that, sort of could help you

Leslie Venetz: No there sure. Wasn’t it was, it was definitely, Oh gosh. I think when I started it was all men and when I left, it was me and one other woman in the management, but,

Andy Paul: Over the course of how long you were there?

Leslie Venetz: Nine years,

Andy Paul: given the rate at which they are adopting technology, that’s probably a rapid pace for them.

Leslie Venetz: Rapid phase rapid. And certainly the entire senior leadership team, both the global senior leadership team, as well as the leadership team sat in the Chicago office, all men as well.

I was really lucky that for a good chunk of that time, probably about four or five years, the, I think his title was COO the COO of that business  was a great mentor to me. and that doesn’t mean I always agreed with his advice because I, thought some of it just was not as applicable to me as a woman, trying to make my way in the business, but he was a really strong advocate for me. and I certainly value that mentorship, but I always really struggled to find a female mentor. Like I, I’ve never had somebody that I would really point to and say you were another female in sales that I was a long term mentor that I would say really supported my growth. You were fundamental to my growth, and I think I’m not the only woman in sales that has struggled to find female mentorship.

Andy Paul: And to that point, is that mentorship within the company or just in the profession in general? Cause I was just wondering if there have been particular women’s in the global sort of sales ecosystem that have been particular role models for you?

Leslie Venetz: I think role models in that I read their content and I like what they’re saying, but. I think more than mentorship, Andy, I’ve had some incredible thought partners, folks that are maybe at a similar point in their career path to me, but are excited about the profession are excited about, the hashtag right now, what the women supporting women hashtag, but that take it really seriously.

And, I think those individuals being a voice that lifts me up helps, lean in on those days where I’m maybe experiencing a bit of an imposter syndrome. that challenges me to have tough conversations about diversity, about equity, about pay.

I think less than a mentorship, I have really focused on finding those.

Partners who, I know are going to empower me and, like for I’m going to have a chance to empower and lift them up.

Andy Paul: You, what I liked about when I was doing research for this interview is that you are, have been involved proactively in giving back. You talked about Almanac, you’re posting on Almanac. you’re active on Quora up to a point, and providing, tons of answers to questions. Are you finding people, serve women that are earlier in their careers are responding to that because I presume they have the same issue.

Leslie Venetz: Yeah, absolutely. I, I think my mentality in general is that for me, it’s just a lot of institutional knowledge. It costs me a little bit of time, but no money to share that. And a lot of what I share, the things that I was desperate to understand and didn’t know where to find them when I was new.

I do get some really. Personal and lovely notes from women who are starting in sales and marketing, asking for bits of advice or, sometimes just saying, wow, I, I just read this. Answer that you responded to on Quor  and it really means a lot to me then just to know that I’m not alone in how I’m thinking or how I’m feeling.

So it’s, I love giving back, not just in a professional capacity, but yeah. through broader volunteerism, And, I think that mentality of empathy and that mentality of creating a community or recently a friend that’s a realtor put it really well. That mentality of open palm instead of closed fist.

Andy Paul: So appropriate these days.

Leslie Venetz: Yeah. And it’s the way I want to live my life. And in sales, It’s turned out to be a really good mentality because you have folks that then come back to you with referrals or they buy from you in one role, but they remember that you treated them with kindness. And then when they switched to a new role, they say, Hey, let’s talk, let’s see where we can make something work. So it’s, it’s interesting because it was certainly not an intentional. Sales style or maybe way of living my life. But it’s one that has really had some lovely benefits.

Andy Paul: Yeah. Very interesting. I, to talk, touch for a second, cause I, I find where you’re, what you’re currently doing. A company called procurement leaders is interesting. Cause on one hand it sounds like a sales person’s worst nightmare is that you’re actually selling to procurement as opposed to procurement being involved in the process.

tell us a little about what you do there.

Leslie Venetz: Yeah, you are not wrong. It is an interesting, adventure into sales. it’s a solution sale. We are working with procurement teams to help them. Act more strategically to be a more strategic partner to the business. And that’s a, a combination of the sort of advisory piece or, plugging them into other folks in the community that are doing it along with the research piece, giving them access to a, a portal full of great.

Strategy research insights, tools, et cetera. So I think two things make it really complicated. And also then very interesting. One, the solution is massive. It’s designed to be everything for all people, which makes it difficult on an intro callm on a discovery call to really summarize in a meaningful way.

So yeah, a positive of that is coming into the sale. I ditched the pitch deck. I don’t pitch off deck and I ditched the sort of step one, step two, step three. And my first call now is entirely focused on getting to know the prospect and understanding their needs, their constraints, their dreams.

And I found that then allows me to move on to a second call with, a bit more of an intentional focus in terms of what part of the massive solution is meaningful to them. And I’m so thankful to work for a company like Procurement Leaders who, when I was a couple of weeks in seat and told them I’m not going to pitch off a pitch deck, they were like, okay, Yeah, we trust you. So that’s really lovely. But certainly the other part is pitching to procurement, pitching to people that often have master’s degrees in rhetoric and negotiation. So it’s, I think procurement too often is seen like the red headed step child in their organization and where other folks see them as maybe a hurdle to overcome what I’ve-

Andy Paul: A black hole to be avoided. There was, yeah, at least one author last year, published a book, sort of saying avoid procurement and all cases. And I have to admit my career. I always made procurement allies as much as I could.

Leslie Venetz: Yep. Yeah. I’m re-reading The Challenger Customer right now, which is written by CEB . When I guess Challenger was owned by CEB and they had a huge procurement arms. So they talk a lot about that. procurement is the black hole. How do you make procurement an ally? But what I found when pitching directly to procurement is that they are not as willing to spend money on themselves. As they might be to spend money on other parts of the business. So we’ll a lot of the work I do is, I almost think like inspiring some confidence in them. Like you really deserve to have this voice in your company and you really deserve to have a partner that can help you get there and then when you get to the negotiation process and, maybe then six weeks later, after I’ve like cried in the corner, we finally have a contract and it’s a, it’s been a really interesting role. It’s really forced me to find some new and creative ways to sell, to connect with the customer, to go through the contracting process. So I’ve really appreciated the opportunity and experience,

Andy Paul: What are you hearing from the people you’re selling to about their experiences with sellers?

Leslie Venetz: It’s interesting because a lot of the conversations we have are the dynamic of internal stakeholder relationships versus external supplier relationships. And what we see again, and again, is that procurement loves their suppliers. And they feel very aligned to their suppliers, their established suppliers, but there is a huge disconnect with their internal stakeholders. It’s interesting from a sales person’s perspective because let’s say you’re trying to sell something to marketing and then procurement enters the scene and, you’ve all of a sudden put your opportunity from stage five back down to stage one.

But it’s often because procurement thinks that they know what their stakeholders want and they think they know what the business wants them to deliver. But when you actually talk to the stakeholders, it’s quite a bit different. So it’s a whole piece of research. It’s a whole pillar of our research that we work on with members to help them understand that the need to be closer to their business partners and the need to speak the language of the business. Like we, as salespeople speak the language of our customers, to bridge the gap there between what they think, stakeholders need and what they actually need.

Andy Paul: It’s interesting because it sounds as if that, based on what you’re saying , oftentimes when sellers experience a sort of disruption in flow, and through their process, really starts from, yeah, their stakeholder, their primary stakeholder that wants to buy what they’re selling, not being sufficiently clear with procurement.

In fact, in many cases, probably having the same dread of dealing with procurement as the salespeople do. That’s a really interesting thing from a perspective, as a seller is, think about that as, because, there’s this irrational fear of procurement and everybody’s had, we all had negative experiences, but when I go back and look at the negative experiences in the light of what things like what you’ve said and others it’s Oh yeah, I could have fixed that. Or I could have addressed that in most cases, in some cases, there was a few cases where it just wasn’t possible. But these days let’s just add as procurement acting much more strategic, business partner of the internal clients. Yeah. They, my impression, my experience has been is that yeah, it’s a different ball game out there.

Leslie Venetz: It is. I mean that it shows it too. When you look at the uptick in how many influencers are now part of a decision and influencers, maybe if you’re selling to marketing and they’re not even. Five to eight or whatever the statistic is today. It’s not even necessarily eight influencers within marketing. It might be five in marketing and one in it.

And one in legal and one in risk and one in procurement. And, I think of reality for sales people, if they want to not just survive, but thrive is understanding that you are probably working with cross-functional influencers and not just selling at them or to them, but giving them the tools that they need to be able to sell your idea, their idea internally, because if that’s what’s happening, you hang up the phone or you get off the Zoom and they now have to go sell. And it, it used to be, we got to sell to everybody directly, and now we are having to equip other folks to do the job for us. Dp the second layer of the job for us. When we get off the phone

Andy Paul: Yeah. No. Very interesting. So I wanted to ask you’ve got a little bit of a side hustle going,

Leslie Venetz: A little bit.

Andy Paul: So the sales team builder. So this is part, I think, of your giving back. So what is sales team builder?

Leslie Venetz: Yeah. I think ultimately Andy, longterm goal, I’d like to do sales consulting as a full time profession, which speaks to that desire to coach, to train, to invest. And right now what I’ve been doing this year is, really just giving a lot of time. A way, because I’ve seen so many people lose their jobs or have their pipelines completely collapsed. And heck things are not all rosy on my end as well. So we’re figuring it out together, but, trying to lean in where I can to help the sort of broader sales community, What I do when maybe markets are better is a lot of folks are, I would say it’s primarily B to B inside sales is, where most of my clients come from so working on things like pitch decks, impact statements, overcoming objections, what sort of collateral should you be sending to the clients? What should you, email. content or email cadences look like. So it’s a lot of fun. And, it certainly, I think gives me insight into a lot of different types of sales, which I really value. And, yeah, it’s very much a side hustle right now, picking up gigs here and there, mostly from Upwork, but, down the road, it certainly something I’d love to make a full time gig.

Andy Paul: Excellent. Excellent. Okay. We’re going to wrap up. I’ve got some, something new, actually. I haven’t, I just started my podcast so maybe the first 400 episodes I used to do this, some standard questions. Learn a little bit more about the guests, so I’m bringing that back. And so the first thing is I’m going to give you some word pairs and I just need you to choose of the word pairs the one that pops in your mind first and say it out loud and we’ll go through that real quickly. Okay.

Leslie Venetz: Oh, it’s like a quick fire around to wrap up here. Okay. I’m ready. Andy

Andy Paul: All right, so it’ll be seven of these word pairs. So first one buying or selling?

Leslie Venetz: Selling

Andy Paul: Marketing or sales?

Leslie Venetz: Sales.

Andy Paul: Skills or mindset?

Leslie Venetz: Mindset.

Andy Paul: Training or coaching?

Leslie Venetz: Coaching.

Andy Paul: Outbound or inbound?

Leslie Venetz: Outbound.

Andy Paul: Persuasion or influence?

Leslie Venetz: Influence.

Andy Paul: Face-to-face or Zoom to Zoom?

Leslie Venetz: Face to face.

Andy Paul: All right. Okay. So last book you read on sales. What was it?

Leslie Venetz: So I’m reading Challenger right now and right before that I read beyond the sales process. Really interesting book by two authors, gosh, you’d think that I would know since I looked at the cover of it.  Like every day for many days, really interesting book, not just for salespeople, but for account managers, particularly if you’re in a role where you are renewing or upselling an account. So I really enjoyed that one as well.

Andy Paul: So favorite non-sales podcast?

Leslie Venetz: Oh my gosh. Andy, this was the hardest question of the entire interview. I am obsessed with podcasts. It would be. Almost impossible for me to pick one, but I can tell you, and, we all have like our sort of podcasts that are the old classics, the Radio Lab sort of podcasts. But there’s two that I love right now. One is called Flash Forward. It’s a futurist podcast, which is just, it really makes my brain just, it’s very compelling. And the second one is Every Little Thing. Oh my God. it warms my heart. There’s an episode on pink flamingos and how they are the most astounding animal of all animals in the animal kingdom. It’s a good place to start. I think t o be totally honest my attention span has not been as, lengthy, during times of pandemic as it might usually be.

Andy Paul: Think a lot of people share that.

Leslie Venetz: I’m really loving the short kind of punchy podcasts where they’re 15-30 minutes  and then when I’m ready to dig in, I’m going to a podcast like the Sales Enablement or stuff you should know that are longer, but it’s nice to have those shorter ones to listen to as well.

Andy Paul: Good. Leslie, it’s been a real pleasure.

Leslie Venetz: Same. Thanks so much for having me appreciate it.

Andy Paul: Yeah. Yeah. It’s been a pleasure to talk and look forward to it again.

Leslie Venetz: Wonderful. Thanks, Andy.