Sales Interview with Nick Rundlett
Updated: Nov 20, 2019
Further delving into the different roles of Praxis, we were to conduct a second interview. I interviewed someone named Nick Rundlett. I had previously heard him talk in a Praxis call. Nick offered a perspective in sales I hadn't considered, so I thought he would be a great person to interview.
What made you decide to do Praxis?
I knew this guy, Charles Porges, through an online philosophy group, and I was instrumental in getting him to drop out of high school in order to do Praxis. I was in college while running a business selling precious metals. College sucked but the business was doing really well. He said, "Dude, you don't get to convince me to drop out of high school and then finish college yourself. You should do this."
Did you go into Praxis knowing you wanted to do sales?
Yeah, I was pretty dead set on that. As an entrepreneur, I knew it would benefit me to be able to sell better. Sales helps with virtually everything in life. It's not about shoving a product down someone's throat, it's about mastering principals of human psychology and solving other people's problems.
What kind of person would you not recommend for sales?
Someone who is at the very far end of the introversion spectrum. Some people are so far they don't like people, and if you don't like people, you shouldn't get a job where you talk to people. Also, someone who is very sensitive to criticism or rejection.
What's the hardest part of your job, or sales in general?
I think the hardest part of sales is the first three months you do it. For the first time you're going to be calling and emailing people, and consistently getting rejected, which is an inherently painful experience for the majority of people. But eventually and quickly you kind of become immune to that. The buffer you build up to rejection will transfer into other areas in your life.
What does your day to day activity look like in sales?
It will depend on the role that you're in. There are tons of different positions within sales. In the early onset, you'll probably get a sales development role, (SDR), doing cold calling. Your day-to-day actions will be similar, but the context will be different, which can make it a dynamic career path. Beyond that, there's the account executive. So the SDR makes the leads, then passes them over to the account executive, who tries to close the deal. You have to be able to negotiate with decision-makers, and following up after initial meetings. There's also the sales manager, who has to hold people accountable, firing, hiring, and everything that entails.
Do you have a favorite sales role you've had so far?
Definitely account executive. I like closing business. I was a manager for a while, I managed five SDRs, and I think if I was doing it at another company it would be more fun for me.
Have you ever worked in a sales job where you didn't believe in the product?
The only people that works for are really crappy, manipulative bad people, where they only have small successes. But yeah, the very first sales job that I had, I was selling wearable electronics that were for people's health. ( I don't want to talk trash about the brand.) I got one to try on, and it was supposed to motivate you to buy into it and sell more. It was a piece of trash. I hate this, it's not practical, useful, or valuable. It was my job to sell five units per day, and I'd be lucky to squeak out one. So I quit. I was terrible at my very first sales job.
What are some misconceptions about sales?
This motif people have in their heads of the used car salesman, which is what I like to call a level one salesperson. This is someone who doesn't really give a crap about you and just wants to extract money through verbal manipulation from your pocket to his. He will do whatever it takes to close the sale. These people aren't successful. They exist, but they are the bottom quartile of all salespeople. They usually move from job to job, they usually end up in the lowest rent sales positions, they give sales a bad name, and they're a stereotype. That's not what the average salesperson is like. I'd call a level two salesperson someone who understands they need to use psychological understanding of human beings to get hype and emotion associated with using the product. This is where stuff like fake seminars come from. Where if you go, there's a lot of emotional hype and absolutely no substance. This works in the short run getting people to invest a lot of money. But in the long run, they're not successful either because they get found out. The level three salesperson is someone who has internalized a service mentality. They genuinely want to help other people solve problems and they believe that the product they're selling is the best way for them to do that. Then it becomes all about helping the other person. And those are the most successful people.
I noticed that you are a free-market enthusiast, did sales help you with that?
That kind of got spurred when I was sixteen and I inherited a coin collection and I did some research on why this piece of silver was worth $23, that doesn't make sense. Then that got me to research Austrian economics, and free markets, and the whole rabbit hole down to the origins of the Federal Reserve and Fiat currency. And I followed Ron Paul, and he was the one who really made libertarianism and freedom philosophy click in my head. It was after I was selling stuff at school, but it was before I'd ever run a business. So I'd say the foundation was there, and it all started when I inherited that coin collection.
Do you have any ending thoughts on sales you would like to say? (This wasn't the end)
One thing that I find really interesting about sales that I haven't seen in other career paths is that your income is literally a function of your personal development. If I wake up an hour earlier and go to the gym before work, I'm going to become a better salesman because by sharpening my body and getting my mind in a state of accomplishment, it's going to make it easier to tackle other difficult things throughout the day, stay focused, and high energy. If I read books on philosophy and self-improvement, it's going to sharpen my mind. I'll have more useful things to contribute. The better of a person you become, the more money you can make.
So do you notice if you're having a lazy day or an off week, your sales drop?
Yep, 100%. It's like my room. It's a really good indicator of where my head is at. If my head is messy, I've been low energy, I haven't gone to the gym in a week, things just start piling up. I'll notice, crap, I'm in a rut, and I'll know because the house is messy. The same applies to sales. If I lose that momentum, that's going to show up in everything, from how I walk, to how I talk, to how many hours I'm willing to put in. It works in both directions.
It's super easy for achiever types to feel like we're not measuring up, but we don't realize exactly how much potential we have and how far we've already come compared to the average person. Something that's been an ongoing struggle for me is recognizing my victories. Even when I was young and felt super behind, I still had victories. Smart young people don't give themselves enough credit.
When did you recognize the correlation between sales and personal development?
Pretty early. First two months. I love, love, love the steam room. It releases all of my tension. So I thought, if I came to the gym to steam before going to the office, I bet I would destroy sales. And it worked. I invested in buying a $1000 membership to this super fancy gym, and that investment paid for itself tenfold.
I'm actually out of questions now. Thank you for doing this interview. You have a unique perspective on sales I hadn't considered.
Thank you, I sincerely appreciate it.
Nick made me challenge my preconceived notions I had about sales. While it's still not my first choice, I'm more likely to consider it with the insight he brought to the table.