Last night’s presentation from Scott Christensen, a managing partner and Andrew Kirwin a financial advisor, both employed by Northwestern Mutual was great!   At first I wasn’t interested in insurance and financial investments but after listening to Andrew talk he got me thinking about it.  It was great to hear form someone who was in our shoes just a couple years ago and is now very successful.

I thought it was great to hear all of the different resources he used to generate leads because in that type of business that is very important.  He would use social media marketing such as linked in, feeder lists, prospect qualification and word of mouth.  He claimed that word of mouth was by far his best tool.  If he did a good job advising one client he would ask for referrals.  He would then ask his current client to call their friends/colleagues first to let him know he would be calling and that he was interested in talking to them.  He hoped they would put a good word in for him and build up his credibility.  In sales it’s important to always be getting new prospects and stemming off from them to get other possible clients.  This is all done through networking, which we are all aware of important that is.

I also really like when Andrew said his goal for every day is to educate, exercise and do something nice for someone else.  That’s something I will always remember.  It’s important for us to continue t educate ourselves no matter how old we are.  Exercise is obviously healthy and good for us but it also relieves stress and allows us to take time to ourselves.  And my favorite was to do something nice for someone, although he’s very busy with his job he hasn’t forgotten his vales and makes sure he’s still providing good in the world even if it’s just something small.

Overall the presentation was really beneficial and like I mentioned earlier it was nice to hear from someone who graduated from PSU and was in our shoes just a couple years ago.  He even said the first two years he slacked on his academics but then got his act together by junior year.  Now look where he is, very successful and has already been promoted for Northwestern Mutual.  I am now considering insurance and financial advising.


I can’t believe that as a senior this was the first year I had attended the networking dinner.  I wish now that I had gone since I was a freshman.  It was such a good experience being able to talk to young, middle aged and elders who now are successful business people that graduated from Plymouth State University.  The beginning of the event started began with mingling with both fellow students and the staff sent from each business.  The companies there varied from Hewlett-Packard, cisco, COACH MEdia, to enterprise.  The employees there were also very diverse; there were newly hired associates, CEOs, managers, founders, supervisors and presidents.  So many of them were quick to introduce themselves and eager to hear about us, our experience at PSU and what we had to offer.  They also shared their story, how it all started and their overall journey.  They were all very admirable of the sales program that Plymouth State now offers because they unfortunately didn’t have that opportunity.  It was interesting to hear how a lot of them weren’t even business or marketing majors.  It was great that each and every alumni was recognized before dinner.  They also brought three of them up to the panel on stage for Q&A.  They first told a little bit about themselves and how they got where they are now, which was really encouraging because they started where we are right now.  Then all of us starving students finally got to fill our belly’s’.  I thought it was nice that MAPS had the chance to talk a little bit their organization and what they were up to.  It was also great to watch Delta Mu Delta honor Donald Stoppe for his accomplishments and all he does to help and give back to PSU.  Overall the networking alumni event was a great experience and students at Plymouth should attend at least once out of their four years in college.  Where else would we get the chance to meet all of these amazing people and be able to connect with them?  Who knows a couple years down the road they could potentially help us get a job.

Today’s Skype call with Craig Elias was very interesting and opened our eyes to all of the potential we have to succeed in this world.  I didn’t know anything about Craig until Professor Nadeau introduced him as someone he met a few years back at a workshop.  Craig started out doing outbound sales and in almost less than 90 days was complimented on the amount of sales he made and offered a promotion.  He entered a contest for a prize of $1,000,000.   All he had to do was enter his business idea. He was eager about his business proposal so Craig went around to different entrepreneurs explaining what he had just done.  They all seemed to doubt him and said he wouldn’t make the top ten.  Craig stated, “they were right but the man behind all of this decided to pick 11 and that was me.”  After giving his 5 min pitch he was interrupted after 30 seconds, they loved the idea. This is where his career took off.   Craig was brave enough to not let any opportunities pass him by.

There was so much information I took away prom today’s presentation but one I really liked was how important it is to reach out to the right person at the right time.  Of course sometimes it’s luck but other times you need to realize when that is.  It’s important to figure out if they are content with their status quo,  happy with what they have but busy when other things or unhappy and not looking.  This is where you then can find the problem, design a solution and develop a relationship.  One more thing about getting to the right buyer is timing, don’t wait for them to call you find where your product is needed.  Also the longer you wait to engage the less likely they are to buy from you.

Next was how significant word of mouth is.  He educated us on the fact that word of mouth gets you twice the amount of sales of paid advertising.  That right there is huge.  When consumers like/dislike a product or service they are likely to discuss their experience with their friends.  If they have good experience or bad experience it’s bound to leak out.  Usually when companies like the work you do for them they will even post about it on their linked in page which gives great publicity.

The last take away from today’s presentation that I found interesting was the story on one of Craig’s clients in Toronto.  A situation like this can happen when your competitor launches a new product, a vendor gets acquired or your competitor sales person moves on.  Craig’s business was only making $60,000 off this specific company; meanwhile all of his competitors were ranking in 3 million.  He then decided that he was going to prove to them how much he cared about their relationship and success of the business.  He did that through showing reliability and intimacy.  He told the company he was going to travel out to them (which was a hassle for him) every other week.  They didn’t have much confidence in him at first, but after he continued to put in his time there they developed a much closer relationship.  Within 90 days Craig’s business went from making $60,000 to making 3 million just like the rest of his competitors.   Long story short, when you put in your time and prove that you are a trust worthy partner it will in almost all cases work out in your favor.

Craig Elias has an extremely fascinating story to his accomplishments.  He shared with us both his knowledge and real life experience to show us that if you work hard enough and do things right you can be very successful.  I had a lot of takeaways from his stories and the proven facts.

To learn more about Craig click here.

Tom James is a company that I have learned about more recently.  Professor Nadeau talked about their company paying a lot of money to set up a both and recruit at the national collegiate sales completion.  Tom James in the world’s largest manufacturer and retailer for custom clothing.  Their sales people are highly trained tailors that go directly to homes and offices of very successful people.  I though it was a compliment that Tom James was reaching out to 3 colleges in New England and Plymouth state was lucky enough to be one of them.  Ari and Amber were both young sales people who had a lot to offer but it was still very easy for us to relate to them.  I really liked how they started off with asking our stresses and anxieties of a sales person and why we think making a sale is difficult.  Overall I really enjoyed and took a lot away from their presentation.

Tom James is obviously very established and has many employees.  I really liked that they give the opportunity to everyone involved in their corporation to excel and work your way up in the company.  It gives everyone something to work towards.  Ari started as a sales person and by his second year made the president’s club.  To be in the president’s club you have to exceed a certain amount of sales.  Amber who has only been with the company a couple years is already being asked to be a leader and make hires for the company and be shadowed by the new employees.

Furthermore I really enjoyed listening to people who absolutely love their jobs and the company they work for.  Being a senior, and feeling somewhat timid to joining the work force I found it comforting how much they enjoyed what they do.  It wasn’t for the money, it wasn’t for the fashion or fame it was because they felt like a family and loved working for Tom James.  It was very obvious how passionate they were about their job.  Amber mentioned how she put in a lot of hours and hard work her first year but then claimed she has more time to spend with her family than she probably ever has.   They proved Tom James to be a large stabled business but a place that really cares about their employees and strives to keep them happy.

Tom James is not business to business they sell business to consumer.  Both Ari and Amber had so much to say on the relationships they have built with their clients over time.  How their job was mainly about building relationships than anything.  Both employees work with CEO’s, CFO’s and important people at the very top of a company but they never said they were intimidating or untouchable.  Actually Amber and Ari both said how close they have gotten with some of these clients, for example they have received Christmas cards and pictures of their children.  I was surprised to hear they get that intimate with their buyers but I really like that, that’s something I would love to have in my future job.

Ari and Amber had a good presentation and gave us a preview of what it would be like to work for Tom James.  They actually had me thinking about considering Tom James as a future employer.  I really enjoyed their perspectives and experiences.


To learn more about Tom James click here.

After reading the brief e-mail about Lisa Schermerhorn, who is a personal development coach and award winning speaker as well as an entrepreneur of her own wellness center I was beyond intrigued.  She really put our views of ourselves into a different perspective, furthermore how we should think about our foundation and who we really are.  She explained how important it is to think positive because to beat yourself up only causes unproductivity.

I’m sure more than half of the class perceived her and her reiki/hypnotist practice to be somewhat unusual and deceiving but I felt the complete opposite.   To be honest 3-5 years ago I wouldn’t have had an open mind about it, I’d look at her like she had three heads.  But more recently in my life I have been able to become more in touch with my self and my beliefs.  Although that statement isn’t entirely true because I still tend to think negatively here and there or beat myself up on occasion.  Her presentation allowed me to realize that if we are always carrying around shame, judgment, doubt, conflict and embarrassment then we will never have the confidence we should. Lisa had a tough childhood where she was never able to express herself and follow her visions.  I was lucky enough to have two supporting parents whether I wanted to go one route or the other. They always had high expectations but that was because they believed in me.  Their consistent encouragement has allowed me to be who I am as an optimist.

Lisa spoke of so much information and inspiration from both factual material and her past experiences.  I found it interesting that Howard Gardener from Harvard stated we have nine types of intelligence.  This includes nature, smart musical intelligence, logical/number reasoning such at workers in finance and even detectives, existential intelligence, interpersonal intelligence such as sales people who are trustworthy and likeable, bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, linguistic intelligence, intrapersonal intelligence, and spatial intelligence such as artists who have to see things 3D to create sculptures.  I find it shocking that when we’re in elementary and high school we are only taught two of those nine, being mathematics and literature.  We don’t learn any of the others until we begin college and our brain reaches the beta level, which is more attentive and alert.

Lisa touched base on how some of us are always living in constant fear but the only way to get over our anxieties is to face them.  When eagles see a storm or a hurricane they fly in that direction and use the winds to gain altitude and fly above the storm.  This metaphor Lisa mentioned is suitable for life.  Instead of constantly running from what we are afraid of we should go for it by using our surroundings and conquer that fear we’ve always had.  Once we get past that obstacle, just like the eagle we are content and able to soar.   We all have a vision of what we really want.  After we remove the negative emotions and think positively, stop beating ourselves up and strengthen our foundation to realize that “being powerful is being me” then we will be able to reach our goals.

“Who do you think you are?” is how the presentation began but by end I felt as if I knew a little more about myself.  I became more aware that I needed to dispose of my negative thoughts and surroundings, believe in myself and separate what was holding me back from what could make me succeed.

Lisa was awesome, please learn more about her by clicking here.

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