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This IBM Sales Rep Could Be The Next Warren Buffett

Plus: a Lawsuit for Secretly recording sales calls

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Happy National Pickleball Day! An estimated 36 million people play pickleball these days, but is it actually a real sport? Reply to this email and let us know what you think. 🏓 

In today’s Follow Up:

  • From IBM sales rep → king of insurance 👑 

  • Sales in the news 🗞️

  • Sales weapon of the day 🛠️

  • Cool jobs at cool companies 📞 

  • Chart of the day 📈 

Sales Fact of The Day

The best salespeople pause 5 times longer than the average rep after objections compared to the “normal” parts of a sales conversation:

Source: Gong

The IBM Sales Rep That Became Warren Buffets Right Hand Man

Sales is like the minor leagues for executives.

CEOs and executives from Mark Cuban to Howard Schultz got their start in sales … and today’s featured person is no different.

72-year-old Ajit Jain was born in a small town in India and graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology in 1972 with a mechanical engineering degree.

Right after college, Ajit did something that most of us can relate to…

He got into sales.

Ajit started working for IBM in 1973, selling their data-processing products. He won the Rookie of the Year for the sales team and quickly rose the ranks thanks to his crazy work ethic.

Unfortunately, after a 3-year run, IBM shut down its India operations, leaving Ajit without his sales job.

Ajit decided to pack up his bags and come to America where he got his MBA at Harvard (slight flex) and joined McKinsey as a consultant.

But as a true salesman, Ajit wasn’t pumped about this new career path. He’s quoted saying “Playing consultant, drawing charts in the middle of the night, wasn’t as much fun (as sales)”.

We all know how much consultants love their cute little charts. 📊 

In 1986, Ajit had an opportunity to join Berkshire Hathaway’s insurance division.

Ajit knew nothing about insurance. He’s quoted saying he didn’t even know “how to spell insurance or reinsurance”. But was intrigued by the numbers and working with business people like Buffet and Munger.

Fast forward to today… Ajit holds the title of Vice Chairman of Insurance Operations at Berkshire Hathaway and sits on the board of directors. Ajit is in charge of their $500M/year insurance operation which includes Geico and National Indemnity Company.

Warren Buffet has been quoted saying “Ajit has created tens of billions of value for Berkshire shareholders”.

I’d say that’s a pretty good outcome for a young sales rep from a small Indian village.

So what’s next for Ajit? Well… he could be the next Warren Buffet.

In 2011 Buffett said, "The board would make Jain CEO if he wanted the job".

If we could buy stock in a person, this would be our guy.

A few takeaways:

  • Sales is one of the best starting grounds for leaders. Sales will teach you resilience, persuasion, and grit, all of which make a great leader.

  • Your work ethic is your unfair advantage. The one thing that can’t be taught.

  • Prestige ≠ Success. Ajit tried out a career in management consulting (making a ton of money), but said “it wasn’t as much fun as sales”. Instead of playing the prestige game, he took a bet that paid off.

  • A-players can make it in any industry. Ajit was the top rep at IBM, and now the leader of Berkshire’s insurance division. If you’re truly an A-player, you’ll be successful anywhere.

Is your goal to be a C-level executive one day?

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Sales Tip of The Day

Want to increase your email reply rates?

Try adding a personalized “P.S.” at the end of your email.

Hi John,

Im reaching out because of xyz…….

- Mr. Follow Up

P.S. I saw you went to LSU around the same year as my uncle Larry. Go Tigers!

Adding “P.S.” at the end of an email has been shown to increase response rates, and is a great opportunity to show the prospect you’ve done your homework.

Sales in the News

  • 6 words you should avoid as a Sales leader, and the word you should use instead.

  • Dell Technologies announces layoffs on their core sales team due to their new partner-led go-to-market model.

  • Allego Inc. (sales enablement software) was hit with a lawsuit for secretly recording and analyzing calls from its customers’ sales reps without their knowledge or consent.

  • Lucrative sales jobs that nobody talks about.

Sales Weapon of The Day

Hunter.io: Find verified email addresses in seconds, and cold email them directly in the platform.

Cool Jobs at Cool Companies

Chart of The Day: RTO 🏢 

Source: Chartr

Sales Meme of the Day

And that’s a wrap!

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