125 – Setting Up a Sales Career Development Path | Jenn Etherton

125 – Setting Up a Sales Career Development Path | Jenn Etherton

Have you ever applied for a job you weren’t exactly qualified for? Jenn Etherton (@jenn_etherton) found herself in that exact situation.

After being intrigued by LivingSocial’s commercials, she applied for a sales position with the company in Texas. The role required extensive knowledge of the Lone Star State and three to five years of sales experience, all of which she didn’t have.

She fought hard for the opportunity, going through multiple rounds of interviews, and eventually landed the job. Fast forward to today, Jenn’s passion for sales and fascination with consumer behavior has led her to the role of Vice President of Sales at Klara, a healthcare communication platform.

In this episode, you’ll hear why Jenn started closely observing and mimicking what she saw other successful people do – and how this tactic has impacted her career growth.


  1. Observe the Actions of Others: You may not have the confidence or even opportunity to approach others to ask them about how or why they do what they do, but you can definitely observe their actions. Break down how they speak, how they hold themselves, how they treat customers, and what they do that’s different than you. And these don’t have to just be people in your office. With unfiltered broadband access, these observations can be people you admire online, TED speakers, or even public CEOs by way of their earnings calls and annual reports.
  2. Find Gaps in Your Own Skills: It’s hard for people to just tell you everything they know with general questions like “how can I get better?” As you think about the next step in your career, write down the traits or responsibilities you think that role would entail. Then take a good look at your performance and see where you can improve and ask specific questions. In addition, you must be willing to hear and accept their feedback. You may not agree with it, but if you get defensive or act like you know it all, well, that’s a surefire way to damage the relationship.
  3. Be Transparent: Ready for a truth bomb? No one has all the answers. When you don’t know something, be honest about it. Whether it’s with a coworker, a leader, or even your prospects. Yes, I’ve heard the mantra, “fake it until you make it,” but I’ve found that having a genuine level of vulnerability and mixing that with an insatiable appetite for curiosity leads to the right coaching, quicker career progress, and better relationships.


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