Archive for the ‘Sales’ category

The Magical Power of “Why Not?” (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

March 23, 2011

Beautiful, blond hair. 

Striking blue eyes. 

Long, perfect legs. 

A smile that could make a linebacker weak in the knees. 

She was physically beautiful, and I was not the only person on campus who took notice.  Veronica was THE girl at Johns Hopkins University when I was a student there.  All the girls wanted to be her, and all the guys wanted to date her.  We met briefly in a class at the start of my sophomore year (when she was a freshman), and I was blown away by her appearance.  The thought of dating her literally never even crossed my mind even though she sat near me for months in 2 of my classes. 

In hindsight, I had a decent amount going for me at the time (other than a horrendous wardrobe consisting largely of t-shirts and sweat pants), but I had barely talked to girls in high school, and I wasn’t much smoother during my freshman year in college either. 

Fast-forward to the end of my sophomore year, and I found myself waiting for a bus ride on campus. Veronica walked up to the bus stop with a friend, looked at me, and said “Hey Pete,” as she gave me a look and eyebrow raise that seemed to add “Didn’t think I’d remember you, did you?”   

She was right.  As she gave me that look, I thought to myself, “Wow, I didn’t even think this girl knew my name.”  We talked for a few minutes as we rode the bus, and then we went our separate ways.  The following week, school ended, and I went home to New York for the summer. 

She crossed my mind a lot over the next few months.  As summer came to an end, and I got ready to go back to college for my junior year, I thought to myself: “Why not?  She remembered my name.  That has to be worth something.”  More importantly, I thought, “What the heck do I have to lose by asking her out?  What’s the worst thing that could happen?  At least I wouldn’t wonder what might have been.”

When I got back to campus, I still lacked the confidence to ask Veronica out, especially since I didn’t even know if she had a boyfriend.  However, I realized that one of my friends was friends with her, so I asked him if he knew what her deal was.  Unbeknownst to me, he asked her what she thought about me.  She told him to tell me to call her.

The day after learning this, I excitedly mentioned it to one of my other friends, who responded by saying, “Dude, she’s totally out of your league.  You could never get that girl.” 

I thought about what my 2nd friend said and nearly blew her off, but I reminded myself that she had told my other friend that I should call her.  Still somewhat shocked by this development, I told myself again, “Why not?” 

When I saw Veronica at a party the following weekend, I asked for her phone number, and magically, she gave it to me.  Several weeks later, we started dating. 

Unfortunately, this story doesn’t have the happy ending you might have expected, as Veronica and I only dated for a few months.  However, that experience was one of the best learning lessons of my life.  I realized that when you say “why not?” and are open-minded, anything is possible.   Even a shy, quiet guy who had barely dated could get THE girl on campus. 

As crazy as it sounds, it was that experience that ultimately gave me the confidence to go after my dream job to work in the NBA when I was an inexperienced, 21 year-old kid lacking any relevant work experience or connections.  When other people doubted that dream, I just said to myself, “Why not?  They were wrong about Veronica.  Maybe they will be wrong again.” 

They were…

-Pete Leibman

-President of Idealize Enterprises

-Creator of The Dream Job College Tour

Creator of The Washington Wizards’ Sports Careers Day


Twitter: @peteleibman


4 Secrets for Getting Your Employees to Run Through Brick Walls for You (Written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

February 11, 2011

One of the reasons I set a number of sales records during my tenure in the NBA was because I was extremely motivated.  Part of my success was because I loved my job and because I’ve always been driven to be my best.  However, my motivation and my subsequent performance was fueled further because of how I was managed.  Here are 4 secrets I learned from my time in the NBA on how to enhance the performance of your employees:

  1. Hire the right people.  As Jim Collins wrote in Good to Great, the best companies in the world became “great” because they hired people based on personality attributes and inherent abilities rather than learned knowledge or skills.  You also need to hire people who really buy into the mission of your organization.  Pride in your employer is a prerequisite for peak performance at work.
  2. Give employees clear, achievable goals.  When I worked in sales for the Wizards, we had very quantifiable, achievable goals for every month of the year and for the entire season.  We all knew exactly what was expected of us and how our performance was being measured.  Our VP even had a huge board outside of his office that was updated daily to list everyone’s sales number for the year.  Even if you don’t work in a sales environment, you need to quantify your expectations for all of your employees.
  3. Offer compelling performance-based incentives. Wizards’ management offered enticing rewards for hitting our monthly and annual goals, including financial bonuses and all sorts of other cool prizes.  Management would also throw in an occasional daily or weekly sales contest to ramp up excitement even further.  During my time with the team, my performance won me Courtside tickets to games, a trip on the team plane to an away game in Atlanta, a free lunch with the GM, and some sizeable financial payouts.  While your organization might not be able to offer the perks that an NBA franchise could, you don’t need to!  Free food and small prizes will work just fine. 
  4. Recognize employee performance and effort.  No matter what anyone says, we all like to be appreciated and recognized in front of our peers in a positive way.  When I worked for the Wizards, I always said I didn’t like recognition.  Guess what?  I was lying!  I LOVED collecting monthly and annual Salesperson of The Year Awards at staff meetings.  Everyone wants to be appreciated and held in high regard.  Recognize performance AND effort for your employees every chance you get.  

In summary, the first step is to get the right people on your team.  Then, keep your employees motivated with clear, reasonable goals, exciting incentives for surpassing those goals, and genuine appreciation based on performance and effort.  Do these 4 things, and your employees will run through brick walls for you, and your organization’s performance will skyrocket no matter what is going on with the economy.

Like this post or got something to add?  Please comment below!

-Pete Leibman

-President of Idealize Enterprises

-Creator of The Dream Job College Tour

Creator of The Washington Wizards’ Sports Careers Day


Twitter: @peteleibman

P.S. To learn more about my 1-on-1 career coaching programs or my speaking availability for The 2011 Dream Job College Tour, please visit or send an email to

5 Myths and Truths About High-Performing Salespeople That You Need To Know To Get Your Dream Job (Written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

January 31, 2011

What pops into your head when you hear the phrase “salesperson?”  Chances are you’ll think back to some time you dealt with a sleazy, slimy, pesky salesperson who tried to jam a product or service down your throat.  Given the behavior and demeanor of the typical salesperson, most people have misconceptions about what it takes to succeed in sales.

When I was in college (before I started my sales career), I assumed that you had to be sleazy, tricky, and dishonest in order to be a good salesperson.  Since I am none of those things, I wasn’t sure I could cut it in sales.

However, after setting a number of sales records in the NBA, I realized that the best salespeople are those who truly care about their customers.  If you have integrity and you’re good at building relationships and professional friendships, you can be great at sales. 

Approach your job search like a high-performing salesperson approaches his work, and you will land your dream job faster and with less effort.  Here are 5 myths and truths about high-performing salespeople:

Myth #1: High-performing salespeople have inborn qualities that low-performing salespeople do not.

The Truth: Not everyone can become “the Michael Jordan of sales,” but selling is a skill that can be learned by anyone. 

Myth #2: High-performing salespeople are dishonest and tricky.

The Truth: High-performing salespeople have integrity.  Customers buy from salespeople they trust.

Myth #3: High-performing salespeople are very aggressive and confrontational.

The Truth: High-performing salespeople build rapport with their customers; rapport is not built through force or manipulation.  Customers buy from salespeople they like.

Myth #4: High-performing salespeople are lucky.

The Truth: High-performing salespeople create their own luck by having a positive attitude, being well-prepared, and taking massive action to achieve their goals. 

Myth #5: High-performing salespeople are focused on their own needs and desires.

The Truth: High-performing salespeople are focused on their customers’ needs and desires.  They focus on how they can help the customer, not on how the customer can help them.

In summary, if you want to get your dream job, you need to think and act like a high-performing salesperson.  Anyone can learn how to sell.  Demonstrate integrity to build trust, be likeable to build rapport, create your own luck by having the right attitude and by taking the necessary steps, and make sure you always focus on the needs and desires of the people you want to buy you (aka to hire you).

If you like this post or want to add your thoughts, please comment below!