Working With the Millennial Mind

Working With the Millennial Mind – An Interview with Roderick Jefferson

rj_headshotRoderick Jefferson is an internationally recognized, business focused speaker. Having given keynote presentations nationally and seven countries throughout the world, he understands the power of sharing real life strategies that work.

Over the past two decades, Roderick has shared his dynamic and energetic voice globally in variety of events including keynotes, guest lectures, and domain expertise panels, with companies including Oracle, Salesforce.com, 3PAR/HP, Business Objects, NetApp, PayPal, Siebel Systems, and AT&T.

In addition to a highly successful speaking career, Roderick is an acknowledged thought leader in the sales enablement space. For over twenty years he has built award-winning sales enablement organizations within some of the world’s most successful Fortune 1,000 companies. Roderick has won numerous awards including being selected as the 2015 Sales On-boarding Program of the Year by SiriusDecisions.

Q. How did you get started in sales and what has kept you going?

I realized early in life that cultivating relationships were extremely important to me. I viewed sales as a mutually equitable opportunity to form new relationships while helping prospects and customers to meet their goals by driving more incremental revenue. Sales is the ultimate test of your resiliency, determination, and desire to “win” (or hate to lose in some cases)! As a former athlete this was the perfect mix of my skill-set and budding sales career.

Q. As you have interacted with thousands of millennial sales professionals, what is the most common problem millennial sales professionals face?

The most common problem that I see Millennials facing today is that they’re not prepared for the demands of Corporate America as they’re coming out of college/university. The college system is set-up to create a “roadmap” of classes and activities required to complete your degree. Unfortunately, Corporate America isn’t built on this premise.  You have to learn how to and in some cases how NOT to in order to be successful!

“While the Millennials that I interact with and in some cases mentor are very intelligent, they don’t have the experience required to navigate the cultural and political climate that is Corporate America.”

My goal is to share best practices, tribal knowledge, and even personal mistakes as the “Blueprint To Success” that they can follow to ensure success in the corporate and/or entrepreneurial environment!

Q. How can millennial sales professionals overcome this challenge?

I believe that there are (5) best practices to overcome this challenge.

  1. Keep a positive attitude, no matter how difficult things get. The ONLY thing that you have control over as a new employee is your attitude. This will be your passport to success!
  2. Ask more questions than you answer. No one expects you to have all of the answers. People are more open to helping you if you ask for help!
  3. Get comfortable with saying “I don’t know”.  These are some of the most powerful words in the universe and generally turn into valuable learning experiences!
  4. Do your homework… Align yourself with the most successful salespeople in your office, region, and company. Learn how they succeed and failed… There are invaluable lesson in both of these!
  5. Look for a mentor. This is someone that will not only “show you the ropes” but act as a marketing vehicle to share your success in the right situations with your peers and/or leaders!
Q. What is the meaning behind “#HopeIsNotAStrategy?

It has a variety of meanings, but to me it’s the foundation of how I operate personally and professionally. Its turning dreams, wishes, and hope into time-bound, measurable goals. Hope is a wonderful thing, but, without a plan or strategy it’s meaningless. Don’t be afraid to put in the hard work required to be successful… The life-long outcome may just amaze you!

You can learn more about by connecting with Roderick on Twitter or roderickjefferson.com

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