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Meet the Sales Expert Putting the Pedal to the Metal for OfferUp Autos

Below is an article originally published on May 8, 2019 in OfferUp blog. Go to OfferUp's company page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.

Last year was a big year for us in terms of innovation. We launched two new features to help connect people to more of what they want: Nationwide Shipping and OfferUp Autos. New product launches need a strong team to get them off the ground, and an even stronger team to keep them afloat. Today's featured employee has been there since the beginning, as OfferUp Autos employee number one.

Lizz Callaway joined OfferUp about a year ago to build and scale the fledgling autos sales team. This required someone passionate, headstrong, and driven to help take the program from zero to 100. Now, a year later, Lizz works with a team of 18 sales representatives and six account managers to deliver an awesome auto experience to dealers, private sellers, and OfferUp users entering the car market.

Keep reading to learn more about her experience jump-starting (pun-intended) the framework of the OfferUp Autos sales team.


What brought you to OfferUp?

I love a challenge, so when a recruiter called me about building OfferUp Autos from the ground up, I was excited to learn more. I hadn't really heard of OfferUp before, so I thought it was "just another tech company." That was so far off base, and since then I've really gotten behind what we're really about: creating a safe and trusted experience that also has amazing benefits for the planet and the environment and I love that we're instilling those values in our communities. As a company, it gets harder to stick to your roots as you scale, but we haven't lost sight of our mission and that's meaningful to me.

How would you summarize your first year here?

I was OfferUp's first hire for OfferUp Autos and started as an individual contributor that was helping build the team. Now I have my own team delivering on a program that I helped create, and I'm working with partners, putting policies in place, and growing people. It's a roller coaster and took a lot of time and dedication, but looking back on it, I'm so proud of everything we've achieved. OfferUp is a rocket ship that's on a lightspeed path to something incredible, and I'm grateful for the part I played in getting us to where we are now.

What do you like about sales?

I like the puzzle of figuring out how to make a sale, and I like interacting with different people from all over the country. I get a rush when I'm on the phone with someone, and I figure out what piece of information they need from me to win the deal. When you're calling someone for the first time, you don't know what to expect on the other side of the line so it keeps you on your toes. I also think an individual salesperson has the potential to set the baseline for the success of the company. When I'm on the phone with someone and I get the feeling that we're not the best fit for each other, I have to decide not to sell to them. I want the company and the client to be successful, and achieving that sometimes means making a hard decision, but it's worth it to know I'm doing the right thing for both of us.

What was the biggest challenge when you started building the team?

Finding the right people. There are good salespeople who are fantastic if they have a plug-and-play operation like they do at Amazon or Microsoft. They know everything they need to know and everything is already in place — they just have to go. Here we're still building the strategy, so I needed adaptable people who could still flourish in a sea of constant change, which can be really tricky in sales. I get a really good sense of people when I meet them and I relied on that as we started interviewing and building the team. It was important that I got the sense of their adaptability from the get-go, so finding those people was tricky. After adding 20+ people since then, we definitely have a solid team to make this program grow even more.

What made you want to work in the autos sector?

After my husband got out of the Army, I worked for a local dealership doing titles and paperwork. One day, I was talking to one of the sales guys and he asked why I hadn't tried selling yet, and it was a good question! He encouraged me to give it a try and if I didn't like it I could go back to what I was doing before. I figured, why not? For three weeks I didn't sell a single thing and then the next week I sold 12 cars. That was when I figured out that I'm good at this and I really like it. I'm not an auto enthusiast by any means, but I enjoyed learning about the specifications for the different types of cars, and I loved that inventory was constantly rotating so there was always something new to learn. One thing that remains constant in every job I've ever had is the frequency of change — I can't be stagnant — and that's very much a factor when working at a startup that I appreciate and can get behind.

What's your dream car and what do you currently drive?

A Midnight Blue Lamborghini Diablo, but I currently drive a 2015 Ford Fusion. I'm very frugal and the only reason I have a car that's fairly new is because my employee discount made the deal too hard to pass up. I'm usually the poster child for driving a 250k mile car, so I'll be driving the Fusion until it's on its last legs.

What's your biggest driving pet peeve?

Merging. People do not know how to merge in Washington! I'm from California, so my biggest pet peeve there was that everyone was on their phone when driving. In Washington, they're on their phone and can't merge, so it's a double whammy.

What's your best tip to being a good salesperson?

Be human. No one wants to buy something from a robot, nor do they want to buy from someone who seems disingenuous. If you have a real conversation with the person on the other line, you'll be much more successful. Also, you need to try to understand the customer. Know their day in and day out. We're not calling dealers at the end of the month when we know they're busy trying to land more sales. Instead, we'll follow up with them at a time that's convenient for them and they've all been happy about that attention to detail.

Lizz's team is hiring Sales Managers, Account Executives, and a Data Analyst, so if you're interested in joining a dynamic team, you can check out the open positions and apply online today.


How These Companies Are Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

According to a recent study, anti-Asian hate crimes have risen 150% since the pandemic started. But these acts of violence are not new — they are part of a much larger history of anti-Asian racism and violence in the U.S.

That makes celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (which was named a month-long celebration in May by Congress in 1992 "to coincide with two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American history: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants on May 7, 1843 and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad, completed May 10, 1869") this year all the more important.


The Secrets to Balancing Work and Family Life

3 Pieces of Advice from Working Moms at Pluralsight

Being fully committed to work and family is a challenge that many working parents have to take on. It can be exhausting and thankless pursuing a fulfilling full-time career, while taking an active role as a parent. Achieving a healthy balance can help keep you motivated and productive at work, while allowing you to be fully present when you're home.

We recently chatted with working moms at technology skills platform, Pluralsight, about their best advice for striking that elusive work-life balance. Here were their key points:


How to Make the Most of Being on a Growing Team: 3 Tips from Plex’s Adriana Bosinceanu

When the startup Adriana Bosinceanu was working for got acquired, things changed fast.

She went from being one of eight engineers on a small team building a streaming service to joining a company that was five times larger and had a much bigger scope.

That company was Plex, where Adriana has been working remotely as a software engineer for the last four and a half years.

As her team grew from two people to ten, Adriana decided to lean into the opportunity to grow; along the way, she found herself deepening her technical skills, her self-confidence, and her relationships. We sat down with Adriana to learn exactly how she did that, and to hear the tips she has for other engineers experiencing growth opportunities on their team.

Career and Interview Tips

10 Tips to Stand Out at a Virtual Job Fair

Your guide to preparing for virtual career fairs and making a great impression with recruiters

According to a LinkedIn survey, up to 85% of jobs are filled via networking. For job seekers, virtual job fairs make networking with recruiters more convenient. You can interact with potential employers from all over the world, ask them questions, and apply for jobs. Every event is different, but they most often include video conferencing features, chat rooms, and Q&A sessions.

Dilyara Timerbulatova, Virtual Job Fair Coordinator at PowerToFly explains that, "virtual job fairs have many benefits, namely connecting top talent and recruiters that would otherwise never cross paths. These events are a tool to help companies build well-rounded, diverse teams that align with the company culture and business vision."


Pride At Work: Learn more about Our Partners, Sponsors & Speakers

Learn more about our amazing speakers and sponsors at our June 2021 virtual summit Diversity Reboot: Pride At Work, three days of conversations and panels plus an interactive virtual career fair.

Our Pride At Work summit certainly made us proud! PowerToFly was thrilled to present talks by members of the LGBTQIA+ community alongside some amazing allies. Our conversations ranged from leaders at the highest levels of government positions to visionaries in the worlds of business & tech to artists from the music and entertainment industry. If you tuned in, and celebrated our speakers, thank you! And if you missed the summit or would like to re-watch any of the talks, those conversations will all be available to watch for free on PowerToFly.

We want to extend a HUGE thanks to our amazing sponsors American Express, NGA, Smartsheet, S&P Global, Raytheon Technologies, PwC and Esri plus our media partner MMCA.

If you can, please consider donating to some of the amazing organizations we highlighted at the summit including GLITS, fighting for the health and rights of transgender sex workers; Garden State Equality, the largest LGBTQIA+ advocacy organization in New Jersey, with over 150,000 members; National Black Justice Coalition, a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people, including people living with HIV/AIDS; and NYC Anti-Violence Project, empowering lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV-affected communities and allies to end all forms of violence through organizing and education, and supports survivors through counseling and advocacy.

Plus, don't forget to visit our Merch Store and grab yourself some PowerToFly apparel. 100% of the proceeds from our sales will be going to TransTech Social, supporting transgender and non-binary people in tech.

Finally, registration for our July 12th - 15th virtual summit Diversity Reboot: Tech For Social Impact is now open! Join us to learn about founders from mission-driven organizations and their social impact. Register for free here
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