💎 In order to be an impactful salesperson, the first thing to remember is that Sales is a people to people business. Watch the video to the end to learn some tips that’ll take your sales skills to a new level!
📼 What makes you an effective and impactful salesperson? Play this video to get three top tips to learn a different side of your clients, master the art of handling objections, and demonstrate value. You'll hear from Clara Sierra, Senior Director, Business Development, Global Sales at Moody's.
📼Top tips to become an impactful salesperson #1: Become an expert on your client. A lot of clients use LinkedIn and Twitter to promote their brands. Not only use their website or google them but make sure to go into their Twitter account, follow their teammates, and their executives, looking at what they post and what they comment on Twitter and LinkedIn. This will help you to know a different side of your clients you can use to get them excited about your product.
📼 Top tips to become an impactful salesperson #2: Master the art of handling objections. Clara uses the “Feel / Felt / Found” method: when a client presents her with objections, such as “your solution is too expensive”, or “I don't need it. I don't want it. It doesn't work for me”, she will typically say, “I see how can feel that way. I have other clients who have felt that way also, but here's what we've found in order to make this solution meaningful to their business.” When you approach them from this angle,, the client who's delivering the objection feels seen. Using the “Feel / Felt / Found” method really opens up the conversation and gets you to the next stage of selling!
Become An Impactful Salesperson - Tip #3: Add Value And Tell Stories
Adding value and telling stories is so important in the sales experience, not just for your client, but for you also. You don't want to be seen as only a transactional salesperson. You want to think about the client experience. What is your product or solution going to do for your client? You want to be able to wrap a story around, what some of your other clients have found and how your product has helped them in their business. The key is to continue to expand the conversation, adding value to your client's experience and telling stories.
📨 Are you interested in joining Moody’s? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Clara
Throughout a distinctive career earning her executive management positions at some of the world's largest financial services institutions, Clara Sierra has always stood apart: for her extraordinary professional relationships, her remarkable passion for sales/marketing, her unique personal background, and, most of all, for her unrelenting drive to achieve the best possible results for her employees, employers, and her clients. If you are interested in a career at Moody’s, you can connect with Clara Sierra on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About Moody’s
Moody’s is a globally integrated risk assessment firm that empowers organizations to make better decisions. Their data, analytical solutions, and insights help decision-makers identify opportunities and manage the risks of doing business with others. They believe that greater transparency, more informed decisions, and fair access to information open the door to shared progress. With over 11,000 employees in more than 40 countries, Moody’s combines international presence with local expertise and over a century of experience in financial markets.
What does climate change have to do with investments? A lot, if you're Lisa Stanton.
As the Head of Global Sales and Client Service for Moody's ESG Solutions, Lisa spends much of her time working through her inbound inquiry list, talking to companies of all sizes and industries about the shift towards more responsible capitalism and how to understand the climate risks they face.
ESG investing looks at the environmental, social, and governance aspects of a given opportunity. Per Lisa, it's gone from being the feel-good little sibling of bottom-line-focused investment decisions to being the future of investing.
"It's now a way to outperform the markets because firms that are not responsible in these areas—in their stewardship of the environment, their board diversity, their labor practices—they often do not perform as well as companies that are," she explains.
We sat down with Lisa to learn more about the evolution she's seen over the last few decades, as well as the career choices she made that led her to where she is today and what advice she has for other people interested in driving asset management towards a more ethical future.
When Lisa started college, she was committed to a journalism major.
As it turned out, she didn't enjoy interviewing strangers.
"It was not for me," she says, smiling. She still liked the investigative, storytelling, and empowerment aspects of journalism, though, so when she started taking more economics classes, she was especially drawn to the parts of them that connected markets to the rest of the world. "Finance may seem like a narrow field, but you actually have to know a lot about a lot of different disciplines—politics, economics, markets, societal trends. It's really broad, at least in the institutional asset management space, and is a great career choice for the variety you encounter every day."
Lisa followed her interest in learning more about the world to London, where she moved after finishing her degree and found an early role in the back office of an asset manager.
"It's the grunt work that you do that lays that all-important foundation of how your career progresses," says Lisa, who was eventually offered a promotion to being a portfolio manager. One of those early roles was in the company's RFP team. "It exposes you to a ton of different disciplines and you can really start to think of where your strengths are, why you enjoy doing what you're doing, and where you want to focus longer-term."
Lisa moved back to the States and ended up working at Barra, a FinTech company, for 12 years. She started out as an individual salesperson and worked her way up to running the firm's global client service team. Not only was that where she experienced her "greatest growth," it was also where she met Frank Freitas, the Chief Development Officer at physical climate risk data and analytics firm 427 (recently acquired by Moody's).
After her time at Barra, Lisa worked in asset management at a few different firms before Frank reached out to her about an opportunity to join 427 as their first salesperson.
"I agonized over it. Do I leave my safe, nice role in asset management to go to this essential startup?" remembers Lisa. "And it was the best decision I ever made. So even though it was one of the hardest, it's turned out to be brilliant."
She was attracted to 427 for one main reason: it was in line with her values.
Not only would she get to work for a woman founder, an experience she'd never previously had in finance, she'd also get to build something from scratch. And the thing she built, if it was successful, would actually have a chance to make a positive impact on the world.
"I'd be able to look my daughter in the face and say I tried to do something on climate change," says Lisa.
When 427 was acquired by Moody's, she stayed on in her new role for similar reasons.
Finding Meaningful Work
Working on ESG solutions for a risk modeling institution like Moody's broadens the impact that Lisa can make in her work. Lisa says she's seen an incredible shift in the acknowledgement of, acceptance of, and interest in ESG.
"First, it was people who wanted to do good, but didn't necessarily see it as something that could also enhance investment returns," explains Lisa, citing early divestiture efforts in South African investments during apartheid or from tobacco or weapons manufacturers.
"One of the most staggering changes that we've seen in the last several years is that it's not just asset owners driving the change, it's investment managers understanding that it's critical to how they manage money," she says.
That shift represents a broader movement to a more responsible form of capitalism, and Lisa describes it as a multi-faceted evolution. "It's holders of capital taking a stance, saying they're not going to have their money invested in climate-destroying fossil fuel companies. It's students that are pressuring their endowments to divest," she says. "It's the realization that shareholder maximization is an inferior way of running the economy."
Now, with prospects and clients, Lisa talks through hypothetical scenarios such as:
- How exposed a company is to hurricanes, floods, wildfires, or other climate-change-related events, and what the financial impact of that is
- What risks and opportunities exist as consumers and investors' preferences shift from fossil fuels to alternative energy sources
- How companies' peers are doing on social labor practices, governance, board diversity, and other metrics, and what that means for their performance
"Say, for example, a firm has a warehouse in a coastal region. If they are not prepared for the increased frequency and severity of hurricanes, their operations are going to be disrupted, and that climate risk exposure is going to have a financial impact to their credit worthiness," she says.
Empowering the Future
Shaping the way that investors and companies consider risk and return hasn't been easy.
"I have never worked so long and so hard in my life," says Lisa.
But she wouldn't change it. "I always try to connect what I'm doing on a micro, day-to-day level to the big picture," she says.
"That's not hard with ESG. You know the impact of what you're doing. There is no place I would rather be in terms of a role that is dedicated to something that will hopefully make this global village a better place."
No open-toed shoes. No slang in emails. No showing up to work more than 15 minutes late. These are all implicit workplace norms Hetty Chang didn't know at first but quickly picked up on in her career 18 years ago.
As an Associate Managing Director at Moody's, the risk assessment firm, Hetty has been reevaluating who those norms serve, as well as how companies like hers can maintain their culture and traditions while also building towards a more inclusive environment.
"We have to work on making sure there's job satisfaction, that you're creating a psychologically safe space. If we're focused on outcomes, then sometimes it's about being more flexible on cultural norms. When I make decisions and choices, it's more about outcomes versus how I expect we're supposed to get there," she says.
We sat down with Hetty to talk about how she's developed her own views on what works at work (and what doesn't), what role cultural norms can serve at an organization, and what advice she has for navigating them as a leader looking to build an environment where everyone can thrive.
Understanding her own perspective
Hetty would call herself more conservative when it comes to expectations for what work should look like. "That might go back to being a woman or being a minority, where it's easier not to try to push the boundaries because that way I can say, 'Okay, I fit in the box, I'm not making any mistakes,'" she says. "It just feels safer to me."
"I acclimated to the professional world with a level of anxiety that comes from feeling like you have to toe a fine line because of the fear that violating an expectation would limit career growth," says Hetty. "As a woman and Asian American, I was deliberate in choosing when and how I spoke up. I wanted to make sure people didn't assume that my silence reflected a lack of confidence or excessive deference. At the same time, I also didn't want to be pegged as the bossy or overconfident woman. So I found myself constantly being vigilant about reading non-verbal cues to try to assess how others were viewing me and then trying to calibrate how I showed up to avoid falling too far on one end of the spectrum or the other."
To Hetty, professional has always meant maintaining a professional appearance, and doing her work without complaining, waiting patiently to rise through the ranks.
That's not what professional always means to others on her team, though, and Hetty says she's recognizing how important it is to adapt.
"Implicit business norms are where unconscious bias really comes into play," says Hetty. "Everyone comes from a different context and has different motivators. I might not know I'm holding something against someone. So I try to think of ways to be fair by almost taking me as a person out of the equation of making certain decisions."
Hetty has been unpacking some of her assumptions about what professionalism looks like at work thanks to a combination of working with her team and some inclusion training that she's taken as a manager. Here are a few of those examples:
- Asking for promotions versus waiting for them. "For someone of my generation, you get promoted once you prove yourself, and if you push for it too early, that's seen as presumptuous," says Hetty. When newer employees were vocal about wanting raises and promotions, it initially felt off to Hetty. But then in a training, a presenter shared that millennials have much higher student loans than previous generations and that they were raised to ask for what they want. "That was the first time it made me pause, because that was definitely a bias in my own mind. It made me step back," she says.
- Not putting your camera on during meetings. When the pandemic started, senior leaders like Hetty quickly realized that their junior employees weren't always turning on their Zoom cameras for virtual meetings. "It was a big issue. Initially, I thought, 'You should act like you are in a conference room at the office, where we can see each other,'" she says. "Then someone raised the point that some people are living in small apartments, might be sharing space with a roommate, they might not want people to see where or how they live, or they might just not have a very good wifi connection. She's now changed her expectations: "Being strict about turning on your Zoom camera should be the least of our worries."
- Using emojis and acronyms in email. The first time Hetty got an email with a colloquial acronym she didn't understand, she didn't respond well. "At first I wondered, 'Why would you write an email like that to your boss?' Then you have to step back and say, 'This is my lens, but this is what they think is acceptable, and I can't sit here and judge. That's the bias aspect,'" says Hetty.
As she continues to push herself and her team, Hetty has taken on a new approach to figuring out what workplace norms work for everyone: "I'm not going to judge that person just because that's the context within which they've developed their idea of what professionalism means."
The role norms serve
Not all company norms are bad, of course. One of Hetty's favorite Moody's traditions is how they run decision-making.
"When we make rating decisions, it's by committee, and everyone gets a voice, everyone gets to vote," she says. "We always make sure the most junior person votes first, so they don't feel pressure to voice an opinion similar to their superiors."
Other norms can help make people feel comfortable. Sometimes that means wearing closed-toe shoes and tucking in shirts to fit into the standard American business professional cultural expectation, and sometimes that means being flexible to fit into someone else's.
Hetty explains how these flexible norms played out at client meetings. "Generally, we'd be there in suits, that was part of our image. But there were situations where the representatives we were working with said, 'Hey, you know what, I suggest you don't come in in your suits. Button-downs, slacks, they'll be more comfortable if you're more comfortable,'" says Hetty.
"Again, it goes back to the relationship and the image you're trying to portray, and being sensitive to that one way or another, because you will be judged," she adds.
What conscious leaders can do
Managers who want to take away some of the harmful aspects of implicit norms can work to make them more explicit and to help employees navigate them.
Instead of assuming that someone will take a new hire under their wing and tell them what everyone wears to the office, Hetty suggests being upfront with them.
"Be honest and transparent about, 'Hey, this is how this type of professional behavior might be viewed or interpreted, right or wrong; this is the reality of the particular environment you work in,' whether that's how they dress or what time they show up or how they speak up in a meeting," she says.
After those norms are out in the open, they're easier to manage around. Hetty gives an example of a working parent who can't start work until 9:15 a.m. because that's when they get back from dropping their kids off at daycare. "It's up to me as their direct manager to help them, protect them from any judgment about that," she says, adding that she would advise them to block their calendar off until 9:15 a.m. each morning so that their coworkers know they're unavailable then and aren't left looking for them.
Managers can also strip away subjectivity as much as possible. A good example of this, Hetty says, was a recent discussion she and her fellow managers had about moving a special leadership program from a nomination process to an application process. "As managers, we've been trained in diversity," says Hetty. "But how do I know I am being fair? You don't know what you don't know about your own biases." she says.
And most importantly, leaders can listen. "Ask questions without being intrusive, and lay a safe foundation without overstepping those bounds," she says.
Watch time: 4:03
We recently chatted with two really awesome recruiters at Moody's who took the time to share some tips with us!
Humera Yasmeen, located in Bangalore, India, and Vytaute Syvoke, located in Vilnius, Lituania, shared some top-notch tips with us, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the company's culture and values, and how you can make your application stand out.
To learn more about Moody's and their open roles, click here.