By Dr. Michael Roggow, Dean of the Division of Business, Criminal Justice and Law
“If you are good at what you do, the money will find you,” Mohawk Honda Variable Operations Director Andy Guelcher told 20 students in the Business Administration program recently during a panel discussion of sales professionals hosted by Professor Matthew Farron, of the SUNY SCCC Division of Business, Criminal Justice and Law.
Four panelists talked for an hour about how they got started, the latest career trends, and skills that made them successful. They also offered advice for students who want to pursue sales as a career. Pictured below are Meg Emery (Albany Devils), Michael Cicciu (Johnson & Johnson), Kevin Clancy (Clancy Real Estate) and Andy Guelcher (Mohawk Honda).
“I studied communications at SUNY Plattsburgh because I loved public speaking,” said Michael Cicciu, Sales Director at Johnson & Johnson. “Sales was where I started and it was by design.”
Meg Emery, Senior Account Executive for the Albany Devils, also got her start selling, but that was not her intended career path. “I studied sports management while a student at James Madison University,” she said. “I knew sales was where I had to start because that’s how to access this industry. But my love for selling kept me going even longer than I had originally planned.”
While there is no typical day for a salesperson, working with people is a constant, and the ability to listen is critical.
“A typical day for me involves interacting with lots of people,” said Cicciu. “You have to really listen to what your clients want and need, and be prepared to turn it around and give it to them.”
Kevin Clancy, Owner of Clancy Real Estate, added that every client needs to feel important. “Be careful to never simply go through the motions,” he said. “It’s important to remain caring about every client.”
Added Guelcher, “When you take time to listen, you develop confidence in yourself. Listening will become more natural and you will learn how to build relationships.”
“I’m still in touch with my clients from years ago,” Emery said. “Those connections are important.”
One student asked about how to serve a client without becoming emotional.
“There’s a fine line between a business transaction and an emotional investment,” Guelcher responded. “I need to have empathy but it’s not serving anyone well by my getting overly invested.”
The key to landing a first job is involves getting experience, by way of internships, the speakers agreed.
“You learn a lot about what you love and hate by doing an internship,” Emery said. “Even if you aren’t quite ready for one, get experience by working on campus or in a customer service job.”
Clancy added, “An internship will help you position yourself very well. It will also give you a better idea about who you want to work for.”
“If you want to help people and you’re honest, sales is a good field,” Clancy said. “I love what I do and can’t imagine doing anything else.”
Find out more about Business Administration programs at SUNY SCCC here.