I’ve had to learn how to be patient. I think I’ve learned honestly one of the biggest lessons and I’ll share this with you is to really like yourself and like who you are. I think when I started at Wiley I wasn’t sold on me. And I had to be figure out what that profile of what I was going to be like as a sales person. Ironically I didn’t think I would be good at this and at the end of my first year I was actually going to quit and I’ve had amazing leaders and mentors at Wiley a lot of women who have been great examples of leaders and mentors and friends for me. I can’t say enough about Wiley and people that as awesome as Wiley is as a company. I think they’re even better as people. And so that’s the biggest lesson is to really like who I am and that early on when I started Wiley early on. Like you know I guess about five years later my husband was diagnosed with cancer and I went through that with Wiley. He was diagnosed and then died three years later. How I was able to perform professionally and successfully is a testament to me but a testament to Wiley as well. So that was the greatest lesson is to trust myself and know that what I was doing would make a huge difference.
What motivates me is knowing that I had a hand in their success and whether it’s you know whether it’s you know this might sound goofy but a few years ago and it really hit me it was very emotional because I can be a very emotional person at the right minute. I was at a local community college in New Orleans. DELGADO It’s a great place with a lot of great teachers. And I have a big piece of business there in anatomy and physiology and it’s what students need to go on to determine whether or not they’re going to be nurses or in the allied health field. And I saw these students sitting on the floor of the hallway looking at my book pulling up Wiley Plus which is our technology platform and engaging so much in this content in a happy way not in a angry I can’t believe I have to do this way but using our resources because I know that they’re going to have great potential and that was really materialized. And I I’ll share this link with you. We did a video of a student. Her name is Jonte Ray and she’s absolutely amazing and she is getting ready to graduate from nursing school and we’ve really had a close connection. She used all my materials. She did a lot of videos for us in WileyPLUS that has been the pinnacle moment for me. I was involved in making that video. And I know that what we did has changed her life. She was a single mom. She’s going to nursing school she is going to be a great medical professional. And well you know we have that. That is my motivation is to help any anyone that I can along with my colleagues that they understand that what we do has such an incredible noble purpose.
For the record I think anyone who’s ever been a cheerleader is awesome. I was not I was always the funny witty commentator on the side and I was the mascot for my high school so I completely appreciate cheering. And I think it’s important because we often don’t do it enough in companies. However with your customers is for somebody to say Dayna you have energy when I don’t have energy. And that is really important. And a lot of people tell me that God you have a lot of energy which is weird because when they say that to me I’m often very tired. It’s just my personality that comes out through that and their and my willingness to do the best job for them that I can.
I think my style is one of listening and also discovering the issues they never tell you it you know it’s sort of like in a marriage what’s wrong honey you are not yourself Oh it’s nothing I’m fine I’m just aggravated with this. There’s always something off and there’s always something else. And it’s my job to learn. Maybe you know maybe it’s something with them personally that isn’t going well. Maybe they’re facing challenges in the department and there’s going to be some sort of leadership change maybe it’s financial crisis for the school. Those are all burdens on how they teach students. And I think it’s my job to incorporate those into my solution for them.
I think that the philosophy is if it’s not good for them it’s horrible for me. It really is. But I’ve also learned you know I was really thinking about this yesterday and thinking about our conversation together. I have people who are not immensely. I don’t think anybody’s ever 100 percent happy with anything but people who I know would not leave Wiley because of me. That’s the philosophy is the connection. I think there is times when people would love to see us improve something whether it’s in our content whether it’s in our technology but they make a decision at some point to say I’m sticking with you because I know that this will get better and that Dana will challenge me to think in a different way and she’s going to make it. She’s going to make it happen. So if there’s a point and sometimes that’s happened where people have had to leave me and I say we’ll be back together at some point. We will be back. And ironically I start a lot of my presentations with saying you shouldn’t take business personally I take business very personally. I do not in that personal way that oh I’m going to be upset or angry with you. But I take it on personally that ethically I’m going to do the best job for you that I can because you’re doing something very important. You are educating the the next leaders the next doctors or nurses or accountants people who make very important decisions for people so I take that on very personally.
For me ironically it’s a Wiley book so I’ll make a plug. It’s called Selling with a Noble Purpose. That one really spoke to me and I don’t know if it would have spoken to me as much in my early part of the career probably because I was a former teacher. Lisa McLeod if I’m pronouncing her name correctly and Wiley actually brought her into one of our meetings and that I also follow her on Facebook as well. That book really spoke to me as a sales professional because that goes into the passion piece. If you don’t like what you’re selling or think that you wouldn’t be using it it’s hard to fake it for that long. It really is and it is to me so important to know that what you’re selling has a greater ethical purpose. So that book was amazing to me. I think that was one of the you know I really enjoyed Mathew Dixon’s Challenger Sale but the Selling with a Noble Purpose I think for my industry really spoke to me.
In fact just recently last year I looked at this new professor and I said if we can get this done you won’t have to see me for a while she said. OK. And so I think having a sense of humor if I could add that as being a and that’s sort of the passion that’s I view my sense of humor as part of the passion. And ironically I didn’t use my sense of humor probably in the first five to almost seven years of me doing this job. And that’s a regret I think I could have been a lot more successful using my sense of humor early on. And now I use it. That’s one of my big tools in my arsenal for sure.
Instead of taking so many copious notes I’ve learned over the years that really listening and figuring out what is the what are the action items I need to do to get this business to close this to get them closer to yes. And so I think that as soon as you can jump on any excitement or frankly any fear or any lack of commitment on their part that I can change I will do it. And I think a lot of sales professionals really miss out on immediate action. And so during that time I’m really organized because I take notes and with my like to do notebook I actually still take notes on paper and a small notebook. And I also use the recording device on my iPhone and I’ll be walking across campus and just generally using like a dictation device. Speaking out notes of things that I felt about how the conversation went and how I need to respond. Who do I need to get involved. What is my team for success. That’s my question every time I leave. What’s my team of success that I need to create to close this. So in that 5 to 8 span I’m…
I love the intentionality of that because I actually think of what I do very very similarly I look at it as leading from the field right. So certainly there have been opportunities to move into sales management and sales leadership. But for a variety of reasons I feel like I can have a more significant impact. Oh absolutely. In an individual contributor role but that doesn’t preclude me from being able to help with the rest of the team achieve higher results and contribute to what marketing is doing and contribute to what product is doing and all these other things. Scott I’m so glad you said that because for a short time I was in management and I did it for about nine months and it was awful. It just was not for me. I think it was a complicated situation any way honestly. But I felt like I had lost all my power. It sounds strange. I felt like I had lost connections. I didn’t feel like I was in front of people enough. And and I think we’re doing better to try to address how that doesn’t happen. But it’s amazing how much influence I have in the position I have. And I would not trade that for anything for sure.
The biggest challenge I see among those I speak with and mentor and it’s interesting sometimes they’re not always the new people but I do find the new people gravitate. The biggest challenge I see is them wanting instant gratification. I think that whether we call them Millennials or Generation Z or whatever is happening now I really think and that’s not a bad thing. I think sometimes when we talk about oh millennials want so much so fast there’s good to that and I think that companies need to really work hard to figure out how they can capture that excitement and keep young people engaged and happy and keep them there. But I find that it’s the understanding of the sales cycle of how publishing works and that everything that you do will be a step forward to really grow a true sales relationship. And so I think it’s patience and understanding of the industry that’s the greatest challenge for them for sure.