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Colorado's Most Powerful Salespeople: John Genell

 John Genell, 52

Business development executive, Grant Thornton, Denver

WHAT HE DOES: Finds new deals and grows accounts for his firm while helping everyone else become better salespeople.

SALES PRODUCTION: Genell’s sales have increased every year since he joined Grant Thornton more than four years ago, including a 138 percent increase in 2012 from 2011. In 2010, 2011 and 2012, he was a top-five performer among Grant Thornton business development executives, contributing to 33 percent of total office revenue. In 2011 he was the third-highest performer for Grant Thornton nationally out of the firm’s 57 U.S. offices.

SALES ADVICE: "Most people are afraid of the word ‘sales,’" Genell says. "They think it means cold calling potential customers, and they’re afraid of getting rejected or not knowing what to say. The truth is, everyone in an organization plays a role in the sales process whether they realize it or not. Everyone from the administrative staff to the client service team must execute their jobs to the best of their ability. When everyone does that, sales happen much more easily and each person understands their contribution to the process."

ON CLOSING: "If you want a deal bad enough, never stop going after it until the client tells you that the deal is lost," Genell says. "Even then, keep trying until the winner actually has a contract signed with the client. We were just awarded a substantial global contract with a client in the Denver office that took more than five months to close. At two different times during the sales process we were told that we were eliminated from the field of potential accounting firms. Our team never gave up wanting the deal because we believed we were the best firm for this client."

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