2014 Most Powerful Salespeople: The next five

Paul Collanton

Service Source



SELLING POINT: Led his direct reports to close more than $80 million from end-users in all verticals, including banking, technology, health care, life sciences, state and local government.

What’s the key to your sales success?

“We sell our services to software companies and develop products that enable customers to do renewal sales themselves. Every relationship you cultivate ultimately has an impact on your sales pipeline. Most memorable for me was when a client at IBM noticed the blogging I was doing on the side and encouraged me to do a podcast, which led to a new business. Since then, the podcast has been nominated for a few awards and we are starting to attract clients from social media, too.”

How do you initiate a sale?

“By meeting people in person! The Internet is a great tool, but to be hidden in an office 40 hours a week is something to stay away from. You should be going to events and conferences in your industry, meeting people who can help grow your business, and stepping outside of your comfort zone.”

Kurt Holtschlag

Revenue River Marketing



SELLING POINT: Contracted with more than 3,000 convenience stores nationwide over the past two years.

How do you stay motivated when doors close?

“It is tough and the key is activity. Rather than obsessing about one deal, you must build a pipeline so you can be working on several different projects at a time. I stay motivated knowing the process I use is a successful one. For each door that closes, I need to open up four more, and the only way to do that is to keep the activity level and process going.”

How do you start a sale of your service?

“One of the myths of a good salesperson is that they have the gift of gab. Sure, you need to be extroverted in most cases, but that does not mean you should dominate the conversation. The Socratic Method, which I learned at a training seminar, teaches how to ask the right questions of the right people – and that’s how you start a sale.”

Petra Zwingers

Custom Linings Inc.

Buena Vista


SELLING POINT: Expanded the coatings market for Custom Linings into the Front Range.

How do you develop a rapport with a prospect? 

“The important thing once you have established contact is to determine what it is that your customer is looking for. Very often a salesperson is so involved in the pitch of their product or service that they aren’t actually listening. Listen to what the client is saying and then pull out of your palette the product or service that is going to specifically fill their need. Also, don’t forget to follow up: Ask for the sale, let them know you want their business.”

What inspires you?

“It is very important to have interests and passions that keep you motivated because in this business especially, you have to stay upbeat. Shake it off, be able to replenish during your off time. I like to get out in nature and go where there is some solitude and just enjoy the beautiful Colorado countryside.”  

Sean Nohavec

UMB Bank



SELLING POINT: Has met or exceeded all goals set out by the UMB leadership team and in 2013 alone, generated more than $32 million in loan commitments, while adding 14 new client relationships to the bank.

What was a relationship you built that ultimately produced a sale?

“It was with a local com- pany that wasn’t even looking for a bank at the time we met. I started to slowly and persistently develop a relationship with the future client. The client started talking about finding a good bank and commercial lender. Several people in his trusted group recommended not only UMB, but me specifically … [and he] then began talking business with me. The lesson: It takes time, persistence and the desire to build a relationship to truly make lasting partnerships.”

How do you start the sales process?

“People want to do business with people they like. I always start by getting to know the person first before we ever talk business. The sales cycle doesn’t truly begin until you establish some form of trust.”

Gino Malara

Northern Electric Inc.



SELLING POINT: Secured new oil and gas contracts worth $19.1 million and corporate profits of $4.7 million in less than 12 months.  Prior to his employment Northern Electric had only secured contracts totaling $3.5 million with five salespeople from 2009 to 2012.

How do you start a sale of your product or service?

“I always start the sale with research. Learn what solutions your prospect needs. The next steps: Sell yourself first, then your product.”

How do you stay motivated when doors close?

“Doors never close. When a prospect doesn’t buy the first time, I put them in my pipeline of contacts. You would be surprised how many deals I close 12 months after the first contact with a prospect. The lesson to be gleaned is that all closed doors open up again. The golden key: Knock on those closed doors consistently. Somebody will answer eventually.”