From Division I Athlete to Tech Sales Pro

Trey Lucas is a Sales Development Rep (SDR) for LImble CMMS, the Founder of Motiv8 the Culture, and a former Division I college football player. He has a bachelor’s degree in sports management and a graduate degree in human resource management. Today he is succeeding as a new sales professional not only because of his education but his background in sports. When I met Trey Lucas, a millennial sales professional, I was blown away by his confidence and passion for the sales profession. 

I asked Trey about what led him to tech sales, what advice he would give to sales managers, and how he applied his sports background to become a successful SDR. 

Did you always plan on going into sales?

I was born and raised in Durham, North Carolina. I think what really propelled me into sales and made me into the sales professional that I am now was my background in sports. I think along that journey, I picked up the tangible skills of tenacity and grit and being coachable. Especially in my role now, sports helped me hone those skills into being a successful SDR. Putting those soft skills together made me realize, “Hey, I have what it takes to be good in sales.” The competitive side of sales is second nature to me. I’m just tapping into those skills that I learned as a young athlete. 

For example, I grew up playing football since I was about five years old and went on to get a Division I scholarship and played in college. As soon as I got into high school, my parents were saving for a college fund, and I said, “Don’t worry about that. I’m going to get a scholarship.” And I set that goal as a freshman in high school. How do you get to that goal? Step by step. And I really hit every single step that I set for myself and I was able to hit that goal, getting that scholarship. 

So, I think it’s the same thing with sales too, kind of breaking it into steps. I mean, you’ve got each month to hit your quota and that’s your goal. How are you going to do that? I mean, how many emails am I going to send out? How many cold calls, how many different prospects do I need to add into my pipeline, things of that nature. Breaking down goals step-by-step and then being able to achieve them was huge for me. 

What was your biggest challenge starting off?

I think the biggest challenge for me was having a mentality of abundance: understanding that everybody you call is not going to want your product. If you’re going into every call with the outcome in mind, you’ve already lost. I think you should have a mindset of abundance. If in this call, they don’t want it that’s okay. The next call might, but if they don’t it’s okay. I think that really helps because it can be stressful. I once went a whole week without setting a demo and I was like, what’s going on? What am I doing wrong? But if you have an approach of abundance, instead you think, “there’s a lot of people out here who really want my stuff. I just have to find them.” Next week, I said, “I’m going to call 10 people. Who’s going to want to demo?” So, I think having that mental fortitude, that mindset of abundance is huge.

What led you to pursue entrepreneurship? 

I always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I wanted to own my own company. I want to give back to young Black and Brown males and help them get further in life, through football and education; that’s my main goal and the reason I earned a bachelor’s degree in sports management. My company is Motiv8 the Culture and I do a lot of events, campus tours, and things of that nature to contribute in that arena. I always wanted to give back and help others in the way the game and education have helped me. 

Do you have any words for young people who haven’t previously considered sales? 

In any decision that you make it’s about the energy you put behind the decision. So, if you decide to try and do it, put your ten toes down and your best foot forward. If that’s your decision, you can have anything. For anyone thinking of sales as a career, I would say, “You definitely have what it takes.” I feel that you don’t know what you don’t know. So, you don’t know if you have what it takes until you put yourself in that situation. I don’t understand why somebody would doubt themselves before they even try, you know? Try it first and if it’s something that you don’t like, that’s different, but it doesn’t mean you don’t have what it takes. You may not like it or may not fit your personality, but it doesn’t mean you don’t have what it takes.

I always like to say, do your best…try your best. I mean, that’s all you really can do. If it is something new that you’re doing, all you can do is try your best and just let the cards fall where they may, as long as you try your best. There’s really no loss. There’s a lesson right there. There’s no loss at all in trying your best, but if you don’t put your best foot forward, then that is a loss…you did yourself a disservice. If you’re looking to get into your first sales job, just try your best. And there’s no failure in that at all.

What advice would you give to Gen Z and other millennial sellers?

For the younger generation, I would search for a company that’s going to be able to teach you, that’s able to help you grow in the role. You’ll want to work with a manager and company that is willing to invest in you. Whether they’re bringing a third party in to help you learn, or they’re teaching you themselves. So, I asked those questions: How are you going to help me get better as an SDR? What different types of training programs do you have in place? Sales is a skill, and you must practice it to get better.

What should sales managers know about young sellers? 

I would tell them to take that chance on the younger generation. I mean, we’re hungry and I think we can back it up. We’re hungry to improve ourselves and prove that we’re willing and capable to do a good job. 

For more insight on how the next generation is changing the sales landscape and how hiring sellers can benefit your organization, be sure to read my previous blog post, Close Deals by Leveraging Your Social Media Superpower

Cherilynn Castleman, Global Sales Keynote Speaker/Trainer/Executive Coach, has been a sales executive for 20+ years. With her natural talent for teaching and a drive to sell, Cherilynn uses her skills to coach and train other executives and sales professionals. Author of What’s In the CARDS? 5 Post Pandemic Sales Strategies

Blog originally posted on LinkedIn’s Modern Selling – May 17, 2021

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