Jenny Persson is currently working as an Account Manager at Pinterest supporting enterprise clients across the Nordics. Working in sales and being an active advocate for the profession, she co-founded the initiative SheSellsToo in 2019 to change the perceived view of women in sales.
Here is what Jenny had to say when we asked her about navigating a career in sales:
GenHERation®: What are three skills you have developed working in sales that students can use to achieve success in their own life?
Jenny Persson: The first one is consistency. In sales, you have amazing periods where you exceed targets, but then you have periods where your sales are down. You are measured by numbers in sales, so you have to work hard and be consistent with your work. The second is active listening. Stay alert to what people are not saying. Often, the client doesn’t know the issue that they’re having—that’s why they’re having the issue! Asking the right questions gets people to speak up. The third is daring to ask hard questions. You have to ask questions that might make you step outside of your comfort zone, but you have to dare to ask.
GenHERation®: How can you ask effective questions to advance your personal and professional goals?
Persson: You have to do your research. No matter the conversation you are heading into, do your research. This way you can ask reasonable and relevant questions. When you do your research, people will feel more inclined to help you in personal and professional settings.
GenHERation®: What is the best way to make a great first impression?
Persson: It is something we are all nervous about. First, be yourself. Second, be interested in the other person you are meeting. Smile, make eye contact, and ask questions. Don’t just talk about yourself. Also, do your research when you can to find a common denominator. Did you go to the same school, play on the same team, or are from the same area? I always try to understand what I have in common with the person I’m trying to build rapport with.
GenHERation®: What are the most important elements of a successful partnership?
Persson: Be authentic and never lose your sense of curiosity. People underestimate the power of building true relationships. In sales, and in general, it’s not pushing something on someone. It’s pulling answers to see if there is a solution and a fit. You build trust by seeing if what you have to offer provides value to the person or partner you are working with. By being authentic, you also show your true self, and this allows others to trust you.
GenHERation®: What steps can students take to find mentors to help them navigate their academic journey?
Persson: Start by thinking about who you connect with on a continuous basis. Who do you admire? Who do you look up to? Why? Then, reach out! Ask people for a small ask at first to learn more about their journey. Connect for 15 minutes.
GenHERation®: How do you define success?
Persson: Success for me has evolved a lot since I started working. I started by seeing success as a career ladder or having a place to reach. Now, I recognize success as happiness. If what I’m doing doesn’t make me happy then I’m not successful.
GenHERation®: What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Persson: If you are looking for your first job, never look at your career as short-term. Early on, you want to get to where you can be as fast as possible, but your career is a marathon. Figure out what you enjoy, and don’t try to get from A to B as fast as you can.
Jenny Persson is currently working as an Account Manager at Pinterest supporting enterprise clients across the Nordics. Working in sales and being an active advocate for the profession, she co-founded the initiative SheSellsToo in 2019 to change the perceived view of women in sales. Later that year, she was nominated to co-chair the Women’s Conference at Pinterest. Jenny is currently Co-President for Women@ EMEA.