JESSICA LORIMER – Smart Leaders Sell
Written by Joff Alexander-Frye, Photographs supplied by Jessica Lorimer
Jessica Lorimer is a truly impressive human. Having built her own business from scratch, at the same time as rebuilding her life after corporate burn-out, she is now one of the leading Sales Coaches on the scene and has gained international attention and accolades as a result. If that wasn’t impressive enough, she has also published an Amazon No 1 Bestseller called Smart Leaders Sell. See, I told you she was impressive. I had the pleasure of catching up with her on a phone call a month or two back; me in my Exeter office and her in a coffee shop in Southampton, where she resides.
Evidently, hers has been an eventful journey for someone so young (Jessica is just 28) and she hasn’t been afraid to voice some fairly strong opinions along the way too. At several points in our conversation, Jessica made some brave statements and I found myself actually appreciating talking to someone who wasn’t afraid to say what they believed about something. In modern society, talking in black and white terms is often avoided, in pursuit of a more comfortable middle ground. Not so with Jessica. Whether expressing her belief that women make better salespeople than men or that swearing in business marketing communications can be a good thing, Jessica is certainly not backwards in coming forward.
Diagnosed with M.E in 2014 at the end of a prolonged season of stress in corporate sales, she was told by doctors that it was “either her job or her health.” Something had to give. So, she made the brave decision to turn her back on the successful corporate career that she had worked so hard on and decided to set up her own business (also called Smart Leaders Sell) offering sales consultancy and helping businesses to work smarter rather than harder.
Jessica expanded, “As a Sales Coach, I believe in working smarter, not harder. If you’re going to monetise anything, it should be something you’re passionate about. Let’s face it, entrepreneurship is hard enough without hating what you’re doing. Unleash your inner fire and let it fuel your business!”
She is clearly determined to shift people’s ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ perception of salespeople but knows that this will only really start to happen as salespeople offer a more personal, tailored experience for customers. People buy from people after all. Jessica spoke at length about her vision to create a generation of better salespeople embedded in integrity, who offer a significantly more positive sales experience than typically experienced today. She is evangelical about creating a positive and enjoyable sales process; the opposite of the damaging and unfulfilling ‘one and done’ approach to sales that we so often experience.
And her offering is clearly attractive. Having consulted over three thousand businesses since launching in 2014, she has distilled her model into three simple steps; Grow, Nurture and Sell. At a very basic level, a company needs to establish an audience for itself, communicate to that audience and then transparently sell them a product or proposition of true value.
Jessica was unashamedly open about her desire to make a lot of money in the process of helping other companies to ‘sell well’ too. She explained how she had shared a particularly good monthly pay cheque with her audience on Facebook, to inspire and motivate them. Very un-British, but almost refreshingly so if you ask me. The reason behind this unabashed approach to money is that Jessica firmly believes that the fear of talking about money produces a less fruitful harvest as a total economy. She explained, “Wealthy people will change the world Joff. It’s as a simple as that. People with good values, real integrity and the means to make a difference. That is the magic formula. Money CAN be used for good.”
And her dream for the future? Well, in the next five years, her aim is to earn enough money to move to Italy with her boyfriend and dog and buy a working vineyard as they are huge wine fans. I tell you what Jessica if that happens, send me a bottle, would you?
To track Jessica’s journey, follow @JessicaLorimer on Twitter