Last month, I had the pleasure of speaking with Pablo Alvarado, Associate Director of Partnerships at OrbisPay, to explore the world of sales. It turned out to be a great experience as we talked about following your passion, getting the discovery call right, and having early access to wages.
There’s a famous saying that if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. To be honest, I still don’t know the origins of this quote, but I do know one thing: Pablo sure loves what he does.
Being one of the first few hires at OrbisPay, Pablo has seen it all. Currently serving as an Associate Director of Partnerships, Pablo is set to complete his second work anniversary soon.
Someone who has been with the company since its inception would surely have tons of great advice and experiences to share. Curious to find this out, I got in touch with Pablo to learn more.
Driving Growth Through Social Impact
After completing his Master’s degree in Finance from Hult International Business School, Pablo sought something that could serve his purpose. While he had prior sales experience in many different industries, he was looking for something bigger than just a job. Something that contributed back to society. That’s where OrbisPay caught his attention.
“What actually caught my attention to OrbisPay was that they were serving a social purpose by helping people who, for years and years, have been kept in the dark when it came to financial services.”
Pablo recalled his time in Ecuador where he was accustomed to getting paid monthly. Moving to the US, he was initially impressed to see how employees were getting paid bi-weekly. However, after spending some time and speaking to people, he realized the struggles of living paycheck-to-paycheck for many, including himself. Even today, half of Americans can’t cover a $400 emergency expense. (Backman, 2022)
This dire situation put Pablo at a crossroads to choose a growth career driven by social impact for the underprivileged. When he heard about OrbisPay and its mission to make pay accessible to employees on-demand, he knew that’s where he wanted to be.
Selling What You Love
Pablo is a big-time advocate of following your passion. He believes that jobs should serve a greater purpose to your life and those around you. In a world full of pushy salespeople, Pablo claims to be a great listener in identifying the root problems with prospects before offering them a solution straight away. Speaking more about his role, Pablo shared these great tips for all who are starting their career in sales:
- Fall in love with what you sell:
“First, you have to fall in love with what you sell. That is my personal case. I just love the mission of what we do, and it can really help to understand the buyer much better and help them in their decision-making. So, for me, if you want to get into sales, it doesn't really matter what you're selling as long as you believe in the product in terms of, like, this is going to help my customers, this is going to help the people I want to try to sell.”
- Always be customer-centric:
“You have to understand the customer first; before anything else. Nowadays, we see that the buyer is way more educated. They know more and have access to a lot of information. So, the only difference a really good salesperson can make is understanding the buyer and helping them make that decision.”
- Keep a strong mindset:
“The role requires a lot of self-confidence. We hear a lot more NOs than we hear YES. One of the most important, or the hardest, things to do is to keep a very strong mindset. Just be clear on what you're trying to accomplish and have a systematic process that will take you there.”
Acing the Discovery Call
Anyone who has been in sales would know how important a discovery call is. This is your chance to better understand your prospect, find their pain points, and address those issues. If the expression “first impression is the last impression” held any value, it would be in the discovery call as it's the first of many (depending on how it goes) conversations between the prospect and the salesperson.
Knowing that Pablo had years of experience doing this, I asked him to trim it down to the 2 best pieces of advice he could give me and the readers on how to ace the discovery call. Here’s what I have learned:
“Asking the right questions and listening very carefully will really help you to have the best discovery call in terms of articulating your product in the best way possible for the prospect.”
- Asking the right questions: The only way to ask the right questions is by first getting to know your prospects and understanding their priorities. Pablo shared that if you miss out on finding their priorities, you won’t be able to ask the right questions. If you are unable to ask the right questions, the prospect will be less likely to open up and share their experiences with you.
- Listening to your prospects: Pablo further shared that listening to your prospects means being able to connect with them. It’s about paying close attention to their needs and thinking about how you can help solve their problems. Some of the best sales reps are excellent listeners, shared Pablo.
Talking about good luck, Pablo recalled his earlier days in sports when he used to get a lot of cheers from the crowd every time he wore his favorite jacket. For reasons unknown to Pablo, he thought he performed better on the court when he wore that specific jacket. Since then, Pablo has made it his ritual to wear his favorite shirt or jacket anytime something important comes up, including discovery calls. Surprisingly, it has worked so far for him.
Persistence Is The Name Of The Game
Persistence is probably one of those words that we have heard so much, but many fail at. As cliché as it might sound, it’s the winning strategy for many professionals, including Pablo.
Speaking to him about his successes, Pablo mentioned that being persistent in sales is the opposite of being pushy. It means being on top of the account you’re looking at, being on top of the process, and doing a lot of research on your prospect, so you’re ready to answer all of their questions.
This way, your prospects will not only think you’re knowledgeable, but also see the effort you put into them in terms of solving their problems. Pablo also expressed how he regularly likes to share the right content in the shape of the latest news, articles, and market updates with his prospects, so they are well-informed.
Throughout the sales process, there will come many instances where one might feel like the deal will fall apart. However, Pablo believes that being persistent here again plays a great role.
Recalling his recent experience, Pablo shared an example of one of his recent prospects who stopped responding at one point. Instead of reaching out continuously, Pablo remained calm and shared one message whilst reminding himself that only certain things were within his control. Lucky for him, the prospect responded back soon, and a deal was struck.
Good Things Come to Those Who Wait
If there’s one thing that life has taught Pablo, it’s knowing that being patient pays off in the end. Growing up in a privileged environment with the support of his parents, Pablo recalls his days after graduation when the world seemed like his oyster.
Something we can all relate to being young was the urgency and expectation of things happening when and how we wanted them to be. Pablo was no different. He shared how his impatience in the early years of his sales career made him miss out on great opportunities.
“Talking about sales, you have to understand that the right time is going to come and you have to be ready for it. It's understanding that this is a process, this is a journey, and just be ready when it’s the right time for you. That’s the most important lesson I would give my younger self.”
The digital transformation in sales has made it possible to automate many processes that took longer to complete before. From AI lead generation to customer engagement, bots have taken much of our work. However, while Pablo appreciates the efficiency achieved in this transformation, he also sees a major concern – the loss of human touch.
“Building relationships is the most important thing about sales.”
Pablo shares that while tools are there to aid salespersons, the industry relies heavily on forming meaningful relationships with prospects and clients. This is why Pablo is confident that no matter how much automation is achieved, people will want to speak to people to discuss their problems and seek solutions. That human element in the things we do is simply irreplaceable.
Talking about the advantages of technology, Pablo further shared that it is now possible to offer financial services to millions of Americans who were left behind before. Pablo is excited to be in present times as he takes on his mission with OrbisPay to provide earned wage access (EWA) solutions to employees in the US to cover emergency expenses without relying on high-interest rate schemes.
Nothing Business, Just Personal
Over a short span of time, earned wage access (EWA) has quickly risen to prominence for all the good reasons. It comes at a time when half of Americans are surviving on one paycheck to another. As employees struggle to make ends meet, there is a growing call for help. A recent survey by ADP reveals that 76% of employees of all age groups believe it is important that their employer offers them EWA. (ADP, 2022)
Pablo believes that times have changed now. People now want greater control over their earnings than ever before. Feeling with Hispanic people of the same background as him, Pablo shared that many just want to use earned wage access to pay for simple things like food.
“Many times, people just want to use earned wage access because they want to purchase food, and for me, this is a no-brainer; like, I am all in and I really want to help all those people. I don't even want to think of people going through deciding whether to get food or pay their rent as they wait for their next paycheck. So for me, this has become something personal now. I want to be able to help as many people as I can.”