ABOUT TODAY’S EPISODE | BEN KOOPER
Ben Kooper is currently the #1 college-student sales rep in the Cutco/Vector Marketing sales organization. In under 3 full years, Ben has already sold over $411,000 of Cutco, while attending UCLA full-time as an Aerospace Engineering major with a 3.5 GPA. His list of achievements begins with a 10K Fast Start, 20K Push his first Summer, and Assistant Manager leadership on one of the top teams in the Western Region. Ben was one of the first Cutco reps to fully adapt and master the virtual environment in 2020, and that Summer, he was the company’s #1 All-American with $133K in sales, while working a 35-hour per week internship in aerospace engineering! This Spring, he is wrapping up his 5th All-American and second time at #1, with over $82K in sales for the campaign. Ben’s goal is to break every college-student record ever set in the company, and beyond that, his dream is to work for SpaceX and help us get to Mars. An avid athlete, he will also be featured as a competitor on American Ninja Warrior on May 31st. Ben is an incredible example of all-around success!
Q&A with Ben Kooper – Hosts Kuvaal Patel & Sebastian Mysliewiec
Q: Take us before you started working with Cutco. I want to know about your history before you started with Cutco.
- I grew up in Hawthorne, California. It was kind of a mediocre neighborhood next to a bunch of really nice neighborhoods.
- I was a really small kid. I played soccer. Soccer was probably the biggest part of my life when I was younger.
- They knew me as “Benny the Brickwall.” I had that fire when I was younger, but didn’t have the athleticism to back it up.
- Middle school was an interesting time for me. I thought I was going to be a swimmer.
- In high school, cross-country changed my life. It created my personal growth from an introvert to an extrovert. From a kid with work ethic to actually being a little quiet.
- I was really working on my mindset as well. It served me well going from the smallest freshman in Orlando High School to part of the first boy’s cross-country team to ever go for the state finals.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your family. How the combination of your mom and dad led you to Cutco/Vector.
- My mom has been in advertising sales since I was younger. Mostly, she’s been in magazine advertising sales for a long time.
- My dad has been an Executive Chef forever.
- I love my parents. They definitely kept me with a good head on my shoulders.
- My dad always has a level head on his shoulders. My mom is a little more energetic.
Q: Now you’re going into your senior year at UCLA studying Aerospace Engineering. An extremely challenging major in one of the best schools in the country. Let’s take it back to 2018. How did you initially feel about the job?
- The summer after I graduated high school, I was searching for a job. I kind of knew I was going to pay for college mostly on my own. I applied for a lot of restaurants, but received no responses.
- Finally, a good friend of mine recommended me for a job with Cutco. I thought, let’s give it a go.
Q: Tell me now this is almost your 3rd anniversary, how did you transition from that person who was skeptical to now being one of the top reps in the history of the company? What do your habits look like on a daily, weekly or monthly basis to contribute to your all-around success?
- When I first started I had a raw work ethic to go really hard at selling Cutco. But you (Kuvaal) really gave me the belief that I could do it. I could do just about anything.
- I always had limiting beliefs I couldn’t do this or that. When I was getting into the business, I thought, yeah! You can do this! Yeah! You should do this! It was always insane goals. I didn’t realize it at the time.
- Looking back, it was obviously enormous. Going after a $10,000 fast start, a $20,000 push in my first summer. Looking back, I wonder how I did that my first summer.
- The habits I built was, first and foremost, the belief I could do just about anything. Any goal I set my mind to do. That habit has helped me in almost all aspects of life.
- Another thing was you recommended me to get a planner.
- Finally, just really focusing on the whys. I’m a true believer people do whatever they do because of their whys. If their whys aren’t strong enough, they aren’t going to achieve their goals.
Q: One thing I know, last year during summer when you had your $130,000 summer campaign, you were also in fulltime engineering internship?
- Honestly, I’m not really sure how I did that. I was working 30 hours a week.
- This summer I’ll probably be working a little bit less.
- That summer really opened my eyes.
Q: Tell us about the period of time when you weren’t succeeding at the level you’re now. Can you tell us a little bit of what happened and what happened to have the mindset you’re at now?
- After my first summer I wasn’t planning on selling during the school year.
- For me, I thought, I’m a freshman at UCLA. I want to go party all the time. I want to make a lot of friends. Looking back, I don’t regret it too much because it was an incredible experience. I’m glad I got to have it.
- I came back and sold a little bit during the winter break and I legitimately had no one to call. I wasn’t great with referrals at the time. I rounded up 30 people I could call and not a single of them answered the phone. I was really struggling for a while.
- My goal was to sell $60,000 and get to #10. But towards the end of the scholarship race, I was struggling to get the scholarship. I don’t think I worked as hard as I could, and towards the end that kind of showed. I missed the scholarship by $50 and I was angry with myself.
- How could I let this happen? I won’t let this happen again! That’s when I met my first mentor Matt. Another great college student. One of the greatest of all-time and he really played a large part of my success later.
Q: Tell us about your school year and your #2 and #3 campaigns. What shifted after that besides the mentor and what’s the why now besides paying for school? Why do you want to be the all-time greatest student rep? What’s the passion and purpose behind it?
- It actually wasn’t easy to grow that fall. I went to fall saying, I’m going to sell in the school year. I was with Matt and was trying my best, but it wasn’t going very well.
- After the summer, I ended up being $6,000 behind. I tried to dig out from that negative. It was really tough. I was struggling emotionally as well. There were a lot of aspects of my life I didn’t feel were going well.
- One thing Matt taught me was how to apply the things I learned at Cutco to every aspect of my life.
- I set goals and worked hard for things like personal relationships. Having a state of mind that’s good. He taught me how to plan for everything.
- I ended up having a big December where I sold $12,000, but I still missed the scholarship. Still, I was feeling a lot better and confident.
- Going into spring, I thought there’s no way I’m not winning the scholarship. Going into April, I was in the 24th/25th spot and COVID-19 hit and everything went virtual. I feel like everyone in the All-American race just gave up.
- I thought I’ve got nothing else to do sitting at home. Why don’t I do 15 appointments per week? In the last week I was the #1 All-American.
- From there, I had my big summer and sold $130,000!
Q: Would you like to touch on your 2020 summer? You sold $130,000. What contributed to drive that and what are you doing to level up your skills with the internship and tough major? Can you give us some perspective on your whys?
- People looked at COVID-19 in a lot of different ways. Most people looked at it and said, this is going to ruin my life. I looked at it and said, I can’t do this. So, I must do that.
- I live my life with an efficient mindset. I don’t like wasting time. When I saw I didn’t have to go to class, to do everything from home, I thought why not use that time to work my butt off.
- I went into SC-2 push and sold $25,000. I had my biggest week ever, week after week in August. In my final week, I was at $100,000 and I thought I need to get $130,000 to win.
- I didn’t have to work as hard as I did, but the person I became after working that hard was so authentic and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Q: What would you say are the things you mastered as a rep to make sure you did it?
- My closing percentage has never been insane, but my average order has definitely been higher.
- For me, I think I’m the best person in the company for sharing my goals.
- I’m so excited about Cutco that I build so much value.
- Lastly, especially for virtual demos is building social groups.
Q: How much are you working during the school semester? How many appointments are you doing? How often are you making calls?
- I’m working about 13 presentations a week.
- Considering it takes an hour or an hour and half, it’s 20-25 hours a week which is great.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who’s selling around classes?
- The biggest advice I’d give to someone who’s selling in a school year is it’s worth it.
- You’re going to become such a better person.
- You’re going to grow up so quickly.
- You’re going to learn what it takes to be successful, not only in Cutco but life too.
- The biggest thing is to improve your presentations.
- To succeed in the business, you also have to focus on networking. To get those recommendations, the social proof is huge. If you can’t get referrals, that’s the quickest way out of the business.
Q: What one myth about selling Cutco would you want to debunk?
- The biggest is the belief that once you sell to friends and family, you’re done.
- The goal of your first couple of weeks isn’t to sell knives, but get used to Cutco and learn how to get the introductions.
Q: You didn’t get recommendations from your family. Didn’t get any recommendations from your mom until the second summer. How did you get started?
- My first presentation was for my aunt and uncle. I sold them my first big set.
- In my first 10 days, I called every single friend I had. 95% of them said sure!
Q: What did last summer and this year help you achieve personally, professionally and financially?
- Cutco has made me a better person.
- It’s taught me how not to be selfish. Think of people’s emotions and trying not just to do things for myself.
- It’s helped me achieve every goal that I wanted. One thing I got from Cutco is no matter the goal, you’ve got to try.
Q: What has your customer base, your time with Cutco helped you achieve professionally inside but also on your path get to Mars?
- My goal has always been to be part of the mission that brings humanity to Mars and beyond. I really wanted to be a part of something that will change humanity forever.
- My mission with Cutco is to build the biggest network in the field of engineering. I ask everyone I meet if they know engineers in aerospace, SpaceX, NASA, Virgin Galactic and so on.
- I’ve built a network of people that have helped me get this internship. I just know it’s going to play a role in my life.
Q: Why do you want to give back so much?
- I want to have a higher level of success in Cutco that’s never been seen yet.
- I love seeing other people succeed.
- In terms of public speaking, I love sharing things I’ve learned.
- I know the things I learned myself were from other people.
Q: For the college students that are listening to this, people that are considering selling Cutco, how much of the money you earned were you able to save for the future?
- Being in Cutco gave me the opportunity to start off 2 investments.
- I want to invest about $80,000 this year in the stock markets and property investment.
- I’m trying to build a passive income network, no matter what career I have.
Q: What are you most excited about for your future inside and outside Cutco?
- Inside of Cutco, I’m excited of my goal of being the greatest college student of all-time. I also want to inspire others to understand the limits that have been set currently aren’t the limits that should limit you. You can do just about anything in Cutco that you want if you set your mind to.
- Outside of Cutco, what excites me is American Ninja Warrior. My goal is to win American Ninja Warrior and I’m going to try to make that happen in 2-5 years.
- There was so much good stuff here starting with Ben’s mindset around and instead of or and how that’s the first key to expand one’s capacity.
- Ben shared great stuff on managing his time, focusing on his whys, ideas for success on virtual demos and so much more.
Show Notes for this episode provided by Brian Njenga.
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Fantastic episode. I have gone field training with Ben and he is just absolutely phenomenal at what he does. Huge inspiration!