Bret Barrie has been a consistent peak performer in business and in life. As a sales rep with the Cutco/Vector Marketing sales organization, Bret was the company’s #1 college student sales rep and achieved Hall of Fame status in his short 6-year career with the company. Bret then ventured into the medical device sales industry, where he has been a superstar in sales and in management. After spending some time as the Director of Sales with the industry-leading organic meal delivery service, Bret is back in the medical device field as a Regional Sales Manager for the multi-national company, Coloplast. He’s the author of a book titled “The Selling Edge: How To Reach The Top In Any Sales Industry.”


Q: Tell us a little about how you got started selling Cutco with Vector.

  • I was in college and got a letter in the mail. I went in for the interview and thought it was a little strange to be selling knives, but I really liked what the manager was promoting as far as the skills that I’d learn.  So I gave it a shot.

Q: What were some of the early experiences you had selling Cutco and what were some lessons you learned that came from those experiences?

  • I went 12 appointments before I had my first sale, so I wasn’t great starting out, but I got to go to the different Division Meetings and I got to meet some of the top reps and I started to learn from them. They were so approachable and willing to help, and I remember being surprised by how few people were approaching the top reps.
  • Always be willing to approach the industry leaders who are doing well!
  • I won the #1 All-American Scholarship my last semester in school, but I was in competition with 2 reps from your office, Dan, and I found out after the fact that you made a bet with them at the beginning of the year and that’s why they were so hard for me to beat.
  • There’s value in creating healthy competition.
  • Winning the Rolex at the time was a really big deal to me. The discipline I learned by following through for an entire year is still with me to this day.
  • (Dan) What you don’t know, the mountain will teach you. If you feel unequal to the climb, remember that much of the knowledge you need to reach the summit can only be learned from the ascent. That’s why we become so much more in the quest toward achieving your goals.

Q: How about your path after Cutco.  Tell us about where the road has taken you over the past years.

  • I wanted to see how transferable the skills I had learned selling Cutco were to other industries so, after a lot of thought, I decided to go into the Medical Device industry. I entered as a sales rep and worked at a company for 13 years.  I started in a sales capacity but I really wanted to move into more of a leadership role and fortunately my company helped put me through their leadership development as well as support me through getting my MBA.  Eventually, I reached more of an executive role.

Q: What do you feel like were some of your keys to success?

  • Not being afraid to set a goal. I learned when I was selling Cutco that you don’t need to know how you’re going to achieve a goal when you set the goal.
    • “If your why is big enough, the how will reveal itself.” -Tony Robbins
  • Utilizing all the resources that are available to you.
    • Utilize the mentors around you!
    • Reading good books.
  • Be committed, not interested.
    • Try a little bit harder than most people are willing to do and do it for a longer period of time.
  • (Dan) Discipline is remembering what you want.

Q: You mention using the resources available to you.  Do you have any books that have been particularly impactful to you?

  • How to Win Friends and Influence People
  • Think and Grow Rich
  • Anything by Jeffrey Gitomer or Zig Ziglar.
  • Grant Cardone.
  • Radical Candor.
  • “Extreme Ownership” and “Dichotomy of Leadership” by Jocko Willink
  • Good to Great
  • Books about marriage and parenting

Q: So tell us why you left the Medical Device Industry and what you’re doing now.

  • I’m the director of sales at the #1 organic meal delivery service in the US.
  • Responsible for many elements including strategy and training.

Q: You have written a book: “The Selling Edge.”  What are some lessons you cover in your book that you can share with our audience?

  • Every salesperson approaches sales in a slightly different way. But there are 5 things all successful salespeople have in common.
    • They seek the best mentors in the industry.
    • They can connect with anyone.
    • Plan your work and then work your plan.
    • Being able to identify and access the decision makers.
    • Selling skills.

Q: Can you unpack “selling skills” a little more?

  • Creating interest. Help to sell people that they have a need.
  • Building rapport.
  • Getting referrals.

Q: If you were speaking directly to a young Cutco rep, knowing what you know now, what are some sales careers you think the skills learned selling Cutco would translate to and do exceedingly well at.

  • That’s a hard question to answer because I think what you learn selling Cutco can be applied to any sales job.
  • Real Estate, insurance, obviously medical devices, the software and service world, solar, etc.
  • But if you do well with Cutco, I think you can sell anything if you have the skills and are excited about what you’re selling.

Q: What are you most excited about in your life right now?

  • My family is what I’m most excited and grateful about right now.
  • Professionally, I’m excited about my current role but I’m also excited that I can use all the different skills I’ve developed from Vector/ Cutco all the way to today. I love being in a leadership role so I can help guide people and help build a career path for them that they’re excited about.

Q: As you look into the future, how do you aspire to change people’s lives through your work or through your influence?

  • At the end of the day, just being a good example to my family and coworkers. Also, constantly looking for ways to provide value to people.


  • It was neat to hear Bret talk about how transferable the skills he learned selling Cutco have been for his career in the Medical Device industry.
  • Bret reflected on the importance of learning. Learning from others- mentors.  Also learning from reading and studying others.
  • Learning how to create interest and asking for referrals.
  • Being a good example and looking for ways to provide value for others.



Show Notes provided by Carlo Cipollina.


To learn more and get access to all episodes, visit our podcast page!



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