ABOUT TODAY’S EPISODE | CURTIS JAQUES
Curtis Jaques is one of the most influential leaders in the Cutco personal sales arena. Since 2006, Curtis has had a preposterous run of finishing 1st or 2nd in Cutco sales every year! He has consistently found the next level in his annual sales, from his first year over $100,000 back in 2005 to over ONE MILLION in personal sales in 2019!!! A five-time National Champion with over $8 million in career personal sales, Curtis has directly impacted more Cutco reps than any other sales leader in company history, through cross-training and sharing his insights with others. He lives in the Denver area with his wife, Thuy, and their young daughter.
Q&A WITH CURTIS JAQUES
Q: Why don’t you begin by telling us a little bit about your background, from the days before you started with Vector.
- I am definitely a country kid from a small town. In our small town, you were basically in sports or you were in arts. And if not, you did both and I did that when I was younger. Before I went off to college, though, I did a lot of work scrubbing dishes as a dishwasher, or waiting tables at the restaurant for my aunt out there. That was the beginning before Cutco found me in 2003.
Q: How did you hear about Cutco?
- I was actually that crazy person that found out from a newspaper article way back when. It said, “Work for students!”. I was like “Oh!… Mom told me to get a job, I better answer this ad in the newspaper and see what it’s all about.” This was in Fort Collins Colorado while I was going to school at CSU.
- I actually went to Junior College before I went to CSU, and when I was at Junior College I was actually Student Body President. I was on the board with the Student Bodies so I really didn’t have to work my first 2 years of College because they basically paid for me to go to school. I was also an RA, and I was the guy that also ran all of the arts & science. So, I was basically the teachers aid at that time.
- By the time my junior year came around, when I transferred to CSU, money had run out and Mom told me to get a job. That’s how I applied to Cutco and I was 21 when that happened.
Q: What were some of the challenges that you experienced early on, and the lessons you feel grew out of those experiences?
- When I was young in the business, that was a time when not a whole lot of people knew about Cutco in my area.
- The challenge was that people wouldn’t even listen to me because they didn’t even know what Cutco was at that time. It was a huge challenge because A) my family lived out in the middle of nowhere, and B) my family was very poor, so Cutco at the time was pretty expensive. My family couldn’t believe I’d be selling something rather than doing manual labor. When they heard that their kid was trying to sell something, it was kind of, “What are you doing and why are you doing that?”
- Dan – “You know, for so many successful people, part of getting to that success is about breaking out of the molds or expectations that other people hold for you.”
Q: Tell us a little bit about your first 1-2 years with Cutco.
- When I first started with Cutco it was the Fall of 2003. I was the worst representative you could have ever met because A) I didn’t listen to what they were teaching me so I wasn’t on the script, and B) I decided I could do it on my own because I knew how to sell things and I thought I could create my own wheel. After my Fast Start, I did a group demo with about 11 people and it did not go very well. I think I sold a cutting board and a hunting knife, so I sold like $76 my first weekend… it was awful. I did end up finally going to my aunt’s house and she actually bought a Galley Set. After I sold that set, I immediately quit Cutco. Over the period of time from 2003 to about the beginning of 2005, I think I quit Cutco 3, 4, or 5 times.
- I thought, “I’m gonna go into management, it’s gonna be the solution!”, and I was actually a Sales Manager for all of 2004 down in Phoenix, Arizona for Jeremy Roentz at that time. After that, I came back to Fort Collins, then they brought me back again. I shortly quit after that because College started up. Of course Cutco brought me back, and they started paying me to help them out. I started handing out flyers all over campus, and that’s how I got back into Cutco.
Q: 2005 is where the switch sort of flipped for you, and you began to become one of the elite sales reps. Tell us about how did the ways you went about with your business change, from that point forward.
- The key word you said there was When I first started Cutco, people didn’t talk to me as a business owner. After going through the management program, which was phenomenal for me, is that these managers are building a business, and I was one of the representatives helping them build that business. Once I had that realization that it was a business that I was trying to create, then that’s where the light bulb went off for me to become an elite rep with Cutco. Previously, I didn’t treat it as a business, I treated as a job or a hobby, or something that could get me some quick cash.
Q: When you made this distinction, can you describe 1 or 2 specific things that changed for you in terms of your activity, or what you were doing, that turn things around for you?
- Customer relationships & interaction.
- Before, I would tell the customer whatever to make them happy to make that sale and get out of there. What changed was, I wasn’t just saying things to say things to the customer, I was engaging with them more and actually directing them. I started planting the seed of, “Yes, I’m gonna be here years from now.”, and other things they could buy and that they could do.
- A lot of times in our business we’re taught to try to sell that customer everything all at once and get it over with. I realized that you can’t do that when you’re building a business, because if you’re out there and you’re taking everything from every person from everything thing that you do, you become transactional. When you’re a transactional person, you leave things behind and forget that that person has feelings & a level of respect towards you as well.
- I started literally making it so that my business was continually growing by the way that I was talking to the customers.
- The philosophy of why people do what they do.
- When we think of the psychology of a human; when we walk into the store, we either have an impulse or we don’t have an impulse. What normally would happen when I first started with Cutco, is I’d only react as an impulse. Rather than the repercussions if I pushed that customer to the point where they’re gonna return something or they’re not going to like their purchase. I learned that sometimes you have to slow it down and say, “Hey, let’s wait on this, and let’s just do this for now because I want you to be happy with this.”. Once I started to do that, that really just changed the way I thought of a business. It become more of, “I’m here for you, and not here for myself.”.
Q: I would love if you could speak to, for awhile, how one always improves and finds the next level in their business or in their life.
- This is something that I take pride in every year. I look back on the year that I just had and I look at what went well, and what didn’t go well. I’ve always been taught as a child, if you aren’t willing to learn, then no one will be willing to help you. If you’re eager to learn, then you’ll be unstoppable. That’s just something I like to do. What I do is, I find the things that didn’t go so well, I find the things that I can improve and can become a master of.
- The thing is, that most reps look for that new thing, or the new idea, or the new program that they think they can just throw themselves in and CPO is gonna come to them. For me growing every single year, I look at, what is my core base. That’s gonna be my service calls and all of the in-home stuff; the service aspect of it. After that comes shows; instead of adding on to my shows, what I do is I look at it and take away. We’re just gonna make our shows that we do that much better by providing more service, more value, and more importance for these customers to come back year after year to see me. That way, I’m working smarter not harder. People like to focus on the positives, but I like to focus on the negatives a lot because that’s where the learning comes from.
- Not doing more shows per year, in fact doing less, but making the ones that I do more productive.
Q: Capture some of the key skills or key insights that you pass along to others when they’re observing you. What is it that you teach them that helps them find the next level for themselves?
- The first thing is, I really dive in with them personally. A lot of times when they come out to see me, I think it’s the aura or to just be around someone that’s selling like that; that kind of oozes that confidence to them as well. It’s not just because they saw me do it, I want them to realize that they can do it, and that they have to change their mindset and their focus on what they’re doing with themselves. A lot of times they think it’s all magic, and I’m just like, “Slow down… there’s nothing that I’m doing differently than what you’re doing. What I’m doing is, I’m doing with confidence, I’m doing because I know that that’s exactly what the customer is looking for.” I like to dive in with these people and ask them, why are you looking for this certain thing? Why are you coming to look for me for certain answers? The answer is already right there in front of you, you’re just choosing not to do the answer.
- The key thing is listening.
- I was in the same position they were in years ago. I’m not doing jedi mind tricks to get people to buy. I’m doing the same thing as they are, just doing the same thing with a lot more confidence.
Q: How does Curtis convey a greater sense of confidence or a greater sense of conviction? What would you say?
- How I do that is, look at what you’re selling. First thing is, understanding what you’re selling. Cutco sells itself, Cutco is the greatest product in the world of its kind. When you realize that you’re selling the greatest product in the world of its kind, your confidence level should already be up there.
- Mindset comes from, “…you’d be crazy if you didn’t buy this.”. Realize that it’s the best product in the world of its kind, and that I’m the best person to buy it from. They’re in front of me, I’m their solution, I’m the one that’s going to make their dreams and realities happen because I’m going to work with them and try to get them the best deal. You just have to believe in the process to manifest it.
- The magic is the belief in that, we are the best product, we are the best people, I know what I’m doing, so please give me your business.
Q: How about more of the technical skills that you teach people?
- The technical stuff is actually all the small things. The things that people forget about; the way you talk to people, the way you’re standing, the way you interact with the customer. Sometimes it just comes down to a smile and a laugh or a handshake, and that’s the things that we miss so much when we’re in sales.
- A handshake, a smile, a laugh goes a very long way. The interaction has to be more about them and not about us.
- People come up to the booth for a reason, and we have to identify the reason. What are you looking for, what do you want, or what do you need? And if you can identify and ask those three questions, we can do it a lot more quickly. Unfortunately, those are things that we don’t do because most of the time, we’re trying to stay on the script. I’m not saying don’t be on a script, but what you do is become a robot. The thing is, personality is everything. People buy from us because of our personality, and who we are, and what kind of moment they’re having.
- Technically, you need to create a moment/experience.
- Technically, you have to find a problem and solve it.
Q: Curtis, who are some of the people who’ve inspired you or have impacted your career or life?
- A lot of people, obviously. You don’t stay with something for 16 years because it’s the thing to do. You always have someone that motivates you year after year, or you remember the things that were instilled in you when you were young. My grandmother, one of the most influential people of all time. That’s because when I was younger, she always told me, “Break the mold of what people expect you to do.”, because where we come from, you don’t really go off to college, you stay on the farm, you gotta run the farm. She always told me, “You know what, if you don’t like where you’re at now, you gotta be the one that changes it.”
- Obviously, Drew Frank. Drew has continuously supported me on where I’m going. He always told me, “Remember, your business is super important to you. Your name is on it.”.
- John Ruhlin I always looked up to as a young rep. I wanted to be like him.
- Brandon Brown constantly pushes the envelope with me.
- I have a list of 40-50 people that are phenomenal, and they’re close to me. That’s what’s great about our community with Cutco. Everybody’s in a tight community, and if we ever need to reach out, or if we ever need anybody’s help with problems, all we gotta do is call them and they’ll come out of the woodworks to make sure that one of their own is doing good and succeeding.
Q: As you look into the future, what are you most excited about?
- Business wise, knowing that I’m about to sell a million dollars. 5 years from now, I can’t wait to see 1.2, 1.5, maybe 2.
- In the future, I can see myself backing off a little bit, and my business is still gonna grow.
- I’m gonna be able to take those swim classes with my daughter or whatever sport or adventure she wants to go on. I won’t have to worry about where the next sale is gonna come from.
- Curtis has definitely impacted more Cutco/Vector reps than anyone else. He touches people he hasn’t even met before and that is amazing.
- Build something that’ll last you a lifetime, so you won’t have to worry where the next sale will come from.
- How can I best serve this customer in front of me?
- What are some things that I could improve on, that could potentially help me grow?
- The answers are already in front of me. How can I do it and do it correctly?
- Mindset is where all things begin. Believing in yourself and your company, is there is to do to breakthrough.
Show Notes for this episode provided by Daxton Camero.
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