ABOUT TODAY’S GUEST | JOHN KANE
The Cutco Sales Professional (CSP) position has experienced an incredible transformation over the past 20 years or so. At the forefront of this evolution has been Cutco’s Director of Sales Development, John Kane. In his role, John has overseen the development of numerous new ways to sell Cutco, the combination of which has led to incredible growth in the field of professional selling at Cutco. Today, the role of CSP is a lucrative and fulfilling opportunity that continues to grow and evolve year after year. In 2021, CSP sales in the company exceeded $100 million for the first time! In this conversation, John Kane shares the history and evolution of the CSP position.
Q&A WITH JOHN KANE
Q: Tell us a little about how you got started selling Cutco with Vector and some of the roles you’ve played in your 30 years.
- I started with Vector/ Cutco in 1990 as a college student enrolled as an Education major. I had done construction work with my dad but he was encouraging me to find something else for work. I received a letter and so I went in to an interview.
- I was impressed with the product and I liked the people in the office. My true test was going to be with my aunt who I knew would be my toughest customer. When I went to do an appointment with her I found out that she had already owned Cutco for 10 years and loved it, and her love of the product was a real confidence boost for me.
- I was a sales rep and then moved into an Assistant Manager position. I was planning on moving on after college, and even had a job as a 3rd grade teacher, but I had a conversation with Al Dileonardo where he told me we needed good teachers in our business. I signed up as a District Manager to open my own office that day.
Q: I would like you to talk about how you feel like the professional sales position in Cutco has evolved.
- Early on, our main focus was on recruiting people, especially college students. We still have a recruiting focus but we came to realize that we didn’t have the proper tools in place to encourage people to continue selling Cutco after college.
- We had some examples of career sales professionals but we wanted to duplicate their success in others, and it obviously started with having an intention. We started by creating an advisory board in 2003, and that’s where we started to build out the concept of a Cutco Sales Professional.
Q: What do you feel has been the catalyst for the increased standards we see our current Cutco Sales Professionals demonstrating these days?
- It started by listening to ideas that came from the field and making a conscious effort to invest in tools (programs) rather than toys (awards, etc.).
- We also made a decision to look at people as people and not as a number. We look at the whole person to include not just their job but also their lifestyle, and we’ve put a lot of focus on creating a place people want to stick around for a long time.
Q: Let’s talk about some of the programs and tools our reps can use to create any lifestyle for themselves that they want.
- One of the first is our Service Call Elite program. We have a training program and an easy onramp to learn how to provide high-level service and sales to an existing Cutco owner.
- Another program is our Events Program. This year we will break over $40 million in sales through our Cutco Events program.
- Another channel is selling Cutco as a business gift or a closing gift for Realtors. The Closing Gift Consultant program is a major development, as it provides a more “9 to 5” type of schedule for the sales reps.
- We have a mentorship program and a cross training program where people can learn from other successful reps.
- A few years ago we were invited to sell Cutco on US Military bases so that’s been a program we’ve been expanding even to foreign military bases.
- Lastly, we’re evolving our training programs to better support our sales reps.
Show Notes for this episode provided by Carlo Cipollina.
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