ABOUT TODAY’S GUEST | VONNY FAST
Vonny Fast is the #1 all-time Cutco rep in Canada, and #5 overall in Cutco’s 70-year history. As one of the key pioneers of the Closing Gift Consultant program, she was the first CGC to reach $1 million in gift sales. She has been featured as the opening speaker at Cutco’s North American rep conference. Vonny attributes her success to a desire to bring value, a strong belief that business is all about relationships, and a deep commitment to being a student of the business, and of life. This episode is guest-hosted by Trent Booth, who started with Cutco in the same year as Vonny, back in 1993, in the same sales office in Calgary, AB Canada.
Q&A WITH VONNY FAST
Q: What are you most excited about for the podcast today?
- I heard Angie McDougall say that people need to hear your story, and if it helps one person and I can be that person for someone, I think that’s what I’m excited about.
Q: What were some of the early experiences you had selling Cutco and what were some lessons you learned?
- I rode the bus for my first $30,000 in sales and made it to the top sales level Cutco had at the time. I originally just wanted to get the minimum pay and work for one summer and quit.
Q: Were there any transformational moments you can specifically remember?
- I remember going to my first sales conference. I only wanted to go because we had to fly there and I had never been on a plane before. But once I got to meet people who were not your typical salespeople, and I saw them getting recognized for a promotion, and I saw something they had that I wanted but didn’t have within myself, I felt inspired.
- Through this I learned the power of a decision in a moment to change the trajectory of your life.
- At that conference I decided that if I could hit that same promotion level these people were being recognized for, maybe then I’ll become what I see here.
Q: So you start this as a part time job but as some point you decided to make this a full-time career. Walk me through that.
- It was really just baby steps. After my 2nd summer selling Cutco I hit FSM and then I thought about the next challenge, so the next summer I opened a Branch office.
Q: And you went on to run a 2nd branch office and then you decided to make it a career and go District. Walk me through that.
- The opportunity came up and it just made sense, and my rookie year as a DM I had some decent success, but the 2nd year I had a real identity crisis. That was the year I came out of the closet to my family. I decided that I needed to take a break from life and travel to find myself.
Q: So you step away from a successful office to go find yourself and then you came back to the business and then what?
- I came back and didn’t know what I was going to do and I was in the office and there was a phone line and I just started to make calls. I just thought, “I’m going to start this thing back up.”
- What’s one thing I can do right here, right now with what I have?
Q: And this was before we had a true sales professional career position with the company, but you were one of the trail blazers for that. What happened when you took your career from selling $30-50k per year and making OK money to really making this something significant?
- Wouldn’t you know it, but I was at a conference, and a speaker came in to give us an inspiring message, and I got so wrapped up in his message. Aterward our team all met up after and I was so inspired that I told my team that I was going to sell $100,000 for one campaign (a 4 month period of time in the Vector/ Cutco sales year) and it terrified me to say it aloud.
- I knew I’d have to do something different so I hired a coach, Jon Berghoff, and he helped me do it!
- Get help when you know what you want to do but you don’t know how to do it.
Q: And now you work with business owners and Real Estate agents and sell branded gifts. How did you go from doing in-home appointments to working with professionals for their branding and marketing?
- I felt like I had topped out and mastered my craft and I wanted to do something different, but I didn’t want to leave Cutco because I loved the product and I loved the people, but I felt like I really needed to spread my wings.
- Again, I was at a conference and I heard Tony Carlston give a message about selling closing gifts to Realtors and how Cutco was the perfect fit for them.
- I was really nervous to speak in front of people and the way Tony explained the process was to book a speaking time at a team meeting held at a Real Estate office. I didn’t know what to expect but I collected everyone’s business card, set up 9 appointments, and 7 people ended up placing an order and I had sold like $9,000 and I thought, “there might be something to this.”
Q: What would you say are keys to personal leadership?
- Grit for sure. I show up daily… regardless of what’s going on in my life. I’m a really good boss to myself.
- Coaching myself (reading, podcasts, etc) and coaching with mentors.
Q: What’s coming up next for you?
- I want to follow the joy more. I want to do more of the things I enjoy and less of the things I don’t enjoy.
- What’s one thing I could do right now with what I have?
- Grit is critical. SHOW UP EVERY DAY.
- Following the joy – What makes you come alive?
Show Notes provided by Carlo Cipollina.
To learn more and get access to all episodes, visit our podcast page!