SEXY SALESPERSON OF THE MONTH - EUGENE LIVSHITS
Sales. It's the one profession that transcends industry. Whether you work in Silicon Valley, the medical field, non-profit, or the arts (like today's subject), sales is a skill that can be the differentiator between a thriving business or a failing one. Mad Meg understands the importance and value of a high-level salesperson which is why we're kicking off this monthly series. We wanted the opportunity to sit down with some of the salespeople whose skills we envy to pick up some pointers on how they sell their ice to Eskimos.
So forget Mirror Ball trophies because in today's debut "Sexy Salesperson" feature we introduce you to the real champ of the dance industry. Eugene Livshits - Partner and General Manager of Dance With Me USA gives us his ultimate tips on pitching his brand, balancing work and family, & schmoozing his way to the top. Cha-cha check out his Mad Meg feature for more!
Did you have the sales "gene" from a young age? (See what we did there?) What does being a savvy or successful salesperson look like to you?
At a young age, my grandfather instilled the art of mathematics (especially arithmetic) in me... He would wake me up at random times of the night and ask multiplication questions that I would have to answer. At age 5 I fell in love with fishing and the rule was I had to do 2 hours of math in order to go fishing. We couldn't afford to buy worms for fishing back then so we had to dig our own worms. At one point I started digging worms, cutting them into multiple pieces, and selling them to other fisherman. I would also try to sell the fish that I caught. Lol. So yes, I guess I had the "gene" from a young age.
I think a successful salesperson needs to be quick thinking, solid with numbers, patient (I lack that), a go-getter, goal oriented, and just have a knack for never settling. Never be afraid of a no because 100 NO's can equal 1 BIG YES!
What personality trait or traits, specifically, makes you successful at sales? Does this come naturally to you or do you need to hone this skill?
I think to be a successful sales person one needs to know their product inside and out, be honest and straightforward, be persistent, and have the client's best interest in mind. The number 1 rule of sales for me is "make a friend". Wouldn't one rather buy from a friend than from a salesperson?
There are many different types of sales and different types of personalities that are needed for these different types. Have integrity and believe in what you are saying. People read through bullshit especially nowadays when we have a very educated consumer who has all the access in the world to information through the Internet.
What advice would you give to people starting out in sales or even considering sales as a career?
Make sure you are passionate about it. I'm a true believer in loving what you do. You spend more than a third of your life at work and another third of your life sleeping. It would suck to be miserable at work. Studying your product is very important. You need to know your product better than the customer and better than other salespeople trying to sell the customer the same thing. You need to be honest and forthcoming. Sometimes it's better to pass on a sale for a better or bigger sale in the future. You have one chance to make a first impression so make it a good one. Find something in common to relate yourself with the client and/or prospect. Believe in your product and love your product! It is impossible to sell something that you don't believe in.
Eugene with his wife at Maks Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd's wedding.
Did or do you have a mentor in regards to sales? Someone that you learned from? If so, what did they teach you and how?
People can teach you tricks and tactics but a lot of it is learned from experience. My grandfather is my mentor but he's not a salesperson he's an educator. Educating the consumer on your product is key. An educated customer is the best customer. The best way to learn in sales is by not making a sale. In sales, you need to fail many times before you're successful once. If one gets frustrated easily sales is not for them.
At a Knicks game with the team's dancers. Photo credit: Alex Samusevich
What is your elevator pitch for Dance With Me?
Fortunately, dancing sells itself. At Dance With Me, I'm not a salesperson but rather a guide to ensure the best possible experience for the client. The only pitch is that dance is less expensive than therapy and definitely cheaper than hospital bills. Dancing is therapeutic to the body, mind, and soul. It's a great form of exercise and teaches you many unobtainable things in life. We always tell people that if they're not happy with the service they don't have to pay for it.
Eugene and newborn son, Joshua.
Congratulations on your newborn son, he’s adorable! How do you balance your Dance With Me family and your actual family?
Making a schedule is key. Having a work/life balance is very important to me. I try to go on 3-4 trips a year to keep me sane and motivated. I would say I have to get better at this especially with a newborn. I always tell myself that I won't make all the money in the world even if I work 24/7. Putting aside time without your cell phone is important especially in this society.
The 2017 Summer Invitational. Photo credit: Dance With Me USA
A part of your position at Dance with Me is running and managing the competitions. Do you miss your own competitive days or do you prefer being on this side of the business?
I live vicariously through the teachers and students. I dance with students at these competitions for fun here and there. I love the business side of our industry. More so, I love the fact that we are able combine business and changing people's lives for the better. I believe in the experience of doing the competitions as a way for students to improve their dancing. The actual competitive side of our industry is dirty and political.
At a Knicks game. From left: Alex Samusevich, Sasha Chmerkovskiy, Maks Chmerkovskiy, & Eugene Livshits. Photo credit: Alex Samusevich
What has been the highlight moment of your career so far?
My career is still very young and I have many thing to achieve but I would say the last 2 years have been the highlight. Dance With Me expanded outside of the east coast. We are opening our 10th location. I can't pinpoint one thing because I have a highlight almost everyday. Seeing at least 10 smiles everyday in the studio is what I look forward to everyday whether it be from staff or students. I posted something the other day on social media that I truly believe in. "I love watching other people succeed. Life is a journey not a competition." So my career highlight(s) is all the lives that DWM and I have influenced for the better over the course of the last 12 years.
You travel between many Dance With Me locations for work. When you're at the Woodlands location, what stops in Houston are always a must on your list?
I must stop by The Cheese Course for their amazing sandwiches. I always have to see my favorite PR agency, Mad Meg Creative. I've made some really cool friends in the short time that we have been there and I try to connect with them when I'm in town. The Woodlands is one of my favorite locations. I've bought a few investment houses in the area because I love it so much. We are looking forward to expand our Texas region and are very excited for the future!