I’m Linda Aivalotis and I’m a solo entrepreneur. I have big dreams for the future for all of us, and am so glad to have you along for the ride.
I often get asked how I came to choose Business and Sales Coaching as a career. In reality, it found me years ago, but I just didn’t realize it.
I’ve always been in sales. Early in my career I sought out, and found, management positions. I did it so that I could learn the process behind the decisions that were being handed down to the sales people on the front lines.
Honestly, I found many of the decisions to be based in numbers and not in the reality of sales, but it was my job to find a way to convey the directives to my staff in a way that made sense to them and at the same time help them to find a way to success. In other words, coaching them.
I didn’t spend my whole career in management. In fact my biggest breakthrough in how powerful sales could really be came at one of the lowest points in my life.
It was about 10:00 at night on a week day in the late summer of 1999. I was sitting in my office on the 3rd floor of a high rise in downtown Dayton, OH. I was a Mortgage Loan Officer in Private Banking, serving the elite customers of the bank where I worked. I was working horrendous hours to serve these high profile clients.
On that particular night, I was waiting for a dangerous thunderstorm to pass so that I could walk the 3 blocks to the parking garage where my car was parked, and go home for the night.
Unfortunately, the storm didn’t pass, instead, it intensified! The alarms in the building started to go off, shrilling, “Seek Cover, Seek Cover!” I hoped that, being on the 3rd floor, I wasn’t really in all that much danger, but I was prepared to dive under my desk at any second!
It’s funny what you think about in moments like those.I had recently broken up with my boyfriend after 5 years, during which time I had helped to raise his 3 children. Their Mom had died about a year before he and I had started dating, so I was the only Mom his children had. On top of loosing the 4 of them, I also lost all of our friends. Somehow, over the years, I had lost track of my friends and only spent time with his friends. My daughter was away at college and my son was off living his own life.
Sitting in my office and listening to the storm and the alarms, I realized that I had no friends. No one to call to tell how frightened I was. No one to even tell where I was, in case the building did collapse. This is when I understood just how lonely and alone I was.
I know, sad, right. The thing was, I knew better then to let my self get into that position, but I hadn’t been diligent enough with my relationships and there I was, alone, again.
I’m not a winer, or a cryer, but I did allow myself a few moments of self pity. Then, because I am, at my core, a problem solver, my brain switched over to problem resolution mode.
I started asking myself questions:
-Do I really not have any friends? Yes, sadly.
-Is this something I really want? Definitely not!
-How does someone who is nearly 40 years old (at the time) go about making friends? Ummm…I was stumped.
Then it dawned on me! Every day I was sitting in front of 6-10 clients. What was stopping me from turning them into my friends?
That’s where it started.
Over the next few months I practiced turning the clients I really resonated with into my friends. Over the next year, I went to lunches, and dinners, and movies, and the theatre, a white water rafting trip and a vacation to Florida, with my friends. All of whom started out as clients. The best part of all of this is that I met Guy, and we have been together since 1999.
During that time I created a process to stay in touch with everyone, so no one would feel forgotten or ignored.
About 18 months later I looked up from my desk and realized that I hadn’t had to leave my office to do any networking for any new clients for a very long time.
I’ve always been a bit of a numbers and statistics person, so I went over the source of my clients for the past few months and realized that almost all of them had been referrals from my friends, who were also former clients. The unanticipated result of focusing on creating a network of friends was the creation of an evergreen network of business referrals.
That’s the day I knew I had a system. I solidified my system and processes, and I was consistently in the top 10% of all loan originators in the country in the number of loans closed annually.
I discovered that business success is to be found in those small behaviors, done consistently, that will lead happy clients, and for me, wonderful friends.
All told, I’ve been in sales for over 40 years. I left the mortgage industry in 2010, and between then and now I’ve started 3 businesses. I’ve used my systems and processes to grow each of those businesses much faster then I ever imagined possible. Now, I’m ready to share my knowledge and skills with you.
I’m so glad to have you along for the ride!