The Road to Sales Success: Turning Adversity into Achievement


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In the Transform Sales Podcast: Life Series #48, Amir Reiter chats with Raki Watson, founder of Freight Gruntz, about how Raki started his sales journey working in a call center and juggling shifts at Burger King while attending college. During the interview, Raki emphasized the importance of dealing with rejection, overcoming challenges, and staying disciplined in order to succeed in sales. He also stresses the significance of teamwork and surrounding oneself with like-minded individuals for continued growth and success. 

In case you missed it…. these are the highlights

Who are you? What is a cool fact about you that no one would know?

I’m Raki Watson, founder of Freight Gruntz, a 3PL technology company. A cool fact about me is that I’m a military veteran, having served six years in the Army Reserve, working in transportation. This gave me diverse experience in both government and civilian sectors.

While attending college, I balanced my military service with work for civilian logistics companies like Garda Logistics. This unique combination allowed me to explore various aspects of logistics, providing me with invaluable industry insight.

How Did You Get Into Sales?

My journey into sales started during my early years in community college when I worked at a call center with a 411-like vibe.

“…Although I didn’t excel in the call center environment due to my desire to do things my own way, it sparked my interest in sales. I moved on to explore door-to-door sales and various other sales roles to hone my skills…”

While attending North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, I worked at Burger King from 5:00 PM to 5:00 AM and attended classes at 8:00 AM. This period in my life was all about making ends meet, coming from a single-parent household. I picked up sales skills through self-teaching and working with small startup companies. Surprisingly, Burger King also played a role in developing my skills, as I learned about customer interactions, multitasking, and other valuable lessons.

I’ve always had the gift of gab, but it took a company that believed in me to truly unleash my sales potential. Through my various experiences in the workforce and my own dedication, I managed to grow and develop my sales abilities to where they are today.

How Did Sales Change Your Life?

Sales has had a significant impact on my life in various ways. Let me provide some context: I also own an e-commerce firearms business, which has been my passion project for the past eight years. Learning how to sell involves mastering both the system and the process, but above all, it requires being personable.

Building trust with your clients, whether it’s face-to-face or over the phone, is essential. I acquired this understanding through my experiences with different companies. As I grew and matured in my sales career, my hunger for success never waned.

“…Sales isn’t necessarily something you’re born with, but it’s an ongoing learning process…”

The key is how you articulate yourself and navigate the sales process. While running my e-commerce business, the biggest lesson I learned was the importance of understanding the buyer’s journey. A customer might not purchase a product or service immediately, but it’s crucial to think about how to connect with them down the road. This insight is something I discovered and embraced over time, and I hope it sheds some light on how sales has changed my life.

What’s your best advice to those considering a career in Sales?

My best advice for young people considering a career in sales can be summarized in a few key points. First, understand that you may face obstacles due to your age, but don’t let rejection or objections become barriers to your success. People’s preconceived notions and prejudices should not dictate your accomplishments.

As a young and ambitious individual, remember that you have the power to create change. Embrace the idea that “if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.” Focus on being personable and building relationships with like-minded individuals to achieve your goals. And remember, there’s no need to put a time stamp on your objectives.

Stay hungry, disciplined, and never stop learning. Read and learn something new every day. Though it’s not easy, building with like-minded individuals and doing good business will take you far. As a salesperson, always do right by the people who hire you and strive to be a student in sales. Don’t be a know-it-all; instead, commit to constant growth and development in your career.