In our fourth installment of our “Getting to Know” series, meet Jill Nappi, Director of Business Development. Find out how she got her start in sales and what advice she gives as Rizco’s “Voice of Reason.”
How long have you been at Rizco? What is your role?
I will be celebrating my four-year anniversary at Rizco in May. My role is director of business development.
Describe your typical day.
A typical day for me starts in our office. Since I manage my own daily activities, no day is ever the same and this is one of the things I enjoy most about my role. I’m managing the daily requirements of my clients, supporting the team with anything they need, and prospecting for new business. On any given day, I am responding to emails, making calls, texting clients, receiving calls, reading industry information, and working on contracts/proposals. At other times, I am off-site attending in-person meetings, lunches, and networking events.
Where did you go to college? What was your major?
I spent my first two years at the University of Maryland and then transferred to Rutgers University, Cook College, for my junior and senior years. I received my B.S. in Environmental Science in 1987.
What did you think you would do professionally when you were in college?
My goal was to be a pharmaceutical rep, which I did become after getting a year of selling experience. However, once I was working as rep, calling on ophthalmologists throughout New Jersey, I found that the job was not what I had expected. I was not “selling” in the true sense of what a sales/business development person really does to create trust and value to a client.
What is your proudest career moment?
I don’t know that I have only one, but my proudest moments have been landing my large client contracts where I knew that with professional persistence and patience, I would win the business – those opportunities that others thought were a waste of my time, but where I knew in my gut that the business would eventually happen.
I did call on a client for four years and nine months before I won my first project, and in the end, that client thanked me for not giving up on him and their business. Timing truly is everything in life.
As Rizco’s “Voice of Reason,” any advice you’d give to women entering a career in sales?
I’m in sales because I appreciate and enjoy client engagement. People have their own reason for choosing this career.
My advice to anyone entering sales is: It’s not about YOU. It’s about what your client wants and needs and their timing. Become an excellent listener. Learn to be a value added resource to your clients, so that they will think of you as part of their team, not as just a vendor. Finally, be a catalyst for solutions NOT problems.
What’s the greatest bit of advice a parent or mentor has given you?
Never allow yourself to be disrespected while doing your job, not by your clients or within your organization. As a pharmaceutical rep, there was one doctor who was unequivocally inappropriate in how he spoke to me. I had one office visit to see him while my manager was traveling with me, and following our call, he told me I no longer needed to call on that doctor. With 30+ years in sales, I have always considered him to be the best manager I ever had. We lost touch for years, and last year we reconnected. It was so special to tell him how much he meant to me, and what I learned from his guidance.
People would be surprised if they knew …
I was a huge tomboy most of my childhood. I played baseball with the boys, and wasn’t very girlie. There were NO dresses or skirts in my wardrobe. I love watching baseball and I enjoy more college football on a Saturday than most men during football season.
Your favorite place in the world is …
Of the places I have been able to experience, Cancun, Mexico, at The Royal Sands. Key West is a close second. If you haven’t figured it out, the beach is where I am happiest.
Any hobbies? What do you like to do in your spare time?
I don’t truly have what I would call any hobbies. In my spare time, I walk with my husband to exercise, enjoy cooking with/for my family, and thoroughly appreciate spending time with the friends in my life that matter the most. I am a simple girl who feels blessed to experience the very basic, but most important things in life.
If you could be any animal, what would you be?
A tiger. Tigers are respected, majestic, strong, and independent animals.
Have more questions for Jill? Email her: Jill@rizco.com.