Today we’d like to introduce you to Julia Sewell.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was born and raised in a very small town in Oklahoma, daughter of a 3rd generation entrepreneur and a stay at home mom, and granddaughter of some of the most impactful philanthropists that McCurtain County has ever known. I highlight these parts of my upbringing because each one has shaped me into the woman I am today.
My small town experience was classic Americana, and I loved it! My first job was picking up pine cones in the woods for my Dad’s business at a nickel/cone, my brother walked a paper route around town and everyone knew his name and we were both lucky enough to have small town tradition opportunities, Miss Idabel 2003 (myself) and Homecoming King (my brother). I feel so lucky to have been raised in a place like Idabel by parents who devoted themselves to us and the community. My Dad is very active in town boards/foundations and my Mom volunteered at our church all during our childhoods. I believe this environment, where we saw someone who knew us and cared about us everywhere we went, contributed to my confidence in my place in the world. I experienced, from a young age, that all people (even little kids) can be meaningful to a community. I believe that even more strongly today, no matter what size community you live in.
Fast forward 30+ years, and I now hope to provide an environment for my own daughter to grow as confidently as I did, not being sheltered from life’s difficulties but always knowing she has help from more than just her family if she needs it. My husband, Forrest, was raised in a similar place, son of multi-generational entrepreneurs and pillars of a community in Kansas, and this belief system is one that we have always shared. We talked about it on our third date! Legacy is so important to us both, as a result of growing up watching our families strive for this in our communities, but also because we are at peace with the knowledge that our time here is brief but our legacy can last forever.
All of the above is why I have chosen the hard road of entrepreneurship, in the peak growth time of my life family wise. The struggle of owning my own business, in a highly competitive environment, while I attempt to navigate pregnancies, maternity leaves and the “balance” between my career and my family is REAL. Despite the daily grind this creates for myself and my (thankfully, hyper-supportive) husband, I am just not willing to ignore my innate need to be my own boss (we joke in my family that it’s genetic) and my desire to create a “stay at home” mom feel in my family dynamic at the same time.
I unabashedly believe that, if I am willing to work hard enough and push my capacity, I can absolutely have it all. Maybe not all at one time, but eventually!
Professionally, my story begins and ends in sales. Partly because I really love connecting people with something they need/want (it makes me feel important), and partly because I saw very early on that salespeople and business owners get to make their own schedules, are high wage earners and are generally freer than most. I also saw that they had to be really hard working and like to be busy, two things that I am lucky enough to have been molded into/born into during my upbringing in Oklahoma.
So now, after 15+ years in sales/business ownership, I have dedicated my career to helping salespeople and entrepreneurs perform at their highest levels. I so desperately needed coaching and support in my sales career, and still desperately need guidance in my entrepreneurial goals, that I knew I could not be alone in these needs. I was right, people are simply dying for support and help with mastery of their craft in sales.
That’s where I, and my business partner Michelle Kistler, come in. We came together to form Pitch Perfect Communications to fill a need for sales language mastery in the people we were working within our coaching businesses, Herald Coaching and Consulting (myself) and Kistler Vocal Coaching (Michelle). We were seeing VERY talented salespeople and business owners struggle to earn revenue for long periods of time, or even fail in their roles, simply because they had no idea how to deliver, genuinely and masterfully, their sales pitches and value propositions. That brings us to today… where we get the amazing job of coaching people to deliver sincere and value-driven sales conversations with their prospects and clients.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I have had ALL the experiences (good, bad and ugly) when it comes to sales, and I’m working on racking them up for business ownership. I think it’s fair to say that part of the reason Pitch Perfect is so near and dear to my heart is that I desperately needed something like it during my rise in sales. I was the quintessential roller coaster producer, winning awards and incentive trips one quarter, and getting put on probation the next. I was gifted with enough talent to get by in sales, but I had no real SKILLS, organization or documented goals to keep me focused when life went off the rails. Couple that with real difficulty in navigating the dynamics of being a young woman in the financial services world, and I came close to breaking many times!
I compensated for my lack of skills and confidence with hard work (which was good); but I also fell prey to the trap of overconfident bravado and false swagger (which is so annoying on the receiving end) while inside, slowly shriveling up as I drowned in my self-doubt and unrealistic expectations for myself. LOTS of crying as a result.
This cycle repeats in my life, over and over, as it does in everyone. We have times of great achievement and times of utter failure, and lots of times of “meh” in between. Learning that none of these times is the “defining moment” of who I am, but instead seeing them as an amalgamation of my one true life has helped keep me grounded.
One of the things my husband, Forrest, has taught me that has completely changed my life is to always make choices from positions of strength, not weakness. I have grown the most in the super uncomfortable space between the recognition that I am struggling and getting to the end position of strength before making change-that fight/the obstacles/the climb is now very familiar and almost, comforting. Something good always comes on the other side, as long as I am willing to get tough.
A great example of this kind of experience happened recently in my life.
In March of this year, I had been working part-time for six months, after coming back from maternity leave. I had a pinnacle moment when I ran the numbers of my business and realized I had hit my goal of returning to a six-figure income within six months of going back to work!!!!! Forrest looked me in the eye and told me how proud he was of me, we grabbed drinks and ran all sorts of fun projections for my year ahead and had a great night… and the next day at 8 am, I received an email from my biggest client and lost FORTY-FIVE percent of my income in an instant.
Almost half of my income, gone overnight.
The revenue goal I had hit the night before was out the window, I was completely shaken about my value as a coach and then, to add insult to injury, I received news that my daughter had been accepted (three months early) into a school that would cost 25% of my “pre-bad-news” income/month.
I will never forget going to yoga that day, and during the beginning part where the teacher talks about life, I just started sobbing in a room of 50 people, as she talked about accepting things in our lives that are out of our control. I made it through the class and was crying again during savasana, and the teacher came to me and simply said, “you are stronger than this” and walked away.
What Forrest had taught me came rushing back and I went home, got my little notebook out and started writing. I would not make choices from a position of weakness, damn it! So, I wrote down all the business things I thought I could do (with Pitch Perfect and my coaching practice), how they might work and what it could earn… and got busy.
Just two months later, I have recovered all that income and am projected to make the most money I’ve ever made this year; and I’m positive that wouldn’t be the case if I hadn’t be knocked off my pedestal, back to the ground, and chosen to pick the gravel out of my palms and keep moving ahead.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Pitch Perfect Communications story. Tell us more about it.
Pitch Perfect is a company built by salespeople FOR salespeople. We create masters in the art of sales pitch delivery, with the goal of sending high integrity and genuine professionals out into the world to connect clients to what they need.
We specialize in the person who is delivering a script that they: A. don’t connect with or B. have no idea how to deliver in a way that is true to themselves. We take a person’s natural communication style, teach them fundamentals in the arts of communication and sales and then role play with them like crazy until they can speak about the value of their product/service, in a way that addresses each clients’ specific need and from a place of sincerity to who they are as a salesperson.
I am proud that we are willing to do the dirty work (role play) to create REAL people out in the world, empowered to be professional salespeople. I want to recreate the image of salespeople into highly respected professionals, whose job is to help you get what you need when you need it. Role play practice is common in sales organizations and absolutely hated. Most of the time, this is because it feels SUPER false, it’s administered by someone who has no expertise or it’s done just enough to check the box and wastes everyone’s time.
We are different because we are going to tell you what you NEED to hear to be amazing in sales, not what will make you feel good. I have learned the hard way that it is more important to be respected than liked… and that is something most salespeople really struggle with.
No one recognizes how scary it is to be vulnerable with someone from a trainer perspective, the delicate things you have to address to really polish diamonds out of the rough. I am proud that Michelle and I are brave enough to shed that armor with our clients and say the hard things that will help them be better, faster.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Ahhh, luck. This is a hard topic for a performance coach who builds their career around empowering people to take charge of the quality of their lives.
I don’t speak about luck very much in my life, either personally or professionally, because I don’t believe in it. I believe that crediting luck for a person’s success/failure takes away their own power over their life.
I think it’s disrespectful to look at a person’s life and say, “They are so lucky for ___________” without understanding the work they (or their parents, grandparents, colleagues or friends…) did to get there, the choices they made to achieve a certain thing and the energy they have been putting into the world prior to said event happening. Blaming luck is something that is used a crutch by people who are afraid of their own power and their obligation to maximize it; because if all success could be chalked up to luck, then “why should I even try?” starts to become a thought, whether we like it or not.
This applies to bad luck too. I am NOT saying that people who have bad things happen in their lives deserve them or they could have “energied” it away from them… BY NO MEANS. Bad things happen to everyone, good things happen to everyone… and it is that simple. If you classify a person as “unlucky” or a time in their lives as a “rough patch of luck”, you take away the power they innately have to overcome it. You give circumstances, out of a person’s control, WAY too much credit. No matter what a person’s situation, it can always change.
It is so demoralizing to be categorized as “unlucky”… to be given a status of helpless or hopeless. Our world has been built on stories of people who roared up from hideous circumstances to build nations, families, and businesses. It’s human nature at its most raw and beautiful, to look at a situation and say “I am not lucky or unlucky, I am just an accumulation of my experiences and choices, for better or worse.”
- Website: www.yourpitchperfect.com
- Phone: 405-612-8735
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @pitchperfectcomm
- Facebook: @pitchperfectcomm
Jenn Hernandez, Britt Nemeth