Forging a New Identity: Skills for Top Salesmen

You wouldn’t expect someone who spent the last ten years flying helicopters in the Navy to make a good salesperson, but I’ve found that many of the skills and experiences I’ve had in my last ten years with the Navy are the same skills and experiences your top salesmen have.

This was my opening line whenever an interviewer asked me to talk about myself. Like you, my identity for the past ten years revolved around my military service. There were many things I expected to struggle with Top Salesmengoing into my transition out of the Navy. How would I find my new identity? How would I regain confidence in my work that I had spent ten years developing? How would I continue to support my family? I knew it was going to be a challenging and daunting process. Luckily, one of the things I had decided on was Tech Qualled. Through my training, I learned all about the technology space; the difference between a server and a switch, cybersecurity, data center solutions, cloud, and IOT. Additionally, the program taught me how to get started in a sales role, and how to find my voice in a new role.

Learning How to Fish

Tech Qualled’s Launchpad Academy program can be described in many ways, but the best summary for me is that they ‘teach you how to fish’. This model works in high tech sales training because you learn the material through your own efforts; through trial and error. You can read all the sales training books out there, but all of that is more or less academic. We all know that practice makes perfect, but most of us hate to practice. TQ takes a practicum-based approach, leveraging their connections within the tech industry to assign respected sales leaders as role players. This is when the training started to pay off for me. The scenario-driven role-playing exercises and interview training in Fort Worth, TX was excellent; and challenging. I was able to find my voice and to identify the skills I had developed during my time as a helicopter pilot that would translate nicely into a sales role.

Top Salesmen Beginnings:

When I finally began garnering interest from various high tech companies shortly after graduation, I was expected to conduct ad hoc sales pitches with limited information and to answer questions such as ‘how I planned to succeed in a sales role with no experience’. Tech Qualled had prepared me and I was ready to ace any interview. Now, I didn’t become the world’s top salesmen or the best public speaker in my time at Tech Qualled. The program is good, but no program is that good. Conversely, Tech Qualled made what is notoriously a difficult transition more manageable and gave me the tools to succeed in my new role in tech sales. It provided me the blueprint for how to be ready for an interview, how to prepare for a sales call, and how to close both. These skills coalesced from the online training and the completion of the in-person boot camp and came together just in time to weather the strain of literally moving my family across the country, missing a connecting flight but still getting to my interview on time.

If finding comfort and clarity despite chaos sounds like your kind of challenge and you’re interested in a rewarding and exciting career in tech sales, then you should be applying to Tech Qualled right now. For those who have served, being a veteran will always be a part of our identities. As for me, my suit’s hanging bag is now my carry-on; but more importantly, I have an opportunity to work for an amazing and exciting company. I now have a plan for the next year to forge my identity, voice, and confidence in my new role at an exciting FinTech company while becoming top salesmen.


Mark Rothschild is a former Navy helicopter pilot, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and recent Tech Qualled candidate. He transitioned out of the Navy in August and is launching his sales career at nCino, a North Carolina based FinTech company and worldwide leader in cloud banking.