Jay Thomas

Jay Thomas

How To Have A Sales Mindset Regardless of Your Job Title

Jay Thomas seems to have a conversation with everyone he meets.

Growing up, his brother would call him “The Mayor” because he’d always be talking to people… even when he was out for a run!

Jay even started buying donuts for flight crews when he noticed they didn’t have enough time between flights to get something to eat. He doesn’t do it to get something in return.  He does it because he loves people!

In this episode of The Cannonball Mindset, we talk with Jay about growing up, his career path, and how having a sales mentality has changed his mindset.

Growing Up

As a kid, Jay was shown how to both work hard and play hard. He jokes that if he could write a book about how his parents brought him up, he’d be a very rich man.

His grandparents were Lithuanian immigrants who saved money to bring their family over to America as soon as they could. In 1918, his grandparents bought a home and turned the basement into a bar. Running a bar in a mining town was like owning a casino in vegas.

This immigrant mentality of working hard made its way from his grandparent all the way down to Jay.  He was brought up in a competitive environment. He became passionate about both sports and school. He excelled on the football field and in the classroom.

As a quarterback in high school, Jay found that if he gave positive energy in the huddle, people responded well to him. He would later find the same philosophy rang true in the rest of his life.  When he started operating this way, he saw the cause & effect positivity had on people, and it became almost addictive!

When it was time to attend college, football helped him get into The University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League School.  When Jay received his acceptance letter, he had no idea how he was going to pay for school. The $7,000 in tuition for UPenn at the time is like $70,000 today; It was going to be a big burden on his family. But Jay made it happen, and graduated with only $5,000 in zero interest loans.

Jay always wanted to be an engineer, and really enjoyed math and science. He met a group of guys on his football team that he organized a study group with. This group still gets together 40 years later on a regular basis. It was Jay who was always the glue of this group.  Without him, none of it would have happened!

“I’m still not the smartest guy in the room anywhere, but I seem to have a knack for connecting with people.” – Jay Thomas

Jay used this mentality of bringing people together at work and at home to create a blend of personal and professional abundance.

Career Path

Jay’s career really took off when his brother came to him one day and urged him to consider getting into sales. He told him Jay’s engineering background allowed him to sell what other people couldn’t. Jay never even considered sales as an option, but it began to pique his interest.

He began selling a specialty construction product at a company that helped him learn.  They turned the sales process into steps, and it clicked for him. This took his career into a different strata. He saw growth, success, and fun. About 9 months into this new job, he saw just how talented he was at selling and forging relationships, and he never looked back!

Jay is now the VP of the Strengthening Division at the Structural Group, and he has been with the company since 1991. Along the way, Jay determined that he could bring this sales mentality into both his professional & personal life.  He has a Type A personality and that means he rarely stops moving, but it allows him to connect with so many people; he has a huge network.

He makes people a priority in his life.  Whether that is his family, friends, co-workers, or clients.  He gets invited to a lot of things, but he makes it a point to go where he says he’s going.

“Whether I’ve got to get on a plane or drive three hours, I’m coming to the event like I live down the street from you.  I make that commitment.” – Jay Thomas

Jay likes to advise younger engineers to go get their degree, but to at some point explore the business side of engineering. He believes that’s where the real excitement and juice is. Sales teaches valuable lessons that these young engineers can use far beyond their day jobs.  

Sales Mindset

Jay has little tolerance when people say things like, “This is the way it’s always been done” or “I don’t have enough time for that.” Instead, Jay likes treat learning like a beginner and not have a rigid mindset.

Whenever he finds himself getting a little burnt out with his job, he goes through the mental process of reminding himself that his job is going to end someday.  He needs to get all he can out of it!

Building a mentality of connecting with people and taking on more responsibility is a progressive process.  It’s a learned skill like anything else! Jay kept stretching and working smarter, not harder. Now with hindsight, he sees a shocking difference in what he accomplishes on a daily basis compared to the beginning of his career.

“I gotta play the next play.  That’s what’s in my head. I got knocked on my butt, but I gotta get back up and click back into the next play.” – Jay Thomas

Jay wants to leave behind an impact like his parents did. He wants to be remembered as a hard worker and someone who was a teacher at every opportunity he had!

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