BABE #82: SKYLER MATCHETT,
Facilities Account Executive @ Staples
Skyler is a ray of freaking sunshine. We met back in college when she worked for the Integrated marketing firm that I interned for at the time. I completely admired her for her constant positive attitude, dedication to her work, and the fact that she never passed up an opportunity to successfully prank folks in the office. Now a few years later, we've both relocated to the same city and are pursuing completely different fields than what we planned on, because life is funny that way. Keep kicking ass, girl, and thanks for chatting with us!
P.S. - JACKSONVILLE, FL BABES: Catch Skyler performing in Legally Blonde at Orange Park Community Theatre, June 9 - July 2!
Babe you admire and why?
I just really love Ellen, and I know that’s probably cliché. But goodness gracious, she is just unapologetically herself every day, has the ability to laugh at herself, and is kind. I think we could all work a little harder on that last one.
How do you spend your free time?
You can usually find me out on a run, at rehearsal for a local musical, or staring at throw pillows and other home goods I really don’t need at my local TJ Maxx.
Go-to coffee order?
Cold brew, black. I feel like such a badass when I order it, too. “Room for cream?” “NOPE.”
What would you eat for your very last meal?
Cheese stuffed crust pizza from Pizza Hut. The whole thing.
Three things we can always find in your fridge?
Cauliflower rice, Blackberry Cucumber La Croix and whatever I have meal prepped for the week. (Lining up those Tupperware containers makes me feel like I at least have part of my day organized.)
Favorite social media account to follow?
Girl With No Job. Claudia, if you’re reading this, there’s nothing but steeny vibes over here.
If you could have coffee with anyone in the world, who would it be?
Lin Manuel Miranda.
What game/reality show would you win?
Family Feud. One of my favorite pastimes is washing the dishes and yelling out answers to Steve Harvey with my fiancé.
What’s one thing you wish you knew more about?
Adobe Suite. If I could master Photoshop and Illustrator, I would be a very happy babe.
Pizza or tacos?
I have taken longer on the answer to this question than any other question. Not quite sure what that says about me as a person, but after all of this reflecting, it goes to pizza.
Tell us about your hustle:
When people ask about my job at Staples, I jokingly tell them I sell toilet paper. In reality, I work in outside sales for the contract division of Staples, which is a lot different than the retail division. A lot of the time when I say ‘Staples’, people immediately think I’m wearing a red polo behind a counter. In actuality, I’m in a pink blazer in the field with decision-makers at local businesses and nonprofits. I'm uncovering their pain, learning what makes them tick, helping to figure out ways to make purchasing processes more efficient, and building custom solutions around each individual customer. Educating people is a huge part of what I do. Staples has changed a lot, and our focus is on our business programs. We don’t just provide pens and paper – we compete with the Amazons, the Sams' and Costcos of the world. Our up-and-coming biggest area of business is facilities – think cleaning chemicals, paper goods, safety supplies. Recently, my role at Staples has shifted to just that – focusing solely on facilities projects for larger accounts. Now I work with strategic account leaders and partner with them to do just what I used to joke about – sell their accounts more toilet paper. Funny how your career path has a wicked sense of humor.
What does your typical workday look like?
I am in the field every day, meeting decision-makers from different industries and walks of life, and figuring out how Staples can partner with them and ultimately be an asset to their team. One minute I’ll be in Gainesville at a hospital giving one of our industrial cleaning machines a test ride, and the next I’ll be in Jacksonville looking for an air care solution. While I know the general idea of each day, no two days are the same.
How’d you get into Sales? Was it part of your intended career path or did it happen organically?
So, my entire family is in sales. I always say that I was doomed at some point, and I’m so glad I was. I thought I was going to have some glamorous career in PR, but I couldn’t STAND sitting at a desk all day. Right when I needed it most, my mom’s friend asked her if she knew anyone interested in a sales job. I haven’t looked back.
What is your approach to selling the services and products that you do?
I kid you not, Staples has been able to source things like a refrigerator, and even a bulldozer, for customers. Staples is not a one-size-fits-all by any means. When I approach a potential partnership, I make it very clear that we are different from our retail counterpart, and we want to create solutions and cause effective change rather than just sell you a pen or toilet paper roll. Anyone can do that.
What was your education experience like? How would you say it has contributed (or not contributed) to your current role?
Being a Media/Communications student at FSU did nothing but contribute to my communication skills. There were people from all walks of life in that major, and I had to learn to work with them cohesively, which is not always an easy task. That’s very indicative of my current role. As for anything I haven’t learned, I will inevitably learn it. If you’re in the field and you’re working like you should be, your skills will develop organically. My best lessons have been learned from my mistakes.
Would you say your gender or ethnicity has affected your professional experience? How so?
I feel so empowered as a woman in this role. Typically, people don’t picture a 5’11” blonde who might be working with cleaning chemicals, janitorial tissue and burnishing pads. I feel like the Elle Woods of the facilities world some days. It can be very challenging, especially when you’re meeting with mostly men who have been in the industry for longer than you’ve been alive. Overcoming that hurdle and earning that trust, however, is what makes this career so rewarding.
How do you handle the inevitable rejection that comes with pitching and negotiating?
Years of theatre. I heard “no” all the time when I was in shows throughout high school and college, and I still hear it pretty often now. In my book, one "no" is absolutely a step closer to a yes. It was true then, it’s true now, and it’ll be true five years from now. The quicker we learn to not let "no" stop us in our careers, the quicker we can continue carving out a route to success.
In your opinion, what are some qualities and traits that lead to a success in sales?
You have to be self-sufficient. I worked as a remote rep for two years, and even now, my direct leadership is not in the same city I am. Guess who holds me accountable? Me. If you want to get it done, the only person responsible is you.
Who are some women in your field that you look to for inspiration?
My former boss, Kandace. She encouraged me to always get after it, even if you’re in a rut or having a rough sales period. There is nothing you can’t power through. She focused on celebrating our victories and creativity, large and small, which I have continued to do for myself to stay motivated. Kandace has incredible sense of humor, too. She helped me find a way to laugh at the inevitably weird and taxing situations we would encounter, and focus on finding a way to learn and grow from it. To say she is my role model is an understatement.
What are some common misconceptions about your job?
That I wear a red polo with khaki pants and stand behind a counter in a retail store. My job is completely separate from the store itself, and while I love our red, it cannot be found in my everyday wardrobe. People also think that because I run my own schedule, I have it easy and can do whatever I want. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Sales does have flexibility, but you have to get the job done.
What are some of the everyday struggles with your job that we might not see?
Staying organized is my biggest struggle, hands down. I swear by my color-coded planner and have taken a long time to refine a system that keeps me on top of the accounts I am juggling.
What are some standout stories and experiences from your career so far?
I think the greatest experience is when you are able to overcome an objection that a customer has. Not in a combative way, but in a consultative one where you can actually have a teaching moment. These moments stand out individual victories, and serve as affirmation that I’m helping opposed to being annoying.
What does success look like to you?
Keeping your head down, staying humble, and getting the task at hand done. Successful people don’t need everyone to know they are a successful person.
How do you find a work-life balance?
You have to keep whatever feeds your soul in your life, even in small quantities. It keeps you sane. For me, musical theatre allows me to flex my creative muscles, socialize, and keep refining my craft even though I don’t pursue it professionally. If I’m not in a show, I’ll make sure to attend some sort of live theatre frequently. And if there’s no show, you better believe I’m belting out show tunes at my house.
What helps you wind down and manage stress?
Running. It’s the only thing that completely clears my mind. If I had a bad day, an endorphin rush can fix it. And it absolutely helps me sleep better. I need something to cancel out my caffeine intake!
What are your goals for the future?
Short term - finally knock out a half marathon. Long term - found my own event planning company!
What is your advice for babes trying to break into your industry?
You CANNOT take things personally. I used to, and it drove me borderline crazy. I would come home crying because I couldn’t understand why people would be so mean or not willing to give me a shot when I worked HARD for them. It’s not you - I promise it’s not. Don’t be afraid to get creative. A lot of people are banging down the doors of the same people you're calling on every day. Take a long hard look at what makes you different, and always lead with that.
Career and/or life advice for other babes?
Don’t stop. Sales has provided me with some of my best days and some of my worst days. Powering through the difficult will do nothing but build your confidence and strengthen you in ways you might not see instantly, but will benefit you immensely in the long run. Life experiences, career-related and otherwise, will all make sense down the road. I look at life like a mystery novel. I’ll get a curve ball thrown my way and immediately think, ‘What the hell. Why did this happen? This makes NO sense.' But if I just keep reading and eventually get to the next chapter, the reasoning for the curve is always there.