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Cooking up sales.

Every salesperson has their own style. From the way they begin and foster relationships, to the way they use sales materials and marry what we produce at Central States to a partners need.

Much like a chef in a 5-star restaurant, Janice Erb can mix the proper amounts of ingredients using knowledge and imagination to create perfection.

Janice is a master chef.

When asked about her “recipe” for sales success, Janice breaks it down into three essential ingredients.

“It’s not what I do, it’s who I am. I believe that all of us have our own ingredients being composed of three separate traits. The first is our talent, these are the things that we’re born with. They’re ingrained in our bodies before we’re even born. The second thing is skills. That’s the stuff that we acquire over time and practice to perfect. The third is knowledge. That’s something that can be passed on. I’ve always thought that the easiest way that I can explain that to somebody is if you think about the game of golf. If an alien from another planet came down and didn’t know anything about golf and I went out to the golf course and say all you have to do is take this ball, you put it on a wooden stick in the ground, and you hit it into that hole way off yonder. Whoever takes the least number of shots wins. In a nutshell, that is the game of golf. But as we all know, it’s not that easy. It takes passion and practice to become good at it – plus God-given talent. So, to be a good salesperson, I think you need to have a combination of all three of those. There’s the talent that we’re born with, all our experiences and then there’s what we learn as we go.”

Janice’s definition of talent is a very interesting one. Some can argue nature versus nurture but the 2022 Salesperson of the Year is a firm believer that you are born with unique skills that make you, you, and other skills, you must work hard at.

“I have a talent for understanding things without having them explained to me but one of my biggest fears in life is having to go to a business meeting and sitting at a table with somebody I don’t know or being stuck in an elevator with somebody having to make small talk. I’ll talk to 1,000 people if I’ve got something to talk about. It’s something I’ve been terrified of all my life. What I try to do is to force myself into those situations to get better. That’s where the skill portion takes over for the talent portion.”

The knowledge portion can make up for deficiencies. That comes with multi-decades of experience and things you’ve picked up over time from others.

“I travel with other salespeople or with managers and we’ll drive by a place, and I can look at their yard or I can look at somebody’s website, do a little bit of research and know almost immediately what I need to do to help their business. If you can take all three of the things we’re talking about and put them to work simultaneously to come up with that opinion or strategy moving forward – you’re working from a position of strength. Depending on the situation and your goal for the meeting or the goal for the day, you’re going to lean more heavily on one of those three than the other but all three are weighted, they just may be weighted differently.”

Janice understands her strengths much more clearly than she did when she started her sales career in the wood industry in Chicago. Back then it was all about just getting orders. Taking what people, no matter how small the order was, gave her. Now her three main ingredients lend themselves to be more of a true partner – an asset to her customers business.

“I went from being a squirrel that was just running around going from tree to tree to now being more like a Leopard, waiting for the big order, prepared for right time. Maybe a spider is another example. I’m doing all my research. I’m building a web, lying in wait and when the order comes, I’m going to jump on it, get it and I’m going to have a super high closing rate because I’ve done the preparation work ahead of time.”

Janice is a truly valued employee-owner. Her style is all her own. Her tenacity is never ending and her passion for customers is immense.

Want to become our next Salesperson of the Year? Think you have what it takes? We’d love to chat. Check out our job opportunities at and apply today for a future of growth, learning, and best of all – employee ownership.

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