Sue Barrett is regarded by many mainstream business press publishers & editors as one of the most authoritative thought leaders reporting and commenting on the selling profession and sales operations in Australia today. We are delighted to announce Sue will be sitting on our panel of successful entrepreneurs for the Young Business Hustler competition.

Here we interview Sue to find out more about her career, achievements, motivations and her advice for our Young Business Hustlers!

Hi Sue! You completed a Bachelor of Science degree at Monash University, but have now ended up founding one of Australia’s leading sales consulting firms. How long did it take you to find your purpose in life?

I am very analytical and creative. I see the world in patterns and love working out puzzles and solving problems. I originally wanted to be a doctor but didn’t get the marks to study medicine so I did a science degree in medical subjects i.e. biochemistry,  physiology, immunology, pharmacology.

During and post my degree I had no idea what I wanted to do with my career at such a young age.

At the time my then boyfriend’s father was a GP and said I would make a good pharmaceutical sales rep and that I how my professional career in selling started.

Unfortunately I learned how not to sell in the pharmaceutical industry and hated being in sales so I left and fell into the recruitment industry (pre the internet) recruiting medical, scientific, industrial and technical sales people.

However the irony is that as a recruiter you need to be a really good sales person and so my career took an interesting turn where I discovered how to sell well for myself and also interviewed around 8,000 people in sales which peaked my curiosity about what is ‘good’ selling. Long story short, I have become a behavioural scientist by default, observing the intricacies of selling in all its forms. If there has been a behavioural sciences degree at uni when I was studying and I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up I would have studied Behavioural Sciences.

You are admired in the sales and marketing world for your strong leadership. We see young people undertaking the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award develop their leadership skills every day. Do you think there is one key quality which every great leader should possess?

A clear sense of purpose (vision) about how you can contribute positively to world; how you can use your talents to leave the world in a better way than when you arrived in it. Underpinned by the, humility, courage and determination to bring your purpose to life.

What do you believe is your greatest achievement in life so far?

I cannot point to anyone achievement as being the greatest because that would diminish all the little things that we do every day that really make for the success or otherwise of our achievements.  Each of us alone can only affect so much but working together in collaboration we can achieve so much more. Doing my best every day whether that is being  a mother, a partner, keeping fit and healthy, not being a burden on society, having a career, leading a team and helping people look at their world with new eyes or different perspectives so they can make better decisions about how they sell and service others it what I see as my focus every day.

You’ve previously worked in recruiting. Was there one key skill you valued highly when hiring young people?

I look for initiative and open mindedness and  the ability to really listen and ask thoughtful intelligent questions.

What qualities did you develop in high school or as a young adult which have helped you later in life?

  • Playing teams sports – teamwork, cooperation and commitment to others
  • Playing individual sports – self management, accountability, self awareness, courage, determination, resilience
  • Public speaking: performance, debating, etc.
  • Prospecting – knowing how to introduce myself and get people’s attention with something that is of value to them so they would hear what I would have to offer them
  • To own my own thoughts and ideas and think for myself rather than falling in with the crowd and lazy thinking. I learned how to stand up for myself and not be bullied or tyranised by prevailing views and group think.
  • So many more I can’t remember at this time!
To find out who the other panelists are for Young Business Hustler please check out the website:

Young Business Hustler 2015 is a new competition for young entrepreneurs. Candidates will pitch their existing business or business idea to a panel of expert entrepreneurs, with two winners selected to receive 12 months of mentoring in the BIGthink! Baby Booster Program valued at $12,870 each.

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