SUCCESSFUL businesswoman Annette Lackovic hated her first job in the sales department of a Parramatta gym.
She wanted to lead aerobics classes but instead found herself walking clients to ATM machines on Church Street and taking their watches as deposits.
Years later and this first experience has shaped the philosophy she now preaches as a sales trainer: "hard selling is a thing of the past."
Ms Lackovic will be one of the guest speakers at the two-day woman's business conference Ignite to be held in Sydney next month.
She'll be in good company with Channel 9 Today Show host Lisa Wilkinson, Taurus Marketing chief executive Sharon Williams and fashion label director Claudia Chan Shaw set to take to the stage.
"I wanted to be an aerobics instructor and somehow they said I would be good at sales," she said. "It was the most hard core sales.
"There was no such thing as paypass, you had to physically walk them down to the ATM and take people's watches as a deposit.
"I now teach sales for a living and instead of teaching how to sell, I teach how to empower customers to buy.
"We have to think, how do we make it so it's an experience for the customer?"
Ms Lackovic said the best piece of advice she could offer people in sales was that they should always ask customers what they hoped to achieve from the purchase.
"It doesn't matter what you're selling. Everything is an emotional purchase so link in what they want from the product and that will always link to a good feeling," she said.
"Hard selling is a thing of the past."
The Ignite conference will include workshops, panel discussions and keynote speakers.