“If you build a vision, then that vision usually matches what you sell,” says Tony Duckett ’85, vice president of sales for Sodexo USA.
Duckett directs the national sales team of 30 junior and senior representatives dispersed throughout the country. They sell café services and provide facilities-management services for more than 6,000 customers.
“The average deal that we go after is about $2.5 million,” says Duckett, who lives in Carlsbad, Calif., with his wife and 8-year-old son. “These deals are not the kind that just pop up. You have to nurture these relationships. I use my network of people across the country to get my team in front of the right people early in the game so that we can structure the vision, which makes it easier for us to win.”
He directs his sales team in the same way he was mentored in college, by exhorting the value of passion and diligence.
“If you showed an interest in being successful at Lafayette, the professors worked harder for you,” says Duckett, an economics and business graduate and star basketball player.
“On the court, I convinced people to walk into fire with me. Now I help the people who work for me to translate that to their worlds in the way they deal with people. College doesn’t teach you how to be successful. It teaches you to start and finish responsibly.”
For most of his nearly 25 years in business, Duckett has held executive positions where he led and solidified sales teams and made them understand that they were more capable than they ever imagined.
“All the companies I’ve been with, we changed the image and how people looked at them. You’re selling the look, but also yourself. It’s about building trust.”
A member of the Maroon Club Hall of Fame, Duckett is the all-time assists leader in Lafayette men’s basketball. He was drafted by the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks in 1985 and later played on the European circuit.