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  • Positive Polarity Podcast

How to Build Your Know, Like & Trust Factor For Ultimate Business Success


Sarah Bauer is was born and raised in Wisconsin with a love for travel, culture and the outdoors. She is 2006 graduate of St. Norbert College and has grown her sales career from the event planning space, to industrial manufacturing and is now working in FinTech Sales for a Fortune 1000 Company.

Professional accomplishments including leading a sales team to the #2 Region Spot for 2019 and receiving the #2 Rookie Sales spot in 2017 at Heartland Payments Systems.

When she isn’t working in the field with clients or teammates, she focuses her time on 2 young children, skiing, swimming, kayaking, traveling and cooking. She’s married to husband Adam for 10 years and they now live just outside the Milwaukee Metro area.

Get In Touch:  (Learn more about Heartland)


I am honored today to hang out with somebody that I always get something from. So you, you, each one of you listening, you somebody that's like, man, I got to ask this person and this is that person for me. So I'm honored for Sarah Bauer to be hanging out with us. Sarah, how are you today?

Awesome. Thank you for having me.

Tell me a little bit about what the Heartland Payment Systems Company is and what you do for them.

Well, 30,000-foot view, Heartland payment systems is a payment processor. So basically, we do four things. We're the people when a credit card is used in a business that moves the money for that business owner. So, we take it from your credit card and put it in their bank account. We make sure that transactions secure. We take care of collecting the fees. There's a fee associated with it and paying all of the parties doesn't sound too wild and crazy, but you can imagine credit and debit card processing is a huge part of our economy and it's extremely important. We also do payroll and HR services. We have a massive amount of analytic and customer intelligence tools to tell business owners where their clients are coming from. And then we also do small business lending, but my primary focus is the card processing side and I work in the sales role. So, I get to work with business owners of all shapes and sizes and in verticals. And I get to learn from them every day, which is really cool.

So, I'm attracted to people that are thinking more about the person they're talking to as opposed to their particular company. And so, I appreciate that about you. So, I wanted to say thanks right up front, because again, it's so easy for us in a networking event to always be thinking about what can I get? And we do teach to always have goals in your networking opportunities.

But how do you flip that around? So take us inside your brain real quick when you're driving to a networking event, for instance, and what's going through when you're not on the phone or you're yelling at your kids or whatever what’s going through your mind as far as it's like what you want to get out of it. Because I think people are really nervous about it and a lot of people don't do it because they don't think they're going to do a good job. So maybe help us through what you do toto prepare for an average networking event.

That's a good question. And you've kind of hit the nail on the head. There are some people out there that are scared to death about doing networking, either physically in person or remote in a virtual environment. There's that fear of rejection. There's like that cool kid's club. Like I show up, I don't know anyone. I'm not sure what to do. And then there's also the category of people who quite honestly, they're just not seasoned to, to network. So, the thought is, and I'll use this analogy cause I'm sure you've seen it. We've all experienced it, that you show up to a networking event. They got a stack of their business cards and they're just doing this and it's not because they aren't interested in other people at the networking event. It's not that they're a bad person or they're crummy at sales. It's just that they're an experience and not thinking bigger picture. So, if you've ever been that person or seen that person or maybe been that person, who's been the person in the corner, kind of sip on a drink and eat and crackers and kind of looking around and going, Oh God, this is awful. Where do I even start?

And so, and it's okay. It's okay. We all have to start somewhere. When you're going to a networking event, one of the things that I notice with people is that they don't tend to have a game plan. They show up, there's no actual plan in place. So that's rule number one, have a plan. It can be simple.

The other thing is, is really putting that other person first. So when you do go to meet each other to say you and I don't know each other at an event and I come up and I shake your hand or elbow bump, whatever we're doing these days, I'll say, “Hey, Dave, nice to meet you, Dave. Sarah Bauer, what is that you do?” And we make the conversation about you. I do have a rule of thumb, I do not give my business card to someone unless they ask for it.

What is your attitude going into a networking event when you were able to do so?

One of two things. Take a minute, reset your attitude. Before you walk in, go to your happy space. Meditate, listen to a happy song. Just take a minute. If you can't get into at least a neutral space, do not attend the event.

It's just like everything we say, appropriately show up. And we talk a lot about business cards, making sure they're not all ratty, lots of little things, tips and tricks as we go along. But attitude is everything. Body language is everything.


Well because we're so kind of thinking like, how do I get this out? Right? How do I not make it awkward? Cause it's already awkward. I mean, let's just chill for a lot of people walking up into, and it's even worse. Think about it. If there's six people in a group and you are going to take it upon yourself, one of your goals is to meet somebody that you don't know or if you know somebody in the event and you want to get to know them and that's your goal is to walk up to that individual. Like if my goal was to meet you and you are already in a groups in a circle, so to speak, how do I possibly insert myself in there in a non-awkward way? Right? I mean, it's going to be awkward.

Any tips for somebody that happens to be in that spot where they struggle inserting themselves into that kind of a setting?

Well, the awkwardness never goes away. Whether you're extremely outgoing or not. I'm just going to put that out there. It's the first day of school. And it's trying to decide where to sit at lunch time. We all have an image in our head right now. Right? It's exactly what it is. It's the first day of high school or middle school. Oh, middle school was even worse. Let's call it that. So, what are you really doing there? This is like one of my favorite things to talk about because what are you doing? You're protecting what your ego, right? They might say, no, you might not. Let me sit with them. That's what your brain is saying. Well, what's the reality like realistically, like what's the worst thing that could happen? They're a bunch of boring people that go, Oh hi, whatever. You're like, okay, well I probably don't want to talk with you much later.

Realistically 99% of the time people will extend their hand will introduce themselves to you and it'll be no big deal. So, think about it this way. We're protecting your ego. And so many of the decisions that we make every day is just simply to protect it. And so, this would be an example of that. So, the awkwardness will not go away.

So I almost feel like you’re a quasi-sales manager team leader. I mean, do you have that involvement or is that just something naturally that you bring to the table with you?

It's a good question. So for me, one of my the big characteristics that I look for in an employer is culture. Especially now that we're more and more remote and I've always been a remote person, but it's even more so right now going on and that's okay. But we spend so many hours of our week working, right? And we talk a lot about up he and vacation and compensation, all this other good stuff, but reality is, is most people do look for that culture fit and I needed, I need to be surrounded by people that see the potential in me that invest in me that want to you know, they helped me along my path. So it's really easy and let's just call it what it is in a sales environment. And a lot of sales teams, there's always that level of competitive. We are very competitive people by nature. But that can be both that can be a hindrance, right. But then the other side is if it's all helping each other. So I think that stems down from Portland's culture to be very honest and you know, it's a shameless plug for the company, but that's one of the reasons why you know, we always end up in the top list of best companies to sell for which is kind of cool. So yeah, it's big. It means a lot too.

How can you be competitive, but yet have that other person's best interest in mind?

You know, we, we have thousands of sales team members that are very, very competitive people. It's just a characteristic of someone who's very who's going to be successful in it. So, I think I look at it, like I like to use the analogy of a race, right? So, you're using analogy of the game, like a single game in a single evening, I'm going to win this. I'm going to take you down. Okay, great. I look at it like in a racing environment, they're looking at more like a marathon, right? So, it's not all about me taking you out in, in tearing you down and winning today in this moment. It's about the long game here, because the reality is, and this kind of goes back to culture, but also personal branding is what we were talking about with networking is that it's really easy for me to just go in and cutthroat and sell, sell, sell, and just fight.

And when did that give, you told me like my life depended on it. If I didn't do X amount in sales, I mean, yeah. I'll, I'll totally change my thought process when it comes to networking and selling, but you're sacrificing so much by doing that you are sacrificing so much or becoming so cutthroat that you're creating this personal brand again is so key to people knowing you and liking you, right? There is absolutely nothing wrong with having goals and congratulating, but more important you are winning the monopoly game fair and square congratulating.

You like having a culture again that like you Hey, congrats man. Like, that's awesome. So, I look at it like a marathon. If you're looking at a too short game, that's where you start to create a bad name for yourself in the marketplace, personally and professionally. And you know, it can snowball from there now we're human mistakes. It's going to happen. You're going to throw the monopoly board every once in a while, you're going to have what we call commission breath in the world of sales. It's going to happen. It's not when it's not if it's a win. But trying to make sure that you are looking at this like a long-term and it's a career, it's not just a job.

Does Heartland spend a lot of time on that self-awareness piece as a company for you guys? Or is that just something that you picked up yourself?

I'd say our leadership does a really good job. In general, either bringing in trainers or just hiring correctly, we are very our hiring processes very involved, which I think is good because it goes down to more of that court. It doesn't mean that someone has to be a Dean, for example, in order to be successful here. And it doesn't mean that every single person that the team needs to be quite honestly, that'd probably be a disaster waiting to happen. Cause there's other downsides of being aware of it too, because the reality is it's nobody is ever going to be deaths that in the middle of the circle, right. That's like the magical unicorn that doesn't exist and there's nothing wrong with that. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. You know, I think it'd be like in a perfect world.

I would move, but it's my personality. It's your personality. It's not going to change your certain things that we in changing it. It's not always something we want to do, but it's that self-awareness.

So, in your culture at Heartland, is there a lot of that coaching that goes on? I feel like there is, but I just kind of want to confirm that with you.

Yeah. I would say a majority of the high performing people at the company either have an outside coach that they've hired. In addition to our leadership you know, there's a lot of investment on there because the reality is let's just call it what it is. We work in a very competitive industry. For those of you who are not aware of what maybe you're not even wearing, it's a very competitive and it can be very cutthroat, and it is quite honestly not for everyone. And so, there's going to be times where you're struggling and there's going to be times where you need to get creative and be able to sell the different people.

So, I wish our culture, especially those of us who are in college or thinking of getting into sales or dabbled in it. Like, I wish we were more embracing of the sales role and not giving it such a black eye.

What is it that you look forward to most in your day?

For me my favorite part is meeting new people and finding creative ways to solve their problems. Again, I’m in payment systems. That doesn't sound very fun, exciting, or sexy in any way. But the reality is, it's the technology business. So, technology is a very broad term and most people have some technology challenge that I can help them overcome. So, I love to be able to come in and find, create a solution. That's gives me juice. And specifically I love working with businesses that are very underserved, meaning that there's not a lot of people like me out there that specialize in their industry because I might be the very first, if not second, maybe second person that's ever came to them and said, Hey, I've never thought of that before. I have no idea what I'm doing. Can you help me? And that's at that ties back from coming from manufacturing, a background to be able to help those specific industries. Cause they there, they're very underserved market and what I do.

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