Lynne Jensen-Nelson: The Dynamic Founder and Strategist behind Conversion-omics
Lynne Jensen-Nelson is the dynamic founder of Conversion-omics Creative Sales Solutions, a business strategy agency that provides sales training and keynote speaking. A hustler even as a kid, Lynne grew up helping on her parent’s farm, selling handwritten newspapers to the neighbors and waiting tables at a local restaurant. After working as a teacher for three years, Lynne decided to pursue a Master’s Degree in Communication. She spent the next nine years moving through the ranks at a national home building company before starting her business. Read more to discover Lynne’s speaking routine, her passion for helping people, and how she maintains her incredible confidence!
Tell us about your company. What do you do, who do you serve?
Conversion-omics Creative Sales Solutions is a keynote speaking, sales training, and business strategy agency based in Minneapolis, MN and serving clients nationwide. Although my core focuses are the home improvement and furniture industries, I have also worked with product manufacturers, medical device companies, retailers, educators, and in the health care field.
I’m passionate about helping businesses large and small sell more, sell faster, and keep happy clients who can’t wait to recommend them!
What was your first job growing up, and what did you learn from it?
I was a hustler even as a kid. Growing up on a farm, I did lots of jobs, but the first ones that paid me were walking beans and babysitting. I even created a handwritten newspaper I would sell door to door to the neighbors!
My first real job was waiting tables at a local restaurant in Jr. High. I was too young to work there legally, so they just paid me in tips. (Please don’t tell the IRS!)
During that job, I learned how to work with people and create a good customer experience. Those skills (coupled with the casino bartender job that helped pay my way through private college and grad school) taught me that the key to success is helping others and creating an exceptional experience.
Tell us about your career path before starting your own company.
Post college, I was a Jr. High English Teacher; I also coached tennis, basketball, track, and the speech/debate team.
After three years, I decided it was time for something else. I loved working with kids, but I wanted more, so I went to grad school and got a Master’s Degree in Communication. I was always fascinated by the motivation behind what people do and say, a Master’s Degree in Communication seemed like a logical place to figure it out!
After grad school, I accidently landed as a New Home Consultant at a National Home Builder. (I got the job with zero experience and no real estate license.) I excelled with each new opportunity and went from Assistant Sales Person to Lead Sales to Sales Manager to Division VP (first woman to hold the position!) and ultimately to Regional Sales & Marketing Manager.
Working for a national Fortune 500 company provided great opportunities, and I was lucky to have several talented mentors who challenged me to step into leadership roles. (Even though I was sure I wasn’t ready!) In each case, I found if I dedicated myself to learning and growing there was no limit.
After nine years, the company was bought out by another national home builder. I decided to go on my own as a consultant helping home builders, remodelers, and interior designers improve their sales and marketing strategies.
At this time I also bought and sold a local eco-friendly home improvement store. Within eighteen months, we had tripled sales by implementing processes and enhancing the customer experience – same team, products, and prices. From there, I was hooked on helping businesses grow and improve!
Being a keynote speaker is truly the best job in the world. I love going to events and sharing applicable tips and techniques that help people excel. Watching participants engage and jump in is the best feeling! I enjoy it even more when they follow-up and tell me how using the Conversion-omics techniques helped them sell, improve their business, or just improved their confidence.
Tell us the story of why and how you started your business:
My mantra is leave everything better than you found it!
After spending twenty years as a teacher, sales person, sales leader, and business owner, I was ready for something that gave me the opportunity to help as many people as possible. At Conversion-omics I focus on providing the tools and strategies needed to help my clients succeed. I work with a wide variety of industries, businesses, and individuals - I care about each of them as if we’re on the same team.
I am passionate about building a culture of constant growth and improvement. If I had a dime for every time I told someone, “We are all a work in progress!”, I could spend WAY more time at the spa!
What is a typical day like for you?
On event days I try to stick to a routine/schedule, so I’m ready to crush it on stage!
good night’s sleep, decent breakfast, and a review of the audience/goals for the presentation all help me feel prepared. I get bored easily, so I’m always trying to come up with new, fun ways to kickoff and wrap-up presentations.
After a keynote, I meet with audience members who want to ask questions or share their stories about customers, sales, and learning opportunities. The rest of the day is spent, connecting, researching, and preparing for the next presentation.
Tell us about a hard time in your career. What did you learn from it or how did it make you stronger?
In my home we often say, you have GOT to love the learning process! When I make a mistake, it tends to be a big one; my focus is always to figure out what I need to learn, so I don’t make it again. I am a passionate person, so that means I am comfortable putting myself out there. But I also take failures and missteps very personally.
Although I have had more than my share of learning opportunities, two experiences impacted me significantly.
The first was when I was just a kid; my parents were very hard workers-they were both teachers and farmers. They bought their dream ranch and moved our family there with the hopes of making it big. Unfortunately, during one of the first winters, a blizzard killed a large portion of their cattle. The financial and emotional impact of this loss was so substantial that they had to sell the ranch.
We came in with big dreams and left with very little. I remember seeing how this devastated my parents, and it's always driven me to keep working, keep fighting, never let up. Bad things can happen at any time. That experience made me a bit of a control freak. I often tell people that I am a belt, suspenders, and safety pins kind of person. You must plan for the best and prepare for the worst.
The second involved my professional life. From 1999-2008 I worked for a home building company I loved. My time there was filled with growth, learning, and opportunities. By working hard and embracing challenges, I found myself earning more than I ever imagined and took on prominent leadership roles with teams that I respected.
Then I made the tough decision to leave after a major health scare. Moving forward, I expected each new opportunity to be as great as the one I left. Unfortunately, that was not the case. The grass, as they say, is not always greener!
I was jumping from job to job feeling frustrated and disappointed. I couldn't find a place where I was able to fit in and settle down. In fact, I was even let go from one company, which was very upsetting. I was afraid I would never recover from the professional embarrassment.
Looking back, I can sort through the emotion (mostly) and see how those experiences led me down a path, which ultimately brought me to owning my business and taking control of my professional future. Each company and position taught me something new - structure, goals, customers, etc. I use my background and contacts in my presentations and strategy work today.
Selling my first business for a substantial return brought back my confidence and focus. Now I spend 100% of my energy doing what I truly enjoy!
What advice or tips would you give to a new business owner?
I spend waaaaaaaaaaay too much time worrying about what other people think. (Which also happens to a lot of my clients.) Because of my bold speaking style, most people think I’m super confident, when in fact, I’m critical and also put too much energy into self-doubt.
My advice? Get over it and focus on helping others and making a difference!
If you want to be successful, you need to think about what type of challenges/problems your clients face, and how to provide the solution.
I always tell people to just go for it! We have one shot and one life; find something you are truly passionate about.
What’s next for your business?
I firmly believe we are all a work in progress!
Right now, I’m looking at adding more speakers and business strategy specialists to the company. I want people who can meet the needs of clients outside the home improvement/new construction/interior design industries.
Long term, take over the world? (Ha-ha.) Or just book more National Speaking Events – I might start with that first…
What do you believe is your single strongest skill that’s helped you succeed?
A relentless desire to leave every situation better than I found it. I try hard to make it easy for clients to work with Conversion-omics. The sales process is easy to follow and expectations about who does what are crystal clear.
Plus, after a lifetime of riding horses, I’m super competitive. It gives me the drive to succeed, no matter the obstacles.
Tell us about your life outside of your business? What do you like to do?
My husband, Dean, and I live on a hobby farm in Prior Lake that we call, Horse Power Farm. The play on words covers my love of all things equine and my husband’s passion for anything fast with a motor - cars, trucks, motorcycles, and four-wheelers!
I’m a HUGE animal lover and am known for two things: showing horses and taking in animals. I have been showing horses since I was three, and some of my oldest and closest friendships were formed on the back of a horse. I love the discipline and dedication it takes to be competitive, but it gets a little harder every year!
My entire family is into horses too - everyone from my three-year-old niece to my seventy-six-year-old mother! My parents even met on horseback. (The only exception is my husband of twelve years who still tells everyone, “my wife has horses.” I keep trying to get him to understand that we have horses!)
Our place is full of animals that I have found. In addition to the usual horses, dog, and barn cats, the Horse Power Farm Menagerie includes our tail-less house cat, Oakie, and Brownie, the wonder pony!
How do you balance your career and family life?
I love what I do, so mixing work and family feels comfortable. My keynote presentations are full of stories about my friends and family. On the flip side, I am always “on” responding to emails, working on new presentations, making contacts at night, following up with clients, etc. Luckily, my friends and family are cool with it. Do what you love, love what you do right?
QUICK Fun Facts…
What’s your favorite charity?
I’m on the Board of Directors for the BATC Foundation which provides resources for Veterans, Women in Transition and Families who need help with Housing. I’m also a fan of anything that helps animals!
What age do you want to retire at?
NEVER; what I do is way too much fun!
One travel location on your bucket list?
I love to travel, even better when it’s for work. My hubby and I like to mix business with pleasure whenever possible - he’s a fabulous travel companion. My goal is to book more international events so we can see the world. I would like to take him to Napa Valley (love food and wine) and Paris, France (food, wine, and architecture!).
Are you an introvert or extrovert?
My husband calls me the Energizer Bunny! Ninety percent of the time I’m extroverted and thrive talking to strangers, telling stories to make people laugh, and driving the to-do list both personally and professionally. Then, suddenly, I crash and need to be quiet and alone with just my animals to re-charge.
What is your favorite blog, podcast, or book?
I am super into Marie Forleo right now. She has a cool, quirky energy I like. I want to be her when I grow up! (Or maybe be the late-40ish version of her right now…)
Like reading career path stories? Sign-up for the Her Own Path Insider below.