For this edition of “People of Ptex,” I sat down with Barry Lichtenstadter for a fascinating discussion about the intersection of psychology and sales, the art of listening, and his passion for mentoring youth in his community.
World, meet Barry.
Barry is one of those people that you rarely catch without a smile on his face. Though fairly new to the Ptex team’s printing division, you’d hardly know it. His humble, easy-going personality makes him liked by everyone, and you can always count on him for some deep and oh-so-true insights into how people’s minds work and what makes them tick. For this edition of “People of Ptex,” I sat down with Barry for fascinating discussion about the intersection of psychology and sales, the art of listening, and his passion for mentoring youth in his community.
What’s your job here at Ptex?
I do corporate sales for Ptex’s print division.
Have you always been in sales? What’s your professional background?
For over 10 years prior to working at Ptex, I was a property manager. In that role, it was my job to deal with the most difficult tenants, who didn’t pay their rent, would call the city to claim violations, organize rent strikes—the whole nine yards. I was responsible for diffusing tension in these situations, speaking with the tenants, and negotiating with them both in and out of court. I had a talent for connecting with tenants and bringing them over to my side—and even learned Spanish to gain trust with the tenants. I was able to have much more influence that way because they felt I had their interests at heart. So while I wasn’t doing sales in the traditional sense, I was definitely using sales and people skills in a big way in that role.
Wow. That sounds tough. What do you think it is about you that made you so good at that job?
I love to talk to people, to get to know them and how they think. But most importantly, I love to listen to people. I think that good listening is a talent. Not listening so you can wait for your turn to answer back—that’s what most people do, and it’s not really listening. But truly keeping an open mind to what someone is saying, and genuinely trying to see the world from their view, without any judgment whatsoever. This skill is crucial in so many areas, from work to personal relationships. I am not perfect, but I’m constantly working to be better.
Were you always known as a “people person”?
Definitely not, at least in the sense of being outgoing. But from a young age, I was always intrigued by why some people think differently than others, and what informs our views and behaviors. I read Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People when I was 14 years old. That was eye-opening for me because I realized that my genuine interest in other people and my abilities to listen and empathize were assets I had that I could strengthen further, and that would get me far in life.
How do those skills help you in sales?
Most people think of salespeople as bigtime extroverts who can schmooze up a storm. But, as I said earlier, it’s really about listening. And that’s what i do best. I think that’s what makes me good at my job now, and what made me successful in previous positions I’ve held.
What do you enjoy most about working at Ptex?
I love the vibe, the energy here in the office. I love that even when there’s a tense situation, like a tight deadline, it’s not felt on a personal level. Everyone shares responsibility and works together as a team. There’s a spirit of unity and positivity that makes it such an enjoyable atmosphere.
What do you think many people don’t know about Ptex’s printing division that they should?
We can deliver in ways that most printers can’t, specifically when it comes to turnaround speed and the level of perfection we achieve. We can pull jobs off that seem impossible—and do them without compromising at all on quality.
Can you give me a recent example of a printing job that seemed impossible, but you were able to pull it off?
Just the other week, a new customer called and said they had an event the next day, and totally forgot to print material. By 2 PM we finalized the design, and by 6 PM the materials were delivered. Of course, one should never wait for the last minute on purpose. 🙂 But if you’re in a tight situation and need something fast, there’s no one better than Ptex.
I know you are involved with several community service organizations outside of your work at Ptex. Can you tell me a little bit about that?
Much of my spare time, when I’m not working or with my family, is spent on a few different community organizations, a couple of which I started myself, whose main objective is to support and mentor young men in the community. I help arrange get-togethers and Shabbatons and speak to them one-on-one to support them through some of the challenges they face. I try to inspire them, answer their questions, and prevent them from getting caught up in the wrong crowds.
I can imagine that people skills play a big role there, too.
Oh, absolutely. Many times I’ll get direct messages or Whatsapp messages from guys in the group, and I need to be able to read between the lines and truly hear what they’re saying in order to figure out if there’s an underlying cry for help in there. I see it as my role to support them through whatever difficulty they’re going through and create a safe space for them to ask questions.
What do you love most about your community volunteer work?
I’ve always had this fire of curiosity inside of me and this urge to question, whether about spirituality or life in general. But growing up, I often didn’t feel I was getting sufficient answers. It wasn’t until my teenage years that I got up the courage to ask tough questions and not be afraid. I think this is true for many youths in today’s generation, across many different communities. They have an urge to find themselves and where they belong, but their questions are often squashed or stigmatized, whether by parents, educators, community or culture. When I share my experience, it’s amazing to see how people open up and share theirs. It creates a very deep, human connection with people. I love that.
Do you have a favorite book?
Law of Attraction: The Science of Attracting More of What You Want and Less of What You Don’t by Michael J. Losie
How about a favorite quote?
“Did you try?” —that’s my own.
You can connect with Barry on LinkedIn here, or email him at Barry [at] ptexgroup.com