Reclaiming Sales

Robert Gillette

You need have to sell your soul to be successful. Listen in for interviews with successful sales professionals who have mastered the ability to balance their own needs with those of the company. Real people who have figured out how to meet their sales goals and still sleep soundly at night. People who have discovered how to do their job with honor, confidence, and integrity.

Cultivate a Helpful Work Environment | Building Resilience (5 of 5)
Aug 2 2021
Cultivate a Helpful Work Environment | Building Resilience (5 of 5)
This is the third episode of a five part miniseries on Building Resilience, you can find episode one here. A Helpful Work Environment I hate to date this podcast, but as we're coming to the end of this big COVID-19 pandemic the big IT companies. Apple, Facebook, all these people, they're spending an incredible amount of energy trying to get their staff to come back into the office. They've been working from home for 18 months now, but spent all this money on these big fancy offices.They filled those offices with perks, like free lunches and transportation to and from, and you can sleep there. They seem like a millennials utopia of a workplace. Why the crap do they spend that much money on these fancy offices and those kinds of perks?  Is 6% Enough? I read a study once that claimed that people that sit by a window are 6.5% more likely to show up to work. I mean 6% that's that's not that big a number, but imagine 6% more productivity in your life. Imagine the compounding interest on 6%. When I'm planning for my retirement, they tell me 8% is enough to literally fund my life in perpetuity (if I start saving now). 6% may seem like a small amount but added up over time it's a lot, especially when you're talking about something like productivity that makes the company money. So how much of the environment that you work in, do you think affects your success as salespeople? When the amount of money we earn is usually directly tied to our productivity, how much value do you place on the environment where you work? Does Your Environment Really Matter? At the root of the question is really how much do we believe the environment affects us in general? So I have just a couple of things for you to think about as you, as you ponder the role, your environment and the things around you matter when you're trying to do anything.Like how do you drive when you really have to go to the bathroom? When you're a couple of minutes from home or on a long trip and you really have to pee, how does that affect your driving? When was the last time you tried to sit still when you were cold?  I don't know about you when I'm cold I get really fit. Try standing still without leaning on anything or shifting your weight for 15 minutes. Can you do it? Of course. I mean, especially after I've challenged you to, but why would you actively choose to do those things if you don't have to?  Change Isn't Always Bad We are constantly making changes to our environment, to suit our needs and to suit our motivation. If you're hot, you turn on a fan. If you're cold, you put on a sweater. If you're hungry, you have some food. If you're tired, maybe you take a nap. These are all really important things because they affect how much money we make. Not maybe in a day, but compounded over weeks and months and years. It's important to pay attention to these things, especially now that a lot of us are working from home and might continue to for the rest of our careers. When this pandemic first started, I actually went out and bought a really, really nice chair. And I got a really, really nice desk. And out of my own pocket (I probably should have made my company pay for it), I got monitor stands and, and beautiful lights so that when I'm in my 50,000 zoom meetings that I was going to do, I would look nice. So I'd be happy with the way I looked Because all those things matter to my productivity. It's hard to sit on a prospect phone call for me, if I can see that little square of myself in the corner looking ugly. Get Comfortable So as we round out this resiliency that we're building, I want to talk about and give a couple of tips around maintaining a good work environment. I know for myself, when I'm thinking about my own workspace, there's a couple of things that are just really important to me. I want to settle into a place where I feel comfortable.I mean, physically comfortable. That's why I got the nice chair.
Train Your Lizard Brain | Building Resilience (4 of 5)
Jul 19 2021
Train Your Lizard Brain | Building Resilience (4 of 5)
This is the third episode of a five part miniseries on Building Resilience, you can find episode one here. Your First Sales Meeting Do you remember the first sales call you ever went on? I remember mine, it was terrifying. I was selling advertising to a carpet company, and I just remember sitting down with the store owner: I nearly had a heart attack. I sweat through my shirt. I'm guessing it was just absolutely painful to witness. And it wasn't that I wasn't trained. I knew the script, I had my materials with me, but something about it just... it was terrible. What's the most dangerous or scary thing you do? I'm guessing it's not something all that dangerous. It's certainly not defending your village from a neighboring village who's coming to kill everyone. I'm guessing you don't run from wild animals trying to kill you very often, but biologically, we still have all the systems necessary to facilitate those activities. We have this body brain mixture  that allows us to survive in those situations. I've heard it called unconscious bias and a bunch of other things, but I like the lizard brain.   You and Your Lizard Brain That lizard brain is where our unconscious biases live. It's that part of your brain that  has applications running so that when you walk up to an elevator, you don't like freak out and have to figure out how to use it. It's just processing, always in the background.  It's how we get through the day.It's how you decide if you like a person or not. It's how you figure out if it's safe to be where you are, or if something that you're going to eat is going to kill you.  I don't think we could survive as humans without that kind of lizard brain, but it does also screw up a lot of stuff in the modern world.This part of our brain is where racism lives. It's the part of our brain that makes stupid financial decisions. It's how we get taken advantage of when you go to carnivals and you can't do the actual calculation of how likely you are to get the fricking ring over the bottle to win the prizeThis part of your brain is what spam messages were invented to exploit. This is why we have so many cybersecurity problems in this country. Or I guess in this world are frigging everywhere right now. There's a great book called Thinking Fast and S low another fantastic read if you get the chance. This is the fast part of our brain, that thinks very quickly and processes a ton of information. But also makes a lot of mistakes.  Your Lizard Brain Thinks You're in Danger  So chances are the scariest thing you actually do in real life is a sales meeting. You've got to talk to strangers, you're in an unfamiliar location. You have to ask that stranger for money. And if you don't get that money, your brain, at least your lizard brain is thinking I might lose my job. And maybe my spouse will leave me, and maybe I'll get evicted or I'll lose the place where I live. I guess maybe I have to live in a national force somewhere in caves for the rest of my life, which is probably going to be short life because I'm going to get sick and die. And everyone that I know in love will starve to death. Maybe. Of course this is stupid. You know (in your conscious mind) that this isn't real, but your lizard brain does not care what your conscious mind says. It's got its own thing going. And then you add adrenaline to that and you've got a real problem. You can't think. You can't talk, and your lizard brain thinks you're going to die. Thinks you're being attacked by lions or your villages burning to the ground. It's the scariest thing that's happened to you all day, maybe all year.  You Need Some Dynamic Range It's possible to give your lizard brain a greater range to work with and to redefine in a very tactile and physical way, that a sales meeting is not a life or death situation. And the way we do that is by introducing a little bit of actual life and death.Now hear me. I'm not saying you should become a superhero o...
A Formula for Daily Motivation | Building Resilience (3 of 5)
Jul 12 2021
A Formula for Daily Motivation | Building Resilience (3 of 5)
This is the third episode of a five part miniseries on Building Resilience, you can find episode one here. Spinning 'round in Circles You may have heard, it said that those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. What goes around comes around. The pendulum swings both ways... and obvious cliches. But realistically, we all know that this is true. Humans live and run on cycles: annual holidays, birthdays, new year's monthly bills, weekly routines work, rest rinse, repeat as salespeople. We live and die by monthly, weekly, or annual sales quotas; but we make money one day at a time.A day is just the chunk of time can, most meaningfully control. Minutes and hours... they're just too small, too fleeting; and too subject to the fate and will of another. Weeks are also hard to grasp. You can review a week when the week is over, but on any particular day, you're just focusing on that day. You're not thinking about the week in total. Each day seems to be filled with opportunity and purpose. They just seem to be the smallest chunk of time that we can reasonably manage. Clichés for a Good Reason Every day can be a new day. The sun can rise and it can be the first day of the rest of your life. Today can also be the last day you ever drink, or the first day you stop letting that thing from your past, hold you back. Every moment in history started on a day. Every great victory was won on a day. The greatest events of your life may sweep across many years or weeks building up to that day, but we always measure it back to a day. It's apropos that I'm releasing this episode right after a holiday weekend, 4th of July. We blow stuff up. We eat too much. Maybe we drink too much, and then we have a tough week to get through where no one's really in the office anyways. So we going out our numbers and we trudge through. But now is the week after, and we're in the middle of the summer, and it's very tempting to slack off on any one day. One of the greatest challenges we have in sales is that our success feels like powerful highlights in the midst of long gray dullness, a series of wins and losses spread over a lifetime. The Value of Any Single Day But that's not what it really looks like. In reality, a successful sales career is a series of performing the right activities over thousands of days. That's what discipline, and consistency are for. And for a few glorious days, every month or year, you will reap the benefit of that consistent work, that consistent discipline. You'll close a deal and you'll celebrate. But you didn't close the deal just on that day, there was a lot of work that went up to that. It will seem like these wins, fall out of the sky or reward by fate or chance, but that's not how it works. A successful career can be measured by successful days.Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. Each day, affords us an opportunity to waste the resources we've been given. Each day gives us a chance to be one day further away from success. Every day we waste can be rust gathering on the ball-bearing, which slowly grinds your career to a halt. No single day of sprinting or no single day of laziness will lead to your total success or failure.It's a sum total of the efforts spent over time. It is therefore very important to spend your days wisely. One who is wise realizes that there are only so many hours in the day that can be spent working. One must sleep. One must rest. One must be more than a sales person. You have to pay bills, and go to the DMV, and buy groceries, and cook food. Setting aside specific hours for work and protecting those hours is one of the most efficient ways to have a successful day. Protect your working hours by creating bookends around them. Creating and Using Bookends Bookends are probably going the way of the Rolodex. But in the same way a bookend can hold books up on the shelf, a morning and evening ritual can keep your hours propped up throughout the day.
You Need a Better Why | Building Resilience (2 of 5)
Jul 5 2021
You Need a Better Why | Building Resilience (2 of 5)
This is the second Episode of a five part miniseries on Building Resilience, you can find episode one here. You Need a Better Why I really struggled with math in high school. It's not like it was hard for me to understand the concepts, algebra is great geometry I loved, I just wish wish someone had told me why it was important. I didn't understand when I was going to use any of this. If somebody had come to me and said Robert, "As a sales guy, you're going to make a bunch more money. If you can multiply large numbers in your head." Yeah, I probably would have cared a lot more, I would have taken it more seriously. But nobody gave me a good reason why I should give a rip about math. I mean, my teachers would joke about how I'm not going to have a calculator with me all the time, which I guess the joke is on them because my phone, my watch; they all have calculators on them. Start With Why Simon Sinek, I saw a Ted talk from him and he has a good book about this titled Start With Why. It's great and you should go read it. As salespeople, we really want to start with the what and the how, and then maybe if we have time we get to the why. When people ask, "What do you do for a living?" It's just really easy to say I do IT Support, or I'm in sales... but that's not really what anyone's asking. What people really care about is why. Why do you exist? Why does the world care? And I guess the problem is that the why is just so much more important than the what or the how, but it's a lot more difficult to define and to lay down. As salespeople, we need to have a really good why. Selling a great product isn't the same thing as having a great why. It's not enough to just be good at your job and meet your quota. It's not enough to have a lot of success as a sales person. I mean, those things  help, but they're not going to get you through the tough times. That's because pain is really hard to deal with without a good why. You encounter people that have pain every day, they're called prospects and a ton of them don't buy. They just do what they've been doing.  Fear is Poor Motivation I just want to talk real quick about the fear of losing your job. The fear of losing your job is not a good motivator. Think of it as the coal of motivation. It'll certainly do the job. It'll get hot. It'll get you moving or create steam and the engine can run, but it burns dirty. Being afraid of poverty, or losing your job, or the shame of being homeless creates a lot of pollution in your life. Fear can get you through the week, or month, but it's hard to be successful over the long term.You also have to have a good reason to keep going when the job isn't that tough. What happens when you meet your quota? Whether you meet your quota or you miss your quota, I'm guessing a whole lot of your success is the consistent activity every day. Again, and again, and again, no matter what. We talked about this in the last episode, the discipline to keep moving forward.If you've met your quota, you have to still keep going. But also when you make more money than you ever thought, humanly possible. It's going to be really hard to keep doing the job if you aren't afraid anymore. Your Why Must Be Emotional Humans are driven by emotion, whether we like it or not. That emotion flows through us like a river. You may be able to direct the water of a river one way or another, you could maybe dam it up for a while, but that water is going to go where it wants.  It's going to keep coming. It's going to do what it's going to do. There's only so much you can affect it. Correctly managed, those emotions can be an incredible fuel. They can be very powerful, like a hydroelectric dam, or they turn turbines and create lots of energy. But incorrectly managed, emotions can destroy cities. Well, at least your metaphorical version of cities. Unchecked emotions can be incredibly destructive. Your why has to be emotional and it must drive you.
Discipline Cultivates Personal Resilience | Building Resilience (1 of 5)
Jun 28 2021
Discipline Cultivates Personal Resilience | Building Resilience (1 of 5)
Why You Need Resilience What makes a great athlete, or entrepreneur, or scholar, or spelling bee champ? Is there anything they have in common? Is there a trait they all share? Angela Duckworth calls it Grit. I've always known it as resilience. Call it whatever makes the most sense to you, but you know what I'm talking about. It's the ability to push through and do the work with a level head regardless of how things are going. It's the ability to push yourself to make that next dial, or answer that email, or knock on that door regardless of your emotions, your percentage of quota, or activity for the day. Early in my career I would have good days where I was on fire, and bad days where everything sucked... but then I had days where it just didn't seem to matter. I just did the work. I would get from A to B, and nothing (good or bad) was going to stop me. You Can Build Up Resilience Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Sharpening the axe represents training, and Chopping represents the actual work. Resilience is the inclination to get up and complete the task at hand. Grit is the part of you that knows, without saying it out loud, one way or another that tree is coming down. So much of what separates a top-performing salesperson from an average one is indefinable and nuanced. It's not just about the product or company, territories and timing, talent and training... there is something more. But when it comes to minimum levels of success, resilience is what separates the salesperson from unemployment. Personal resilience, the ability to do the work in any circumstance, is mandatory for any measure of success in sales.This is the first episode in a five part miniseries that will help you do just that; develop a resilience (or grit) that will help you be more consistent and reliable. Building up resilience is easy if you start small, be consistent, and have a plan. In following episodes I'll dive deep into things like motivation and the unconscious mind, but for now I want to simply introduce the idea that this is basically resistance training, like lifting weights. This kind of mental toughness can be trained into you. When one is working out any other muscle, putting pressure on it builds up strength. And just like doing to the gym once won't make you buff, building up some resiliency is going to take time and discipline. Discipline as a Tool for Building Resilience When I first started in sales I remember hearing my manager tell the group that to be successful in sales, one needed to be disciplined. That immediately made me nervous, because I am a really big guy... not in a good way either. I've struggled with my weight since the fourth grade and as I record this I am just as overweight now as I was then. I've always connected my unhealthy habits to a lack of discipline, and there's no getting around that, but self discipline with food is not the only measure of discipline. I don't do drugs, I'm a reliable, loving father and husband. I show up early to my meetings and I don't miss my deadlines. I have a process for prospecting, selling, and developing referral partners that I apply relentlessly. So what if I struggle to put down the burrito. There is lots of evidence that I am a man of consistency and discipline. I'm not perfect by any measure, but since when was that a reasonable requirement for success? Homework Step one of building some resilience is to apply some discipline to your life. Even if you consider yourself to be a disciplined person, I want to you stretch yourself this week and find something in your professional life that can use a little resistance training. I recommend it be something small, but inconvenient. Think of that one habit, or process that you don't do because it just doesn't fit into your current routine. Maybe it's sending a summary email at the end of all your meetings this week.