Episode 16: Success in Sales Leadership Using DISC


Welcome to the show everybody. On this episode, we are talking about leadership. And we’re talking about that because Clint has moved into a leadership position. So the things that we go super deep on is how to scale sales results when you are the leader, how to put the right people in the right seats, and just how to make sure that you’re being the most efficient as you can as a leader. We also talk about as a salesperson, you know how to deal with bad leaders and good leaders, and how to stay in front of that. If you’re getting any value out of the show, please share it with someone else. There’s a lot of episodes now and we cover a bunch of different topics. And if you don’t know where you are, if you’re not sure where you are on this scale D, I, S, or C, let us know send us a email – assessment at sales throwdown.com and we can get you hooked up with one of the assessments and that way you can know where you are. I hope you enjoy the show.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the main event. In the D corner we have Clint The Cleaver Bigelow. In the I corner we have Al The Gambler Daniel. In the S corner we have Nan The Promoter Fallman. In the C corner we have John Small Mountain Hill. Let’s get ready to throwdown!

Welcome to the show everybody. Today we are talking about a relevant topic to at least one of us here at the table. And it’s about kind of what happens when you’re good in sales. Right? You know, when you when you own the craft, right and you own your, your, your knowledge and your progression you get good. What does it lead to? And that’s particularly relevant because Clint has made a, made a change. Can you talk about it a little bit?

Sure. I can. I can do that. All right, go ahead. So recently I’ve made a change to a management role over sales and engineering and pre construction side for my, for my world.

So now this is with a different company though, right?

It is. So leaving one. Don’t look back, move on.

Yeah, so we’ve all, I think, have had bad sales leaders.

Well hold on, let’s, but he also gets a title right which hold on. Sure. So you’re vice president of the corporation. So you’re running, you’re running from the top.

You know, to me that’s a big deal. I don’t know if it’s…

Absolutely, it’s a big deal.

…to some it’s not. For me, it’s it’s about realizing that I think that, what I, what I know how to do my processes work and using those to push another organization forward. I mean, I think that’s big, right. I think I think as salespeople a lot of times we get bogged down by the you can’t or don’t do or do what I say. And you know how to do the right thing. Right and and I’ve been, look guys, I’ve been stuck in that I’ve been a part of that those organizations where it’s Hey, that sounds like a good idea maybe do it our way for a little while. I’m thinking, man, you know, as a high D, I know how to do this. Just let me fly, if you let me fly, I win. And not everybody thinks that way. Right. Not everybody in leadership thinks that, there’s a confidence right there’s a there’s a certain mentality of leadership that will let you work within your limitations.

So something stuck out. You said I win, did you mean we win, the team…

No, I mean I win.

the company wins.

Well that’s, that’s an important distinction.

That’s when that little plaque on the, you guys, read that first, I won.

So maybe reword it that if you win, we all win.

Look, I look I can take it back to all the way back to the Marine Corps side, your team is…

Wait, you’re in the Marines?

I was in the Marines, okay, if you didn’t know that.

It’s been a while since we’ve talked about that, so.

That’s a good question.

You know, it’s team orientation, small unit leadership, right? There’s a certain type of leader that can really harness the talents of people in their team. It’s, it’s, it’s big, it’s important to talk about right. Not everybody, not every leader can can recognize talents and harness it, right. Some people view it as a threat. Some people look down on the people that they have in their team and they say, Oh, shit, I can’t let that guy fly because he’s going to surpass me.

Well, it’s got to be my way.

Well, sure, or let’s call middle management douchebags.

It really is.

“Middle management” is what he was trying to say.

Yeah, in a nice cordial way. Sure. I’m not saying that I’ve worked for those people that you know look at me and think God I gotta harness this guy because he’s going to be a threat to me. I’m not saying that but what they didn’t do was use me to my full potential. And that’s guys, you guys are listening to this and you think cocky asshole, ego driven? Yeah.

Well, because this is really interesting to me because out of the box, I don’t view, this is a blanket generalization, I don’t view these as very great sales leaders unless they put in the work that, you know, you have, right. To be self aware and to, and and to understand that different people have different motivations and and they they take in information differently.

Me coming in as a as a leader of an organization. If I could go back to 2009 2008, 7, Ramadi, Iraq, was big, people were I mean, bad situations right? You had 19 year old kids learning how to how to deal with it right learn how to how to lead teams. I look back on that I think man What can I take away from that? I take away things like man you had a great team but maybe didn’t know that those personalities that you had were the right fit right or or they weren’t doing the right job. So I take a lot of that stuff and it all go back to a great book, man, Extreme Ownership, Jocko Willink, Leif Babin. Man, fantastic book, John, I know you’ve read it. Books like that, they’re funny because they harness all those tools of you know, I’m a I’m a good leader. I feel like I know people, but I don’t know how to move forward. Right. So books like that, information like that. When I’m talking about is, is don’t be scared as a leader, sales leader, operational leader, doesn’t matter. You got to look at your team and realize that people have strengths. And that goes along, along with DISC, D, I, S, and C. Right? So you may be a D, you may be in a leadership position or, or an S and you look at people as threats, but you can’t. You gotta look at these people as they have talents there. They’re here for a reason. And how can I utilize them to make our team the greatest right? So I’ll tell you this as a salesperson, I’ve been in a couple different organizations, I’ve worked my way through the ranks I’ve, I’ve had a couple different types of leadership. And I’ll tell you this, if you don’t view me as a strength, I will leave you, right. And that’s tough to hear. I’ll leave you and I’ll go do it for somebody else and I’ve talked about this a bunch. I believe in, I believe in team unity. I really do. Believe in me to get the job done, and I’ll do it for you. If you don’t, I’ll go do it for somebody that does. And I’m in this situation right now where I fought it, tooth and nail. Every day, I did the grind. And don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t I didn’t lay down on the cut. I didn’t I didn’t cower away from anything. I was successful, had two of the most record successful years in sales that I could have only to prove the point that where I’m going is warranted. Does that make sense? Absolutely.

Can I ask a question? Yes. Right. So So as a D, right, and wanting to win, you know, doesn’t that kind of fly counter to this idea that if you don’t see value in me, then I’m going to go someplace else like, like you don’t have any kind of trigger around. I’m going to work my ass off until you do see value in me. Well, the thing is,

Well, the thing is, yeah, yes, yes and no. Because I’ll tell you this, I’ve had some of the greatest leaders to ever graced this planet be in charge of me and handled me very well, right? They’ve, they’ve harnessed my energy, they put me in situations where I’m going to be successful, that makes them successful. And ultimately, as a team, we’re all successful. Right? They realize those powers they realize those strengths. And they also but don’t get me wrong, guys. They realize my weaknesses. I can’t put that guy in that situation. So fail, right? that’s a that’s a big thing. Right. As a leader, I challenge you. I mean, DISC is huge. D, I, S, and C, what corner are you in, and what corner are you trying to hire. What’s successful?

Which brings up a good point because sitting where I sit, I want to know what where my employees fit on that DISC spectrum. And I think as a sales leader, and everybody in my company has some kind of aspect of either contact with patients or contact with other physicians, you hit on a good point. Sometimes I don’t know, right off the cuff, right? And so some of these analysis, you know, your programs out there or the questionnaires to give you insight, I think a real valuable tools, are huge, to to shorten that learning curve. Because I’m a stood around somebody long enough, but sometimes if you’re in a sales leadership position, you’re going to get a glimpse of that person, you’re going to get their, you know, their, their, their shiny side, if you will.

Well, Doc, everybody looks good on a resume. Right, right. And if you got a call through, they put down three references, you think you’re going to put down bad references?

There’s a syst… there’s a game going on there.

I mean, I just went through this right. So you know, I get I get a call from my new employer. This is a menu your references reached out and sounds sounds fantastic. Everything you said, Well, of course I did.

Oh man, I totally I totally threw him under the bus when he called me. Yeah.

The thing is, as a high D, I actually put a guy on my list that if anybody was going to tell the truth about me if anybody was gonna say anything, but that’s my confidence, right? That’s my ego. I don’t I don’t care. Because if you’re going to say some shit about me, I’ve already said it. Right. It’s already known. And that’s, that’s a big. I said, it’s a big deal. But that’s a high D trait, right? It’s like, Look, the proofs in the pudding. Ask me all the questions you want. I’m here.

Okay, you do, but that’s something I’m going to do next time. Right? I’m going to find the guy that would say, because I know who I’m talking about, that his his the the inflection wouldn’t be there. Wouldn’t be happy cakes, but he would say Did a damn good job. But damn it All right.

Let me tell you. Yeah, let me tell you about this guy. Yeah, you know, and I think that’s the thing. So, what’s funny about leaders, you know, man, I’ll always go back to the Marine Corps with this because they taught every single person and you guys, I mean, we got three vets up here, right? You guys were taught leadership pretty early on, whether you knew it or you didn’t.

Well they stack it in boot camp, right, when you’re sitting there.

Whether you knew you were leading or you didn’t. What you realize is strength and weaknesses, constantly. Right? Like that’s, that’s your that’s your first initiative is to look at people and say, okay, are they physically strong? Are they mentally strong? Or do they know about knowledge of the Army or the Marine Corps or Navy? What do they know?

That’s so vital in any, in sales, relationships.

But that’s a great point, Nannette, is that that that’s really vital, right. Because in the sales role in like, okay, in Doc and Nan’s field in medical sales, you got to be technically proficient. You can be the greatest smooth talker in the world but if you can’t talk to a surgeon, what’s the point? Right? In my world and construction, man, look, there’s a million sales people out there that can walk into a room and say, I am a salesperson, I sell all this stuff and they say, okay, but how do you do that? And a lot of sales people say, I don’t know, man, let me call. Let me introduce you to my ops guy. And that’s okay. I’m not I’m not…

There’s not anything inherently wrong with that.

Yeah. Look, I’m not pushing you away from that at all. What I’m saying is that if you can gather that confidence to talk about those things. Go ahead.

Well, when you said let me introduce if that is perceived as part of your team, when you can set that up and you can really run with that. And it shows depth and breadth.

But that’s hard for a D though, right? To be willing to pass the baton.

I would never.

Inherently, I inherently, no, I would never want you to go around me and talk to one of my engineers.

But if if it’s under your suggestion that this is my man that you need to speak to specific to that event, then that’s using your team to its greatest advantage.

So you brought up a good point. And that’s what goes back to leadership. So if you’re in a leadership position of sales, or pre-construction or man, even the president of a branch office, doesn’t matter if you if you own a sales team, right? If that’s your if that’s your guys, you’re going to have sales people that go out there and maybe you’re listening to this and you’re that guy that can walk into a room and you can sell the world but you can’t sell the technical side and need to bring somebody else in right? That’s okay. I’m not not pushing away from that. Your leader, your guy, and if you don’t have this, guys, I don’t know if I speak for the rest of group but I’ll tell you this. If you don’t have that guy above you that has confidence in you to make the sale or to follow through with the things that you say you can do. Go fucking find it. Go find it, you know.

Build that team.

Do not try to do this, not even if you’re a D, it doesn’t matter, you cannot be out there on your own, you’re not going to be successful.

I think I said this in, in my original team D podcast was that I could sell a million dollars worth of mechanical work. I can’t do that by myself. No, I can try. I’ll probably fail at it. But I can’t do it. What I told you that we could do and remember the word we because we is important we as a team, and that goes from you down but it also goes upwards. Right? And that’s where I was struggling. With with true leadership was can you lead me because I’m a I’m an asset to your team. I believe that. I can be the biggest asset or I can be the biggest failure. I can be the biggest ass, I can. But I can walk in and ruin your day or I can make your day. Great, right? It’s all about you as a leader to harness my energy and put it forth into a common goal.

Okay, so, to get us a little bit on track, right, so this is the first there’s a great book that talks about this very topic. It’s called Good to Great and I cannot remember who the author is, but we’ll put it in the show notes. But he talks about this idea that, you know, you got to have the right people in the right seats, right. And if you do that, then the bus gets to where it’s going.

Well, how many times how many times do you guys listen to people? I mean, I know I know. I do. You listen to sales, leadership, and they tell you like, ah man, I got these two assholes, right. I got these two sales guys. They, yeah, they were pretty good back in the day, but they suck now. Right? I’ve heard that. I listen to it all the time. Hell, I might even have been that guy. I don’t even I don’t know. I might even been I might even been the guy on the receiving end of that guy. Talking about me. My thing is that what happened when they were great when they were great and and what happened to now that they’re not great?

Well, this is, you know, at the heart of what I’m trying to do with my, with my company, right is trying to figure out like what is separating the A players from the B players and trying to capture that lightning in a bottle right.

Because it’s not personality, John.

Like no, no, absolutely right. It’s it’s, there’s so much more

You of all people, yeah. And you know, Geof, I know Geof a little bit. You of all people should know and and you’ve worked for both of these people with, or or for. You of all people should know that it’s not a personality because on paper, you are not a salesperson, for sure. You’re just not. A high C. I wouldn’t hire them in a million years if that’s what they showed up on paper and I was only hiring in that realm. I would not hire you. However, you’re one of the greatest sales people. I know. Why is that? You know, it’s not because you’re on chart, the worst salesperson because that’s what it would view as. It’s because you’ve, you’re self aware, you know, a process, you stick to the process, and you work throughout it right? And you know how to communicate with the other personalities out there? That’s big, right? So as a leader, do you recognize that you have those people? Can you teach them the traits? Because look, do you feel threatened? Do you feel threatened? Because Look, man, if you feel threatened, you shouldn’t be there.

You shouldn’t be leading anybody.

Shouldn’t be there. Absolutely. And no, that’s a blanket statement. And you know what? I’m going to go ahead and say this. But you shouldn’t be there. I mean, period. Yeah. I mean, I really say that.

So let’s talk about like how, how this normally shows up in sales teams, but then I have some questions about you and your and your transition. But, you know, what typically happens is whenever there’s some kind of change in sales leadership, you promote the top producer.

Which is the word sometimes it’s the worst fucking thing you can do.

I’m gonna say it’s like 95% the worst thing for you to do. I would agree. Because when you take the producer, yeah, right, and you’re gonna take him out of the field, which now puts a ton more pressure on everyone else in the field and you’ve got this guy who’s really good at providing for himself, right? So he can fix his own problems, right? That typically leads to a lack of patience, but you said it.

But you said it. You said it. He can fix his own problems.

Sure. No, absolutely that’s what I’m talking about.

He can’t fix everybody else’s problems.

Because like the good leader is going to let you fail.

Look, man, I will say this over and over again. There’s a 19 year old kid at Texas A&M or TCU or, or whatever university that’s a better leader than you are at 65 years old. Sorry. If that hurts, you’re at that hurts your balls. Guess what? Sorry. Just Just because you’re old doesn’t mean that you’re a leader does just because you have just because you have tenure does not make you elite. Absolutely. It makes you as a really good producer and you should maximize those efforts. Right? But doesn’t make you a leader of people. I know estimators that could estimate the shit out of projects. They are the best ones. And you put them in charge of pre-construction team. They fail. They fail. You know why they fail? Because they’re not leaders. They’re estimators. Yeah. And they do that well.

And here’s the deal. Not you’re, you’re speaking to this point. But to make it very clear, not everyone is meant to be a leader, right? And not every person is meant to be an entrepreneur, right? You know, there’s so many people I know who start their own thing, and then they run around telling everyone else that they need to go out on their own. And a lot of people aren’t, well, cut out for it.

It’s one of the few things that I’ll tell you that you’re born with. It’s one of the few things.

What, being an entrepreneur or being a leader?


I disagree with that actually.

And I’ll say, Okay, I’m not and I’m not telling you you can’t grow into it. I’m not saying that. I’m saying that some people are very, it doesn’t matter. The DISC profile, really doesn’t. D, I, S, and C. And I hope you’re listening out there because I am not holding any grudges against any personally trait. You you sometimes are born a leader, you just have confidence, you know that you can get it done, you know that you can harness people’s energy to make the team great, you can do that. Some people are born with it. Some people learn that fact, some people will try to learn that fact. I’m going to tell you, if you’re reading a book on leadership and how to lead, guys, you’re behind the curve. I’m sorry.

So okay, but, man, I want to dig into this.

I know, that’s a tough thing to hear.

Because, you know, I think because of the work that I’ve done, and everything else, like, you know, I have a secondary business where I place sales people with agencies, you know, and work with them to like, make them better and stuff like that. But I wouldn’t have been able to do that. You know, four years ago, you know, five years ago. It would have, I mean, it might have worked, but maybe not. So, how did I how did I get from there to here? It’s books. It’s working on myself.

I’m not saying you can’t do it. Don’t get me wrong.

But you kind of just said that if you’re reading a book about leadership, you’re wrong.

I’m saying that, okay, let me put it this way. The simplest form of leadership, I think we’re talking about that today, right? Leadership, simplest form of leadership. Take off running, get 100 yards down the road. This was explained to me by a very smart man, in my life, mentor, turn around. Are people following you? Because if they are you’re leader.

Or you stole something from them.

But you’re, maybe, that’s that’s a fun way to put a twist in it. But uh, I think the simplest form is that if you can talk to people and you walk away and you say follow me and people following you 10 steps down the road, you’re you’re just a leader. People have that. Look, look, John, people have that. But I’m not saying you can’t develop it.

Doesn’t mean you’re a great leader. Hitler had a ton of followers.

No, I agree with that. It doesn’t it doesn’t mean anything, twisted leadership, it doesn’t mean anything, it just means that you’re a leader. What you do with that leadership is on you.

Okay, so that brings up a point that I want to make that I think great leaders or people that are leaders find value in those that they keep around and that they have underneath them. And then those people in turn find value in their leadership.

No, I agree. Let me put it into my world a little bit, and I’ll put it into a construction atmosphere. What if I have, for example, it’s a big What If, but, what if I have John, who’s a high C on this personality spectrum. I have him as my sales leader. I have Doc. I have him as doing my take off, he’s reading drawings and he’s looking through specs. He’s looking through all these details, right?

Shit’s gonna fall down, but go ahead.

But but you see his reaction right and I have Nan, the S, who’s communicating with customers right. She’s trying to relay all those facts that Doc, who’s not efficient at any of this, relaying to her to deliver.

Fuck you, I’ll get it done. This is hypothetical guys.

So what that speaks to is teamwork.

But all I’m saying, that all I’m saying is that that that’s that’s not a lesson you can win with that, people win with that every day. However if I flip some traits, if I recognize the strengths and I recognize the weakness, and I put John in front of all the details and all the specs and I put doc as my front man to talking to the customers and I I take Nan and she’s the one relaying the mission of it. All right, I care about this. We want to do this for you. If I take those jobs and I twist ’em, right. I’m way more successful, I’m upping my chances, I’m upping my percentages and that’s what leadership to me is right, taking the team that you got, not firing them all and hiring new people but taking their leadership and putting them in the right spot.

Okay, so you’re coming into a company that’s new to you, but the company’s been around for a while. Correct? How many people are you going to be working over? I think it’s 12. Right? And it’s 12 salespeople? or what’s the mix of that?

No, its sales. Its estimating, its engineers. Its takeoff people, it’s BIM coordinators, 3d modelers, it’s a mix.

So how many of those people are sales people?


Two salespeople and then everyone else is kind of back office essentially.

And I’m here to tell you, even if those two guys are listening out there, I’m gonna have a challenge with these guys right? Yeah, cuz they’ve never had a process

Well, there’s that and they don’t know you.

They don’t know me there. And let me tell you, so age is age is big thing, right? They’re older than me.

So what’s that? What does that first week, that first month that first 90 days look like as you trying to get in there, figure everything out. establish your Well, you know, for lack of better term, establish your authority right? Someone that they can rely on and lean on.

Well, you’re you’re talking, you’re, you’re asking the same questions during my interview, right? And my answer to both of you would be, well, let’s establish strengths and weaknesses. And how do you do that? DISC is one. so you’re going to, I mean, absolutely require everybody to take a DISC, DISC personalities. I mean, like, I mean, you can’t and it’s not about you know that that’s a portion. That’s one percent right? Absolutely, there’s so much more, because now I need to take that what you say you are on paper, and I want to bring you in one on one. Right? And I and I’m going to absolutely require every bit of this. Here’s your DISC personality, you say you’re a high I on paper. That’s great. Bring you in, one on one with me and say okay. Do you like your job? are you passionate about your job? Do you like to be here? If not what don’t you like to be? You know, what is it? What about it makes you angry coming here every day?

Do you, do you expect these people who don’t know you, right? You’re new in this role and you’re just forming these relationships? Do you, do you think they’re going to be honest with you? Do you think? Do you think that someone’s going to be like, you know, I don’t really like my job. Let me back up a little bit.

Let me back up a little bit. I think the first step is to create a common goal between the team. And I missed that step. So I think the first step is to create a common goal. And everybody’s involved, right, what are we trying to do here? What’s our daily goal? What are we coming into work for every day? Right? If this is the goal that we all agree upon, that’s step one.

So you said we all agree on, meaning?

How do you get buy in?

I was gonna say, is that a buy in or do you collectively like commune decide whether you?

At the same, but I think that one, I think there’s a ultimate buy in of this is this is what we’re doing. You get on this page or not. Okay?

But that’s not buy in though, that’s because I said so.

That’s step one. Right. This is the buy in, now how do we get there? Right? Because let me tell you go back, go back a little bit to the military side of things. And I’ll tell you this, there was always a goal that we never agreed upon. There was always a goal that I didn’t agree with. I didn’t want to go do that. That wasn’t cool. You put my ass out to the wind. You know, that’s not something that’s just easily swept away. Yeah, yeah. Right. But you start giving me facts and saying things like, Well, here’s why we’re doing it. Right. Here’s what you’re doing this for. And all of a sudden, I start having buy in, right? So I’m not telling you that it’s my way or the highway. And I’m telling you, this is the common goal. And I want to know professionally, how you all think we can get there. And through that, through that debate, through those assumptions, I want to figure out a common goal that works for all of us. Yeah, I think that’s the leadership.

So you’re looking for feedback on Hey here’s?

I’m not looking for you tell me how to do this. I’m looking for Give me your opinions. Let me make a decision, sir. It’s very different. right then. And I and I think that if you do that, you have common buy in on the goal. Or, okay, and if you don’t, get the fuck out,

I agree, but you don’t, that okay, but you’re..

You’re what? Tell me.

I don’t think that people do that though. Right? New guy comes in, you know, is he going to clean house do I still have a job, what, are we going to get along? You know all these things and then you show up and say cool. Here’s our goal. How do you guys want to get there? I don’t think that most people are honest enough to say, you know what, man, I’m out. I gotta go.

Let me take this to a sales conversation, John. Okay. You’re sales. I mean, you’re an expert in this. Okay. I mean, you are. You set an expect… You set a upfront confrontation. You…

Upfront expectation?

Yep, you do discovery questions, you get all this stuff out of them, and then they they lied to you, right? People can do that. Yeah. prospects do that to us all the time.

You can lie to a salesperson and still go to heaven.

They fucking lie to you, right? And then you you move forward, and it’s a bust. It’s a bust. Right? What do you blame that on? Do you blame that on your process? Or do you blame that on the people?

Um, so for a long time, anytime I got a no, I thought it was a failure on my part, right? And then eventually, I just got to the part where not everyone’s qualified, right? Not everyone has, you know, problems that they must solve or they don’t have the budget to solve it. And so then you, for as a C, right, because I hate being wrong. And I think a as a as a no for a long time as being wrong. You eventually get to the point to where, you know, you trust the process and you do everything you can do and then and then everything is fine.

So I agree with you. What I’m saying is that if you take that to the leadership side, same conversation, you have upfront agreements with all your people, and they all buy into the process and somebody lied. That’s on them. Right?

Well, of course it is. But…

It doesn’t make it easy. I’m not saying it’s easy. Okay. I’m just saying that some people lie. And those people, I would expect the the few, right? Yeah, they’re the few.

Or you got a big, big problem.

You got a big problem, right? But you deal with that, right? You deal with it, however you want to deal with it, cut them, utilize their talents in something else. But the fact is, they can lie to you, right? And so can prospects. So can people sitting across from you looking you eye to eye, they can lie to you.

But I have a question for you. So given your personality and who you are, and I mean, you’re a leader. When you have a new team, in maybe there’s somebody who’s lied to you, somebody who’s not not being who they portrayed themselves to be. Do you ever do the sacrificial lamb? Why not?

You know, as a matter of fact, as a high D, that would that you guys would probably think that that would be my first instinct is to cut that person, right? I’m not that way. And that could be me. I don’t know, I’ve watched it, especially the Marine Corps, where it says, have we given them all the tools? Have we provided the training to make this person the best they can be. If you’ve done all that, and they still don’t perform, and they still don’t cut it. Well, that’s a hard conversation to have, right? Look, I provided you all the training. I’ve done all this stuff. I’m sorry, can’t I just can’t have you on my team. You’re just not cutting. You’re not cutting the mustard. See you later. That’s a lot easier to conversation to have after you provided everything that you do, pushed that person forward, but it doesn’t go far from the tree of prospects. It really doesn’t. The sales conversation if you have not qualified or not trained your buyer, okay, see what I’m saying? So like…

There’s that calmness that happens whenever you know that you did everything you’re supposed to do. You asked all your qualifying questions, you talked about budget. It all lined up.

This conversation is a lot about leadership, but it also relates really well to frontline sales. Frontline sales. Absolutely. So if you went into your prospect and you’ve done all the things that you can do and you’ve qualified them or not qualified them, and Look, guys, people are gonna lie to you. It happens, right? But they’re one percenters, don’t worry about it. Don’t put that on your ballot. Don’t worry about that.

They’re not lying to take away from you. They’re lying to do better for themselves.

Self serve.

Right. And they probably told the lie to themselves, right? Yeah, I mean, it. I don’t think it comes with true malicious intent. Sure, because they’re not they just aren’t fulfilling that vision that they had in many cases.

That’s the thing, leadership and with sales, is that you can walk people down your process and people will buy in or they won’t. Right. And if they don’t, you can’t do business with them. Right and sales. You just, there you own the no, right? I can’t do business with these people. They don’t fit me. They don’t fit my process. That, that’s a big struggle for a lot of people,

Depending upon the size of the company, though, right?

What do you mean? Why does it matter?

Well, because in larger companies, there’s so unions. Well, yeah, unions, you’re right, I worked at AT&T. There were and there were unions for sales reps. And the only people who really wanted to be in the union were the people who were never hitting their numbers. It was really…

Don’t say that.

But no, I’m being honest. Right, in my experience, hold on, let me back up so that way, like you’re… Hold on, in my experience at AT&T, and that’s the only union I’ve been around. The only people that were really invested in the Union were were people that wanted the ability to call upon it to save them. Okay, let me

Okay, let me ask you this, as a high C, did you not have a process that it took to get somebody gone?

I wasn’t a leader at AT&T. Okay, but it was really hard. It was really hard to get rid of bad performance, right. The bigger the company, the more red tape is involved with that.

Let me let me ask you a real leadership question. Okay. If you were a leader, which, I didn’t mean that to bust your balls. I’m just saying in that situation.

When do you not?

I was gonna say, how else would you take that statement, Clint?

You’re a leader now.

I’ll let it go. Tell me when you guys are done.

What is the question, I do want to hear?

But if you’re if you’re a true leader in that situation, and you see somebody failing, right. Have you done everything? Have you done everything you could do to really make them successful? Because that’s the ultimate goal, right is to make your team succeed. And if you’re a true leader, you don’t give a shit about you and your quota you give a shit about your team and your quota. Absolutely, I mean, but you also, as a salesperson give a shit about your, your company and your sales quota as a team, not you. That’s a big, that’s a big revelation to some people living out there. I mean, I believe that. So as a leader or as a salesperson, you have to believe in your community and your company and your team and meet the quota of the team and the company, not you, not you, not you, if you’re trying to sell $10 million, because that’s your personal quota. And that’s all you’re going to do. That’s, that’s, its weak sauce, man.

So can I ask you a question? Yeah, this is a question honestly, for everybody. And I know what Al’s answer is going to be but do you think that you Well, sorry, I said I don’t have to answer. Okay. You don’t have to. If you’re a sales leader, should you also be selling?

Everybody? Yes, yes.

I disagree.

100% Yes.

Why do you say that?

Because I believe that some people will believe in you as a leader to get the job done. Just that fact alone, you, Doc is a prime example of this.

No, I know, which is why I’m saying that I think I know what what the answer is. But, uh, but I’m curious for him to like look into it.

If I’m the president of blah, blah, blah, in in a corporation?

Can we back up for a second? Sure. So let’s say that, that you have two sales people, right, and their quota is, you know, $20 million each, because that that seems like a good round number for your for your industry. And then you also have your sales quota. Because like how the company is structured or, you know, it’s part of your responsibilities, and that’s another 20 million.

Here’s what I could tell you, is they both be at 30.

Okay, well, okay, so…

But the point of it is, is that I’m, I’m delegating tasks to people that I believe in to go do that. And I’m only here to help and if I can only push sales, and if I can help you in any way to meet that quota, I’m in. But the quota is the company, not me.

Exactly. Right. So you’re saying no, you’re just taking the roundabout answer. Right? Because if I gotta fulfill my quota, but I’m also supposed to like coach and mentor and bring people along with me to like, make sure that they hit their quota. That is a, that is, that’s being stretched and pulled pretty thin.

But he just said that we’re looking at the totality of the quota right now. What is it so you can pay bills?

That’s what I’m saying. Right? I think…

That’s how I see it.

I think, I think that as an organization, right, if you’re gonna, if you’re gonna promote a sales leader, you give, you give that person the goal and say, Look, this is what you’re responsible for. And, and it’s on that person to say, if I can’t fulfill at a different level…

Maybe I need seven salespeople. Absolutely. Right?

Because like, maybe maybe the quote is 1.4 million. Right then, or 140 million.

But John, you’re talking about a process that has to be developed. Simply put.

Hold on, hold on. I’m really just honestly asking, because I have a pretty strong opinion about this. If you are a sales manager, should you have a quota that you are solely responsible? No, no,

No, no, no. Absolutely not.

Okay, absolutely. I’m just making sure because I think that that is inherently kind of…

And I’ll tell you why.

You can’t. you can’t play both sides in my opinion.

Well, I think that one’s a leader, and one’s a salesperson. Right

But I think the leader should be able to go out and sell, as an example.

So let me ask you in in kind of a stupid question back to you. If you if you were a leader of project managers of multiple construction sites, and your quota was to manage $40 million a year. Do you have to go out to the construction sites and run jobs to meet up your 10? Let’s say $10 million of the 40. No, you don’t do that. You run project managers.

You better be a good enough leader that you don’t need to.

It depends upon the scope. Right? I mean, that’s why, that’s why this is so important.

But most people in leadership, it gets convoluted, right? Because on sales, we think that, oh, you’re a salesperson, we need to promote you to be the leader of sales people. So therefore you have two sales people underneath you, but you’re still a salesperson.

Yeah, that’s not really a sales leader.

That’s kind of what you’re talking about.

Can be though. Because as a sales leader, you’re in charge of scalability.

That’s a good point.

No, I agree.

That’s your job. And if it means that you’re assisting, if it means that you’re part of the process, I don’t care what it means. If we’re looking at how we scale this up, then that’s business success, which is sales success depending on what industry you’re in.

Well, I think it all develops back to your your will say, process, your cookbook. If you if you have two sales leaders that are doing 40 million a year and your growth is 60. The house takes 20. Right? Because that’s your, that’s your scalability, that’s what you can do. So the house is me, and whoever else there is underneath that right to make up that other portion. In my arena, we call that… If I can only do one, then that’s all I can do. And that’s all in your process. It’s all in your cookbook. That’s then that means that the salespeople the outside sales reps have to go do more, because I can only do one, but it doesn’t matter. I’m the leader. And I have to delegate that task. No, I agree.

No, I agree. Okay, we’re not. I don’t think that we’re we’re arguing the opposite sides of a point here, are we? I don’t know. Right. Like, inherently, in my, in my opinion, you get the goal from like senior leadership, you know, depending upon how big you know, the company is. And if that goal is not scalable for one person, then you start to go say, Okay, cool. Let’s bring in a team. Let’s make sure that we can hit this goal.

Maybe you’re that guy, maybe you are in a leadership position that can do that. Chances are it’s not scalable. Chances are. Maybe for the first year, right? Your goal is 40 million, your sales rep can do 30. You’re one where you got to make up the 10. But what happens next year when you got to do 30, and 20, or 30, and 30, or 40 and 40.

Well you bring on other salespeople.

That’s what but that’s the point, right, is that as a leader, you should recognize those those attributes to say, Okay, I need two salespeople. And if I train them up, right, and I do a process and this process works,

And I get it get because sometimes the territory becomes there’s a shift or their new players or you’re selling into a market that now has more targets or it has less targets. So as a manager, you start looking around that, where where do we find our business? Is that is that class growing? Or is that class shrinking? What are our margins looking like, what does it take to make the same money that my people made last year? But let me Those are all real management questions.

But let me take you back. Let me take you back a little bit. Because if you don’t prepare for us to say 2020 beforehand, right? If you’re walking in 2020 on January one, and that’s your fiscal year, and you’re saying, oh, by the way, we want to grow 20% this year. It’s too late. Oh, yeah, this is too fucking late. You haven’t prepped, you haven’t done anything. You haven’t hired anybody to do that. Your cookbook says you can’t do that. Or maybe you can. But not with these people that you have, right? It’s too fucking late. It’s a quarter before two quarters before maybe even a year before? Oh, absolutely. But the point of it is, is that you’re talking about solving the solution on January one to step into January one and go forward. This too late is just too late. That’s prior that’s, that’s what’s been going on look. Alright, so Seven P’s – prior proper planning prevents piss poor performance. Where’d you hear that? This Marine Corps? Oh, yeah, no. But it works.

But it works, right? So like if you are walking into the day that you need to do something, sales, sales conversation, planning for the next fiscal year, it doesn’t matter, man. It’s a day to day thing or a fiscal thing or a quarterly thing. If you have done nothing to prep for those, those days coming up, you’re failing. You’ve already you’re done. You’re wishing you’re hoping you’re fighting the everyday battle that we all hate to be in. If you can go back and you can print for leadership sales, especially sales. Sales is always a projection in my book, right? Backlog is what you’re always striving for, not the day to day grind, backlog is what you’re shooting for.

Okay, and then that’s inherent in your business.

Yeah, okay. Yeah. Because, because, you know, I’m speaking I’m speaking to my industry, I’ll give you that. I’ll give you that.

I’m not I’m not selling deals that are going to be I totally get that starting in a year.

I’m not working at at&t right now trying to sell the Deal of the Day. I’m not doing that I’m working for six months in the future trying to work around. That’s my industry.

Longer timelines.

I fully agree with that. If I’m not if my quota annual quota is $40 million a year and I’m not walking into the next year with 12 or $13 million in backlog. I’m already behind the curve you and explain what what backlog is. So backlog is anything you sell in your fiscal year, right in your current year that will be burned or paid out to you and then the following year. So backlog is really big in construction, and that gives you projection that lets you keep guys on staff that lets you keep up.

Cash flow that will keep everybody.

So here’s the deal, though. Hold on real quick. And I think this is important point because a lot of industries are not that forward focused. Yeah. Right. They’re not that forward looking. So what you were doing is saying, cool, I’ve got this backlog, right. I know that for the next year and a half, we’ve got enough business to warrant

If I sold zero dollars, for the next year, I’d be good.

Okay. So for everybody else that doesn’t have backlog and doesn’t look that far into the future. You can still kind of see into the future, right? If you’re if you’re managing a pipeline, and in looking at stuff in what are your trends. Exactly.

I was gonna say, yeah, there’s a look back that projects the look forward, absolutely. As if you’re not looking at where you’ve been, and saying, How do I either emulate that next year, given all the factors I just talked about, how I improve, well and then how would that be better? Absolutely. You’re not asking this question.

I don’t know a single industry that doesn’t have ups and downs, ebbs and flows. Oh, sure. I just don’t. Look, if you sell cars there, you’re going to sell a lot March April, May, and there’s I sell some in September there’s cycle right here, right? So if you’re in that, in that b2b sales and you’re out there and you see those ebbs and flows, how do I combat those downfalls, right? And backlog for me is the way I do that. Okay? Yeah, sure. And that’s the thing is like maybe your cookbook says that I need to sell a shit ton in March so that when June comes along, I’m okay. Right?

Well, you plan vacations, when you’re successful, you you use that downtime to fill your tank personally. There there’s value to the whole cycle.

But you can’t do that without data retention.

And you can’t do that if you’re not successful during the time that you should be successful.

Oh, I mean, this is going to resonate with you really well John, resonate with no G. No fucking G people. Look, my Scott counties coming out resignation. Look, if that resonates with you guys out there as a high C, look, you will be able to map this out right? You will be able to put this on a chart in an Excel spreadsheet, I promise you, you will see your downturns throughout the year the sales cycle and you can, you can literally prepare for that. Right? And look, let me tell you, a nice vacation. Dude, I can tell you. There’s there’s months out of the year in construction. I’ll tell you, July, August being two of them. July, August, January being the third, that I don’t expect a single sale. I just don’t, because that’s not what the industry tells me I can do. The industry tells me that everybody’s coming off vacation in Christmas, and they’re not going to buy shit till February. And then also know in the summer months, they’re going to go on vacation.

And like in the medical field. It was so funny that we’re talking about today. Just today one of my lead neurosurgeons like Nannette, we’re about to get slammed. And I was like Oh my gosh. Oh man, and it’s the truth. You know, what…

To relate that to everybody out there because we live and die by deductibles and out of pockets right for some of the bigger procedures. End of the year there people are like hell I’m already this close, I might as well have that procedure.

What my question always is, are you a 12 month sales cycle? Are you an eight month sales cycle? Are you a six month sales cycle? Because if you’re a six month sales cycle, be honest with it. Yeah. and earn it, use it, right and go use that now. Every and everything that comes in those off months is a bucket bonus. Absolutely. I mean, I believe that. So I will tell you that the company I work for we had a we had a chart posted on my wall outside my door, and the VP’s door we shared walls together, right? And on that wall was a sales chart. We had a sales chart that said, we’re going to do 25 and a half million this year. We’re going to do it, and that means we’re going to 2, 2, 2, 2 and a half, three, right that I made it, I made a graph on Excel. I printed it out every goddamn month because I want to see where we’re at. And those months weren’t, they just, honestly, they weren’t accurate. I wish I could have been more accurate with it because that 2 2 2 2 and a half $3 million this month wasn’t accurate. That was a wish, that was a hope, and a dream.

Because you didn’t have data to back it up?

We didn’t. If I did, it would have went, it would have went like this. I’m going to 2, 2 and a half, 1, 0, 1, 2 and a half, 3. That’s real data. That’s something you can scale on. That’s something you can build a business on. That’s what we’re looking for. And you only get that by data retention and processes.

Are you sure you’re not a C?

I’m a C today, motherfucker.

So Nannette’s been very quiet, right so far. I mean, we’ve been dominating the conversation. So as an as an S…

I’ve had a couple comments.

I’m curious what, you know, when you’re, you know, trying to define like what a good sales leader is for you, right? Like, what are you? What are you looking for? Right? And if you were in a spot to where you had a bunch of salespeople under you, like, how do you think you would handle that?

Respect, to me it’s all about respect. You have to earn. You have to earn the privilege to train someone. And that’s what leadership is to me, you, you’re training someone, you’re showing them the direction that you all want to go. And if you, if I don’t respect you, then I’m not going to follow you. But I’ll figure it out on myself by myself, and then I become the leader. So I think it’s really important. So as I’m listening to Clint, I’m thinking, well, he’s a leader because you don’t get to divert from where he is. But apparently he’s earned the respect. Do you think you have?

Yeah, I mean, I’ll say this. Don’t you want to ding ding it there, Paul, cuz Throwdown Time. Oh man this is. So we’re going to talk on this Throwdown, leadership and sales because they go hand in hand. Right? They really do. They really do in my book, if you cannot have the hard conversations with your team, and/or your prospects, you will never get past the step that you need to get to. And you might be successful 1 out of 10. But, listen, you’re a 10% hit ratio. You’re winning 10% of the time, that’s not good enough in my book, and goddamn it if you’re a D out there, 10% is just not fucking good enough. It just isn’t. I don’t care what industry it is. Look, we can talk about this all day long. If I cold call a million people and I hit one, I’m successful. Look, I’m with you. It’s not efficient. It’s not scalable. As a leader, as a salesperson, go in there. Find the people that you have with you. And I say with you strongly. Not under you, not over you, with you. This is a freakin team. Take that team and how do I maximize the talent to get to where I need to go and maximize my hit ratio. So I’m making the most profit off my sales. That’s what I’m telling you to do. And the one of the ways that you do that is DISC personality assessments, not just DISC, anything. Psychological selling is huge, psychological leadership is huge. Ask any leader in the Marine Corps, the Navy Seals, Air Force that I mean, the Army Delta guys, I mean, it’s all psychological, right? They are dealing with people that have talents, they’re putting the talents to use. That means the same in leadership is it does in sales, utilize the talents, get to your goal, data retention, take that data what you can and can’t do, and put it down on paper and figure out where your weak spots are, where your strengths are and maximize both. Right.

Okay. Al?

You know, from a leadership standpoint, I think you lead by example. I think that, I agree with Clint that, you know, if you’ve got weaknesses, then you you fill that void and you give people the tools to overcome those weaknesses, you show them by example. But inherently you have to understand the people that you’re working with and around, and you’ve got to develop. And this goes back to what we spoke of earlier, that sense of, you know, ownership of your portion of the puzzle that you complete. And then everybody plays a part in that I can’t get to it all and make this person can’t get to it all. But collectively, we can all run the same direction and benefit from it. It’s not at the at a sacrificial level, but everybody has their own level, but everybody profits, everybody succeeds and everybody supported. But in return, that’s a that supports a two way street, you got to give it back to me. And if I’m not feeling that, and then I’m showing you, I’m giving a lot, but I’m not receiving much, you know, so when you, when you look at all of these things, you have to, you have to be honest, you have to have those tough conversations when things aren’t going right. And you have to have the data that supports your success or your failure.

Okay, Nannette?

So, my analogy that I think of leadership is coaching. And I remember when my boys played t-ball, this might sound silly to y’all, but so, there were coaches, you know, one team that would tell the, the little kids would walk up to swinging the bat. Don’t strike out, don’t strike out. Well, that’s in their head. And then you know, these little kids are like, or you can say, hit the ball, keep your eye on the ball and give a positive. I think and I know that’s super S, but I think it’s true. I think in leadership, you, you will create, how you speak to that person, what you bring to that person. And I think it spills over into sales. Same thing, you got to create a positive with that, with the person you’re leading by by being positive with them.

Okay. Well, I’m so to me, I think you have to really kind of do some work on yourself. Right? And Clint is a prime example of this. Like, I think that if we were having the same conversation two years ago. I think that a lot of Clint’s answers would be different than they are today. And I think you need to really not just look at the surface of people, right? You gotta go deeper. Understand, like, how they’re motivated. What they’re trying to do, what their goals are. And then just make sure that that’s aligned with with what you’re trying to get them to do, right? Because if you’re trying to get someone to be an A player, but they’re happy being a B player, you know, you’re not going to get very far. So, in my, in my opinion, as a leader, you got to make yourself available. Right? You gotta, you gotta go on calls when they want you to you got to be coach, you know, you got to be able to have the hard conversations like Clint talked about. But I think it’s the analogy we talked about earlier of, you know, whenever I finished a sales call, and I’ve done everything right, you know, I followed my process and everything is good, I covered the important stuff. I’m fine afterwards like this, like, calmness, it’s like, okay, I missed something because it was just too easy. You know, and, and it wasn’t that easy. I just follow the process. I think that that happens as a leader as well, right? Because like letting people go is miserable, right? Like it’s, it’s not fun for anybody. But if you have done everything you possibly can, right? Were they given the right tools, you know? Did you work with them? Did you do everything you possibly could? And this is the last ditch effort, then that’s different than just being like, ah, screw this guy. You know, we got a let em go. So.

Yeah, to round this out, I think that leadership, all the traits that you’re talking about, all of us talked about, are going to really go heavy handed with the sales conversations that we need to have with our prospects. Right? So whether you’re leading a team or you’re trying to lead a prospect into a common goal that you have, they’re very similar conversation. They’re tough questions. They’re not comfortable. Right, they’re, they’re tough to ask. But what you get in those tough questions is honesty. A lot of times, and look, you’re not going to get honesty 100% of the time. But you’re upping your percentages. And we say that on this all the time. If you don’t ask the questions, and you don’t talk about it, you’re zero.

Well, if you don’t set expectations and and make them realistic and then show pathways to those expectations, then I agree, then you’re setting yourself up to fail. You’re ruling by abdication, you’re just throwing guys out there saying, well, you went through the training, bro, get out there and do it. That’s why I Oh, well, All right, great. Your management style sucks.

Yeah, my my thing always is with leadership versus sales conversation, they’re the same thing to in my book. Right now is that if you don’t have the hard conversations, you started with zero. And if you have those hard conversations, you’re only upping your percentages to get more successful. Down the road, right? If you never have those conversations, you’re flatlined. You can’t grow from there. And those tough conversations suck. Look as a D. It’s easy to say, as an S, it’s not so easy. But if you have them, I promise you, you’ll feel better about yourself. You’ll grow from it, you’ll learn from it, and you got to take those experiences and grow, and if you grow your just upping percentages. Absolutely.

Well, man, congrats on the new role.

Yeah, congratulation. Thank you, Well learned.

If you’re listening to this and you want to shout out to Clint for Congrats, so you can hit us up on Twitter, on Facebook and Instagram, everything is at Sales Throwdown.

TeamD, #TeamD.

Hashtag TeamD. If you want to take this assessment, and you’re not sure where you are, right, reach out to us, send us an email, assessment@salesthrowdown. com, we can get you hooked up. If you want us to come in and talk to your teams. We can talk about that as well. Because this is not just for salespeople. It’s also internal communications. It’s there’s so much more to this than just the sales thing. We just all happen to be salespeople. So

Tip of the iceberg.

Tip of the iceberg, for sure. So if you’re struggling with your sales leader, you want some help with that, reach out to us as well. We can talk to you.get a lot

I got a lot of shit to say.

I bet I bet you do.

Clint’s good with a gun from way over there.

So follow us on on social media. Everything’s at Sales Throwdown. Subscribe if you’re listening to us on your podcasts. And if you’re watching us on YouTube. Thanks a lot. Subscribe. And we’ll be back next week. Thanks a lot everyone.

Hey, shout out to the folks from Vegas.

Doc’s trying to get a plane ride.

That’s right. Have a good night.