Episode 54: Selling and Scaling Responsibly

Episode 54


Let’s get ready to Throwdown!

Welcome to the show everybody, Sales Throwdown. We are here we are using this episode to talk about a story that Clint heard from one of, you know, a guy he knows who’s also listening to the show. So, Clint, why don’t you pick it up from there?

Yeah, so, you know, Brian contacted me here recently. And we had a real interesting topic to talk about. And I said, you know, this is a, this is a good one. I’d like to hear the, you know, the four personalities talk about this one and, and because we talked about it for about a half hour and what the topic was, he had, he had had a couple big deals that he had closed down right in the last month or so, and really pushed his sales forward. And I think, if I remember correctly, he even met his quota for the year and here we are sitting in, you know, July, which is fantastic. So, kudos to that. But one of the things that he was talking about is like, man, because I spent so much time on those deals. I’ve you know, I kind of forgot to cultivate the future. And so now he’s sitting here and, and kind of starting over. So how does that work? Right? Do you? And also, now that you’ve sold those, you know, because you’re really good salesman, you can do $10 million a year because I think that’s your capacity. Don’t forget about the maintaining side of that, right is that once you’ve sold it now you got to maintain it. Can you take on another 10 million because you got a half the year left? Or should you focus on maintaining what you have, right, and there’s a lot of different theories floating out there. So yeah, it was a good story. I think we’re gonna hear a lot of good stuff out of that.

So what so so you hear that and what in what what do you think about that as a D right? If one of your guys kills it, right? It’s July, he’s met his goal, and he’s not really motivated. Like, do you do you try to motivate him? Do you raise his goal, like, do you let him coast, what do you do?

Sure, yeah. So you know, for me, my my goal with That person and if I had that on my team is to, is to shift focus Surely, only to backlog for next year, right? So if we could walk into January or whatever your fiscal year is, right, maybe it’s August, October, whatever. When you walk into January one now I want, I want to be able to be able to have that year sold out. So don’t focus on deals for the day because we’ve met our quota for the year, but focus on deals for tomorrow, or 2021. That way, when we walk into that year, everything that’s sold and then as a bonus on the next year, and that’s a that’s awesome. I mean, your accountants love that your regional vice presidents love that. I mean, you’re talking about building a backlog and and having a future for that brick and mortar that you’re in to stay open for another year, maybe two. So it’s a great situation to be in. But what you can’t do is get lax a, lackadaisical, don’t forget that you are a salesman and you still need to sell right. So there’s a there’s…

That’s a good question, cuz in my industry, you get somebody like that a junior, right, that would help maintain. Do you guys plug in any ancillary staff on a on a on a heavy hitter that has that kind of potential or pair him up with a junior or? I mean, yeah, it seems like there’s a bigger equation here that you’d want to capitalize from a management standpoint.

Yeah, you know, the first thing for me is one of the constant variables for me and not being able to sell certain jobs is that where your overhead costs are, overheads and burdens, right? So anytime that you can job costs to a customer, a burden or an overhead is huge for us, right? And that makes the next job easier to sell because we’re just cheaper, right? And money is a driver in my equation. So if I can have a big job, let’s say in my in my world, that would be 10 to $15 million project. I can shift a lot of my overhead costs for the next upcoming year or project is usually like, well, 13 months, I can shift a lot of costs to that. And now I can sell more at a cheaper rate, which is fantastic for me.

Yeah, I can see Clint, Clint’s like, now, how many cases of beer are we going to allocate to this project?

No, no. That’s, that’s the indirect cost in the budget. Let me tell ya.

Throw a new F250 on top of that.

We call it, we call it pizza money for the guys, but we always…

There you go. There you go. You know, yeah,

you gotta you gotta you know, the accountant can’t be blown away about what category it’s in. So you dumb it all down, right?

Hey, you never give it you just as long as you give it a cost code, accountants are happy. They don’t give a shit what it what it is.

They Yeah, just give me a code. Yep,

I have I have a bucket of money that equals this. You spent less than that. I’m happy.

There you go. Yeah.

So my second question then becomes right, because the question you asked before this is like what do you do with that guy now? Right like, you know, and because the other thing that’s really important is that it could go the other way. Right? You could be investing a bunch of time and effort into like your your whale, right and not working the rest of it, not prospecting, you’re not keeping the pipeline full. And everything else like this and you’re hoping and hoping and Okay, anytime now, anytime now, anytime now. And then what happens is that shifts at some point from being, like an opportunity to being this precious thing that you have to maintain at all costs, because you’ve sunk so much time into it, that heaven forbid it goes away, right? And that’s when things become they become like, really, really off roading. But

Yeah, so so let me speak to my own my own department. My own company is we are a victim of this right now. Because of COVID-19. I chose, you know, we have a quota every month, you know, and our burn rate is we need to burn about $2.5 million a month. That means we’re pushing, you know, we’re bringing in $2.5 million a month in revenue and so that we can cover the cost cost and make profit. Right? That’s, that’s our burn rate. And when COVID hits, right, there’s a lot of things that change that burn rate, we let people go or we realize we didn’t really need that guy in the beginning. And this is a good opportunity to thin the herd out. But that that lowered the burn rate, but it still wasn’t as low as we thought it was. And we weren’t, we weren’t ever going to sell that quota. And it was a lot of decisions. But the other thing to that point is that we sold a lot of 1, 2, $3 million jobs. And that worked out really well when selling was happening and the economy was good. And we had that $2.5 million dollar burn rate. But now we have like a $1.9 million burn rate. And the biggest job that anybody’s really selling right now is like 300,000. So how many $300,000 jobs and how many relationships do you have to drive to hit that burn rate and it is just foreign. So, so to Brian’s problem, mine’s the opposite. I’ve had to shift my focus to selling a whole bunch of 300, $500,000 jobs. But what’s gonna happen is it’s pulled us out of the game of being in the mix for the $10 million jobs that we once thrived on. So when this all backs up around, I’m in the I’m in the opposite problem that he has.

Okay, but let me let’s back up, you said it pulled you out of which is kind of what germane to the conversation, it pulled you out of the 10 to $15 million jobs because you’re down here doing the three? Is there not a way to allocate resources or put people on the hunt for the bigger jobs? Because you can’t say that you just totally ignore those. We’re still capable of doing them, right?

Well, the problem was, is that nobody’s doing those jobs currently. Right. You’re talking about them for 2021? Yeah, just period they’re gone. Right. So people building new hotels, nobody’s invest in their private money and getting investors from private sources from whether it’s here in the States or overseas to build a 52 storey high rise downtown Houston, there’s nothing. There’s no reason to write because it all thrives on the economy and the economy sucks right now. So

Not according to Trump, it doesn’t. Yeah, we all know the truth is what

You got me there.

So my so my question and so I, I’ve lots of questions, right. So the the buildings that are being bid, and you guys are talking about right now are in like 2021 and 2022. Right?

Oh, easily right and and they’re always a pipe dream, right? So, so that’s where the deciphering of what’s real, what’s not so important. And that seasoned sales guy that, you know, you might have told he’s and he’s just, he’s past his prime, I, I need to move to this thing. That guy has so much market knowledge over 20 or 30 years that you cannot ignore that right because he’s seen 2008 happen. He’s seen before 2008 he’s seen these ups and downs, and that’s the guy that thrives and gets you through this. So when he tells you, hey, they’re asking you to build this bid this you know, huge high rise, multi-use thing, you think, hey, look, man, you could do that. And it would take up so much resources, that we’re not going to bring any revenue in this month or the next month or the month after that. So leaning on that experience and lean them on those market knowledge guys is huge in this business. And I know what kind of that kind of shifted away from our original topic. But yeah, it’s an interesting dilemma that I’m in right now.

Well, to toot my own horn, if I may, I’ve been through 2002. I’ve been through 2008 and currently, 9/11. And then now. And I can tell you that, well, no. And then now currently, Covid situation. And I’ve seen great market results, I’ve seen, you know, economies come back, right? It’s almost like when you go to war, right? You kind of shift that emphasis, and then we get all this expansion after these troubling times. And I want to see that This time, so you know, as a ray of hope out there to some people who are newer to the sales game or newer to economic impacts from some of these major events. Now’s the time to make up ground. Right? And and figure out how the sky isn’t falling, right? Because everybody else you turn around you cut on the news, you’re gonna hear the skies falling. But it sounds like in your game, you now have a dilemma, right? And some of this old old guard can kind of show you the way through some of this and you have enough experience. And then the newer guys. Yeah, I mean, I think it’s all about balancing your resources and looking at your business model.

And diversify.

And and the big… Sorry, Nan, go ahead.

No, I, diversifying. I think it’s important not to put all your eggs in one basket.

Yeah. And the diversity word comes up so much now right in the midst of a crisis where it’s it should have come up nine months ago, a year, two years ago.

Funny how you know, you know?

Hindsight right.

Yeah, exactly. Well, it, you know, I could argue the fact that if you were running, right, because because this is where a lot of people I feel like get it wrong, right? Because because it’s just like great you’re producing, you’re producing, you’re producing great, and then you hit their their goal or their quota, right. And it’s like, well, now what I don’t have anything to hold them to, right. So you pay for, you know, the outputs, but you manage around the inputs, you manage around the KPIs. Hey, did you go Do you know, 10, 10 cold calls a day this week? Did you go to your networking events? Did you get in front of, you know, three to five new decision makers each week, if you’re not getting in front of three to five decision makers each week, your pipeline sucks. Your pipeline is not where it could be or should be for you to be in the best position possible, like from your mindset.

Right. And I totally agree with that, John, if if the person that you’re talking about has the capability to also do that and still maintain what he sold. And to what Brian was telling me on the phone, right is, is that’s an interesting dilemma, right? Because maybe, maybe you sell 10 million in the first month, and that’s your whole quota for the year. But that takes a lot of bandwidth to maintain those clients, take care of them, make sure you’re answering the phone call for him, because you sold it early. Now you got all this dumping on you for the next 12 months? And do you have the bandwidth to even sell more than that? And that’s, that’s where a really good sales manager will help you handle that problem. And, and there is there is something to that, right. Is that do I do I put more on top of them. And then the big whales that we got early start to fail, they start to you start to get phone calls and say, Hey, I’m not being taken care of, like I said, Are you guys set up? You know, I was going to be taken care of. And so you got to watch that needle move to is that? Yeah, sure. I got $10 million. But now you guys aren’t taking care of me. So next year, I’m just gonna cut ties with you guys and go to the competitor that will actually take care of me. So don’t forget about taking care of people.

For sure. You know, and there’s this I would say that there are some industries that are really well known for like, like, hey, everything you you hunt and kill, you’re gonna have to manage, you know, like, like, like financial advisors are squarely in that world, you know.

He’s in, he’s in banking, it’s a perfect example.

Exactly. Right. So, so yeah, you got to maintain those relationships, and you’re trying to cross sell and deepen those relationships. But at the same time, you also, I think, might have lost out. But like, you also have to keep that pipeline moving. Because a lot of the way that a lot of businesses look at this is like cool, like, there. And I don’t agree with this. But they’re, they’re like, cool, you need to grow your existing book by 10%. And then we also need you to generate 20% of new growth and new business and stuff like this, because you want both sides. Just make it one number, like like, like, just plan of like, Hey, we need the business to be here to do all of our initiatives and plan all of this stuff out. Al’s now calling me and then work backwards from there. Okay, cool. If we need to be if we need this much money to do these things, and these agendas, our sales team needs to generate this much money. So each salesperson needs to be doing this, we think that the KPIs and the weekly activities need to look like this and this and this. And then everything goes, but sure, the really interesting story was next year when when it’s time to reset quotas. Do you jack that dude’s quota like way sky high?

No? I say no, because I said there was well, there, there is a healthy growth pattern in almost every company out there, I think from everything that I’ve studied, is a 16% growth is really healthy, right? Anything outside of that, you’ve got to add so much overhead and so much capacity that you probably won’t be able to manage it or maintain it, right? Any grow and that’s 1% to 16%. Right? Anything in that range? from everything I know. And I’ve always tried to model everything that I do in business off that 16% Max, and to some that doesn’t sound like a lot but if you do a five to 10, and even out to A 15 year Look, it has 16% gross, it will be huge numbers at 15 years. Right? So yeah, so I caution anybody from jacking it up past that that’s just and be honest with you guys I don’t know where that all came from but I’ve done a lot of study on healthy growth and companies because I’ve been a part of small companies getting bigger and 16% is always been the magic number for me, so that’s my suggestion.

Well, and, and the thing that that is really important is like you don’t want to punish your top performer for like being successful right like like set your goals around like you know the company and and divvy them out but like if your top performers out of gold it’s like significantly higher than everybody else on the team and then you’re gonna hold them accountable and you know, counsel them and manage them and everything like this if they don’t hit that goal, but no one else’s goal is that high like, that kind of sucks.

Yeah, and don’t forget to reward that guy, right that’s or a woman right? That is that is huge. If he hits your quota, you July and you’re giving them till December to make that quota. Do not forget to take their take care of that guy because he will absolutely go do it for the guy across the street. Yeah, he just…

Yeah. Make that person, like a senior level. Yes, Nan?

Sorry dear, but you’re fine. Al is asking me my phone to have for you to accept him on a different device.

Oh, hold on one second. I’m sorry. He’s in a waiting room. Sorry, I had this laid out in a way. So that way. I couldn’t see it coming in. Sorry, Al. yeah. Because I think you know, that’s why certain companies have like junior level producers and senior level producers, right, and you get a nice little pay bump or you get some bonuses or some additional things like that, because you’re capable of producing more and I think that that’s totally fine. But if everybody’s getting paid the same base, and then you’re just gonna ratchet up the expectations on one person because they’re killing it. I think that makes you you’re putting all of your eggs in one basket and that and that person is going to leave.

Yeah, you can’t, I don’t think you can shift other responsibility out from one person and put it in that because now he has capacity. I mean, you can appear in troubling times, which, hey, look 2020 has been a shit show, in my mind. Right, right. And you should, at all costs available. Use the guy that has capacity to win you more work. Don’t just say, okay, you’re done for the year. Now, let’s hope these guys meet their quota too, right? Go fill their quota, and I will reward you for it.

Well, that’s why you you still you still have the expectation around the KPIs. Right? Like, like one of the best guys that I that I’ve ever seen on stage. He talked about this idea. He was like, I don’t care how much you close in a month. If you don’t show up and do your activities and the KPIs that you and I had mutually agreed upon. I’m keeping half of your paycheck, right? And if you don’t like it, you don’t have to work for me. But the reason why you’re making killer paychecks is because you were doing this each and every week consistently.

And that’s a that’s a, that’s the crazy mindset because I’m so much the other way and i don’t disagree with you, I just don’t have the bandwidth and mine is think like that. I’m a little more the other way of like, I don’t care how you get there, show up and get your shit done. And if you hit the major, you know, hit the hit the metrics that we put in front of you. Fantastic. And, and there’s a downfall to both sides. You ruin a good guy with trying to make them do too much monotonous work, even though he knows what he’s doing, right? That old school guy, right, that goes out there and kills it every day. You don’t know how he does it. He just does it right. You can’t bog that guy down with sitting down in a room every day and filling out forms and templates and stuff. I disagree. It doesn’t know what he did. That’s not how I know you would. Yeah. And that’s what I say is I’m the other way and neither one of us were right or wrong in this right is I do not want to bog the guy down but I do want to learn how he got there. And that’s what you You’re in what you’re saying those metrics, those KPIs, what he does a day how many phone calls make, that’s what gives me my template to train other guys that don’t do it as well. So there’s a good take on all sides.

But the hard part about that, though, is that that guy often can’t tell you, he, I just do it. I just show up and people just like pay me money. And so what happens is like, like, in my experience of dealing with tons of people like that at companies that I’ve worked with, right, because they’re like, Oh, you need to go sit with our Top Producing rep, and he’ll tell you exactly what he’s doing. And then we can build that into the sales system. Cool, right? And then I go interview that guy, and he can’t tell me anything. Right? Just really good at what I do. I just close everybody in front of me. And it’s not right.

Hey, look, I gotta say, you know, in that conversation that I’m a little bit of that guy. I’ve always been that, you know, where it’s just like, I really don’t know why people buy from me over that guy because I don’t track it as well as I should. But I will tell you that the constant variable always comes back to relationships. Because I have the relationships, I can make the phone call to make the sale, right? And if I had never done that, so so there is a metric there, it’s developing relationships and how you track that is on you. But But I would bet if you asked Nan, and you asked Doc of all people on this podcast right now, if you ask them what their greatest common variable was, it would be relationships.

And to be clear, I’m, I’m advocating for the same thing, right? But what I’m what I’m trying to do is I’m trying to get people’s systems so that way, in that moment, when, you know, let’s say that like you’re you’re in the last column for CRM, right, which is like Final wrap ups and and final negotiations, right, and you’ve got, you’ve got 300 grand in there, right? There’s still potential for that stuff to fall out. Right. And then what happens is you is if too much of that falls out, and you’ve been hoping for that you’ve been putting all of your time and your investment at work into working those deals and not keeping the pipe line full and getting new relationships, then what happens is you end up like a little bit like your buddy. So that’s why the weekly activities become so important, the weekly monthly activities because we know what it takes to generate this amount of business. So, go do that.

But I have a question, it seems to me or in my own experience, that the business I have opens doors and opportunities to more business in that same arena. And go ahead Nan, what’s the trend, so you know, one domino like I said, a sale here takes me certain places where then I look at who they’re connected to, I get to know the internal operations. Oh, you’re Oh, you know, that. I mean, maybe that’s just healthcare and and maybe because I’ve been in, but I wouldn’t think that it would be I think it’s the same in construction, if not more so. Right. Yeah. Where’s the coat, you know, the roach coach going to next Right, what job sites? Have you been out on? Just talking to everybody, janitor all the way to the president looking for leads on who’s doing business or who’s making a move or who’s unhappy or who’s, you know, you’re constantly checking everybody’s temperature.

So it’s interesting now, now that you’re you’re back in here strong, Al, I’m really curious. I want to go back.

I did, yeah, one of my devices went down. So yeah, go ahead.

Yeah. So So Doc’s back. And I’m really curious, because John and I were talking I’m curious to hear Nan and and Al’s opinion on this. Okay, so you got it. You got a guy that sold this quota, and next year, now his projections should be right, you should grow right? You should have some growth. What is healthy growth in your business as a percentage, because what John and I were talking about was, for me, it’s zero to 16% 16 being max. I don’t want to grow too much further outside of that, because there’s just a lot of very tables. Do you guys measure anything like that in healthcare, which your growth potential could be?

No, to be honest with you, I don’t, orI haven’t. I don’t, Nan, what about you?

Well, I think for both of us is just the amount of surgeries right now. Surgeries are slower. And so it’s not a percentage necessarily, but consistently having cases is what is not. Yeah.

And I think that’s my question, right is if you did 100 surgeries this year, and you guys were maxed out, right, working 70, 80 hours a week, could you do 116? Or could you do 130? Next year, right, you know, same people. Yeah.

You gotta grow within your means.

You know, you you there’s always, you never don’t want to increase the amount of business you’re going to have, right? So you have to have someone you bring in someone to assist at some level, so you can continue. And you would you wouldn’t not do that.

And so well, and that’s, and I agree with that, Nan to a certain extent, I’ve actually worked. The last company I worked for one of the first suggestions I made when I came on board was you need to plateau, you need a couple plateau years of no growth, but maximize profits out of what you’re doing. You need to take care to the point of what we’re talking about. It’s like, we don’t need to grow anymore. We’re hitting all our metrics, but we do need to take better care of the customers exactly that way. After two years, we can grow even better and more maturely. There’s an immature way to do it, and there’s a mature way to grow.

So in my arena, to be honest with you, my diversification took some emphasis out of one side of the equation that was running really well and still runs well. I mean, we it’s easy to manage, you know with you A handful of hiccups. And so, yeah, I have some projects that are more labor intensive than others. I have some that are still in the growth phase, to be honest with you on the surgery side of things, it has to really make sense to want to pick it up because we’ve lost margins there. It’s time I’m working on Saturday, I was up at a hospital getting some stuff set, because I have to go cover case on Monday. And I’m just like, Wow, what a pain in the ass. Right. And so he certain certain, you know, I guess verticals are looking better than others. I think I’d go ahead.

I was gonna say, right, I mean, you said Man, what a pain in the ass. Right? But like, here’s the thing, right? If you’re a brand new rep and this is your first shot, you’re not thinking like what a pain in the ass to be here on a Saturday, you were fired up. Yeah, right.

Right, right, well, so to answer that is I’m not a new Rep. I’m 56 years old. I don’t like the bolt. If I want stuff that’s profitable, manageable, serviceable by somebody else, not me, right? I cannot be all things to everybody in all places at all times. Right? So I got to find out Well,

That’s a really loaded statement, right for especially for people listening right now and even to myself is being being a younger guy, right with all this in my mind, you know, sky’s the limit, I can do whatever I want. But, but wisdom like yourself, reins, reins that back into honesty and actual matrix that I can say, Okay, I can’t, I can’t just double my business next year. When I hear people say, we doubled our business last year, man. Okay. Here’s what I know about all the people in my industry at least doubled their business from 20 to 40 million in a in a calendar year. The third year is devastating for most of those people.

I think that’s very situationally dependent, right. I mean, I mean, and and everything is, of course, but this very, very specifically because, you know, we were talking before we turn on the recording of, you know, because I because I just network a lot, I’ve got lots of connections, right. And so people I build trust, I maintain the relationship and they’re like, well, John, I need some marketing help. Okay, cool. I can I can help that through, through a partner. Would you like that? Yeah. Okay, cool. I’m gonna manage the relationship. So I’m your touch point, and I’m managing them? No, would that be okay? And and here’s the problem about that is that I’m the only one who can manage these relationships, right? So I’m doing this to build the revenue. And then eventually, what happens is, I figure out the key things that are making me the most money, and I productize that and try to scale those, but that’s not really the exact thing that we’re talking about here. But depending upon how you run your business, if you have to do all the fulfillment, I agree with you completely right, trying to double is rough, right? And that’s where the diversification, the diverse diversification thing comes into play. But the hard thing about that is that if you’re the country Thread tying all these points together. You’re not you have created a job around yourself, you’re not really created the business right. And so one of the things that I’m trying to do….

I disagree. I disagree if I’m the CEO, right Hmm, I’ve got I’ve got this production manager this project. Okay, so I’ll run down the list right? I got Nan in the field going

Let me let me stop here real quick because that’s easy for you to say now that you have all those moving pieces but go back when you were making your first sale and you were the only guy.

Agreed. Agreed. I yeah, there’s starting points and there’s ending points to a healthy professional, particularly in sales right? And as your sales increase you figure that you you can. I started everything right here look in the screen, this right here. So it started with me doing something and then deciding I needed somebody else. So I brought my my my office manager anyway, long story short, I have a bunch of people that do certain jobs and all I have to make sure is A) that they’re there to do it because I trust that I hired, right. I trusted, they got trained or they figured it out, or I helped along the way. Nan will tell you, I don’t train anybody. But anyway, somehow it all works, then. But at the end of the day, I’m making sure just like you do, Clint, to a certain degree are all my people where they need to be. Okay. All right, well, then I start waiting for the phone calls. Because if work is going on phone calls will come in. It’s silence that I don’t want to hear. Right, because I know they’re either avoiding me or you know, they’re, we’re not doing much. But as long as there’s this steady flow of information back to me, then I’ve done my job. I built a business not not a job.

Agreed. So and I will say, I will say this that like to put this in perspective, right, we’re talking talking a little bit about capacity and growth is that if you started a landscaping company tomorrow and you started out with your very first job is $1,000, right? And you can do five of those a week by yourself just you, right? You’re the CEO and the sales guy and the guy that digs the hole, right? But but then you double your business, right? That’s, that’s healthy, right? $2,000, no big deal, I have the capacity for that. And then I go to four, and then I go to eight, but eventually, you’re going to get to $16,000 really fast. And now you can’t do all that. Just because one, you don’t have enough time in the day, you’re only one person, right? So you get to eventually get to a point where there is a healthy growth that is not double. And double is a bad, bad word in my business at the point that I’m in and probably most of you, right. But if you’re a startup, it’s good for a while. And then once you get to that point, it is devastating, right? It can actually have the adverse effect that you want and really bring you backwards.

Well, that’s when you know there’s a luxury in that to Clint whenever you know that that statement of that double. So then you start looking At the better deals, and not everything that comes across your desk, you hear about it, but you’re like, No, probably not a good move been down that road before. No, I know that character, no, I’ll call and vet somebody over a deal, you know, with five phone calls, should I work with this group or that group? And they’re like, if you want to lose money, or you want them to steal your money, and then you’re like, Thanks for the info. That…

Exactly. And at that point is like that is that’s mature growth. What you just said is, I’m vetting out jobs, I’m picking the people that I want to do business with, and they want to do business with me so that we can both grow our businesses because because it works both ways, right versus saying I just want more money and I want more revenue for the year so therefore, I take on this customer I know nothing about don’t give a shit. They just pay me a check. there’s a there’s a very different mindset there between the two.

So I have a client that a couple weeks ago, so they do video production for people right and they work with like some really high end nonprofits as well as Like some of the bigger hospitals, like Cook’s Children’s, and things like this and THR, and, and he calls me the other day, and he’s, he’s someone I work with on a recurring basis, we practice and roleplay and I and I help him out as like a coach, I guess. And so he’s like, he’s like, man, John, I gotta go show up to this video shoot on Monday. And when I gave him my pricing, they they cut it in half. So I told them, it would be eight, they said that they can do it for four. And I don’t know what to do. And I was like, Well, do you make money at the four? And he goes, No. I said, Okay. Are you willing to lose money to maintain the relationship? Right? And he was like, Well, I don’t know. And I was like, are you, are you worried that you’re setting a precedent by going and accepting…

Never break price, never break price. I hate it. I hate it more than anything.

So so we’re kind of talking about it. And he was like, man, I don’t know what to do. Because this is on Monday. And it’s it’s Friday, and I was like, Look, here’s the deal. As of right now, you’re not going to this job. And he was like, he’s like, Wait, what? And I was like, if you show up, you’re telling them that you’re okay with them cutting your pricing in half right? And and ideally we talked about this beforehand, but you know, this is where we are but you need to get it through your head like like as of right now like this is a money losing decision not a money making decision. Yeah.

You know, it’s a really it’s a really good point because it happens. So I live in a market and I was, I would to be honest with you guys. I was floored. I was I was blown away. When I moved from Dallas Fort Worth area market to Houston market. Everybody told me you are walking into the lion’s den of shittier markets, right?

It ready, rented deals, it’s great as gritty. There’s people that have been doing this for 40 years, and you’re going to try to come in as the new guy. They’re not going to hear a word you say. And they’re going to do they’re still going to do these backhanded of deals, even though you know you have the best price you have the best product, you’ve you’ve developed a relationship, they will still go with this guy because they have a brown bag of money or whatever the case may be right? They’re best friends with somebody’s cousin’s sister, whatever, whatever the hell. I am in that market and I fully see it All right. But what blows my mind is that I will I continually pump out pricing. One, it’s non negotiable, this is my cost, this is the profit that I want to make for the growth that I want next year, this is my price, take it or leave it and the faster you leave it, the faster I can present that same job to somebody else. Right? Absolutely. And that is, that is my motto. And I will push that in this city until people start coming around, right until those old habits die. And I’m the new habit. And and I do it every week and I get I get shut down. I get people on my own team that says that’s not the way we do it in Houston, you got to start high, you got to bid low. We give them a shitty budget in the beginning that way we get on the roster and then we give them a price. That’s actual reality. I refuse to do any of that because I think it’s shitty business practice, right? I agree. And, and I just refuse to do that. And I don’t want my team do it. And eventually though, right it will have to turn. It just will or I will I will die on my totem pole. Right.

Here’s the deal. You’re either successful or you’re not there anymore. No.

That’s right, exactly.

So Clint, Clint does need to speak to that in healthcare. Houston has the same reputation. It is really tough, tough market. And I know guys who are down there in it. And it’s just it’s the why I mean it. It’s the wild wild west down there.

It really is. And to be to be honest with you what I find that the is the constant variable with different cities, I’ve lived in different markets that I’ve operated in. It reminds me a lot of Chicago. And we all good. We all know who runs the Chicago right now. The unions, you know, and I’m not getting political here. It’s literally just it’s the union halls, right and it’s the family tree. It’s the last name it’s politics involved, and and to be honest with you, every successful place I’ve lived in Dallas Fort Worth is is very much the, the, the top of my successful area that I’ve ever lived in right where they just have a great economy. I think things run smoothly. I’ve even been on job sites for me and my competitor have half the job and we work great together. Union and non-union.

Oh, yeah, it’s it’s a it’s a great yeah.

Yeah. It’s the epicenter for greatness, right. And there’s not many areas out there that do that. And the ones that are crazier New York, New Jersey, Southern California, Houston happens to fall in that category. And there’s always one constant variable and it’s just these underhanded deals. He shady businessman, everybody that we we try to work around. And I’m telling you, man, they’re here.

It’s interesting though I will never forget at the beginning of the end for me of working for Al. That there was a surgeon that I heard about,

don’t say it that way.

But this was a big thing for me meant mentally is when it’s whenever I figure this out. There was a surgeon that I saw I said, Hey, Al, like, I don’t have any records on this guy he’s on. Like, like, like, he’s in the the area that we talked about me covering, but you never told anything about him. And he goes, Oh, that’s cuz he’s in a pod. And I was like, what’s a pod? And he goes, physician owned distributorship. And I said, What is that? And he goes, he goes, some of these guys are buying in, right? And they’re taking ownership of a company that they buy their own product from, so that way they get a cut on the back end of it. He goes you’re never going to close that guy. Don’t even worry about it. And I was like, yeah, that sucks. Like, holy god. Why, why am I here? Like, like, like I was, I was downtrodden for like a week. Like, I was like, I was like, I was so dumbfounded by this idea of this like, pretty underhanded thing like, like running in the background that I had no idea about that was just like, Oh, this is crazy.

Let me tell you, let me tell you a phrase that’ll waking everybody up here is “desperation is a stinky cologne and a lot of people wear it.” Ooh, I like it. When times get tough when times get tough was, and we are in the midst of with COVID-19. And it’s good stuff people will do just about anything to not lose everything they work for. And I deal with it. So so to that example of like, I’m on one side of the equation in a publicly traded company. I can’t report losses. That doesn’t happen. You don’t just go to the regional meeting once every quarter and say, Oh, yeah, by the way, we took everything at cost this month, and we did everything so that we can keep the lights on. They don’t want to hear that. No, but no, no surely wants to hear. But if you’re a privately held company with one owner, it’s okay to do all of that because you kept the doors open for another day. So very different mentalities. Right. But we’re, we’re all competing against each other. So how do I compete against the guy that when I need to sell a job for profit with my overhead in a down economy, million dollars, he can do it for 1.3 and keep the lights on. who’s right who’s wrong? And is anybody right or wrong? Right? That’s the market that I mean,

it’s not it’s not a right or wrong thing, right? I mean, it’s just, it’s just about, you know, I mean, because that’s the thing, right? You start off with like, the lowest prices available, because you don’t have the overhead or because you don’t have the confidence or whatever this is. And then as time goes, your time becomes more in the band, you shift a level or two, and then you start charging for what you actually feel that you’re worth. And then what happens is, you know, I feel like when you get to that level of like, like going like public, right, and being publicly traded to where you’re like, cool, like, we are so solid, invest in us, and you’re going to get your money back. Right. And the conversation shifts entirely at that point, I think. Sure.

And so I use that power, a lot of like, Hey, you know, do you guys want the guy that could absolutely close the doors tomorrow and you sign a contract with this guy, but he doesn’t. He doesn’t even own a brick and mortar. More because the bank took it. Yeah. So you go from that conversation to say, Hey, we will absolutely always be here. Because we are a publicly traded company, we’re not going anywhere. This this downturn in the economy isn’t good, but it’s not going to slump.

Well, and that’s the thing, right? You get the you get the additional security of having shareholders and additional funds and stuff like this, because you’ve gotten to that level. So you should be able to float for a little bit longer than like the single proprietor who can do it, or who has to do it all on their own. So I think it’s six of one half a dozen of another right and you pick you pick the battlefield you want to, you know, play in?

Yeah, in you know, to be honest with you, I die on that hill a lot, right? It’s like I go to the top of that hill with that message of like, Man, you know, I know that guy’s selling it for 1.3. I know that our 2 million your total projects were 25. $700,000 is a lot of money. Like that’s worth a couple conversations for it and I understand what you’re saying. But when that guy doesn’t show up for the job site doesn’t show up to the job site because he doesn’t have the the people to do it, or he doesn’t even have a company anymore. How much are you going to lose? Yeah, when you have to pay me all those dangers and all that time loss, right? So I try not to be that that’s not my message. That’s not my initial message in the conversation. But that is my absolutely, you know, dying last breath of like, I cannot believe you’re going to go with us over this guy. That’s my, that’s my last message. Right?

Well, and that’s the thing, right? Like, like, you gotta have enough realization to know where you are in the in the hierarchy of things, right? Because you’re either at the top end, in which case you need to be talking to like high end top end deals to keep the pipeline really, really full because any one of those jobs could make or break a month or a quarter or so on. But so here’s the deal. Like, like the guys that are at the lower end, like are at the lower end for a reason they can’t handle right like, like, like the big boy stuff and stuff like that. So well.

Well… Or maybe they maybe they haven’t grown to that level. Right? Exactly. Again, you got, you got people on the way up. And then you got the establishment that sits at the top of the, you know, the, the tile. So, so go, he can’t be

And don’t forget, most small people. And I say small people because like startup companies, what I’m referring to, most startup companies came from somewhere else, right? Hardly anybody has a new idea anymore. Hardly anybody is so innovative, right? So hey, I started a new private health practice. I probably came from Baylor Scott and white, right? and learned how they did it. And now I’m gonna try to do it better. Right. Everyone’s in that book.

No, no, I agree. I would argue that. Yeah.

I mean, and I would say that maybe because like, I didn’t know anybody else who was doing what I was doing, you know, like I met people who have done CRM consulting since going out on my own but, you know, you know, it’s, you know, Once you’re cued to look for it, you start to find it. But you know, now Now I know half a dozen people who do various things like do they do it exactly like I do? No. So I kind of focus on like, the differences between me and the people that I work at not because like, I’m trying to make somebody say yes, or move a certain way, but it’s just like, hey, look, there’s some differences in how this works. What are you really looking for, what’s really important to you? Because I know that pricing is important to everybody, especially right now. But you know, there’s probably some other things that you’re that you might be concerned about it come and talk about that.

So, so there is a little bit of growth. And I want to talk about here in this conversation, because if you do not sell today, and you don’t sell tomorrow, and you don’t sell by the end of the month, you will have no brick and mortar to sell from eventually. Absolutely. So so there’s a lot of pressure like in my company, there’s a lot of pressure from the top to make money. But are they happy with not having a business next year? right because I’ve focused solely on making profit?

I think it’s a risk tolerance question, right?

And it is, and you got to know, the thing is, is that you got to know those topics to talk about those meetings. And you should always bring this up, you know, and for what I do, not only my selling to my customers, right? And also my vendors that supply me all this stuff to sell to my customers. But I have the same job upwards to a corporate environment that tells why I’m doing what I’m doing here and explain it to Okay, do you approve? And if you don’t, what do I need to change? So don’t forget like, and I don’t know everybody’s not in this situation. But there are a lot of people out there that are in that corporate environment that just sometimes you got to be the best salesman to your customers but also to your sales manager…

Your company. Absolutely. Absolutely.

I’ll never forget…

Hey Nan, Nan, your boss is an asshole. So

I in 2008, this company, Northwestern Mutual, which is one of these kind of like independent financial advising companies. Oh, hey, we heard. Okay, so, um, you know, you never can tell. So I, so so they had an ad for like, you know, sales, I applied for it. And they gave me the job on the spot. And I was kind of like, okay, like, this is weird. And then now knowing what I know, because like, I’ve known some of the people that have been through that program. The reason why they were they were interested in talking to me was because of the Kung Fu thing, because because I kind of talked about that in the thing. They’re like, Well, hey, like, like, what kind of circles do you run in? And I was like, Well, I do this, I do this, but like, I but I also practice Kung Fu and they’re like, well, how big is that? Is that school? And I was like, you know, it’s a couple, you know, like, like, just over like 100, 150 people and like, oh, okay, cool. So that’s like 150 people you can talk to, right? And they were willing to give me that job. Right, that I that I obviously probably would have failed at. Because in ’08, I had none of this skill set was it was not ready for like this kind of job. And simply because like I had a network baked in because they were already looking at the relational kind of stuff like like, hey, how many people are willing to pick up the phone whenever you call? And I think there it is. There’s now the show can start. But like, you know, I think because because normally the people who normally come to that program are like doctors kids, right, right. And like Trust Fund kids in private school kids and stuff like that, because they’ve got a network of wealthy individuals all the way around, right? And they go after those people with with such a gusto. It’s pretty crazy.

Well, John, here’s what now, man you missed a golden opportunity when they said how many people you should have just looked at them and said, You do know who Bruce Lee is right. Then you go you go wow, no,

No. Did you say I do everything from the center?

I didn’t, I didn’t do any of those things, right. Like, like, this was right after.

But I let me show you this. Oh, this

Hold on. Let me let me move my screen up so that I can see how badly I’ll just did that. Okay. As your as your coach, let’s just go ahead and break that down for the for everybody watching, of course. But no, like I mean, I mean in 2008 like I like in 2006 I quit my job I quit to play poker full time and then in 2007 when I decided to go get a job, I just got back into the workforce. I was working at Pier One imports. And so I knew I wanted to get back into sales. And so I interviewed for AT&T. I interviewed for Northwestern Mutual and this other company called Oxford which did kind of like high end recruiting and placement services. And I went with AT&T, you know, thankfully because I think I would have burned out of either one of the other jobs at that time.

So we’re gonna be right now. what’s ahead? I said already, you might be an RVP right now.


Now, in 2000 I mean, here’s the deal. I wasn’t really coachable around sales until like, until like I was I was finally frustrated by by not being successful with Al. So in 2008 I had a bunch of ego with no real skill set and would have probably crashed and burned, right if there wasn’t the right like like methodology and, you know, mentorship and stuff like that at a company I would have failed completely. For sure. Hmm.

So let’s let’s wrap this up. Right. We’re talking talking about a lot of stuff here. I think we’re probably what 45 minutes in somewhere in there, John?

Right around there. Yeah.

Yeah, let’s, let’s wrap this up.

Yeah. Anybody have anything left to say in closing, Nan, you’ve been really quiet. Like, like this episode. I mean, that’s on purpose, or, yeah.

I was just listening. And the only thing I’d like to say is, we always talk about relationships. And I think think the same is true here, building relationships outside of, you know, like different companies, different people that you need to pull in to help you. With company as it grows, you know, relationships across the board, you need all kinds of diversified relationships as well.

You know, I think it’s funny that most people don’t know this, but but the reason why I’m here is because it’s the relationships that I built in a martial art school like I met Al at Kung Fu, right? And he was a tall guy, and I’m a little bit taller than Al is. And so we got paired up a lot. And then Geof started to come,

You got, you got your ass kicked by me in the streets. Is that your second lesson?

No. That has not happened.. But then Geof started, but then Geof started to show up and he’s a tall guy as well. So then I got paired with him. And I was just networking without even realizing that that I was networking. Hey, what do you do, right? And then the only reason I networked with Al was because like I just wanted to give him shit because he kept showing In scrubs, and we’re like, we get it dude, you’re a doctor. Right? Literally what I said to Al.

Thanks, John.

Actually, can I can I tell this story, Al, about the about the woman who was out of class. Is this gonna like, like offend you too hard.

Do what, that was out of what?

Yeah, there was this, this this young female who was coming through the school and at some point during during Al’s like, like earlier age of coming through the school as well. And she had disappeared for a while, which was kind of crazy because she had been kind of lauded as like a prodigy because she’d been in dance for a long time, was very flexible, had good control over her body and stuff like this. And so she was kind of killing it and really, like accelerating through all the learning. So then she disappears and then she comes back and I see her and I was like, Hey, are you okay? You know, we thought you might have quit. And she goes She goes, Yeah, I had some cysts and one of them like, like exploded and I was just like, oh my god, I’m so sorry. And then I was working out with Allah that day. So I’m holding the towel. I’m holding the pad for like for like Al to like, kick it, and he takes the pad and he was like, just like one of those cysts. And I was like, I was like, I was like, you know what, me and this guy can be friends.

I do remember saying that. I’m sorry. Wow, man, dude, I’m gonna, yeah, I’m gonna burn for that one.

I was like, I was like, okay.

Such a dose of compassion. That is not not one of my better moments, folks. Not one of my better moments anyway.

I completely disagree. I think it’s your best moment.

Al is, Al is Al. In the in the in the words of one of our friends. He is the offspring of two sailors getting together and mating and like that’s the only reason we’ve got…

Oh, that’s horrible, man, that is horrible.

Whatever male sailors,

hey, what I love about what I love about Al and most guys that I know is that I can tell you to go after yourself and you hate me forever. He could say the exact same words and he’d say, Oh, dude, we’re friends forever. I just I don’t get it. It’s beyond me. I don’t love you for it.

I don’t it is endlessly impressing the stuff that I can see Al say in front of like prospects and influencers and stuff like this in his neighborhood. And they’re just like, good ol Al. And I’m like, there’s no way I could say anything within a 10 mile radius of that statement and get away with it.

Absolutely. Hey, man, just run the scissors as much as you can, just don’t ever trip.

You I’s have it, you I’s have it so good. You don’t even know it. So in closing, right? We’re going to wrap up. Yeah, share this with somebody you know, right. Everybody has got some aspect of their life where they’re having to influence other people to take action. The best way to do that is to figure out how they communicate and how that might be different from how you communicate, if you want to take this assessment to up your level of communication and influence, reach out to us disc@salesthrowdown.com follow us on social media, subscribe on YouTube, if you’re watching this, and someone else, if you want to help us out, leave a review. We read every one of them, it helps us improve and that’s, that’s why we’re here. So

Sure, I want to add one thing to that. Yeah, and, and literally the best thing that I’ve ever done in in my personal life and professional life in sales, and has taken a DISC assessment, understood what who I am and and be able to recognize personalities and if I could ever give you a tool that would up your game in this business. It is DISC. Absolutely. And please, please take that assessment.

You know, the, I would say that the the 80/20 of this however you want to look at it. The reason why we have been successful I’ve gotten to these points and periods that we are in our life is it is that the unifying factor is the personality stuff, knowing how you are wired differently from some of the people that you’re talking to in the in the changes you must make to build rapport, which leads to trust, which leads to sales.

Yeah. And there’s so much growth that I’ve done, personally, professionally, with the three of you guys on this podcast, being able to make the phone call to a C and saying, Hey, I’m dealing with this guy. This guy is a lot like you. If I said this, how would you take this? And you say, don’t say that say this, because that’s that’s invaluable information that you can gain from taking these personality tests. Trust me, I’ve been there.

Not even just in sales, in life.

Yeah, there and for for a D for D to raise his hand and say, I have a weakness. That was my weakness, right and not knowing, not knowing that.

I mean, you said it in the last episode, and I’ve been saying it for years, like like every one of us brings our own crap and head trash and limitations and blind spots to the game. So you need the other people around you so that way they help but here’s the deal. You were going to automatically sell out of the box just like you want to be sold to. And sometimes that is going to burn your opportunity. So so come take an assessment figure this stuff out, because it is going to up your game right you we’re not as we’re not as influential as we think we are until you really understand how this stuff actually happens to the psychology of sales. So

And and if you go back in episode, right, me talking about the easy button of sales and that and and to be honest with you, there is none in my opinion. And there’s all these people trying to sell you this stuff. If I could invest my money going back 10 years into any one thing. It would be personality assessment. And and I promise you if you take this assessment, get with us, we will help you out it is it’ll be the best money ever spent. Absolutely.

All right, guys. Thanks so much. We’ll see y’all soon. Sure. Good, go out there and sell something be safe, share and leave a review. We would love it. Thank you so much. Just go get get busy. See you guys.