In this episode Josh talks with Donald C. Kelly, The Sales Evangelist. They discuss sales, primarily prospecting.
Donald has a belief that “anyone” can sell if they have the desire. Early on in his sales career, Donald struggled with sales, but through the proper training and coaching, he becomes a top-performing seller.
He has since taken it upon himself to “evangelize” the message of effective selling to struggling entrepreneurs, salespeople and anyone looking to improve their sales hustle. Donald host a popular sales podcast call “The Sales Evangelist”.
In today’s episode you will learn:
- About the wonderful world of sales
- Why sale is probably the most important thing any business person can do
- If your job is to sell, what’s the best way for you to go about doing that
- Why is so important asking good questions and making things simple
- A lot of prospecting tips
Narrator: Welcome to “Cracking the Cash Flow Code”, where you’ll learn what it takes to create enough cash to fill the four buckets of profit. You’ll learn what it takes to have enough cash for a great lifestyle, have enough cash for when an emergency strikes, fully fund a growth program and fund your retirement program. When you do this, you’ll have a sale ready company that will allow you to keep or sell your business. This allows you to do what you want with your business, when you want in the way you want.
In Cracking the Cash Flow code, we focus on the four areas of business that let you take your successful business and make it economically and personally sustainable. Your host, Josh Patrick, is going to help us through finding great thought leaders as well as providing insights he’s learned through his 40 years of owning, running, planning, and thinking about what it takes to make a successful business sustainable and allow you to be free of cash flow worries.
Josh: Hey, how are you today? This is Josh Patrick. You’re a Cracking the Cash Flow Code with our guest Donald Kelly. I met Donald at a podcast convention. Well, I guess around six months ago. I asked him to be on my show. He graciously said, yes. Then for some reason, I blew it. We had to reschedule. Then I lost his email. I couldn’t reschedule again. I finally found the email and I sent it to him. He very graciously rescheduled and here we is in person actually.
If you’re on Facebook live, you can actually see Donald. We’re going to be talking about he’s from the sales evangelist. He’s got a really popular podcast on how to be a great salesperson. Since we’re talking about how to crack cash flow code, first thing you need to do is get revenue. Revenue means sales.
One of my favorite sayings—I used to be in the vending business in 1970 or 71. The theme of the trade show was nothing happens until the sale was made. That’s been a mantra mind forever. Let’s bring Donald on. We’re going to start talking about the wonderful world of sales.
Hey, Donald, how are you today?
Donald: Hey, Josh. Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.
Josh: Oh, I really looking forward to having you on the show. I really apologize for my blowing it with all the stuff I was doing. I’m not sure what I did that screwed it up. But whatever it was, hopefully it will stop. At any rate, let’s start with just a general conversation about sales. I assume that you would believe the same as I do is that sales is probably the most important thing any business person can do.
Donald: It is by far the most important components. It’s often the most overlooked component. The reason being kind of like what you said nothing happened in organization until sales bring something in and sales is the lifeblood. Well, revenue is the lifeblood of any organization. You got a have cash flow. You can have that unless you sell something to get it into the door.
Sometimes you might think, “Well, we need our accountants or we need HR.” We need an operation and the product creation. None of those people can work unless we have money to pay them or to buy the products. It’s vital. Here’s what happened, you have a lot of entrepreneurs or business owners who overlooked this part. They say it, they know what’s important, but then they hand it off to someone else.
They try to at times and that causes usually a repeat of things not working out. It’s a continual cycle unless they’re able to really break it down and fix the problem. Learn how to sell and learn how to make the organization a selling organization. Everyone in the organization need to be a salesperson. If you can do that, it’s going to help you tremendously. Long answer and short answer is yes, I agree with you totally and 100%.
Josh: The interesting about sales is we’re all in sales all the time. We’re not be trying to sell a customer to buy something from us. We’re trying to get people to influence people to do things in a certain way, or act in a different way or behave in a different way. From where I sit, that’s all sales.
Donald: Yes, that is true. I feel that selling is the art of helping someone to persuade themselves that’s going to do something that’s in their best interest. Maybe it’s going to a restaurant and my friends don’t want to go to this restaurant, but I know the food is good. I know it’s healthy. I know that they’re going to really like it. I want to help to persuade them to persuade themselves.
Because ultimately, we can’t force somebody to do something. That’s been a con artist. We’ve seen that back in the 70s in the old school movies in 80s and stuff like that. No Glengarry Glen Ross here. This is where we’re talking and we’re bringing value and we’re helping individuals to persuade themselves. Jeffrey Gitomer said it best.
He said people love to buy, but they hate to be sold. You never hear somebody says, “I was sold a car today.” Then the person is not going to be happy. You never heard somebody say, “I’ve sold this candy bar or sold this shirt today.” No, that means that there’s no decision making on it.
You were forced or coerced as opposed to I bought or really I went into debt to buy this car, or to buy this house. That’s a big difference in their vocabulary and also in their ownership. That’s where the modern day professional seller wants to camp out is helping those individuals to say yes to themselves.
Josh: Okay, so you said just say something, which I think is just really crucial is that people want to buy, they don’t want to be sold. So if I’m a salesperson, and my job is to sell, what’s the best way for me to go about doing that?
Donald: Find problems. Find problems and solve problems. I’ll tell you why. Because everybody’s got problems. Everybody’s got problems. Sometimes people have problems they don’t recognize there’s a problem. That’s where the really good sellers. They come into the play. These are people who, they not only study their own industry, but they study their clients industry. Let’s give you an example, say that I am in manufacturing space. I don’t know manufacturing. I just hope this example goes work properly.
There’s a new law that came out between the 2016 election. Now, there’s a law or something that’s happening. We can tie it with a terrorist. If I’m able to help my client find a way that they can get around the tariffs, that’s going to be vital for them and for me. So I am bringing something to the table that they probably didn’t know about. I can point out how much it is costing them.
Maybe they recognize the other tariffs are expensive, but I can recognize how much it’s going to cost them if they don’t fix this problem by x amount of time, but I bring a solution that they probably didn’t even think about or know anything about. That way, I am valuable. I’m bringing value to the table. The way you can do that at times to make someone feel that they’re in charge or field that they’re making the decisions by asking the right question that’s going to a lot of the think as opposed to you telling them.
Sometimes we fall to the conclusion that the person who talks the most is the best salesperson or the most outgoing, that’s not true. It’s usually the ones who can ask the right questions that allow the buyer to then think and to contemplate and to say, “Hmm, I’ve never thought about that.” If you can get somebody to say that, you’re in good company and that person is more likely going to persuade themselves to say, yes.
Josh: You brought up a couple of really good things there. One is asking good questions. In my experience, the best salespeople I know, they don’t say a lot. They just ask some questions. And I was sitting there thinking while you were talking, something you just described the introverted salesperson. We all think that the best salesperson or all these wild extroverts are right out there on the edge. And me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me and the truth is the best salespeople are often the quiet folks who say, “Have you ever thought about x?”
The second thing that brought up is my favorite sales book is your sort of describing my favorite sales book of all times, which is a book called The Challenger Sale. And what you just described is the best salespeople find a problem that the buyer didn’t know existed and they have a unique solution for that problem. He’s speaking from him though, as far as that goes.
Donald: You see the thing with sales, too, is that none of this stuff is overly complicated. Sometimes people will say, “Well, I’ve heard that in this sales book. I’ve heard this in the seminar. I’ve heard that on a podcast before.” Well, dang it, idiot. If you’ve heard it so many times, why are you not doing it? That’s where people fall short, is that we are oversaturate with knowledge.
We read and we study. We learn all this stuff. But the idea of implementing and that’s where the change happens. You probably seen it too, where some of these sales reps, they could be fantastic. They study. They learn, but they don’t implement in the same thing with some of our entrepreneurs. They go to the seminars. They learn these things. I have a philosophy when we work with teams or work with companies. My stuff is super basic, it is what I want to super basic. Its fundamental things. I want them to make sure they can block and tackle. Because if you can do that, and you’re doing it consistently, it doesn’t matter what the numbers will prove itself, you’re going to succeed.
You can take anyone, Joe Schmo off the street that has a desire. They don’t have to be the best seller. They have to have the desire, if they have a desire, we can all train and teach them and guide them if they’re willing to have the desire and to implement it to do those things. That makes a huge difference. It’s a small things. Right on the line, what you’re saying there, man, we are in the same ballpark, where it’s fundamental simple things. If I could sell and be successful at it. I know anyone can do it. That’s one of the reason why I started the podcast. Know the truth man doesn’t take a rocket scientist to do this stuff.
Josh: No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t. The truth is simple is always better than complicated. One of the challenges I have in another world I live in, I’m Certified Financial Planner among 19 other things. It says there’s a bunch of really smart people wandering around that world. Really smart people tend to take the simple make a complicated.
Donald: Oh, my goodness.
Josh: What we want to do is we want to take the complicated and make it simple. Because I know Donald, you do this, and I do this is that when I write, I write it at a fifth grade level. It’s not because I can’t write at a college level. It’s that I want my stuff to be understood in use and is going to be understood use if I make it really simple to understand.
Donald: Yes. The cool part about that, too, is that one, you do that I just had this friend on our podcast. It was Veronica Romney. One of the things that Veronica shared was how Warren Buffett writes. He writes to one individual. I think it’s his aunt or his cousin, some relative when he does this year and reports or whatnot.
The point is, though, like what you’re saying, when you write simple and you write towards– imagining you’re writing to a fifth grader who asked a question on career day or your fifth grade nephew or niece or grandchild or a kid. They ask you a simple question. Give them that answer and explain it like that. You might think, “Well, this is not going to go anywhere.”
I promise you that probably going to be the best blog post, or your best podcast episode, or your best video or YouTube Live or whatever. When you can make it that simple, people will recognize it. They don’t have to think too much. Because then we don’t have to use our complex out of our brain. We use reptilian portion of our brain and it’s easier to understand.
Josh: Absolutely is a truth. In my experience with salespeople is that they often try to make things complicated. They live in the world of jargon. They think the jargon they’re using is understood by the person they’re talking to. They think it’s understood because the person you’re talking to doesn’t say anything.
Donald: Because I don’t want to show it my ignorance. Because you said this term so clearly, I should have known what this term was. I don’t want to look stupid so I’m going to keep quiet but then at the end because I don’t understand and it’s confusing. You’re going to say, “Well, Donald let’s schedule a next step.” I’d be like, “You know what, let me think about it and let me get back to you.” That’s what typically will happen because you over complicated it.
Josh: Yes, yes.
Donald: I’m confused.
Josh: I’m often confused. I kind of live in the world with confused. That can be a conversation for a different day in different time, probably.
Donald: Pull that one up.
Josh: Yeah. We’ll skip at Josh is confused portion today. Tell me, a lot of people in sales really hate doing sales because they hate prospecting.
Josh: Do you have any good prospecting tips?
Donald: Yeah, I literally had a conversation today with someone about. An episode just went live with one of our guests, Terry Hansen about this idea as well. I would venture to say probably 60% to 70% of salespeople. If you ask them, they’ll probably tell you at one point if you hang out with them long enough I should say. They’ll say, “Hey, if you put me in front of the right person, I can close the deal.” I just have a hard time finding them. I just don’t like doing cold outreach. I don’t know what to say. My emails are not good enough, all of that stuff.
Again, here’s the core of it. If you do the activities, the results will come in to some degree. What tends to happen, I can tell you this because I’ve been there and I coach clients who’ve been there and I coach organization and I’ve worked and train organization been there, what happens is that we start to overthink the simple things. If we had a cadence or a flow process, that’s just a sequence of things that we can do. It’s going to help us to be more unforgettable to our prospects.
Let me give you an example. If I am taken to the traditional model of getting a bunch of names and numbers and just doing a cold call to that person, I’m limiting my chances of having success or hitting or contacting that person because of the single channel that I’m going after when we are multi-channel individuals. Right now open on many of our apps. We have the podcast that open. We probably have social media open. We probably have emails open.
We probably have some webpage were searching for some other information on. We have four different areas there in minus, we haven’t talked about LinkedIn yet, or Instagram or Twitter. We have all of these other platforms. We are only shooting at one individual on one channel that does not make sense. In the same thing for the people who are just emailing, it doesn’t make sense either. The phone is in their hands. That’s one thing you should be doing. You should then use a method maybe like LinkedIn to connect or reach out to them. Maybe you should use Twitter to share some of their content. Maybe you can use Instagram if your market falls in Instagram category.
Obviously, you can do emails but you don’t have to do one email you can do multiple emails. Then utilize videos instead of your emails. Tool like BombBomb or cold video or VideoArch. There are many different tools, but now you’re getting these people multi channels. We had a guest from outreach.io. One of the things he calls it he calls the Omni presence or the Omni channel where you’re everywhere. But in your prospecting effort, what you will need to do is just figure out which one and this is where we work with clients. We help them to find which the best channels for their prospects and to reach out to them on.
Let’s just say keep it simple. Let’s say you reach out to somebody on LinkedIn. You ask for a LinkedIn connection, the next step is to send them an email. Then after that you do a phone call. Perhaps this is a really good prospect of companies valuated and you said, this is a great fit for organization, I’m even going to venture to send them a gift card, a $5 gift card for Starbucks and say, “Hey, let’s have a virtual coffee break, man talk.” Now, if you did all of that, the likelihood of me not connecting with you or having some kind of interaction with you slim to none. In LinkedIn, I’m doing email, I’m doing phone call, and I’m doing snail mail. That is a cadence. I’m not saying to everyone to follow that.
Please don’t take that that way. You need to have some kind of flow process. Once you could do this and you’re doing this repetitively and you doing this consistently, prospecting doesn’t become mature, it becomes a natural way of you connecting with people. It fills your funnel. Don’t stop, because that’s what will happen when you start seeing success. Some people will say, “I’m getting so many appointments now. I’m going to stop prospecting.” When you dry up upstream, then come downstream in like six months, your pipeline is meager.
You don’t have anything to develop and to grow. Long story short, if you’re going to prospect, you want to make sure you can have a process. That’s going to help you to make sure you do it. Then also scheduling the time and blocking it out specific day, specific times when you’re going to do outreach.
Josh: There’s two things that came to mind there. One is, you said you have to have a process or processes systems. Instead, having systems in place or one of the things are going to make your business sustainable, economically sustainable. That’s a really important thing. The second thing you sort of touched on, but you didn’t get really deep into it. I want to spend a few minutes about this is choosing the right people to sell to.
One of the things I do—I have this e-book I wrote on strategic marketing, which you can get after this podcast if you want to. The thing is, is that what you want to do is you want to have customers who are above average profits and are really easy to work with. Most people are pretty good at saying, “Okay, what are the demographics—” for me, it’s 50 years old, had a blue collar business, been in the business for more than 20 years, has over 25 employees, has free cash flow of a half million dollars or more, because I’m expensive.
So you get into all this stuff. Those are all the demographic issues. The really important thing is a psychographic issues. What makes that person, the type of person that you’re successful with? Because the truth is for me, for example, I’m incredibly blunt. If you can’t take blunt, you’re not going to like working with me because I’m going to say what’s on my mind and I’ll tell you what I’m thinking. I might be wrong and you can argue with me all day long and I’m happy to do that. The truth is I’m not going to tell you what you want to hear. So I have to psychographically look for somebody, it’s usually a first generation business owner, who I can do that with and you brought that up and why that’s such an important thing.
Donald: Oh, it is. I’ve been there. I’ve barked up the wrong tree. You want to know why things haven’t been working. I’ve seen people have done it and it’s a big waste. When you point then assuming you should point the name. That will never ever work. Okay, I lie. Maybe there’s a slim chance and you’ll get a couple hits here and there. Then all of a sudden you think that’s where it’s supposed to happen.
Two hits out of a 100 doesn’t make sense. What if you can get 70 hits out of 100 that makes way more sense. That comes back really down to like what you’re saying, that ICP Ideal Customer Profile that you can create and build out. Once you can get the whole team following that. Come on, it makes your team operate more like a smooth machine.
You don’t have Joe over here running for this type of customers because he feels that that industry will be good. I don’t care what you feel. I want to know what’s going to work and who’s going to be the best one. We have a document that we created for our clients. We help them to identify by going and looking at our best customers right now, what are some of those characteristics that works for that type of customer? Where do you find them typically? What are some of the challenges that they typically have? So then when new members come on, they know what to say. They don’t have to go and reinvent the wheel and waste three weeks to figure that stuff out. They know right away who to start looking for, what to say to that person more importantly.
Josh: So now we just have a few minutes left, and I want to do a little pivot on what we’re going to talk about which is the topic in niches. In my experience, having a really good niche is probably the magic sauce of having a great sales process. What you thought about niches?
Donald: Oh, man. It’s all about the niche and I’ll tell you why. That’s a coach Rafiki. I was running hurdles in high school. I was a junior at the time. I had them for my sophomore, junior and senior year. One of the things Coach Rafiki always emphasized is just New Yorker. He always emphasized, “You got to have a niche. You got to have a niche.” I was like, “Come on, I’ve never heard that. What’s the niche.” This is me in high school. He emphasized, “Donald, you could run and you could do all these other things, but what’s going to be your event. The event that you’re going to do that you’re going to be known for and track.” He recognized that we can market myself and I would have the capabilities of doing a 300 meter hurdles. That was going to be my schlick. That was going to be the thing that I’m known for eat, sleep, breathe 300 meter hurdles.
Fortunately, I’ve been able to perform. I was performing regional levels and won a lot of competition because we niche down. I did do the 400 maybe so often, but it wasn’t my main thing. I did do the 200 meter sprint that I was good too. We participate in the four by one relay. My thing that I focused on was that 300 meters hurdles. But going right along with this idea for the selling in your sales world, if you have one niche, or maybe your company have a couple or a few, but you have an area that you focus on.
If that’s going to be manufacturing, or if that’s going to be maybe some janitorial industry, or maybe you’re just really good with finance industries, or CPAs. If that’s your focus, then you eat, sleep, breathe, know that industry inside and out and become the expert. That may be an expert in a small pond, but your returns going to be large as opposed to try to be a small fish in a big pond where you’re not even known at all.
Josh: The thing about niches, which I find really important is almost counterintuitive, is that the smaller the niche is, the more money you’re going to make because you become the expert in that niche. When you’re the expert in the niche, you can charge more than all the other people because you get a result a lot faster. That’s a lot more positive. You have proof behind it.
Donald: Yeah. The generalists will never ever be as rich as the niche.
Josh: Unfortunately, I enjoy being a journalist. I have finally decided, “Okay, I’m going to narrow myself down to blue collar businesses.” That’s not even close to narrow enough.
Donald: It’s still not, right. You can do geographic. You could do different industries so much with it, but yeah.
Josh: For me, I actually don’t like geographic niches nor do I like, I like industry niches definitely. Because then I can go to the trade shows and be a positive part of the community. It’s so important to be a positive part of the community that you’re joining. Because then you become the go to person in that prospecting that you’re doing people always take your phone call because they see you at meetings. They know you. You’re not a stranger.
Josh: They may not buy from you. As Harvey Mackay used to say, if you can’t be number one, be number two. You might but you definitely could be number two if you’re not number one, and number one always falls on their head, which means number two gets to come in and take their place. Yeah, so Donald unfortunately, we are out of time.
Donald: Man, getting so good man.
Josh: Yeah, yeah, well we had this new funny little great interaction at the podcast convention I said, “You’d be a great guest and you were really kind to come.” How do folks find you and if they want to get some sales help, how would we go about doing that?
Donald: The best way if they’re interested, they can go to https://thesalesevangelist.com/josh. What they’ll do, they’ll give you an opportunity to– you can sign up. You can give us your information and then you’ll get access and we’ll give you the first module of our sales training program absolutely free. You can jump in, you can help with figuring out your ideal customer and see some of our little training videos on that. It’s an online group coaching program. You can go ahead and test it out but we’ll give that to you guys for the first module for free. Just go to https://thesalesevangelist.com/josh, and we’ll make sure they can get access to it.
Josh: That sounds like a lot of fun. I have an offer for you, too. I have an e-book I wrote called Strategic Marketing is how to find that perfect customer for your business. We didn’t talk about marketing at all. But in my world marketing is about creating awareness. Sales is about creating revenue.
Today, we were talking about creating revenue, but it’s often easier to create revenue, somebody knows who you are. My free e-book on strategic marketing will help you figure out who’s the right person to sell to, and how do you attract them into your world. There’s a button below, just click on it and you’ll get that e-book you write on your way. This is Josh Patrick. We’re with Donald Kelly. You’re at Cracking the Cash Flow Code. Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope to see you back here really soon.
Narrator: You’ve been listening to the “Cracking the Cash Flow Code” where we ask the question, “What would it take for your business to still be around a hundred years from now?”
If you’ve liked what you’ve heard and want more information, please contact Josh Patrick at 802-846-1264 extension 102. Or visit us on our website at www.sustainablebusiness.co. Or you can send Josh an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for listening and we hope to see you at Cracking the Cash Flow Code in the near future.