EPISODE 401: Gina Stracuzzi and Bella Verita on How to Grow Your Career at the IES Women in Sales Leadership Forum

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a replay of the Women in Sales Webinar sponsored by the Institute for Excellence in Sales on August 1, 2021. It featured sales expert Bella Verita.]

Register for the IES Women in Sales Leadership Forum here.

Find Bella on LinkedIn here.

BELLA’S TIP FOR EMERGING SALES LEADERS: “Acknowledgement opens listening, causes people to want to talk to you and sets you up uniquely different than everybody else. I would love to leave everybody with an acknowledgement challenge. For the next 30 days, acknowledge from your heart, in that goddess energy, at least two people every single day. The difference that they’ve made, something extraordinary that they’ve done in their life. Just notice what that does for you and what that does for them, how that opens listening, how that causes them to want to talk to you. 30 day, 2 persons a day acknowledgement challenge is what I would love to leave everybody with.”


Gina Stracuzzi: Let’s get to my guest, because she is amazing. Welcome, Bella Verita.

Bella Verita: Thank you so much for having me, Gina, it’s an honor and a privilege to be here to be amongst women in sales leadership such as yourself that have extraordinary track records and that are out doing major things to help women in sales. This is truly an honor and a privilege. I know you guys have had lots of guests here and I’m really grateful that I have the opportunity to be here today. Thank you so much.

Gina Stracuzzi: You’re very welcome. What I love about this program is that there’s such an opportunity to bring so many diverse voices that have things of value to share with women in sales. You’re certainly no exception to that rule, because what you’ve done with sales and the energy you bring to it is amazing. I’m looking forward to our conversation.

You’re the CEO of Align Sales, and that’s your own company that you founded. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got to this point? Then we’re going to get into the energy and excitement that you bring to sales.

Bella Verita: For me, it goes all the way back to when I grew up. Growing up, I came from a family where women would marry to first ability. My grandmother had been married 8 times, my mother had been married 5 times and all to alcoholic abusive men. They would stay because they didn’t have a way to go out and make a living for themselves. They would stay in these very toxic environments for financial security, although they had to go through a lot of turmoil. Growing up, I was like, “I never want that to be me.”

One, I was very certain a man was never going to hit me. Number two, I never wanted to stay somewhere just because I couldn’t take care of myself. We say we don’t want to follow in our parent’s footsteps, and then I found myself in the same situation, except for I was in a narcissistic verbally abusive relationship which I didn’t understand the difference at the time. I knew a man would never hit me, but I didn’t understand emotional and verbal abuse and it was the same dynamic of, “He’ll change” or, “I hope he’ll get better” or always looking at, “How did I create this? What am I doing wrong that would cause this?”

I found myself staying out of financial stability. I had a company before I got into that relationship and then he wanted me to stop working, he wanted me to have dinner on the table, he wanted me to be home all the time. I started doing those things until I found myself financially dependent in an emotionally and verbally abusive relationship going, “How the heck am I going to get out of this?” I remember when I left that relationship, I said, never again. That’s not going to be my life, I am a flag in the ground, I’m going to stand for women, I’m going to stand for what’s possible.

Up until that point, I had always done very well in sales. Up until I married that person, when I was 18 years old, I started my first network marketing company. By the time I was 19 years old, I was a top income earner in that company and then at 24 I went into commercial real estate in Las Vegas, Nevada and I was the #1 business broker in the state of Nevada for three solid years before I started my image consulting company that I had when I married my former husband.

I’d always been an entrepreneur, I’d always been a salesperson. When I left that relationship, something inside of me said as long as I can sell, I will not be homeless. When I left that marriage, I had $300 to my name. If you can sell, if you can influence, you can pretty much have anything. At that time, that was in Las Vegas. That’s when a lot of houses were going into short sale and foreclosure, so I was able to negotiate staying in a friend’s house that she was short selling. All she wanted me to do was pay the association fees which was $300. As long as I paid the association fees, I could live in this house until it sold.

I lived in a 4,000 square foot house on the golf course for $300 a month for six months. Because I could sell, because I could influence, I built my career back up from there and then got super passionate about helping other women earn six figures in sales so that they would never be financially independent and they could always live the life that they want.

Gina Stracuzzi: That’s an amazing story. It really explains where your passion comes from and your stick-to-it-iveness. Good for you that you got out of that bad environment. Everything happening for a reason, it gave you the impetus to stay strong and rebuild your life and now you’re helping other women, which I think is absolutely amazing. When you and I first started talking, there were so many terms that you used that I absolutely love. Do you want to share the biggest one?

Bella Verita: The favorite one that I have that you love is the big, audacious, hairy goals. That is the biggest term that you love. I find as women, we set goals that are limited of what we think is possible. If we expand our limitations, expand what we think is possible, then we really truly can achieve anything. I never thought when I started in commercial real estate that I was going to be the #1 business broker in the state of Nevada. I was a young woman applying in a man’s world, I never thought I could be #1 but I was certainly going to go after it, just to see if I could.

Sales is typically a male-driven environment. I believe women are better salespeople. There was a Harvard study that said all kinds of statistics about how women outperform men in sales, but there are so many less women that are in sales and it’s because we think we’ve got to be bitchy, pushy, push our way, and we don’t. It can be heart-centered, it can be love and you can still get the big, audacious, hairy goals. It’s pushing what you think is possible and going even bigger.

Gina Stracuzzi: I love what you said about if we take away the limitations that we put on ourselves. In the forum, one of the things that we talk about is the fact that ambition somehow has a masculine energy and women aren’t comfortable with the idea of being ambitious. If we start setting goals that are bigger and bigger, the ambition will just come along with it to make it happen. Maybe people have to take little baby steps to get to the point where they then have those big, hairy, audacious goals but there’s a track to it, and I know you’re going to share it with us.

Bella Verita: When it comes to setting goals, it is all about the small action that we take every single day and on winding our mindset. Because really, the cells in our body respond to our brain. When it comes to reaching those big, audacious, hairy goals, it is reprogramming our minds and our bodies as to what is possible. Reprogramming ourselves, reprogramming the “I am” such that the cells in our body react, the neurons are connected, that we are number one.

I remember when I was 18 years old and they came out with this in the network marketing company that I was with which is no longer around. They came out with this 10-10-1-2-3 club. You had to make over $10,000 for 10 consecutive months in a row to be able to go on this trip. I remember up until that point, not knowing that was something that I could do.

I put probably 100 sticky notes all over my house that said 10-10-1-2-3. You couldn’t go to the bathroom without seeing 10-10-1-2-3 all over the walls and I was so committed because I was reprogramming my mind that that’s what was possible. Of course, I hit that goal so it was first and foremost making sure that the neurons in your brain are connected so that that goal is what is achievable for you.

Gina Stracuzzi: What’s the 1-2-3 piece?

Bella Verita: I don’t remember what the 1-2-3 piece was. I remember it was $10,000, ten consecutive months. We’re talking 20 years ago.

Gina Stracuzzi: The visualization really does help us manifest what we need to do.

Bella Verita: Absolutely. Every morning in my journal I will write out what my goals are for the day and every day I visualize them being done before I even start the day.

Gina Stracuzzi: Let’s talk about the four energies.

Bella Verita: When it comes to sales, and this is so important for women because when it comes to women in sales and really, everybody in sales. Specifically, there’s four energies. The first energy is fun, why fun energy? Because fun energy opens listening. Fun energy gets people to want to talk to you. Let’s say you’re supposed to meet a friend at a party and they don’t show up. Now you’re at this party, you know no one and you’re looking around like, who do I want to go talk to? Who do you look for that you want to go talk to?

Gina Stracuzzi: Somebody that’s having fun and is energetic.

Bella Verita: Somebody that’s having fun. Everyone wants to talk to the person that looks like they’re loving life, having fun. When it comes to sales, you will open listening by having fun with people. Telling a joke, saying something that is unlike anybody else but having fun energy opens listening. You want to have fun energy on your sales calls.

The second energy is aspirational or inspirational. What inspirational energy does is it causes people to align to your leadership. They’re inspired by what it is that you’re sharing, they’re inspired by what it is that they think you can take them. Inspirational energy will cause people to want to align and follow your leadership. You have somewhere that you can lead them that they don’t think that they can get to on their own.

Third is goddess energy. Goddess energy is the heart, and this is where women can sometimes be better is we can drop in our heart. How do you really want to help this particular customer? What is the true problem that you can solve for them? Not product pushing, but problem solving. That goddess energy causes people to love you and to believe that you are the person that can transform their life. If you think about that for a moment, touch your heart for a moment and think about all the customers you talk to. If you just drop into your heart about how you’re truly helping them and causing them to love you, they will trust you with their transformation.

Zeus energy is certainty, your product, your service, you’re not taking no for an answer. Zeus energy doesn’t mean aggressive energy, it just means certain, solid, no is a complete sentence. If I truly believe, Gina, that my program could get you the results that you want, then I’m not getting off the phone unless I’ve exhausted every single opportunity for you to say yes. Including, just for fun energy, going to rob your dead grandmother’s grave.

What I mean is that because I believe that if you don’t do this or you don’t buy this product – and this is where you have to be in goddess energy as well. This isn’t forcing someone to go do something that is unethical or out of integrity, but that you’re supporting them and maybe exhausting all resources because you really, truly care, that this is truly the best answer for them. Zeus energy causes people to trust your leadership.

We have fun energy opens listening, we have inspirational energy causes people to want to align with you. Goddess energy causes them to love you and Zeus energy causes them to trust you. Varying all four energies is important in every single sales conversation to be able to build rapport, to understand their pain and to get the yes. What did you take away from that, Gina? Have you ever heard anything like that before?

Gina Stracuzzi: I have, but not exactly in that format. We bring on so many mindset sellers and strategists and leaders in their fields and the one thing that everyone has in common is you have to build that rapport, you have to listen. You have to get people to trust you, but the idea of goddess and Zeus energy I hadn’t heard before. My initial thought is one is a feminine energy and one is more of a masculine energy.

Bella Verita: I want to disrupt that because most people think that and it’s not. Because you can be in your heart and be in Zeus energy. Such as you set a big, audacious, hairy goal of, I’m going to be the #1 salesperson in my division. Your sister says, “That’s ridiculous, Bob’s been #1 for years. How are you going to be #1? Good luck, sis.” Zeus energy can sound like, “You know what? Thank you, I know that you’re just probably looking out for me, don’t want me to get hurt and don’t want me to fail. I can appreciate that, but I know that I can be #1.” It’s not masculine or feminine, it is certainty and love.

Gina Stracuzzi: I like the approach you’re taking in that you’ve given them a persona, but it is the knowledge that you are bringing value and that you are offering services that people need, and that you’re hearing what they need. You believe that your product or service is what they need. When you combine all those things, you have magic. I can totally see how you, clearly, excel at it.

Let’s say that someone doesn’t have the personality that you do and they feel a little more intimidated by trying to be the fun person or maybe they’re not uncertain of themselves or their product or service. But they don’t necessarily know how to ramp up that energy, what advice would you give them?

Bella Verita: It’s self-mastering. Any skill can be learned. There was a Harvard study on where success comes from, is it attitude or skill? It is 99% attitude. Any skill can be learned, you can master any skill. Anybody can learn to bring out fun energy, to bring our aspirational energy, to bring out goddess energy, to bring out Zeus energy. You just got to practice at it, that’s all. It’s not, “I can’t.” You practice. How do you practice having more fun in your sales conversations? How do you practice being more in your heart in your sales conversations? It’s just practice.

Gina Stracuzzi: We have a question, but I want to come back to the questions you just raised. How do you do those things if they don’t come to you inherently? Daniella says, “Authentic trust is everything and probably the most important thing. Attitude represents 85% of your earning ability with 15% coming from skill.” She’s agreeing with what you have to say, and it’s true. I believe it’s the same Harvard study saying that emotional intelligence, which is understanding yourself and how you communicate and how you think and go at life, being able to appreciate those same traits in others is a bigger indicator of success than IQ. Which is a lot of what you’re getting at.

Let’s go back to the questions you raised. How do you do this if it’s not something that comes naturally to you?

Bella Verita: Again, it’s practice. I remember when I was practicing with fun energy. A true story is I downloaded an app of 1,001 Jokes till I learned even how to be funny and learned how to bring forth humor in certain situations. I downloaded an app on how to tell jokes, that’s a true story. Any energy can be learned, so you can learn fun energy if you don’t have fun.

I remember 20 years ago a coach giving me an exercise in 90 days because I didn’t know what fun was. I was so serious and I had become #1 because I was so dead serious. I was given an exercise to try something new and fun every single day for 90 days. The amount of things that I tried to discover what is actually fun to me was mind-blowing. You have to want to learn and practice.

Any of those energies can absolutely be learned and being in the heart has also been one that has been practice for me. That’s why you’ll see me touch my heart quite often, because it brings me back into my body, it brings me back into my heart and remember why I love this person in front of me or why I want to be of service to this person in front of me. It’s just practicing.

Gina Stracuzzi: I love the idea that you downloaded that app. There’s never been more resources for any of us around anything that we might need help with, and the idea of trying something new and fun every day for 90 days is good too. I think everybody could use a little more fun now, so as we come out of all of this mess, taking that as a goal. Even for 30 days, just try something new and fun every day for 30 days is a great way to bring up that energy.

Let’s talk a little bit about what you advise, ways for people to grow their money, their time and their magic so that they’re hitting those big sales. Because you really talk a lot about being in the top 1% of sales. If you had to come up with the most important thing that someone can do to get started along that line, what would it be?

Bella Verita: I’d say it’s two things, Gina. The first thing is write it down. If you’re working for a company, if you’re working for yourself, I remember when I wanted to make my first million. I wrote “I am” statements every single day, “I make $1 million a year.” The first thing is to write it down and then secondly, visualization. If you follow anybody, Think and Grow Rich, Joe Dispenza, Tony Robbins, any of the success gurus, all of them use visualization. Visualizing the end result.

One of the things that I visualize every day is I want to be Inc. 500 Company. Visualizing that every single day and knowing that it is possible, seeing how that is possible. Third is aligning zone action to that outcome.

One, writing it down. Two, visualizing it. Three, what are your daily actions that align to that outcome? Because the secret isn’t just enough to sit on your couch and visualize it, you’ve got to put action behind it. The universe doesn’t deliver to anyone who’s not in action. One, write it down. Two, visualize it. Three, be in zone action every single day.

Gina Stracuzzi: The universe will help you, but you’ve got to help yourself. If you don’t have an end result in mind and a couple of actions to get you at least on the road to that, nothing’s going to happen. That is really great advice. One of the things that you and I talked a little bit about is your pre-call routine. Can you talk to us about why that is important and what yours is?

Bella Verita: Prior to any call, I’ll take about 30 seconds. One, I always start my day with music, so I was jamming to Katy Perry before we started here today. I use music to elevate my energy, elevate my spirit. Number one is moving the body at least 30 seconds before each call. I will bring myself to a state where I’m aligned with the person and two, I visualize the outcome. I visualize the person saying yes, I see them saying yes. Then the top thing that I do that I tell everybody that I coach to do is if you close your eyes – same thing if you’re going into a sales meeting and you go into the ladies’ room before you walk into have your sales meeting. Bringing yourself into state, seeing the yes.

Then I will always ask spirit, universe, whatever it is that you believe in, “What is it that they need to hear from me today? How can I be of service to them? What needs to come out of my mouth to be of highest level of service to them?” An answer would always come. I would say at least 90% of the time on calls that I have, people will say, “I needed to hear that today.” Again, that’s connecting in that heart energy. Taking that moment to connect with someone on a higher level, what is it that they need to hear today? Chances are you too will hear, “I really needed to hear that today.”

Gina Stracuzzi: What would be your closing piece of advice that people could put into action immediately to get them on the Bella wavelength of success and energy?

Bella Verita: When it comes to influence mastery, influence mastery has four energies, four steps and 12 indispensable elements. One of the indispensable elements is acknowledgement. Acknowledgement opens listening, causes people to want to talk to you and sets you up uniquely different than everybody else. I would love to leave everybody with an acknowledgement challenge.

For the next 30 days, acknowledge from your heart, in that goddess energy, at least two people every single day. The difference that they’ve made, something extraordinary that they’ve done in their life. Just notice what that does for you and what that does for them, how that opens listening, how that causes them to want to talk to you. 30 day, 2 persons a day acknowledgement challenge is what I would love to leave everybody with.

You can find us at www.alignsales.com, we are a recruiting agency. We help place female sales professionals in companies and you can find be as Bella Ann Verita on Instagram if you’re not sure what that challenge was. Or if you just want to know what those four steps are, want a recap of the four energies and the 12 indispensable energies, definitely reach out. Bella Ann Verita on all the platforms.

Gina Stracuzzi: I challenge everyone to take her up on her challenge and reach out to her on LinkedIn, Instagram or whatever your favorite platform is. Let her know what came of it and how that has changed you and your sales. Thank you, Bella, this was a lot of fun. I love the energy because we really all could use some positive energy in our lives and we’re in control of bringing it. Thank you for reinforcing that wonderful thought. I hope you’ll come back and visit us again. Everyone, we will see you next Tuesday.

Bella Verita: Thank you, everyone.

Transcribed by Mariana Badillo

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