Subscribe to the Podcast now on Apple Podcasts!
Become a member of the elite Institute for Excellence in Sales and take your sales career to the next level!
[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a replay of the Optinal Sales Mindset Webinar sponsored by the Institute for Excellence in Sales on July 29, 2021. It featured Collin Mitchell, Chief Revenue Officer of Salescast.]
Register for the daily IES webinars here.
Find Collin on LinkedIn here.
COLLIN’S TIP FOR EMERGING SALES LEADERS: “The Number 1 thing you can do is be honest with yourself about something that you can improve on and take some action steps to seek out the help that you need to get better on that particular thing, whatever it is. Sales related, not sales related, professional development, personal development, any or all of the above.”
THE PODCAST STARTS HERE
Fred Diamond: Today is the Optimal Sales Mindset webcast. Collin Mitchell is our guest today. Collin, it’s great to see you. We’ve been friends for a while now, I’m very impressed with what you got going on. You’re the co-founder of Salescast and of course, you’re the host of the Sales Hustle podcast. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about what Salescast does? And of course, it is the Optimal Sales Mindset, we’re going to be talking about some of the habits, some of the traits, some of the things that elite sales professionals should be thinking about as they go about the day. But give us a little bit of an introduction, tell us a little bit about Salescast and then we’ll get started.
Collin Mitchell: Fred, thanks so much for having me on the show. Been looking forward to this, we being connected for a while, supporting each other’s content and we’ve had this plan for some time. I’ve been definitely looking forward to it, pumped to get on here and dig into this topic that I’m very passionate about.
Over at Salescast it’s pretty simple, we do anything and everything to do with podcasting. We manage 40+ B2B podcasts and that’s post-production, promotion, guest booking, you name it. Anything to do with podcasts so our clients can have fun interviewing people that they enjoy and we basically handle the rest for them.
Fred Diamond: We’ve been doing the Sales Game Changers podcast since 2017, we’re over 400 episodes, we’ve had over a million downloads. We’re very honored that Feedspot listed the Sales Game Changers podcast as the #3 sales podcast out there in the podcast universe. You’re doing good work and we’ve got a lot of people listening, so let’s get to it.
We’ve been doing the webinars and the webcasts since the pandemic kicked in and we’ve seen a lot of evolution. It’s unbelievable, we’re doing today’s show at the end of July, it’s the summer of 2021. They’re talking about the Delta variant that just kicked in and they’re talking about possibly people going back, there’s more masks requirements going in for inside even if you’ve been vaccinated.
The whole concept of what we’re doing virtually is going to continue, but here’s the interesting thing. We’ve seen a lot of evolution over the last year and one of the things that we’re going to be talking about is the concept of the elite sales professional. Something that hit us over the head as we got started was the whole notion that if you’re a sales professional, what should you be doing to be a professional? One thing we’re going to talk about today is what athletes do to stay professional. I know you’re a student of that.
The other word that we talked about is elite, and that’s a word that continues to come up time and time again. As an aside, other words like value, preparation, empathy, of course they’ve come up but today we’re going to be talking about specifically, if you’re a sales professional and you want to be an elite sales professional, what should you be doing? Let’s get started here. What are some of the things that you like to focus on for our listeners as they want to move into the elite status?
Collin Mitchell: I love that question. A lot of people would think that the common answer would be, well, you need to get better at your discovery calls or you need to get better at closing. You need to ask better questions or you need to maybe shadow this particular person that’s an elite professional on the team. That’s not the right answer. The sales skills are important, but I firmly believe through my own experience that investing in yourself personally is what leads to maximizing your professional growth and becoming that elite status, whatever that means for you.
Hitting your own revenue targets, crushing your quota by whatever, 200%, making President’s Club, whatever those things look like. If you want to get to that level, you actually need to spend more time working on yourself so that when you are in your role, you’re just in full crush-it mode showing up as the best version of you to do your job.
Fred Diamond: I want to talk about some specific things that people should be doing. In our prep call, we talked about morning routines. We’re not going to spend the whole time just on the morning, but let’s talk a little bit about the beginning of the day and getting ready to hit the day. I used to be a night time person, I used to do email at midnight. About six, seven years ago, it occurred to me that even my clients weren’t replying to my emails after noon, let alone 2 o’clock in the morning. I started shifting what I’m doing in the morning and it’s been a lifetime shift. I get up every morning at 5 o’clock, I have some rituals. What are some of those that you recommend for the sales professionals out there?
Collin Mitchell: Fred, I actually want to take it a step back. Everybody talks about the morning routines and that’s really important. But a professional athlete doesn’t just wake up in the morning early and say, “I’m going to do these things to show up and do my job the best possible way.” It’s a whole lifestyle, and I think if you want to be an elite seller, you need to adopt the lifestyle that’s going to allow you to perform at the highest level. It’s a whole lifestyle and it’s not just about the morning routine or the things that you do.
I like to take it a step back and say, the things that I do to invest in myself actually start the night before. As soon as I leave for the day, and I’m involved in a lot of things so people would probably think that I work crazy hours and I don’t. I never work more than 8 to 9 hours per day, ever because one of the important things for me performing the best is spending time with my family. I get home, I’m able to eat dinner with my family, I’m able to read books with my kids. I really value that time and that’s part of investing in myself and the things that matter to me. My family is what drives me, so providing for my family is a huge driver and motivator to be successful in your role.
When I talk about a lifestyle, I’m talking about eating healthy, taking care of your body, whatever that looks like for you. I’m not saying everybody needs to be a vegan or vegetarian or keto or whatever, I don’t care what it is. Whatever you believe to take care of your body and eat well, that’s an important piece of taking care of yourself to be an elite seller.
From there, a lot of people don’t get enough sleep. You talked about burning the midnight oil, I think that’s really common that a lot of people do that, especially when they’re young, especially maybe before they have family, especially if they’re new in a role. You’re not doing your best work at midnight. Getting a good six, eight hours’ sleep is essential to performing well. I’m an early riser like yourself, Fred, I get up about 4:30 a.m., I typically have a journal practice. That’s something that comes and goes and it has been a little bit of a struggle for me, but I’ve picked up little habits from people.
I had a mindset person, William Deck on my show and he gave me this hack of writing things down. My good friend Eric Konovalov does this as well. Writing things down in the future state, not like, I want to do this or I need to do this or I need to stop doing this – some negative talk there, there’s enough of that going on in our heads.
A really positive mindset in your journaling practice looks like, I’m so grateful I achieved this. It felt fantastic to hit President’s Club. It felt amazing to be 150% of quota this quarter. Write those things down as if they already happened and then really sit with it and actually feel what the emotions are of achieving that. That’s what’s going to drive you forward to actually achieve those things.
Fred Diamond: Every Wednesday on our show we bring on sales leaders, VPs of sales, CROs, and they talk about ways that they keep themselves motivated. Journaling is something that comes up a lot and we’ve noticed some trends. We’ve had similar types of recommendations for journaling and one way to really focus on it is to notice how you speak to yourself. We’ve spent a lot of time recently talking about self-talk and some of my LinkedIn posts have been focusing on the whole concept of self-talk.
Some people are okay with, “You need to go out there and you need to make 50 phone calls. Go make those phone calls, what’s wrong with you not making 50 phone calls?” But a lot of people aren’t that way. If you’re journaling or even verbally video journaling, “Why haven’t you made those 50 phone calls” every day, you’re going to keep saying to yourself, “Why haven’t you made those 50 phone calls?” A more effective way would be something on the lines of, “Hey, you made 30 phone calls today. What should we do to get to 50 tomorrow?” You want to be conscious of how you’re talking to yourself.
Collin Mitchell: I even like writing it like this. “It felt fantastic to hit my 50 phone calls today” and sit with what that feels like. Write that down every day and tell me how many more times you hit the 50 phone calls. And you’re not always going to hit it, things come up that you’re not always going to necessarily hit your goals all the time, so also being kind to yourself when you don’t, not beating yourself up. You made an example there of some people need that hard motivation, and I would say there’s less people that want that now than before.
That did work for me early on getting started, but this journaling thing is an important piece. I was really resistant to it for a long time and I sometimes fall off of it, it’s not one of the pieces of my practice that I would say is the most consistent, and could still use some improvement and that’s okay. As long as we’re focusing on getting a little bit better each day, that’s the key there. I’ve been meditating for over 10 years and that’s something that I’ve been pretty consistent with.
It doesn’t have to be as overwhelming. Whatever your spiritual beliefs are, that’s fine. Meditation can benefit anybody of any belief and that could be different for everybody. There’s no single straight-line path of, “This is how you’re supposed to meditate or be mindful.” For me, I have a couple of different apps that I use, there are some that I prefer over others.
Sometimes my meditation practice used to be I thought that I had to be this super Zen person and sit for 20 or 30 minutes in the morning. I realized if you’re running a little behind, it’s hard to commit to sitting for 20 or 30 minutes. I’ve actually changed that to where I do 5 or 10 minutes in the morning and then I actually meditate throughout the day. I might do a 3-minute, 5-minute or 10-minute because to take something that you do early in the morning and think that’s going to be sustainable for you to stay in that positive mindset to crush your goals, it’s unrealistic.
Fred Diamond: We have a question here that comes in from Bill. Bill says, “Could you talk about meditation and how that will help me as a sales professional?” It’s nice to say you should meditate and I’ve meditated various times in my career as well or in various ways to really optimize it, but let’s talk about the specifics if you don’t mind, Collin. Talk specifically about as a sales professional, what should I be doing from a meditation type of perspective? I know you just said it helps you crush your quota, helps you get better, helps to be mindful, great. But let’s talk specifically about how meditation, why the process will help you become better at sales. Give some of your insights on that.
Collin Mitchell: There’s tons of studies about people that meditate and have a practice and what the benefits are of that. Generally, they’re more happy, grateful and less stressed-out people. But I would say the biggest benefit for a sales professional that has somewhat of a mindfulness practice, and I’m not going to say, “Here’s my practice and this is what you should do.” The biggest thing about it is find what works for you. If it’s sitting for two or three minutes a day, if it’s doing mindful walking or mindful activities, whatever is good for you, whatever fits your lifestyle, you will greatly benefit from it.
I would say the #1 thing which goes back to what you were mentioning earlier, Fred, is everybody’s got this negative self-talk. We all have it and it’s even more present in salespeople because we’re competitive people, we get a lot of rejection, there’s a lot of competition. It’s so easy to compare yourself to other people on your team or people that look like they’re just crushing their goals and LinkedIn famous. Whatever the case is, the comparing mind comes in so the biggest benefit of having a mindfulness practice is it’ll quiet that stuff up. I’m not saying it’s going to go away, but the more consistent you are with the practice, the less often it’ll come up, the quieter it’ll be. There might be some moments where you don’t have all that stuff going on.
Fred Diamond: One of the key things they teach you when you meditate – and I’ve been meditating for a while. It just occurred to me in the last month is when you follow, you mentioned there’s apps out there like Calm and Headspace, you can just go to YouTube and type in, “10 Minute Morning Meditation.” One of the key things about meditation is the first thing that they tell you is to focus on your breath, focus on your breathing.
The reason is, I never quite understood, I thought it was just to get you in the mode of doing the meditation. But it’s so that you can focus on something specific, because your mind only can work with one thing at a time. We like to say that human beings can only focus on three things at any given time, same thing with the meditation practice. If you get to understand how you can focus on your breath, then it can be even more impactful.
I want to get some of your thoughts on being a teammate. One thing that comes up a lot is how you need to be a teammate right now. We’ve all been virtual, I see people walking behind you so you guys are obviously open. I see people walking with masks so you’re halfway there. Talk about relationships from a sales perspective. Again, Collin, you’ve worked with so many sales professionals and you guys manage over 40 B2B podcasts. Talk about the whole concept, especially as we hopefully come out of then pandemic, of how can you raise your sales game by being a better team member?
Collin Mitchell: I love that question. There’s a lot of things. If you’re managing a team, you’ve got to care more about the people than just their numbers. Getting them the newest sales book or the latest training from one of the sales gurus out there, that stuff’s okay but get to know them personally. Help them elevate as people and human beings, not just as sellers. If you do that, then they will become better sellers and you will establish deeper, more meaningful relationships with them where you can actually retain people that will actually want to stick around, that aren’t looking on the job boards, that are happy, that love the culture and the environment and the team that they’re on, support the mission and vision that you have.
Those are really important things to focus on. So many people manage a team and just want to crunch the numbers and look at the dashboards and be spreadsheet jockeys. Sometimes you’ve got to dig a little deeper, what’s going on with them personally that’s not allowing them to perform and how can you help support those areas of their life?
Fred Diamond: Collin, your company, Salescast, you produce a lot of podcasts. We have a question here that comes in from Nick. Nick says, “How should I be using podcasts? There are so many of them, I just don’t have the time.” Talk a little bit about that, talk about some best practices for using podcasts. Again, I do a podcast every day, it’s the Sales Game Changers podcast. We’ve had over a million downloads and we use LinkedIn and we transcribe them so that people don’t necessarily have to listen. I’d rather that they did, but people are busy. But you’re the expert on podcasting, so how can sales professionals use not as a podcaster but as a listener, to take their sales career to the next level?
Collin Mitchell: I love that question. There’s two ways that come, I could talk way longer than probably people want to listen to me about podcasting, but there are two things that are top-of-mind when you ask that question, Fred. Number one, you can use podcasts to better build relationships with your prospects. For example, Fred, if somebody was trying to prospect into you, they might go search out shows that you’ve been on, find some things about you that they could use to try to establish some rapport and build a relationship with you.
Frankly, if they just showed that they did a little bit of homework, you’d probably be more than happy to talk to them rather than somebody who sent you a spammy LinkedIn message trying to sell you something that you clearly have no need for. That’s one way.
Fred Diamond: How many podcasts should people be subscribing to? How many are there? There’s probably about hundreds of sales podcasts out there, of course mine and yours are the two best. Talk a little bit about, should they subscribe to three? Should they listen to them in the morning? Should they listen to a podcast instead of meditating? What are some of your thoughts on that?
Collin Mitchell: That’s one way you could use it to build relationships, but a way to level up your skills and become a better seller would be to subscribe to various podcasts. Most podcasts are going to be available first thing in the morning, I think the majority of podcast hosts understand that a lot of podcast consumption happens when people are doing their workout in the morning, driving into the office if they’re still doing that, maybe going for their morning walk with their dog.
When you can have your full attention, I don’t necessarily think that listening to a podcast while you’re working is the best option. Music is a popular option when people are working, but listening to a podcast, you’re not going to be giving your full attention and you probably will miss out on a lot of things. When you’re walking, when you’re getting ready in the morning, when you’re driving into the office, doing your workout, those are all good times to listen to a podcast as a great alternative.
If you get really into podcasts, however much time you have will determine which ones you subscribe to, how many you subscribe to, things like that. But you could also use a little trick to that some people don’t know. If you’re an avid podcast listener, you can easily crank it up to one-and-a-half speed and consume them a little bit faster and still not miss anything.
Fred Diamond: We have a question here that comes in from Gina. “What are some things I should work on to become a better sales professional from a sales process perspective?” Again, today’s the Optima Sales Mindset and we’re talking about the mindset side, optimal performance to become an elite performer. What are your thoughts on some things from a tactical side or from a skill side that sales professionals should be working on right now?
Collin Mitchell: I would say the #1 thing to become better, we all have different parts of our role whether it’s running discovery calls or demos or follow-up or prospecting. Those are all different sales activities. All of the above, all of those activities, the #1 thing that you can do to get better at any of those is to review. If you do discovery and demo, record them when you can. If you do cold calling, record those calls when you can. Just like a professional athlete is going to review the game tape whether they won or whether they lost, that’s how they look for small opportunities to get a little bit better on certain things. Whatever activity it is, record it when you can, review it and look for opportunities to improve.
Fred Diamond: We have a question here that comes in from Lou and Lou says, “People seem to be really tired right now. What are some things that I can do to motivate?” and Lou’s a sales manager. I’m curious, you talked about sleep before. One of the bellwether moments that we had at the Sales Game Changers podcast, we interviewed the VP of Sales for D&B’s public sector, his name is Tim Solms. One of the first questions we asked – this is on the Wednesday’s Sales Game Changers Live – is what are your organizational priorities right now as a sales leader? This was not too long ago, like six weeks ago. Tim said, “Managing the fatigue of our performers, of the people on our team.” You talked about sleep, you talked about rest. What should sales leaders be looking for right now to ensure that their performers, the people on their team are really ready to hit the ground running?
Collin Mitchell: A couple things. One thing that I do and encourage sales teams to do or sales managers to invest in for their team, especially with a lot of folks working from home right now, make sure they have a proper setup because that is a big difference. I use a standing desk, I bought the standing desk during the pandemic and realized it was one of the best investments that I made and believe everybody in sales should have a standing desk because I’m full of energy all day long.
The first couple of weeks it was kind of hard, I couldn’t stand all day and I’m a pretty fit person, but it was tough. But eventually, I got to the point where I can stand all day. My energy is better, I have better conversations with people, so make sure your team has a proper setup. Something else that I’ve been doing since the gym’s closed, we even started a Slack channel for our team where we have the Salescast Fitness Club. During the day we’re doing different activities and keeping each other accountable and it’s one of my favorite things that we do in there.
If I leave my office to use the restroom, get some coffee, heat up my lunch, get some more water, whatever the case is, I crank out some push-ups and then drop it in the Slack channel. We have other people that are making sure they hit 10,000 steps a day, we have somebody else who has a pull-up bar and is hitting pull-ups and sending us videos. Encouraging your team to invest in themselves personally, which you would think has nothing to do with them performing professionally, but it has everything to do with it.
Fred Diamond: I want to talk about that before we get to our final question or two here. We’re talking today about how sales professionals should view themselves as elite and how they should be doing some of the things that elite athletes or elite business performers should be doing. Talk about what it means for you to do that for yourself. I’ll give you a little bit of context. You just mentioned that to get yourself going, you decide to sit down and do some push-ups. Talk about initiative for a little bit, talk about the fact that this is your career.
One thing we like to say, people ask us for advice all the time. How can I take my sales career to the next level? One of the first things that we always say is treat yourself as if you’re the CEO of Collin Mitchell’s career or whatever your name is. Maybe you’re working for Oracle or a great company, Salesforce, Facebook, whatever it is but you’ve still got to treat yourself that this is your career, you’re the CEO of your career. Before I come down to the last question here, Collin, talk about that mindset aspect. What is your advice for people out there? Not just the junior people but also people who are maybe more seasoned, people over the age of 50 that are thinking about where they’re going to take their life and their career.
Collin Mitchell: Fred, I would say the #1 thing that comes to mind when you ask that question is always be learning. I don’t care how long you’ve been in sales, if you’ve gotten to the point where you think you’ve got it all figured out, you’re in big, big trouble and you’re limiting yourself significantly. Always be learning and take ownership for your development. If you’re fortunate enough where you work for a fantastic company that has both professional and personal development and gives you support in that area, great. But even if you are getting that support from your organization, it might not be enough.
What can you do on your own? There are so many awesome people in the sales world giving away a ton of stuff for free. Books and podcasts and blogs are easy things to consume to get better, but there’s also courses that are affordable, there’s people that you can follow and a lot of these people are givers. They’re pretty awesome. If you just ask them for a little bit of help, they’re willing to help you. You’ve got to ask for help where you need it and you’ve got to be responsible for getting the help that you need. That is probably one of the most important things.
Fred Diamond: It’s your career, ladies and gentlemen. You need to take ownership, there are so many things that are out there. As a matter of fact, if you’re listening to the Sales Game Changers podcast right now, congratulations to you on giving yourself half an hour of time to listen to a sales expert like Collin Mitchell.
Collin, I want to thank you. You might not know this, but you’ve impacted so many people with your podcast and your posts. I follow your LinkedIn commentary every day and I always get some value from it. You’ve been a frequent guest on a lot of podcasts and you continue to bring great value, so applauds to you and kudos for the great work that you’re doing, and your company and your podcast is doing as well. We appreciate you being here today.
You’ve given us 30 great ideas. Give us something specific salespeople can do right now to take their sales career to the next level.
Collin Mitchell: #1 thing you can do is be honest with yourself about something that you can improve on and take some action steps to seek out the help that you need to get better on that particular thing, whatever it is. Sales related, not sales related, professional development, personal development, any or all of the above.
Fred Diamond: Collin Mitchell, so much gratitude for you, for all the great work you’re doing. To all our listeners of the Sales Game Changers podcast, thank you all so much as well.
Collin Mitchell: Thank you.
Transcribed by Mariana Badillo