EPISODE 615: Discover Your Inner Sales Greatness with Jolt Author Larry Long, Jr.

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Larry Long, Jr. is the author of Jolt!: Get Zapped into Intentionality: Rediscover and Believe in Your Inner Greatness.

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LARRY’S TIP: “As a sales professional, sales leader, you’re a business owner. I encourage you to run your business like a business, and most businesses have a business plan. The one action I want you to take right now is write a business plan. Go ahead and document where you want to go. Document who you need to mount up. Because if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, let’s go ahead and mount up with a team and then let’s execute on that game plan.”


Fred Diamond: Larry, it’s great to see you. You and I, we were on a podcast together at the beginning of the pandemic, and it seems like it was a long time ago. It was only two years ago, ladies and gentlemen. You’re a high energy guy. I’m excited to do the show. You’re the author of the book called Jolt. We do a lot of shows on the Sales Game Changers Podcast. Typically, we interview sales VPs, but we also feature authors of books that would be of value to our sales audience. I’m excited to do an energy show today.

Tell us about why’d you come up with the book Jolt and why’d you title it Jolt, and give us a little bit of a background on yourself. I want to get really deep into what can sales professionals be doing now. That’s pretty much the theme of our daily show, is what can you be doing now? Still, it’s a challenging place. Customers are still trying to figure out how do they come out of the pandemic, which might take a couple more years. Sales organizations are trying to figure out how do they be successful, and that’s what we pursue every day. It’s great to see you. Tell us about the book and then let’s get started.

Larry Long Jr: Happy to be here, Fred. Thank you for the invite and I want to be a game changer, so I’m excited to be here. The book Jolt really came about, I started a Midweek Midday Motivational Minute at the start of the pandemic. I said, “Hey, if you’re watching the news, they might as well call it bad news.” I said, “What can I do to contribute some good news?” Every Wednesday at 12:00 noon, I just share a positive moment. That’s what happened with Jolt. I took my seven most meaningful topics to share with folks, and it’s called Jolt!: Get Zapped into Intentionality: Rediscover and Believe in Your Inner Greatness.

Fred, I don’t know if you see it like I do, there’s some amazing people out there, sales professionals, sales leaders, entrepreneurs, that have greatness inside of them, and they keep it inside. They seem to lose it along their way in this four letter word we call life, and they don’t step into, they don’t believe in, they don’t act in their greatness. I’m here to give them a jolt, it’s electric, so that they can step back on that path, get unstuck, and really be the great person that they were designed to be.

Fred Diamond: Before we get to some of your seven action ideas, some of the ideas that are in the book, why do you think that is? Particularly people in sales, in any organization, in a company, sales is all about performance. You’re judged on your performance. You get promoted on your performance. You earn a living based on your performance. We actually just recently did a show on trauma with a guy named Dan King, because of all the mental challenges that people are facing. Usually people say, “Well, if you have a mental challenge, go take a mental health day, or go meditate, or go walk around the block.” Well, for some people, it’s much deeper. It’s truly an illness or a disease. Why do you think people are stuck that they have to be jolted, especially people who have chosen to be in sales?

Larry Long Jr: Well, it’s deep, and there’s a lot of factors, but I’ll start with chapter three, Strikeouts: They’re a Part of Life. In the game of baseball, if you’re a 70% failure, you’re going to the Hall of Fame. In sales, the numbers are similar, you’re going to fail a lot more than you succeed when you look at historical, traditional close rates. Well, that’s tough for most people. When we go to chapter one, what story are you telling yourself, Fred, and believing? Now, I know everyone’s not like this, but I know for me, there’s that voice, and I would call it Elmer Fudd, but it’s really FUD, fear, uncertainty, doubt. I think some folks call it imposter syndrome. For me, I call that voice Cletus. “Come on, Cletus.” I got to get Cletus out of my mind because Cletus tells me all the things that I can’t be, all the things that I can’t do.

I work with a coach, and she said, “Larry, it’s amazing how uplifting, how positive you are with everyone else. When you start talking about yourself, oh-oh,” she said, “You’re very negative. You pull yourself down.” I’m working on myself. I’m a work in progress, as well as supporting others along this journey. But we know that, Fred, life is tough. Sales is tough. Sales is not a four letter word, but it’ll make you say some four letter words if you let it get to you. It really is about your perspective. It’s about your purview. That’s really determined by your experiences. It’s determined by the people that you surround yourself with. In chapter number four, You Are What You Consume, which would make me a fried chicken. I love Bojangles, chicken and biscuits. But Jim Rohn said, “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Are you with people that are go-getters, go-givers, folks that are doing excellent things? And I know you know all about excellence, or are you around people that are negative Nancys, negative Nellys, negative Neds?

Fred Diamond: Again, you focus on helping sales professionals get more motivated, inspired, and specifically transformed. The mission of our Institute for Excellence in Sales is to help employers attract, retain, motivate, and elevate top tier talent. Talk about transformation. Here are you. You’re successful, you’re the chief energy officer of LLJR Enterprises, you wrote the book Jolt, you’re an in-demand speaker in the world out there. Talk about transformation and how can sales professionals who have some of these blocks – imposter syndrome comes up all the time – how does transformation happen from your purview?

Larry Long Jr: Well, Fred, it takes work, and it takes hard work, because motivation, inspiration, that comes and goes. I’m motivated to go to the gym, but tomorrow I want to sleep in. I don’t want to go to the gym. Well, transformation is that work, and really digging into where is my motivation? Why? I’m no Simon Sinek, but why am I doing what I’m doing? “Hey, Larry, why are you going to go to the gym? It’s easier to just sleep in and hit the snooze button.” Well, you know what, Fred? I care about my kids. 13-year-old son. What’s up, Trey? Nine-year-old daughter. Hey, Lucy, I love you. Beautiful wife. I want to be healthy so that I can be here as long as I can. That’s my motivation. I encourage folks to transform to their best self by really figuring out their vision.

Where do you want to be? Where are you today? Where do you want to be? Then what’s that game plan? We got to have a game plan, and we’ve got to execute on the game plan. So many times we know what the game plan is, we know what it should be, but unfortunately, the plays that we’re running, they’re misaligned. I do an exercise as a priorities exercise. Just think about it real quick. When you think about faith or spirituality, family, friends, fun, fitness, finances, philanthropy, and career, how do you stack rank those priorities? If you were to give yourself a grade right now, how are you doing? Then what could you do to elevate around your top three? Because it’s tough to do everything at a high level, but if you focus, if you’re disciplined and you have that intentionality, that’s where the true transformation happens.

Fred Diamond: As I hear you talk, one of the key words we talk about sometimes on the Sales Game Changers Podcast is integrity. Like you just said, and the seven things that you just talked about, as you’re listing them, I’m thinking about what do I personally want to achieve? There’s two things that I want to achieve in 2023. My children are older, they’re not 13 and 9, so they’re on their own. They don’t need me to drive them to dance recitals and those things. There’s a big chunk of time I don’t have to deal with. I have two. One is at I want my Institute for Excellence in Sales to triple in size, which means that we need to get essentially from a certain number of, we call them partners, to a three-times number. The second thing is, I also wrote a book, as many of our listeners know, on Lyme disease. It’s called Love, Hope, Lyme: What Family Members, Partners, and Friends Who Love a Chronic Lyme Survivor Need to Know. It’s off to a great start. I want the book to be a standard in the industry. Those are the two things.

As I say to myself throughout the day, “Am I in integrity by achieving those two things?” I also want to lose some weight. I have a lot of energy like you, not as much as you, but I have enough energy, probably more than 95% of the planet out there, but am I eating the right foods? You said Bojangles chicken. Well, I drive via Popeyes, that’s a mile from my house, almost every day, and I’m tempted to turn into the parking lot. I don’t, because I know that eating a bucket of chicken isn’t going to help me achieve the energy and the transformation that I want. But talk about integrity. Talk a little bit about when you say those things, “I want to double my business,” or for the salespeople out there, “I want to get 10 new accounts this year.” It’s easy to, like you said, not make the phone calls. “I’m going to take a day off and go to the beach,” which is fine, but if you take a day off and go to the beach, that’s the day that you’re not going to be prospecting, or whatever it is you’re going to do. Talk about a little bit of that angle as well, Larry Long.

Larry Long Jr: I love it, and thank you for asking. My coach and I talk about being in integrity, which is essentially say-do ratio. I also think it’s the intentionality and discipline. I want to go to the beach. I encourage you to be intentional that, “Hey, I will make sure I schedule beach days,” and I’m going to be in integrity with that because I need that balance. I need that work-life integration. But when I think about integrity, I think about commitment. I can tell you, when I was writing my book, there were plenty of times where I was ready to give up. I was ready to tap out. But my coach went back to what I said was my purpose, my mission, and my vision of my book. That’s to leave a legacy for my kids, for my family, to show them that, in the words of Kevin Garnett when he won the championship with the Celtics, “Anything is possible.” That really helped me to continue on when I was ready to give up.

There’s so many times where people say something, but they’re not truly committed. They’re not living in integrity, which is okay, but let’s call a spade a spade. Don’t tell me that your family is a priority if you’re working 80 hours and you’re neglecting spending good quality time with your family. Let’s just call a spade a spade. I do some coaching, and one of my coaching clients said fitness was a priority. I said, “Let me see your schedule. I’d love to see when you work out.” It was like a deer in headlights. He said, “Oh-oh, Houston, we have a problem.” I said, “Hey, it’s okay. I know that that’s what you want. Let’s go ahead and put that in your calendar, and when you get done, I’ll be your accountability partner. Send me a sweaty selfie so that we can make sure that we’re staying on that path.” That’s what I think about when I think about integrity.

Fred Diamond: You mentioned a couple of things. Accountability, having a coach, having a partner. Are you still doing the Midweek Midday Motivational Minute?

Larry Long Jr: Yes, sir. Today is episode number, I think, 1 49. Overall, we started towards the beginning of the pandemic, and it’s just been the community that we’ve built, the lives that we’ve impacted for the positive. It’s been absolutely amazing.

Fred Diamond: It’s interesting, when people ask me, “Tell me about what the sales process is.” I said, “Here it is very, very simply. Uh. Uh. Yay! Uh. Uh.” The uh-uhs may go on for days and sometimes even weeks, but then when the yays come in, that’s when it all pays off. When you’re in B2B sales, you’re not going to get a whole lot of yays compared to the uh, but you got to keep doing the right stuff. Talk about doing the right stuff. Larry Long, we spend a lot of time on the Sales Game Changers Podcast, especially since the pandemic started, talking about what should you be doing right now to achieve success. Give us some of your insights. What should successful B2B sales reps be doing right now? It’s a challenging time still. I think it’s going to be like this for another year, where people are trying to figure out what is real. Even things like, how do I go back to the office? Because our customers are still challenged with this. Our customers’ customers are challenged as well. What do you think sales professionals should be doing right now to succeed?

Larry Long Jr: What they should be doing right now is focus on their current routines, and then being creative, being thoughtful, and thinking through, is this serving me? Is this helping elevate me to my goal, to my mission, to what I’m hoping to accomplish? I would think that the majority folks out there, there’s opportunity areas for improvement. You might be good, but here goes the question, what could you do to be great? Could you have a better morning routine? Could you have a better evening routine? Could you be more efficient, more effective, more impactful? That doesn’t mean you have to make more calls, even though those don’t hurt. That 500-pound phone… But essentially, what can you do to learn more about your customer’s problems, about life in your customer’s shoes? What does that look like? Because that knowledge now informs you.

I hear a lot about AI, ChatGPT. Well, ChatGPT, it can’t imitate the energy that I have and that everyone else has. It can’t imitate the brain power and the ability to have that, I think they call it EQ, emotional quotient of relationships. In terms of actions that people should be taking, their relationship with themself, those routines, those processes, trusting the process, and sticking to it, as well as those external relationships with current clients, with prospects, with partners, that’s what they should be focused on every single day.

Fred Diamond: To be successful in sales, there’s so many things that really go into it. Then you throw in some macro level things like we talked about, obviously the last couple of years. There’s a reason why there’s a small number of people who are really, really at the elite level. With a lot of the companies that we work with at the Institute for Excellence in Sales, we do a program called the Women in Sales Leadership Forum. It’s one of the most impactful programs we’ve ever done. It’s a six session cohort. We’ve been doing it virtually over the last couple of years. Companies are sending their women sales leaders with the most potential to get this extra bit of guidance and coaching and education to take their career to the next level. I’m curious, that being said, there are so many things you need to do right. Is there an X factor for success? Is there something that you’ve come across? I don’t want to say secret sauce, but something specific for sales professionals to achieve their maximum value and to get to their best self?

Larry Long Jr: Fred, this is the secret. I had to bring out the gold mine. The secret is that there is no secret, there is no silver bullet. You have to work hard. That’s my observation. A lot of folks say that they work hard. They think they’re working hard. They’re not really working hard. If you work hard and you combine that with an internal belief, and you have some structure, some process, I would say the sky is the limit. But, Fred, there is no limit to the greatness that can be achieved. I’ve seen it done by your average Joes and your average Janes. I love what you’re doing today, being International Women’s Day. I just applaud you for being an ally and really supporting women sales professionals, leaders, and organizations to make sure they support our great women out there. But I would say that there is no secret sauce, magic pixie dust. We live in a microwave society. I’m going to get off my soapbox, but I’m just encouraging folks, make sure that you’re ready. Put your seatbelt on to do the hard and the tough work.

Fred Diamond: What is your advice for sales leaders, for sales managers, sales directors who are leading people? Let’s say they’re leading a team of eight. Typically in a team of eight, you’re probably going to have two who are just superior for whatever the reasons might be. Then you’re probably going to have a couple that are performing, and then you’re probably going to have some people at the bottom. What is your advice for sales leaders? Should they focus on the top two, focus on the top six, try to move the bottom two up? What is your advice?

Larry Long Jr: There’s so many different strategies. For me, I’m going to take my top performers and I’m going to use them as allies, as partners to help the entire team rise. In terms of sharing is caring, I believe sales is a team sport, and it’s a contact sport. What I see with leaders, it’s about your people. Yes, the spreadsheets are important, but here are my three goals as a sales leader.

Number one, we got to hit goals. We got to hit targets. That keeps the lights on. That keeps us all employed. Number two, learning and growing. As a sales leader, your reps are looking to you. Are you learning? Are you growing? Are you elevating? Number three, you got to have fun. If you’re doing number one and number two at a high level, we’re all going to have fun. But here goes the secret. Get to know your people. Really get to know them outside of these four walls, whether it’s in person or virtual. Get to know your people. What motivates them? What their past experience has been. What’s their journey line been and where do they want to go so that you can support them best? As a sales leader, you’re selling internally with your team.

Fred Diamond: That comes up a lot now too. It’s something that’s gotten more and more as a rule over the last couple of years. Everybody’s gone through something over the last couple of years. Right now we’re doing today’s show, like you mentioned, we’re recording it in March of 2023. It is International Women’s Day. There were some reports that 1.5 million white collar women have left the workforce over the last year and they’re debating should they come back in. Even though we could talk about equalness in raising families, and I’m sure you do a lot of stuff with your 13 and your nine-year-old as well, I’m sure your wife is grateful. But at almost every case, it’s the wife, it’s the mother who has done the load, and they’ve suffered a lot over the last couple of years. Today’s a really important day to look at how do we bring women back into the workforce? How do we continue? But the point being is that everybody has gone through stuff over the last three years.

The book is called Jolt. Have you written other books? Is this your first book or have you written anything before?

Larry Long Jr: I co-authored a book and my chapter was called The Little Things Are Really the Big Things. I’ve been so fortunate and blessed. My mentor, Mark Winchester, really mastered the little things to make sure that not just me, but all of his employees and partners feel heard, feel seen, feel valued, because people want to feel celebrated and not tolerated. It really is the “little” things that go a long way. For all the leaders out there, a simple handwritten note, a handwritten note to your rep’s partner, letting them know that, “Hey, I appreciate you sharing so-and-so with us.” A little video message, an audio message, letting your reps know that you’re thinking about them with something that’s tailored to them, it goes a long way. That’s my encouragement. I appreciate you so much, Fred.

Fred Diamond: Larry, I appreciate that too. It’s great advice from your mentor. As I mentioned, we’ve done over 600 some odd shows of the Sales Game Changers Podcast. I’m not going to say I remember them all, I’m definitely going to remember this one, there’s so many great memories. One of the best bits of advice was a guy named Gary Milwit. Do you know Gary? Have you ever come across him?

Larry Long Jr: I’ve heard the name.

Fred Diamond: He’s with a company called JG Wentworth, and they’re the company that buys settlements. You see their TV commercials at 3:00 in the morning if you’re up watching reruns of Bewitched. But it’s a huge company. They’re actually an Institute for Excellence in Sales Premier Women in Sales Employer. But when I interviewed Gary, he gave a great bit of advice. He said, “Make whoever it is you’re talking to feel important.” That sounds like something that your mentor, Mr. Winchester, would definitely advise. Larry Long, thank you so much for the great insights. Give us one final action step. You’ve given us so many great ideas, but give us one more thing that sales professionals should do right now as they’re listening to the show to take their sales career to the next level.

Larry Long Jr: As a sales professional, sales leader, you’re a business owner. You might get paid by the umbrella organization. I encourage you to run your business like a business, and most businesses have a business plan. The one action I want you to take right now is write a business plan. No, don’t ask me what’s the template. You’re the business owner, you make the template. Go ahead and document where you want to go. Document who you need to mount up. Because if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, let’s go ahead and mount up with a team and then let’s execute on that game plan. That’s something that you can do right now. If you already have a business plan, I want you to ask, how can I make it even stronger? How can I make it even better? You might have to close your eyes and think, but it’s going to help you get to that next level and help you take others up with you.

Fred Diamond: That’s a brilliant idea, and I’ve been saying that for years. You might be the VP of sales at Amazon, whatever it might be, but you are the CEO of your career. As we see a lot of layoffs happening right now, people who didn’t expect it, and things happen like that, but you need to be treating your personal career as if you are the CEO of your business. Brilliant bit of advice. Talked today with Larry Long. My name is Fred Diamond. This is the Sales Game Changers Podcast.

Transcribed by Mariana Badillo

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