EPISODE 178: Meridian Knowledge Solutions BD Chief Patrick Devlin Shares How to Avoid Selling Through The Close – Metaphorically Speaking

Subscribe to the Podcast now on Apple Podcasts!

Register for the upcoming IES Women in Sales Leadership Forum here.

EPISODE 178: Meridian Knowledge Solutions BD Chief Patrick Devlin Shares How to Avoid Selling Through The Close – Metaphorically Speaking

PATRICK’S FINAL TIP TO EMERGING SALES LEADERS: “Your #1 focus is to help the people that you are working with understand the value of what you do. Once you really understand the impact that what you’re proposing can have on their lives and on the organizations that they work for, you almost have a fiduciary responsibility to do your best to make the case for it.”

Patrick Devlin is Chief Business Development Officer at Meridian Knowledge Solutions.

He’s held sales leadership positions at Cornerstone OnDemand, Blackboard and Symplicity.

Find Patrick on LinkedIn!

Fred Diamond: Tell us what you sell today and tell us what excites you about that.

Patrick Devlin: Meridian Knowledge Solutions creates and sells technologies that clients use to manage adult training and learning, and the thing that excites me about it most is the people that we get to work with in the space. If you’re going to get up and do the same thing every day, it’s great to do it with people who have a mission orientation to what they do and it’s not just the education and training mission. A lot of the work that I’ve done over the years has also been with the federal government, a lot of that with the department of defense.

All of those things lead to working with people who are mission oriented and are really committed to getting results. That’s what excites me about what I do and why I get up out of bed every morning and keep doing it.

Fred Diamond: Tell us a little more about what that means, what is adult learning space? 

Patrick Devlin: It’s the learning that happens after you go to work, so most of the people that we work with. It can be everything from basic compliance things that are done to mitigate risk or just create the right sort of culture and environment at the company to – we work with professional continuing education providers – people that provide continuing education to the medical profession or legal profession or the accounting profession, those sorts of things. It can be all of that, it can be in some cases like that, we get continuing education credits, in others it’s purely professional development. Corporations are investing in education and training to boost retention, improve engagement, improve the overall employee experience. Over the years it’s become more and more strategic in the corporate setting.

Fred Diamond: Patrick, a lot of people listening to the Sales Game Changers podcast like to know who the person I’m interviewing actually sells to. Is this an IT sale? Do you sell to the CFO, to the CEO? Who are the people that you typically sell to?

Patrick Devlin: The people we sell to tend to be learning and development professionals and that can be different in almost any organization or institution that you’re working with. In some cases the initiatives that we are supporting are driven by HR, in some cases they’re driven by the sales organization, in some cases they’re driven by the marketing organization so it really can be all over the map. It doesn’t tend to be a CIO sale as much, but the CIO and IT department is definitely involved in the process.

Fred Diamond: Why don’t you tell us a little bit about how you first got into sales as a career?

Patrick Devlin: That’s a good place to start. Essentially when I got out of college I was a techie, I studied industrial engineering but really got into software programming at college and got a programming job right out of college doing both programming and technical support, but I was always the techie who could talk. Even from a very early age in my career I was always the one that was asked to put down the keyboard for a second and go talk to those people, whether that meant being a product evangelist in the very early days. People remember the early days of the PC software business.

User groups were a really big thing, the DC area here had a very active user group and on behalf of that company I would go out and talk to user groups all over the country – in some cases all over the world – as an evangelist for the technology that we were serving then. Then it just evolved from there, so I’ve done pretty much every job you can do outside the finance are and accounting and in a software company I’ve done tech support, I’ve done product management, I’ve done programming.

My first job in sales was as a sales engineer which may make sense as a transition. Literally one day a buddy of mine and I, George Kelly – George, if you’re out there – we were sitting down and we were asking ourselves. There are days that we go to work that we really enjoy what we’re doing and there are days when we don’t. We literally got as basic as, “Let’s sit down and think about what we were doing on the days we were enjoying ourselves” and inevitably we were always in client facing situations when we were enjoying ourselves. Then we did a little research and I didn’t even know this job of a sales engineer existed, even though my father told me all my life as I was growing up that I should be in a technical sales position.

I didn’t know what a sales engineer was and I was fortunate enough to identify it, land a great job with a great company at a great time called Edify – they were based out of Santa Clara – as a sales engineer. I started doing that for a while and was successful at it but eventually the desire to get more involved and be directly responsible for the sale got the best of me, so I made the transition into a field based territory sales rep. From there eventually I became a sales team leader and then an RVP, a VP and it just developed on from there.

Fred Diamond: What are some of the lessons that you learned when you shifted into sales engineering and then into sales?

Patrick Devlin: For those of you that know me, one of my favorite quotes is, “Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted” and I certainly got a lot of those sorts of lessons. One of the most important ones that really stuck with me was don’t sell through the close. I can still remember one of my very earliest engagements as a sales engineer, we were in a meeting, I wish I could remember the gentleman’s name, he was a partner of ours. It became abundantly clear quite early on in the conversation that the account was sold and I kept selling and he literally asked for a pause in the meeting, he took me outside and he almost slammed me against the wall. He just said, “You’re selling through the close and if you do that again, I will never work with you again.”

That’s the kind of thing that sticks with you, so don’t sell through the close definitely is one. The other thing is to really know your subject matter inside and out. I find that if you can project that competence, that competence and that confidence that comes from competence can’t be faked. I think that especially in the federal government there’s a lot of people that are very opportunistic about doing business with the federal government. Really understanding your subject matter and being able to provide value was something I learned early on. I’ve also learned over time having a backbone when it comes to negotiating.

I had a really interesting story happening in one of the very first deals I worked on as a sales rep where back in the days of conference calls and voicemails not being done on voice-over IP, I was supposed to dial into a conference call but they called me. They got my voicemail and they didn’t realize they were still on my voicemail. Then they went on to carry on a 30 minute discussion amongst themselves about how the negotiation was going on and everything of that nature and that was just one of the greatest sales experiences I’ve ever had. It let me understand that they’re professional negotiators and they’re negotiating.

What you have to be is a professional negotiator and have a backbone, understand your value and not be afraid to push back because most of the time, especially in the corporate environment, the people that you are negotiating with are not the business owners, they’re not the buyers. I think so many times people are worried about, the relationship cost of being a good negotiator and if I could play that tape for them they would understand the game a lot better. I’m glad I learned that very early on.

Fred Diamond: I want to go back to the “don’t sell through the close.” You were a younger sales rep and you closed the deal essentially, the customer was ready to buy and you just kept on talking. What would you tell someone today, what would you tell a young professional? What was the lesson, how did you adjust your behavior after that? Of course, you were almost slammed against the wall by your senior people, but what would you tell someone today? One thing that comes up not infrequently is the consequence of listening more versus talking, obviously. Tell us how you would suggest to someone who’s at that stage to fight the urge to keep talking once the deal has already been closed?

Patrick Devlin: It’s a very good point and anybody that’s worked with me has had this conversation with me. I think the most recent conversation I can think of, we were talking about the fact that sometimes it’s good to understand where somebody is, what is their position, before you even start to sell. There’s more than just one sale that happens in a sales process, so it’s not only the final close but it’s all the little things that you need to come to an agreement upon during a sales process.

In this case, the rep that I was working with spent 15, 20 minutes setting up a position on something in which the buyer agreed. You could tie that back into the listening, but part of that is just making sure that you even need to sell somebody on something. That 20 minutes turned out to be just wasted time and time is the most important commodity any of us have in sales. I find it may sound overly simplistic but the people that spend their time more efficiently, more effectively than the people that don’t are normally the ones that are successful in sales. If you waste 20 minutes convincing somebody of a position that they already hold, it’s just a waste of time. That was one conversation that I had with him and my coaching was, “Before you try to convince somebody of something, make sure you understand where they’re starting from. If they’re already there, just move on.”

Fred Diamond: Tell us a little more about you, what are you an expert in? Tell us a little more about your specific area of brilliance.

Patrick Devlin: My specific area of brilliance? I think for the folks that have worked closely with me, they would probably tell you metaphors. I speak in metaphors a lot, but honestly listening and communicating are the things that I think ultimately are the things that I do the best. It wasn’t always that way, so I would say to people that want to be better at those things, you can get better. These are not innate things that you have to be born with, if you focus on them you can improve.

When I talk about listening it really was getting beyond that, I call it the game of 20 questions where people know I’m supposed to act like I’m consultative and doing a diagnostic process here, so I’m going to ask 20 questions and then I’m going to sell. They don’t really listen to the answers, nobody wants to go through that. It’s really getting beyond that and truly listening. One of the things that I think is really important is early on in an engagement with a prospect, the conversation has to be all about them. It has to be about the problem, not about the solution. Most reps are so prepared to talk about the solution and sell ad position the solution and differentiate, do all those sorts of things that they just don’t take the time upfront to really understand the problem.

When you ask about coaching toward that, that would be one of the things that I focus on with everybody. The way that you do it is if the prospect is veering off and starting to talk about what they want to do or how they want to do it instead of why they want to do it, then you’re heading in the wrong direction and you have to try to steer them back. It’s amazing how many conversations I have had with reps over the years of just, “Why change, why now?” Then they just can’t give answers to that basic question on accounts and opportunities they’ve been working on for 9 months, 12 months, 18 months. These are long sale cycles and yet they still don’t have answers to that question so I’ve made that in my organization, that’s the “do not pass go” until you really have credible answers. It’s created some unusual situations, I’ll be honest.

I think at Blackboard when I was a sales rep, the CEO of the Company, Michael Chasen said for some reason that he got more complaints about me than any other rep and he said the complaints were always the same, that I wouldn’t get engaged in an opportunity. That they wanted us to compete for the business but I couldn’t get the information I needed to do what I felt like I needed to do well. If I didn’t understand why, if I didn’t understand why now or if I couldn’t talk to somebody who could tell me those things, I didn’t proceed. That is again, a very difficult thing for a rep to do, it’s to say, “No, without this information I’m just swinging blindly and I’m not going to waste my time or yours.”

Fred Diamond: Just curiously, as a sales leader you need to report upwards as well so how did you resolve that particular challenge?

Patrick Devlin: Fortunately, I had a very supportive CEO at Blackboard. He thought it was kind of funny [Laughs]. My boss at that time backed me up, didn’t push back on me at all. I’ll tell a story in on situation, this is a dramatic one but it’s true: I had a guy get really upset with me, he was just mad and angry because I wanted to know why now and he kept telling me what they wanted to do, but it was clear he didn’t know why they wanted to do it or why now. Finally, I just said, “I’ve spent enough time with you, you don’t know these answers, I’m done.” He said, “You can’t talk to my boss.”

Sure enough, about 4 hours later that same day I get a call from a guy and this was at the Center for Medicaid, CMS up in Baltimore area. I won’t use his name, but he says, “Hi, my name is George, I understand you want to talk to me.” Once I figured out who it was, we talked for about 15 minutes about why and why now and keep in mind, this was a federal government opportunity, we closed that deal in 30 days. We had a purchase order in 30 days because I got to the right person who understood why. I told people all the time, “If the buyer is left with a couple of choices and one of those choices is working with people who they really think understand why they’re doing this, what’s important, what they’re trying to accomplish, a deal that’s really understood from the buyer’s perspective, they’re going to work with you.

Fred Diamond: That’s one of the powerful themes that’s come through on a number of the Sales Game Changers podcast episodes, the whole concept of really understanding your customer’s why. Not rushing towards the, “Here’s what I offer” type of a thing. I’ve got one quick question for you before I ask you about some of your mentors. A lot of the people listening to the Sales Game Changers podcast are in the early stage of their career, first 5 years, and there’s a lot of pressure to make a certain number of phone calls or to schedule a certain number of appointments, if you will. They believe that that’s what they’re being measured on so they don’t believe that they have the time to ask the why, to get them on the phone. What would be some of your suggestions knowing that that’s some of the metrics in play but that you really need to understand the why and the why now?

Patrick Devlin: That’s a great question and I have very direct experience with it because two of my children have recently graduated from college and both of them have worked in inside sales roles. I can give you a perfect example of that. I’ll put in a plug for a company called Vorsight which both of them have worked locally here and they have some of the most fantastic inside sales training that you would ever get exposed to. I think that was a great opportunity for them but then one of them, Patrick, went out to work for a company and he was told he had to send out 700 emails, “Get 700 emails out.” Instead of doing that, he did the research, did a little of what they call 3 by 3 research, found out a little something about each of the people that he was trying to reach out to.

He personalized 30 emails, so that day he was able to get through the 3 by 3 research and send out 30 emails. He got about 10 responses and was able to get 10 conversations set up as a result of that activity. The BDR next to him that sent out 700 got 0 responses. The 700 guy got rewarded and he didn’t. For the young guys or gals out there that are in that position, he asked me what to do about it but I don’t know because you are in a position where you’re a junior level person, you’re reporting up to people and you do have to do the things that they’re asking you to do.

Maybe what my advice would be is how long can it really take you to send out the 700? Get it done, but then if you want to be effective, take the time to do the 30.

Fred Diamond: We actually had Steve Richard who was one of the founders of Vorsight on the podcast, we’ll provide a link to his show. I tell these young or junior people you’re reporting to somebody who’s reporting to somebody and his or her metric might be, “My guys need to make 3,000 phone calls this week.” That’s actually a very good answer, do what they expect you to do and then figure out other ways to be successful.
Patrick Devlin: It goes through that whole thing that people early on gave me the advice that you shouldn’t do the job you have, you should do the job you want and maybe you could expand on that and say, “Do it the way you want to do it.” If you don’t meet those gates, if you don’t do those other things you have to cover your bases at some stage.

Fred Diamond: Why don’t you tell us about an impactful sales career mentor or two and how they impacted your career?

Patrick Devlin: When I thought about this prior to the interview, I came up with so many different people and I really hope you don’t mind that I’d like to name many of them, because I’ve had so many great mentors. Some of them managers, some clients, some reps I’ve worked with, some reps that worked for me, some competitors have been great mentors. When I think about people like Tim Hill at Blackboard, some of the clients that I met at Blackboard, a guy named Jake Pennington from the US Army, Mike Miller from National Defense University, I think back at Edify where I first got started in sales, people like Patty Bobie and Dave Haskell, Terry Shuff, Andy Gordon, these guys were remarkable people. Edify in particular, just some of the greatest salespeople I’ve ever worked with in my life.

Then at Blackboard there were other reps that I worked with that I learned as much from them as they learned from me, I hope: David Palmer, Tom Holz, I have learned so much – I should say learned/stolen – so much from these people over the time that none of my success could have happened without these people.

Fred Diamond: Let’s talk about challenges for a little bit. What are the two biggest sales challenges you face as a sales leader today?

Patrick Devlin: As a sales leader today I think the biggest challenges for me have been demand creation and lead generation. Not just quantity but quality, getting the right types of opportunities into the pipeline. I’m a big believer in outbound prospecting and the results there, I think the death of outbound prospecting has been greatly exaggerated by the people who benefit from convincing you you can do this all with digital inbound marketing, you just can’t. However, the quality of inbound leads is just tremendous so I think you have to do both, but I think my biggest challenge is the latter, getting the inbound leads, demand creation and lead generation.

Then I think the other thing is qualification. It’s funny, what I find is the reps who can least afford to be working on unqualified opportunities are always the ones that are more likely to be doing so. The people that are just getting started out who things, “As long as it walks and talks and has a pulse, I need to engage, I need activity, I need to fill my pipeline” when in reality they’re the ones that need to be even more tough with qualification. Again, back to what I said earlier about time, time is your most important commodity. If you don’t have a sustainable pipeline and a track record in your territory and all those things and you’re trying to create that, you can’t waste time with unqualified opportunities.

Fred Diamond: Just curiously, what are some things you’re trying to do to solve the problem of demand creation and lead generation?

Patrick Devlin: Just trying to get the right people who really understand who we’re targeting and why, and then how to use today’s digital tools to do that. Not come in to me with all these stats that are independent of actually creating opportunities that convert to revenues to show how successful they’ve been. As I say here, I have the opportunity to run a unified sales and marketing organization and that’s how I refer to it. I don’t say, “This is my marketing team and this is my sales team”, “This is my sales and marketing team.” We’re all tied to the same goals and we all have the same objectives.

Again, go to the metaphors, it would be like being satisfied with losing a basketball game and winning rebounds. You know if your assisted turnover ratio is good, if you’re winning the rebounds, if you’re getting better quality shots, those are things that lead, they’re leading indicators of success but if you’re not successful, who cares?

Fred Diamond: Speaking about successes, why don’t you take us back to the #1 sale success or win from your career that you’re most proud of?

Patrick Devlin: If I have to say one in particular, I think I’ve already mentioned it and that was that even though it was a small deal, that was the manifestation of everything that I’ve tried to instill in the people that I’ve worked with about, “No, you don’t have to engage on their terms, and the sooner you do that the less control you have over an opportunity.” I had a guy that was really angry with me, he hung up the phone on me and 30 days later I got a sale. I don’t mean that you need to be a jerk to be successful, but if you don’t value you, if you don’t value your time, why is anybody else going to value your time?

Another similar example that I can give to that was an opportunity that one of the people that I mentioned earlier was working on, and this was as a manager. This was a big opportunity at Blackboard, it had been going on and on and on as these things do, and it was just getting trapped. Not only trapped, it was sucking up so much of his time that the rest of his pipeline was just not there. I actually stepped in and I said, “Listen, I’m taking over this account for you. It’s still your account but for now I’m taking it over, I need you to focus on other things” and during the very first phone call we had to do that transition. It was about an hour and a half long phone call, and at the end of the call the CIO on the other side said, “Hey Tom, don’t forget to send me the notes from the call.”

Dutifully, he sent me the notes from the call and everything and I sat on them and he said, “I do this every time, I take the notes and I provide them back to them and everything” and I said, “Tom, if you are going to be viewed in his mind as a peer, how do you think that is affected by you taking notes for him at a meeting?” I said, “No, I’m not sending these to him, that’s not how we’re going to do this.” It changed the dynamic, changed the relationship and we were able to immediately get them focused on the things that mattered because we did do the why in that situation.

I was able to scope back after that meeting and say to the CIO, “Listen, we spent an entire meeting today discussing something that I don’t think is aligned to the three things you said were most important about this project, would you agree?” and he said, “Absolutely.” I said, “Would you agree then, we could table this, we could just put this aside until after we close the deal and get the system implemented?” and he said, “A hundred percent.” Tom came back in, we got it going and we got that deal done in about 60 days.

Fred Diamond: Patrick, we’re going to take a short break and listen to one of our sponsors but before we do, just one last question. Again, you started out in engineering, what was your major, by the way, in college?

Patrick Devlin: I started in electrical engineering, so I spent the first two years in electrical but then I realized that wasn’t my passion and I switched over to industrial engineering.

Fred Diamond: I’m just curious, obviously over the course of this podcast we get your sense of passion for the sales process and doing it right, being a student and all the metaphors, what was your thoughts about sales as a career when you were in college?

Patrick Devlin: As I said, my father always told me that the right thing for me would be a technical sales position. I thought what many people do about sales, it was the farthest thing from my mind of anything I wanted to get involved with. I wanted to be an engineer, I wanted to be a developer, I loved software and that’s what I wanted to do. Sales was the last thing on my mind.

Fred Diamond: What did your father do, just curiously?

Patrick Devlin: He was a training director, for the last 30 years of his life he was a training director. He also taught in college, did some other things but ultimately was an industrial training director and ironically it’s very similar to most of the people that I do business with now.

Sponsor Break

Fred Diamond: What’s the most important thing you want to get across to the sales professionals listening around the globe to take their careers to the next level?

Patrick Devlin: I thought about this and I would say treat it like a career. When I say that, give the profession the respect that it deserves. I go back to when I first got promoted to a vice president, my mentor at that time was Tim Hill and I looked him straight in the eye and I shook his hand and said, “I promise you I will spend at least half as much time on this as I do my hobbies now.” I bring that up, a little tongue in cheek obviously, but you think I have this conversation with people all the time. “What are you into? Do you like golf, do you like running? You’re a triathlete? Tell me about…” “Yeah, I get up in the morning and I do this and I go to the gym three times a day and I ride my bike…”

If you add all that up, they’re spending probably an additional 20 hours a week on their hobbies. I said, “Your profession is sales, how much of your free time do you subscribe to a sales magazine, do you listen to podcasts like this one, what do you do to develop yourself professionally as a salesperson?” You get some pretty soft answers when you ask that question to people and they really haven’t thought of it that way. That’s one of the things that I think is critical.

Have respect for the job, I honestly do think that in my career I’ve met some phenomenal salespeople but I will say that they were the exception, not the rule. I think that there are simply a lot of people in sales that either are not that good at it or maybe don’t even respect it. I think it gives you an opportunity to separate yourself from the crowd simply by being really good at what you do.

Fred Diamond: One of the key things here that’s coming through on your podcast, Patrick is the whole question of why and why now. I think when you apply that type of thinking, you’re not thinking about, “I’ve got to make 50 phone calls today, I’ve got to do this, I have to do that.” You’re really putting yourself in the place of the customer and truly understanding what their mission is, what’s driving them. In 200 somewhat podcast interviews that we’ve done, that comes up from almost every Sales Game Changer is put yourself in the customer’s shoes, understand the customer, understand their business, why and why now? Patrick, tell us about some of your selling habits that have led to your sales success.

Patrick Devlin: You’ve just hit on one of them and that is that focus on why. I can tie that into what I said earlier, I came across that because a friend of mine who is a real estate agent who does actually invest a lot of his own time and money in the development of his skills came across a really cool training program. At the time it was this dial-in thing you did and he enjoyed it so he recommended it and I tried it out. I was the only technology sales person in it, it was all real estate people, insurance, people, other people from other walks of life but that’s where I really learned the why, the why now, what’s important about that and really what he called “getting to the criteria.” I think that’s important and this ties into it, it’s selling the problem.

Making sure you’re really selling the problem because there’s a lot of data now out to support this in research but I’ve always believed that the most likely thing when you pick up a phone and talk to somebody is that they’re going to do nothing at all. Your competition is not the other alternative service or solution providers, it’s status quo and it’s doing nothing at all. Therefore, the first thing you need to determine before you engage is, “Is there enough understanding of a problem? Is the current situation bad enough and to the people that are feeling that bad situation, are they important enough in the organization for a change to occur?”

Focusing on that, it’s all wrapped up in that notion of selling the problem and qualifying. If you were to look at a graph and on the Y axis you have “level of effort” and on the X axis you have “time”, I think the best salespeople dedicate a lot of effort upfront, very early on. Whereas I see the ones that are average or below-average salespeople, they spend no time on the opportunity until they’ve been selected or they’re now competing and they’re trying to close and it’s too late.

Fred Diamond: Patrick, tell us about a major initiative you’re working on today to ensure your continued success.

Patrick Devlin: I think the biggest thing that I’m doing right now is I have a tendency to be very hands-off, very much of a coach and a mentor but taking that analogy to the Nth degree in that the coach is on the sideline, the coach doesn’t score, the coach doesn’t win a game. Ultimately it’s up to the players and I think maybe I do that too much because that’s how I wanted to be managed. I think what I’m doing differently right now is I’m getting much more involved on a deal by deal basis, really rolling up my sleeves and getting involved with the deal side by side with the reps. I think that is what the people that I’m working with right now really need and are benefiting from, I think that’s the most important thing that I’m working on personally.

Fred Diamond: Why did you make that shift?

Patrick Devlin: It’s a good question. I made the shift because I wasn’t happy with the results and just listening to the feedback from the reps, I think the reps were asking for it. I think the results speak for themselves so it’s been a good thing, but I need to remind myself to keep engaged with it because it’s not my instinct, my instinct is for them to be the CEO’s of their territories and the owners of their deals and I still believe that. I have to find a way to get engaged without violating that trust and that deal that you have with the reps.

Fred Diamond: But it’s also a good strategy because it’s hard. Speaking about that, before we ask you for you final thoughts and you’ve given us some great insights today, it’s gotten harder. The competition is tougher, people don’t need to do things, people don’t return your calls, they don’t return your emails. Why have you continued, though? Again, you started off not going into sales although your father said you’d be good at it, you were an electrical engineer and then you moved into some other sides, you then became a sales engineer and you’ve been leading sales teams now for a couple of decades. Why have you continued? What is it about sales as a career that has kept you going?

Patrick Devlin: You say it’s hard and I have an expression that the only work that is easy is the work you’re not doing. Everybody seems to look over and if you’re not doing it, it seems easy. I will say, I’ve performed in a lot of different positions within a software company, I did tech support, tech support is hard, I have a lot of respect for those guys. Product management is impossible, I describe it as all the responsibility in the world with none of the authority and everybody expects the world of you.

I know where you’re coming from, but I just think that sales is a job and it has fantastic rewards. I can’t think of another career choice at scale that presents the opportunity that sales does for people, especially as an individual contributor. When I was in that point of my life where I had four children, when they were growing up I worked a lot of that time from home as an individual contributor. I coached my kids in basketball and lacrosse, I was there for my family and I was still having a very successful career as an individual contributor. I can’t think of many opportunities at scale to do that kind of thing. Yeah, it’s hard but what isn’t?

Fred Diamond: Patrick, before we wrap up here I want to thank you. You’ve given us some great insights, really love the concept of why and why now, whenever that comes up I just go to a different place and it’s so powerful to truly understand that. That’s come up a number of times, so thanks a lot. Patrick, before we wrap up here, give us a final thought. Again, we have Sales Game Changers listening around the globe, give us something to inspire them today.

Patrick Devlin: I would say remember that your #1 focus is to help the people that you are working with understand the value of what you do. Another mentor, a guy named Dave Haskell at Edify taught me this. He said, “Once you really understand the impact that what you’re proposing can have on their lives and on the organizations that they work for, you almost have a fiduciary responsibility to do your best to make the case for it. If you feel you’ve done that, that’s great but if you feel you’re not doing that then rethink what you’re doing and really go after it.

Get passionate about it and get involved, but don’t break the rules. I have an expression that says, “Breaking the rules if you don’t know the rules doesn’t make you innovative, it makes you an idiot.” The first thing you have to do is know the rules and understand them and then if you want to innovate from there, that’s cool. When I say that, what I mean is doing the job with integrity. I think a lot of people feel like you have to check some of that at the door when you’re in sales and I think you can be honest, I think you can be transparent, I think you can do your job with integrity and still be really successful.

Fred Diamond: Absolutely, it’s going to catch up to you if you’re not.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *