In this episode of the Sales Transformation episode, Collin Mitchell talks to John Morris, Executive Director of Brand at Club Colors. With 25 years of experience in sales and sales leadership, John shares a ton of useful tips and anecdotes of discovering his knack for sales with selling paintball tickets, to learning how to lead salespeople with years of experience more than him.
John learned his tricks of the trade the old-fashioned way, and listening to his life lessons and his experiences is sure to benefit the listener, especially those who are looking to or are struggling to lead their first sales teams.
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Collin: "You got to know what motivates people. You can influence people to do things if you know what the important thing is to them."
John: "You want to win people over? Put them on stage."
John: "If you want to truly impact people, you need to hold them accountable by asking them questions. Quit making so many nice statements. Stop doing that. He said you need to ask them questions. When they answer the question, you ask them another question. When they answer that question, you ask them another one and another one and another one until they say, I don't know. When they say I don't know, that's when you become a value. Because you do know."
John: "If you ask somebody what their biggest strength is, the likelihood is they're gonna tell you about that. If you build on that, and get them to build their own ego, they will, as a good human, typically bring themself down a level and open up what they tell you about that weakness. And then from there, before you pound down on that weakness, keep deifying them on the strengths."
Collin: "You don't want to lead with like, hey this is what you're doing wrong. Here's how you're doing it wrong, and I'm gonna help you fix it. They're not gonna listen."
John: "A great idea typically has five or six other people's viewpoints on it and different spins and versions of it so there's a lot of ownership of it. You have a much stronger likelihood of getting ownership of it if other people have had a say in it and have been involved in it, and have received credit for it."
John: The product is the product. It's about solving business problems that exist. We just happen to use marketing and promotional products and brand management as the vehicle to solve problems that exist within a business. Nobody goes out and decides that they're gonna buy promotional products just because they got a thousand dollars laying around."
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Also, you can join our community by checking out @salescast.community. If you're a sales professional looking to take your career to greater heights, please visit us at https://salescast.co/ and set a call with Collin and Chris.
[00:00:00] In the world of sales, you either sink or swim or breakthrough to the next level. My name's Colin Mitchell, and this is sales transformation, a new kind of sales show designed to bring you through the epic life-changing moments of elite sellers. So you can experience your own sales transformation.
[00:00:24] All right. Welcome to another episode of sales transformation. I'm super fired up for today's guest. I've got John Morris, he's the executive director of brand. Club colors. He has 25 years experience in sales and sales, leadership management. His heart is really in building culture, inspiring growth and creating brand experiences.
[00:00:44] John, welcome to the show. I appreciate it very much. Great answer. I appreciate, I appreciate it. Yeah, man, short and sweet.
[00:00:55] You know, you'd be surprised sometimes I get some bios would before we hit record and I'm like, really, if I read that we're going to have nothing to talk about. So, all right. So take us back. Where did your sales journey start? Let's dig in there. I know there's going to be tons of, to talk about tons that we're going to learn from and dig a little deeper, but take us back.
[00:01:15] Like where, what were you selling at first and where did it all start? This is pretty fun. I actually, um, as I was after I had, uh, run a painting company through college. I was kind of in that gap of like finishing college, what am I going to do? I want to do stand up. I want to act by, I knew I needed to make some money and it wasn't ready to go, like, get a career yet.
[00:01:36] Right. So I got this job for a company that sold paintball park tickets and like cruise tickets. So like lake Michigan, lake lake, Michigan, right. Summertime little party boats. Right. Or think about these, these, uh, paintball parks, right? This is when people just started coming out like, um, late mid nineties.
[00:01:55] And there was paintball parks surrounding our areas. So this company that I was representing had come up with a deal where they go to the paintball park. They essentially say, Hey, look, we're going to sell your normally $25 per ticket, but we're going to put 10 of them on what's a $250 value, but we're going to sell it for 39 99.
[00:02:14] But if you buy three, it's a total of $60. Right. And the deal was, I will go in in the morning, dude, hair down, it was back, you know, To bounce it around just to complete a knucklehead of a boss, but it was a good time. And he would give me $400 where the image. And whatever I sold, I kept half of right. And we had like the, like the, the carbon paper, like credit card.
[00:02:39] Right. So luckily in the Chicagoland area, man, there's I live down by Wrigley field at the time. So there's, you know, DePaul, Loyola, university of Chicago. I mean, you've got Northwestern, they're all down there. Right. So I'm 21 years old, 22 years old. So I'm still essentially a college kid. So I'd feel. My backpack with these paintball park tickets.
[00:03:02] And I would go to the college campus and I'd wait for somebody to open up a dorm room door. And I go, oh, I got my pass, hold the door for me. And I'd sneak in the dorms. And then I would go door to door in the hallways and like sell the paper tickets to these college kids. Next thing I know I've got like three phone numbers.
[00:03:22] I know where the party is that night, you know, I got people going, Hey, this is cool. I'll buy these. You got to come on. And, uh, that was kind of where the journey started. And I got that. I was like, man, this is pretty cool. If, if, uh, you know, if you've got a really good presentation and some energy, you can convince people to do some stuff.
[00:03:40] I mean, it was a total hack. I was a kid, but I recognized right there that I had some skill set to persuade and influence people. Here's the amazing thing I had never once been to the paintball park had never played paintball, had no idea what a paintball park looked like, but man, I painted a picture about those paintball parts.
[00:03:58] I, I heard her one story about how that. You know, like cars flipped over. And I had heard some stories that I did a little bit of research of what they might've looked like. And I painted this picture of, you know, you and your 10 friends are going to go out there and you're going to be, you know, hiding behind trees, shooting each other.
[00:04:16] I just painted this amazing picture. And then what I'd figured out was if I taught them how to make money. So, what I taught them was if they bought three, right, for $60 on each ticket, it said $25. So it was a $25 value. So I said, if you rip the ticket off and you sell each one of your friends for 10 bucks, they think they're saving 15 bucks.
[00:04:38] You're actually building up a whole bunch of money because you bought, you know, you bought 20 of these for 60 bucks. So now you're, I'm teaching them how to make money. And then I said, then you throw a party with the extra cash. Now you're the coolest guy in the campus. And that was the second. Wow. Wow. So there's a lot of little gems in there, right?
[00:04:57] A little bit of storytelling. Um, you know, um, also it's almost like you built your own little MLM paint, paint ball park empire. I had the guy who was actually running the animal. Teach me and kind of hustle me that you go sell it and I'll take half, you take half. Right. And he's killing it. And then I taught them how the, the customer, uh, which was another, you know, college aged kid, how they're going to make money.
[00:05:26] So I figured out like, Hey man, do you like to throw parties? Hey, you want to be the cool kid? Hey, you want to pick, you want to be the guy that's like the, the, the head honcho the crew. So I figured out what their want was and then I'd figure, uh, teach them how to alternate. Um, buy it and sell it back and make their money back.
[00:05:43] Plus some. Yeah, but you also knew how to tie it back to what they cared most. Right. Is that like status being a cool guy, throwing the party on extra cash to do that, which had nothing to do with paint balling, however, it, you know, uh, you got to know what motivates people right in. You can influence people to do things if you know what the most important thing.
[00:06:08] Yes. It's the value behind the product, right? I mean the product to going out to the paintball park, right? It is what it is. You're going to go play the game, whatever, it's all the, it's all the reaction. How cool your friends are gonna think you are, that you came up with this idea that you, that you spearheaded this idea.
[00:06:25] And then afterwards you show him this amazing time and then you buy the beer too. Like you're the coolest friend ever. And the reality is you actually broke even on it, but they think that, you know, you're spending big on them. So, you know, a little bit, a little bit of a, a hustle. I obviously have learned that you've got to be a lot higher level of a salesperson, but at 21 that was pretty creative.
[00:06:48] Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And it sounds like you were having fun doing it too. Oh yeah. My, my, I would say my favorite part of the story there is that is some pretty innovative door to door. I always love people who've done any sort of door to door. Right. But usually door to door, uh, is like selling Cutco knives or like knock-off Cutco knives.
[00:07:07] Right. But like, you know, making your way into the dorms and door to door in the dorm. Pretty interesting. That's the first time I've heard that one. Well, you know, I used to go door to door in Chicago. Right. And just about everybody had, um, you know, in the mid nineties had a no solicitings, uh, sticker on their door.
[00:07:26] People would always say, didn't you see the no soliciting sign on the door? And I would always say, well, those are the ones that I always go into, because that means that if I'm able to get my story across, you're just putting that sign up. Cause you're somebody who far too often says, yes, So you're putting that up to protect yourself from saying yes.
[00:07:43] So once you hear this, I know you're going to say yes and they would giggle, right. And then next thing you know, then nine 11 happened and you couldn't get a door to door on anywhere. Um, you know, at that point, but back in the back in the day, going door to door, um, man, I would get phone numbers. I would find out where the parties were.
[00:07:59] I'd make some sales. I would have guns pulled on me, almost got stabbed. You know, made some friends, it was, you never knew what was going to happen in a day. But all I knew is if I cleared out my inventory and if I did it by noon, I was done. I could either go back and get more inventory or I could be done for the day.
[00:08:16] And depending upon how nice of a day it was would dictate whether or not I went back for more inventory. Yeah. Or if there was a part of the car or get inventory, then go to the party. It might be a better idea. I probably should have done that. See, you're thinking I should, I missed that. Uh, yeah. All right.
[00:08:35] So that's kind of where you cut your teeth. And I, I mean, from there where you're like, man sales is for me and what was next or, or did you take a different, different term? I recognize what else? I had that in my back pocket, still chasing the dream dream fails, not good at it. Not good at Stanhope. Did wasn't really as passionate about it as I thought, I just like to be funny cause I like to get attention.
[00:08:54] Right. And you know, um, but you know, it didn't seem like it was going to pan out as. Talk to a buddy from college, um, who was also a best friend from high school. His older brother is going to work for this consulting firms, been there for a year and a half is just absolutely crushing it. We've got a similar personality.
[00:09:12] He thinks I'd be strong at it, sets up an interview. Next thing you know, I'm, I'm in the inside sales department and, um, you know, I'm making 300 dials a day, uh, reaching out. Oh yeah. You know, it's interesting nowadays. You know, I don't want to be the old guy on the call. Right. But when I hear folks that have all this automation and, uh, dialers and, you know, things that scrub out the leaves and the, and the dead numbers and all those things, man, I was, I was calling out of a file folder like this with people's pen marks all over it.
[00:09:50] Somebody called it four hours ago. It had been called 17 times in three weeks. You know, and you get the guy on the phone, he's like, where are you from? And you tell him, and he's like, what is wrong with you? People, you know, it was back in those days before all these things were invented to assure you that you didn't run into that.
[00:10:09] And you had to figure out how to overcome that. So, you know, if you made 300,000 a day, you actually only were getting off 10 presentations, you were getting hung up on and told to kick dirt. It was a different animal. So those of you that are young in sales, you're very pretty. Yeah, there's a lot of fancy tools and I use a lot of them and, and, and, but I also started, you know, V manual, you know, my first sales job was like, here is the phone here is your script.
[00:10:39] And here's a list of names to call and don't use the CRM. Cause it doesn't work like, well, we used to have them on three, three carbon copies. So we have. Yellow and pink. And at the time, the inside sales manager who thought that he was, you know, uh, like right out of, um, boiler room, I mean, and he kind of was, I think he was boiler room before boiler room was boiler room.
[00:11:03] I mean, think that Ben Affleck's character was him. I mean, he's, that was that good. Just deck to the knives and the voice, like, does it right. And just. High energy. He would take the one lead, right. And he would split into three piles. He'd go to three different reps and give the same exact leads to three reps.
[00:11:25] Well, none of us knew this he's like fresh leads, man, fresh leads, fresh leads. You're all calling the same stuff. And it was just a race to see who got there first. So you're on the phone with a client and the guys goes, hang on, I got another call. And then he comes back on the phone. He goes, I'm talking to a guy from your company right now.
[00:11:44] And then you look over and you're like, Bruce, hang up. I'm already, I want that guy, you know, and it's just a complete race to that. And, you know, it was fun though, those that, you know, get down and dirty and just into it, it wasn't really good for reputation in the organization, man. But you learned a lot about how to overcome objections and kind of think on your feet, uh, You don't got any objection, how to deal with getting your teeth kicked in?
[00:12:10] Yes, this is my third set. Oh man. Yeah. So, all right. So, um, I mean, it sounds like that was your first inside sales job. Right? Very different from, you know, knocking on doors, you know, sounds like maybe you learned some good things and bad things there. Kind of like my journey and that I went to the after nine months.
[00:12:35] Um, I was not a big numbers guy. I was a hide. My sales were quality sales though. Like I got pretty good engagement. I got a lot of detail and I found pain and that allowed me when I handed it off to the next level to increase the odds that we were going to engage in a bigger project. And that was how our company made money.
[00:12:53] Um, so I was kind of, the quality guy was never the big numbers guy. Um, so I went to the sales manager and I said, look, If you like me and you think that I'm talented and you think that I have a future at this organization, you have got to get me out of this room and that this was about nine months in.
[00:13:09] And I had done about a million dollars in, in what we call cash, collect bill wallers, um, which was, you know, top, top 15, top 20 and in the company at that, in that timeframe, nothing huge, but decent enough. And, um, I said, you gotta get me out of here. And, well, I guess a week earlier, one of the recruiters.
[00:13:29] Had either been promoted or resigned or something like that. So I ended up going into recruiting and essentially hiring people for the role that I was in. And I found that that was really, really outstanding for me because I was essentially just telling stories about, Hey, look, this is how much money you can make.
[00:13:45] This is how this is how it goes. And so I'm telling stories like I'm telling you. And that really sunk in well, that led to me getting heard by the ownership team. Um, they could listen in on calls and just kind of see, you know, how people were, were presenting and what the quality they were living up to standards of whatever.
[00:14:05] And I guess a father, son team are listening in on the call and they decided that they needed a new sales executive for one of the regions. I got the phone call and next thing you know, I'm running. Um, a region at 24, 25 years old, um, and kind of handed the keys and these are outside salespeople. Now. Now here's the amazing thing.
[00:14:26] Other than the door to door PayPal and cruise tickets, I had never done outside sales. So now I'm going to manage a team of outside salespeople and I've never been. Outside sales. I had done inside sales and recruiting. So that was a bit interesting to be able to sell my, sell my skills and attributes to a group of people that have been doing it for 10, 15, 20 years.
[00:14:47] Wow. And was, I'm sure there's some challenges that, that came in that experience. Well, first off, you know, when you're 25 years old, um, and everyone knows your age cause you know, um, your kind of squeaky voice, they probably see you at meetings and, and, you know, You know, they're like, so tell me about your family.
[00:15:06] You're like, I just, I just got out of school. Right? So, you know, you, you kinda got that. And then, you know, you're talking to somebody that, you know, is going in and interacting with business owners is 50 something years old and probably left a career of banking or finance or, or, um, had their own, their own business, sold it.
[00:15:25] And now they're doing this as a consultant and now you're managing them. Um, I had to find my out. For them. So I figured out really quick, it wasn't going to beat teaching them. Um, what it was going to be is asking them a ton of questions and then making their answers essentially be their idea. Right. So I would just ask question after question after question to try and figure out what it is that they wanted.
[00:15:48] And then I would essentially repeat it back to them and say, so if I can help you to do this, that will be awesome. Right. And then I would make that my mission now that might. They want better leads. They wanted their leads better confirmed. They wanted a specific industry that to be in there. So if I could solve those problems, I knew I could win them over.
[00:16:05] So I would make that the focus. And then the other thing I learned really quick, you want to, you want to win people over, put them on stage. So I was hosting conference calls right. To, to be the trainer. What the heck was I going to train these people? I only knew a couple, couple tricks, right? So what I would do is I would put them on stage.
[00:16:25] And give them a platform to teach the other, their peers and other people. And I would deify them, deify them, meaning making them feel like they were superior at something within the organism. Or did you learn those skills? So where did you learn? One, two things that I want to just kind of dig a little deeper at here, right?
[00:16:45] Number one. Um, asking questions and learning, trying to get to the bottom of like, what's most important to them. Right. Which is a super power as a salesperson. There's a lot of people in sales that haven't even figured that one out. Right. But then really. Understanding the concept that people never forget how you make them feel and taking that into, you know, giving them a platform, giving them a stage, making them feel superior, giving, letting them teach their peers kind of plays into that.
[00:17:18] So where did you pick up those skills? So when I was in recruiting, uh, there was a general buddy machine Weatherall that was a, a senior executive there and he was running the, um, merger and acquisition team. And, um, this guy looked like a real life, GI Joe. He was a former Navy seal. Um, and he was the baddest of the baddest.
[00:17:39] Not only from a standpoint of cause he was a Navy seal, but also just from business, just the way he carried himself, the way he dressed. I mean, the guy just marched through the. And just everything about his. Um, I didn't want to emulate, but I just respected. I admire. And so one time I was on a call, um, and I was kinda like being super nice and really presenting to the client.
[00:18:05] And he came and he just like hung up the phone. He just hung it up. I was like, mid sentence. He just, he just hung it up and was like, oh, And he pulls me off to the side. He goes, so what do you want to be when you grow up? And I was like, you know, I was like, I want to be like you, man. He goes like, puts his forearm up against my neck.
[00:18:31] He's like quit being so nice. He said, if you want to actually truly impact. You need to hold them accountable by asking them questions, quit making so many nice statements. Stop doing that. He said you need to ask them questions. And when they answer the question, you ask them another question. What do you answer when they ask, answer that question?
[00:18:51] You ask them another one and another one and another one until they say, I don't know when they say, I don't know, that's when you become a value because you do know. Right now, I'm just, I'm just thinking about, could you imagine if somebody did that in the workplace today? Gosh, I mean, absolutely not. I mean, but back then I was like, dude, this guy's awesome.
[00:19:14] Right. I'm 20 I'm 24 years old. Hey mom, I got in a choke hold today at work. It was amazing after that. You're like, no, I really want to be so I can do that to other people. Right. So, um, I've just was enamored by that. And the next, like the next after I like, you know, stop tearing up and could feel my throat again.
[00:19:38] Um, like the next call I get on the phone with this, with this client, it's like a recycling company. And he's just going off about all the problems of the world. And this is awful and I can't get finance. I can't, I want to, I want to acquire the company and all these firms talk big game. Nobody can help me.
[00:19:57] And I just kept going, why is that? So why do you feel that way? So how does that make you feel? So what would happen if you didn't have that problem? So why haven't you solved that problem yet? What's holding you back from achieving the success. What's your plan? Why don't you have a plan? All the stuff you told me to do and the client was.
[00:20:14] Like, I don't have any of these answers. And I said, so let me ask you a question. How are you going to solve the problems if you don't have those answers? And the guy went, I don't know, do you know? And I said, well, I don't know, but if we could take a look at that and right. And then I went into the clothes and he's like, alright, fine.
[00:20:30] I'll give you a shot. Right. And that, like he could've said, I don't know, kid, if you asked me another question, I'm going to put it blew my mind. I was like, holy cow, that totally works. Oh, four weeks earlier, I would have been like, please let me have my guy come in and meet with you right on a really nice guy.
[00:20:49] And it wouldn't have been about, um, you know, his challenges or his pain or his quantum, uh, quantifiable cost of not solving that problem wouldn't have been about. I would have never gotten to that. Um, so he taught me that, and that was a life. And then on the deifying part, I worked with another gentleman who that was his big thing.
[00:21:10] He could always get the client to open up by asking the client what their biggest strength was. And so what he would do is like, most people, whenever I talk to people that are trying to sell me, they almost always ask me, like, what challenge do you have? If you could solve a challenge that you have in the business, what would it be?
[00:21:26] I don't care who you are. I immediately get taken back, like who says, I have a challenge. It's a, it's a natural reaction. Like who are you to assume that I have that challenge, even though I haven't, I know I have it, but you naturally. So I was always taught. Um, from that moment forward was you asked somebody what their biggest strength is.
[00:21:47] They're most inclined to then be vulnerable and tell you what the weaknesses I'll give you an exit. When I play golf, um, I'm fairly decent at golf, but my strength in golf is I'm really good off the tee. I'm long and accurate off the tee. And I can hit the ball pretty high. Pretty far. It gets to stop. I suck at putting, well, if you challenged me on my putting, like, if you said what's your biggest challenge, I'm probably not going to tell you that.
[00:22:16] Right. But if you saw me hit a drive and went, oh my gosh, that's absolutely amazing. I almost feel. I have to bring myself down a level because you're eventually going to see me pot and I don't deserve that high of, of respect. Right? Yeah. So I kind of bring myself back down. So that was the analogy. Like if you ask somebody what their biggest strength is, their likelihood is, they're going to tell you about that.
[00:22:39] If you build on that and get them to build up their own ego, they will, as a good human, typically bring themselves down a level and open up and tell you what that week. And then from there before you pound on that weakness, keep deifying them on the strength. So I learned that in the management aspect as well.
[00:23:00] Like if you deify a rep, they'll tell you what their challenges and how you. Yeah. Yeah. You're not going to, you don't want to lead with like, Hey, this is what you're doing wrong. Here's how you're doing it wrong and how I'm going to help you fix it. Right. They're not going to listen. You got to, it's almost like a, you know, good bedside manner, you know, 100%, you know, you know, um, and, and with a prospect, like in, you know, more of like a B2B context, like, you know, Yeah.
[00:23:28] What problems do you solve for your clients? Or what are your guys' strengths or how are you different than your competitors? Where do you stand out? How do you do things? Like there's just so many different questions that you can set that up and teed up to frame it in that way to have a much more productive conversation, 100%.
[00:23:42] And I think that that's a much more human element. I mean, imagine walking into a bar and you sit down next to somebody who's a stranger and just go, Hey, what's your biggest problem? Like, what's your problem, man. You know, you might get punched in the mouth, a problem, like the natural, the more human natural thing is, is to say, Hey, tell me something good, man.
[00:24:05] What's going on? What's up with you? Tell me something good. Right. And, um, you know, I think people do that as an icebreaker, but I don't think they do that as part of their fact-finding. Um, there's also, there's also another piece to it too. It's like they really don't care. They're just saying it because it's something that they were told to say, right.
[00:24:22] Not very authentic. Yeah. And what if you, don't also don't know what their strength is. You run into the chance of them bringing that up as an objection later as well, and saying, why don't we need that because I'm already awesome at this part. So why are you presenting that to me? Um, so, you know, it's, it's part of that situation of getting, getting all the potential hedges and objections out of the.
[00:24:46] And not only their strengths in their weak, his strengths, but in their weaknesses as well, and then increases your odds of, of first off, um, uh, uh, you know, eliminating the client as a prospective client. If they're not a right match right off the bat, you want to get to the know fast, right? You don't want to waste their time or.
[00:25:02] And then, you know, so disqualifying is just as good as qualifying, right. Just qualifying to save their time and yours, and then qualifying comes later. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, here's, what's interesting. Sometimes they might not even know what they're great at, but if you help them realize what it is, you know, what's crazy column.
[00:25:21] That's such a good point because I could, I got to tell you, like, if I ask clients with the biggest weaknesses, they answer so much faster than when you asked what the biggest strength is. And I don't know if that's because they have human. Or if it's because just as humans, we have a tendency to, um, hone in and obsess on our weaknesses and our.
[00:25:40] And we don't spend enough time validating and embracing what our strengths are. I don't, I'm not sure what that is. I think it's the latter. I think people naturally have a lot of negative self-talk right. Or they focus on the things that they know that they need to improve and don't give themselves enough credit or don't even spend enough time having a level of awareness of the things that they're really good at.
[00:26:02] And people genuinely. Don't probably ask them enough. Right. Which is kind of the whole point. So they don't spend a lot of time even talking about. Yeah. So maybe that's a refreshing thing as a sales person. I know it worked for me is to ask people their strengths. Maybe it's therapeutic for your, your prospective client to let them brag about themselves a little bit, who doesn't like that, give people a shot to, you know, kind of.
[00:26:28] DFI themselves and feel good about themselves for a minute before you go trying to help them. The other thing is eliminate the word help until the person asks for help. Don't use the word help. Somebody asks for help, then start talking about, okay, well we can help you. But I always felt like when I said, well, we can help you to do this people back up on you.
[00:26:48] Uh, and you know, so I always, I always liked the word. You know, we add value here. This is, this is an area where we tend to benefit from. Instead of saying, I can help you. I was talking about others. This is what we've done for others. This is how we benefit others and make them come to you and then say, well, is that something you could help us with?
[00:27:08] And then you say, well, I'm not sure we can help you with it, but it certainly would be something that we would look into and we could really investigate. And I wouldn't want to be presumptuous and say that we can help you until I could prove that. And I just think it's a little bit more of a gracious way of doing that without offending them tough to recover from offending somebody.
[00:27:28] Yeah. Yeah. I like to frame it in this way. I like to ask people what their superpower is like, what's your superpower as an individual or as a business, you know, uh, people like to think of it. I think it kind of lightens the mood with it a little bit and they're like, Yeah, I do have a superpower. My superpower is this, you know?
[00:27:44] Um, so have you had somebody actually answer with a real superpower? Like they actually had a superpower? Yeah. Like they fly and save the world at night. I've had a couple of those. No, you know, everybody answers it a little bit differently. Right. But it helps sort of set the stage of what they think they're best at.
[00:28:02] Right. Um, and sometimes it's, sometimes they really gotta think about it. And sometimes that, like the honest answer, a lot of times, like, I'm not sure. And then it opens up for more questions. So talk a little bit about the work that they do and the problems that they solve and how that benefits their clients, and then helping them realize what it is.
[00:28:20] And that's super powerful. Well, I have a, I have a challenge for anybody and all the people that listen and watch this write down what your super channel is, super power as for 2022, you should know what your superpower is. I think that's really important. Yeah. Yeah. I love it. All right. So let's fast forward a little bit.
[00:28:37] So, I mean, it sounds like you learn a lot of things. Sounds like you had some. You know, decent mentors, uh, even ones that were willing to almost choke you out to prove a point to make you a better sales person. Um, but you know, where did that lead you, you know, next? Yeah. So, um, interesting. You know, I, I had managed sales teams for awhile and got to a point where I was in a little bit of.
[00:29:02] Uh, stagnation point, having some moral compass, uh, concerns and issues. I was having some on board in this industry issues. I was having some, I needed a change. Um, and so I kind of went on this magical mystery tour of trying to figure out where the heck my next move was. And boom, I find club. Um, so I've, I've segwayed about five or six years of kind of minutiae that probably isn't worthy of podcasts.
[00:29:32] Um, learn a lot of lessons of who I was and who I wasn't, uh, which I think, uh, that self-awareness, it's important to know who you are and who you aren't. Um, and I, I arrived the club colors where I started as a sales manager, about four years. And, um, that was interesting coming into a completely different space.
[00:29:53] I mean, completely different space going from consulting services, investment banking, mergers and acquisitions. Too promotional products, um, distribution, decorations, sourcing, just like, and no experience in that whatsoever. Just no clue whatsoever. Um, and essentially, you know, going into a team of experts that have experience in it and are operating already at a high level.
[00:30:21] Um, and essentially having the ownership team be like, look, you've got a great team. They're already performing. Um, we've got a pretty good, pretty good name. Here's a couple things. First off, your job is not to create division. Your job is to carry out our vision. So they gave me a clearly defined understanding of what they wanted, uh, what their vision was.
[00:30:46] And my job was to, you know, be the, the general on, on the battlefield and to carry out that mission. Right. And I feel like I was, I've been a pretty good soldier in that regard. And, you know, what was really cool too is they were honest. They said, Hey, look, it's going to take you six, six months to a year to figure out this industry.
[00:31:07] Like, so don't think you're going to come in here and start like making changes and advising people of how they should do this and do that. And man, they were right. I mean, There is a lot of intricacy to this industry, especially distribution or promotional products. You're talking about 9 million different skews, right?
[00:31:25] I mean, God knows how many different things are and it's like, you're not going to memorize a catalog. You're not going to memorize all those skews. Um, becoming a product expert is probably useless. So their big thing was figure out purpose over product purpose, over product. What's the purpose. First off, make the client the hero.
[00:31:45] Um, these people are event driven. Um, and what does that mean? They want the right solution for the marketing. They want it to go to the right place because it's an event. Right. So they got to hand it out and they want it there on time, right time. So that became our brand promise right. Solution, right place, right time.
[00:32:05] Um, and that, that has been kind of a magical thing for us, but primary things make the client the hero. So we started backtracking from there and that's how we've kind of designed, um, you know, our processes, how, uh, as far as how we communicate, um, as. Um, as an organization, put the client first. Wow. So, um, I'm guessing, uh, just reading between the lines here a little bit, was there a lot of challenges and learning of learning a new industry?
[00:32:35] Well, in a leadership role. Um, so as I mentioned, um, kind of the, the message was, Hey look, analysts. You come from that field, right? You should know how to do that. So I spent a lot of time sitting down, um, with the top salespeople in the organization, the middle people in the organization. And, you know, even, uh, factoring in some of the exit interviews, what do people say when they leave?
[00:33:03] Like where, where could I, where could I take from that? I re recall having a pretty good exit interview with somebody that was leaving, not because I had gotten there, they had already put their two weeks in and I was there at my first week and I sat down and said, what would be if you were in my position, what would you do?
[00:33:19] So I spent a lot of time when I got in there as a sales manager, asking people if you were the sales manager, what was. Um, and I, and I knew where I wanted to go with things. I knew that I wanted to create, um, you know, incentive. I knew that I wanted people to rally around, um, the, the vision of, of the ownership.
[00:33:42] I knew that I wanted to, uh, establish wind sharing within, within the. I knew that I wanted to create better training mechanisms. I knew all those things, but if I just came in and just started rifle those things off without earning their trust and respect, and they're in the industry, I knew that I would lose them.
[00:34:01] Um, and that was, that was so the first thing I did was I sat down next to each one of the people. And I said, if you were in this role, what would you do here? And then I started narrowing it down. If you were trying to solve the freight issue that we have as an organization to, to, um, make it a better, uh, cost savings and more efficient for clients, what would you do here?
[00:34:22] And I started gathering that information. Then if I would, you know, get approval to implement those things, I would make sure to give them credit. Yeah, that's big man. Some people don't do that. I know I've had a lot of sales managers that told me that they weren't going to give all the credit for the idea.
[00:34:39] And then they went and somebody else's office took all the credit. My older brother taught me about 15 years ago. He said, when you have an idea, make sure you document it and, um, and you write it down so that nobody can take your idea and verbally go sell it to somebody else. So. Whenever I share an idea with somebody.
[00:34:58] You can sh you can be assured that I have a documented. Yeah. So even the idea of, uh, telling you to go round down your superpower, that has been documented. I was courtesy of John Morris. Um, so you know what I love most about, um, the things you mentioned, there are tons of good things, but the one thing that stood out the most to me is taking the time to get that feedback.
[00:35:20] Even an exit interviews, right. People move on for many reasons. Um, it can be. Good experience, bad experience somewhere in between. Um, but taking the time to actually show that you care and get that feedback because that feedback is so valuable, you know, uh, they really got nothing to lose when they're giving you that feedback.
[00:35:39] It's going to be pretty, pretty, real, raw, authentic. Yeah. And by the way, they're not the only one who thinks that they're just the only one exiting at that point leaving because of that. But they probably have talked to other people, you know, this happens, people talk, they chat and they go out to lunch and other people can tolerate.
[00:35:55] Um, and the person who's leaving, apparently couldn't so what ends up happening? You make that change? You find five or six other people are like, Good thing. They did that. Yeah. And sometimes it's simple stuff that you maybe just overlooked, you know, you can't take every piece of feedback that you get and like, we're going to make some changes.
[00:36:13] Um, but if you start hearing a lot of the same things like, oh, maybe we should take a look at that. Maybe there's some things we could do a little better here, you know, maybe, uh, we can implement some things and, you know, save ourselves potentially losing other talent. Yeah. I think the key is just to have an open mind that if you're going to build the team.
[00:36:30] Somebody ultimately has to be the decision maker in the end. Um, but you don't have to come up with every idea. You don't have to take credit for every idea. Um, and you know, um, you're probably best served to open up to other people and give them credit for the ideas and, you know, a great idea typically have.
[00:36:49] Five or six other people's viewpoints on it and different spins on it and versions on it. So that there's a lot of ownership of it. You have a much stronger likelihood of getting ownership of it. Uh, if other people have had a say in it and, or have been involved in it and received credit. Yeah. I mean, the thing is too, right.
[00:37:09] Is if you take somebody's idea and then take credit for it, uh, chances are, they might have some other good ideas and you're probably never going to hear about them. Right. Yeah. Uh, all right. So, I mean, tell me about, you know, maybe some of the superpowers of club colors, like the work that you guys are doing, um, you know, Tell me what you guys do.
[00:37:35] Well, what you do for your clients, for those that maybe haven't heard of you guys just give us the whole, yeah, sure. You know, um, it's interesting because we had talked about this back when I was leading the sales team, we had talked about like, what's the answer when somebody says what's your superpowers and organization.
[00:37:51] And I think we all came to the agreement that, um, what differentiates us in the industry is we run our business really, really. The cool thing about the, the leadership team and the ownership team and the management team is we all come from different industries. Um, and what we find is that understanding of a multitude of different industries really allows us to understand the client and what their wants needs and desires are verse being experts in product, in the industry, right?
[00:38:24] Like the product is the. It's about solving business problems that exist. We just happened to use marketing and promotional products and, and brand management as the vehicle to solve problems that exist within a business. Like nobody goes out and decides if they're going to buy promotional products, just because they got a thousand dollars laying around, right?
[00:38:44] Like there's something, there's a reason why they're buying that, trying to create more exposure. They want to create an experience. They want to create a feeling. They want to be remembered. They want to stay front of mind. Um, they want to compel somebody to, um, engage with their business. They want to leave a lasting memory.
[00:39:00] So somebody receives their phone call after that trade show, whatever that thing is, they want a client to be retained in the, stay with them and stay front of mind. They want somebody to be third party persuasion for them and tell the story about how cool it is to work with. So there's all these reasons as to why people utilize promotional products.
[00:39:19] Um, so we focus more on that. Much the way that my interaction has been with sales cast. Um, you guys reverse engineered your presentation with me. So you've talked a lot about what my outcome desired outcome was. As it related to club colors, what were we looking for? What we try to do drive drive, um, attention for our brand become, um, have better brand awareness, become recognized on social media.
[00:39:48] Finally understand our story, what we do the same thing in our approach. We want to understand, like, if somebody says I want a thousand, uh, polos, we don't just go, okay, great. What color we want to understand? Who's it going to, cause we may say a thousand polos is not the right answer. If it's going to that demographic.
[00:40:08] You want to go this way or a thousand poles might be, but maybe they're not pebble beach. Maybe they're Puma. Cause it's all this demographic or age group and that's going to go better over better. Right. So we, we start with, um, you know, start with why type of thing I get. I understand that. But we're looking for what's the desired outcome.
[00:40:28] Who's the audience. And what feeling do you want? So, if I was going to tell you what our superpowers were with the two things, number one, um, we manage our business really, really well. And why is that a benefit to a client? Because you can count on us to get the job done, right? It's security, you know that we're going to get it right.
[00:40:45] Number two it's we make people feel a certain way. It's, it's rare that people interact with somebody from club colors, whether it be through a virtual, on a phone call through email, or especially in the building. And don't feel an energy lift. They feel and experience, they get an experience and that's actually a big hit, especially if they get to go in the club, right.
[00:41:10] They go in the club baby. Then it's a whole nother thing. But even just coming in the building, like we call it the green court advantage because our color is pink. 360, which is a, that kind of line green, right? We call it the green court advantage. When people come into our facility, meet our ownership team, meet our management team, meet our screen printers, meet our accounting team.
[00:41:31] People feel something, and that's design that's by design. That starts with the top. It goes through a recruiting. We recruit people that can, that can hang with that game that we have that. Yeah, man. All right. So before we wrap things up here, we didn't talk about this. I'm going out on a limb a little bit here, and I'll have to maybe ask for permission.
[00:41:57] Uh, I'd rather ask for forgiveness than permission as they say, right? Uh, are we gonna let people maybe take the logo challenge? Yeah, absolutely. Look at me for those that don't know what the logo challenge listen up. Listen so long. The challenge, quick link. We put it on a job forum. It's beautiful. You click the link you go on there.
[00:42:17] You answer five or six questions. Put in your information. You select a product. We have products, uh, from apparel to blankets, hats, sweatshirts, different things. You can pick, pick one product, entering your data with your, your vector art, your logo. We will then get received that you'll have somebody for office reach out to you and kind of ask you some questions and make you feel warm and fuzzy.
[00:42:39] And then, uh, we will, uh, get that product in house. We'll embroider your beautiful logo on there, and we will ship it directly out to, if you follow a column, you probably saw a beautiful video. He did on LinkedIn, where he showed the, the experience of opening up the box. Thank you for doing that. Um, I asked one favor.
[00:43:00] Um, if there's two types of people that we asked to do. Either being an influencer, meaning if you're going to take the logo challenge, please tell somebody who is the decision maker within the organization to take it as well. Somebody in marketing, HR communications, tip of the spear type type people or people that would make a decision for promotional products within your organization.
[00:43:22] If you're a decision maker, please take it and share it with another decision maker within your organization as well. The whole method behind that is we want to prove to you that our differentiator again, is that we manage the process extremely well and that our quality will stand out and you will have an unbelievable experience in doing it and you'll feel great.
[00:43:46] Uh, and I'm telling you it's he made it sound way more complicated than it is. It's really simple to do it. And he didn't talk enough about the quality of the products. Like I've received a lot of little junk chotskies in my time. And what I got was some top quality, top quality. Item with my logo on it.
[00:44:11] That's, you know, I wear regularly, it was a feeling and experience. Um, and if you're looking to do that, you know, for your customers, for your clients, for your podcast, guests, for, uh, whatever the case is, you want to check this out. It's a great opportunity. We'll drop the link. I'm glad that John, uh, uh, approved of that, check this out.
[00:44:34] So we've, we've got unbelievable vendors, like. Spider, right. This is from one of our partners at alpha Broder. Thanks out for program, dropping your name in here, but I get stuff like this all the time. These are the types of things that we could source. We decorate in-house and again, um, for us, we're not ever going to be, um, a company that is about just moving products, right?
[00:44:56] We like to consider ourselves the premium within the industry. So. Um, w you know, we're, we're sourcing premium high-end products, and guess what service quality of product, attention to detail and the feeling that you get will absolutely justify your reasoning as to why club colors is a great answer for you.
[00:45:18] I can't thank you enough for, for, um, taking the logo challenge. And for you promoting. To your point? Um, I over-complicate things it's very simple and it's high quality. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So we'll drop a link there in the show notes. We'll also drop, uh, John's LinkedIn, so you can connect with him. He has a podcast himself, uh, which is pretty awesome.
[00:45:38] So definitely want to check that out. Uh, if you enjoyed today's episode, Please write us a review, share the show with your friends really does help us out. And I'm always listening for your feedback as well. You can go to sales, transformation.fm, drop me a voice DM, and I will get back to you. Hey, you stuck around that tells me you're serious about your own sales transformation.
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