Sales Hustle is now Sales Transformation
July 30, 2021

Episode #126 Get Double Digit Margins with Chris Michel

In this episode of the Sales Hustle Podcast, Collin Mitchell welcomes Chris Michel as he shares how he is able to help people get double-digit margins within 90 days and develop programs and things that are effective tools to get them to where they want to be.

As an Outsourced HVAC Sales Manager, Chris gets to help business owners who are self-managing sales and should not be. He has been around sales and management for 30 years and has seen people struggle with having a solid sales process. 

Chris believes that some are born with the ability to sell and need to be fine-tuned in their process, while others need help finding a sales process that will help them get on track and become a solid salesperson. He is inspired to help people do what inspires them so they will be fulfilled. 

Specializing in consultative sales, Chris has years of sales, training, and management experience with award-winning results. He has been the winner of numerous local and regional awards. Chris has mentored and coached some of the top salespeople and sales teams in his career. He has worked with all types of companies (small, medium, and large), helping decision-makers at all levels make the appropriate choices for their companies and their people to succeed in their business goals. He has managed P&L's and budgets for multimillion-dollar organizations and successfully helped organizations develop sales processes, develop employees, effectively reduce inventory levels and A/R balances to achieve company goals. In addition, Chris helped achieve high online customer service ratings through team motivation and coaching.

To get Chris Michel’s digital business card, text CoachChris to 21000.

You can also connect with Chris on LinkedIn and read about the Red Chair Experience, a book he’s currently working on. 

Join the Sales Hustle Community! Text “Hustle” to 424-401-9300!

If you’re listening to the Sales Hustle podcast, please subscribe, share, and we’re listening for your feedback. Also, if you are a sales professional looking to take your sales career to the next level, please visit us at and set a time with Collin and co-founder Chris.

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Episode 126 - Chris Michel

[00:00:00] Welcome to the sales hustle. The only no BS podcast, where we bring you the real raw uncut experiences from sales makers across various industries. The only place where you can get what you're looking for. Uh, your sales game today's episode is brought to you by sales cast sales cast helps sales professionals transform the relationship building process and win their dream clients.

[00:00:30] I'm your host, Colin. What is happening? Sales hustlers. Welcome to another episode today. I've got coach Chris, Michael, and, uh, he's an outsourced HVAC sales manager with over 30 years of sales and management experience. So I'm super pumped to have him on here. We connected on LinkedIn and thought it'd be a great idea to have him on for all the sales hustlers.

[00:00:53] So Chris, welcome sell Sasol. Thanks Colin. Yeah. So give us [00:00:59] the short version of your sales story. Well, um, I kind of summarize it with this. I, I get the opportunity to work with small to medium business owners who are self managing sales.

[00:01:16] So, um, and really I've come up with something along those lines to that I'm the HVAC quarterback with the sales or the playbook to help people get to double digit margins within 90 days. So helping them to develop programs and things that I've learned over the years that are effective tools to get them to where they want.

[00:01:35] Right. And no more deli DeLeon. Do I make enough money? Can I go on vacation? Can I buy that next vehicle? It becomes, I can go on vacation. I can buy the next vehicle. I can do these things because I'm doing things the proper way. Wow. Okay. So let's pull that apart just a little bit. Self-manage so small, medium businesses that are self managing sales.

[00:01:57] That [00:01:58] shouldn't be meaning. They're not doing it the right way, or they're trying to do all of it or all of the above. Here's the thing and Colin with, uh, and I'm sure you know, this with being an entrepreneur or even a solopreneur, right? You have so many hats that you have to wear, and there's so many things that you want to do.

[00:02:18] And if you're, if you're, um, doing a marketing business, right. You know, marketing super, super well, and you may be okay. Um, and you've got this team of people that you're working with and they need to go sell the services, right? Yeah. You may not know how to manage that. What, what metrics are you using?

[00:02:35] What proven and repeatable sales process do you have? Right. What are you doing to implement and get better at sales? And even to monitor, uh, to monitor that kind of stuff and your people, right? How do you help them get better? And they don't know how to do those things because they're wearing way too many hats.

[00:02:50] So they're working in the business instead of on the business and I help them to stay in their lane, do their thing [00:02:57] so that, um, I can help them manage their sales team or help to grow their sales team. Yeah. I mean, there's, there's definitely people that sit on different sides of the fence about founder led sales, right.

[00:03:11] And, and, uh, I'm a big believer of founder led sales. And, and I think that one thing you said is important for everybody to remember, right. Is, is, is staying in your lane. Right. And if sales is your thing, Then stay in your lane. Right? Um, because, you know, I started my first company in 2010 and, um, you know, and we, I built a sales team.

[00:03:37] We, we, we bootstrapped to 5 million in annual revenue in 26 months. And then I started to get less involved in the sales activities and try to get fancy with marketing and do all these things right. Didn't love doing, but felt important. And I wasn't happy, [00:03:56] you know, so staying in your lane is so important, but knowing what that is, and then realize, and, and also, you know, figuring out what is not your lane, you know, and you know, who, who should own those certain things that you should be doing.

[00:04:10] Um, and, and everybody's different. And I think. I think that for small, medium sized businesses like learning, even at the most basic, you know, cells skills is, is important. Um, because you know, you can't hire the right people. You can't lead the right people if you don't even really know, uh, you know, a thing or two about sales.

[00:04:32] Sure. And, and I appreciate what you're saying about even the owner, being able to run the sales team, if they can do that, I'm all for it. But do you know sales and do, you know, marketing and do you know, blah, blah, you know, dot, dot, dot. Do you know accounting? Do you know all these. Do you know how to collect, right?

[00:04:50] All of these things kind of come into play as you're running your business. And if you're doing from a small scale, it's [00:04:55] not that difficult, it's challenging, but it's not that difficult when it's one or two or five people. When you start expanding and you start growing and you start doing these things.

[00:05:04] And that's why I say small to medium businesses, because the solo preneurs, I'm all about helping them. How do I help them? It's giving them direction on overcoming objections and things like that. So I can help even coach the in. I'm sure you do this too. You help coach people where they are to getting to the next step for them.

[00:05:24] It's not necessarily the next level, cause I don't know what level they're at, but you know, to get to that next step and help them to, to progress and get better. Right. I, I want people to get better than me. I want people to be far better than me than in sales, right. And what they do and how they do it.

[00:05:39] Yeah. Yeah. And, and, you know, it's very common for people to start a business after they've maybe been in the industry or done that sort of work or job, or maybe something similar. Right. And they think just because they can do that work [00:05:54] or. You know, if, if you know, or they think they, they have the best product or they're going to do the best service of whatever that is better than where they were working previously.

[00:06:05] So it's all going to work out and that's just not true. You could have the best damn product out there or literally provide the best service. But if you don't know how to, you know, deal with people, build relationships, you know, articulate that, ask good questions, be curious. Nobody's going to care. Right?

[00:06:26] Exactly. And that's one of the things that I find in heating and air conditioning, which I've been a part of forever. Um, it's in that world, you get people that get tired of working for the man, right? They're getting, they're tired of corporate. They're tired of this. And they say, I can do it better. I don't need all these headaches.

[00:06:42] I want to go do it on my own. And so they start their own business. Good on you. Do you know how to sell? Do you know how to interact with people? Because most technicians. Are [00:06:53] machine-based. In other words, they do really well with working on equipment and that's their forte. Don't ask them to sell something to somebody because they get tongue tied and they get all caught up in different things.

[00:07:03] And they're not as comfortable talking to people and then they want to go and sell and it can, it becomes a hindrance form. Right. And realize it. And that's where again, that's where people like me and you come in and we say, Hey, we can help you. If you say this, this will help. If you do this, this will help.

[00:07:21] Right. And you, you help and you guide them along the way along the path, if you will, to get better at what they do or to bring somebody else in right. To, to, as you said earlier, stay in their own lane. Yeah. Yeah. And I've seen it firsthand, like in, you know, that sort of work right in the, I dunno, let's call it home services sort of industries across the board.

[00:07:46] Most of those business owners or operators. Um, they're not, [00:07:52] they are not good business operators. They are not good salespeople. Um, in a lot of times it's because, you know, they did that type of work and thought they could do it better and they don't follow up. They don't communicate. Right. A lot of times, like, there's just a lot of things that are just not professional about the way that they interact in face with customers or potential customers.

[00:08:12] Yeah. I have a family member. Really, really good at what they did. So they went off and started their own business and owned it for years and years and years. And no offense. They were horrible at the business side, right? The collections, the sales, that they were phenomenal at what they did from a home services standpoint, but God love them.

[00:08:33] They just couldn't, they couldn't manage the business very well. And as a result, it was a. It was the thorn in their side for years. It just really was. And so they never wore this blowout awesome company. Um, but they did the best that they could with the tools. Right. Yeah. [00:08:51] And, and this common across all industries where, you know, and I, that's why I think if you will, if you want to start a business one day, or you want to even just have a side hustle or you, you know, want to go off and do something on your own, I think sales is the number one skill that you should learn first.

[00:09:09] Like, whatever it is that you do learn how to sell. And then it doesn't really matter what you do. I mean, it helps if you're passionate about what you do and you're passionate about, you know, serving people at whatever level and whatever it is that you do, like those things definitely help. Um, but if you learn that skill, it's, it's universal regardless of what you do.

[00:09:32] And there's people that think, oh, if you sell this, you can't sell that. Or you need to know, you know, if you don't have tech experience, you can't sell tech. And I don't agree with all that crap. I think sales is a universal skill. There's some nuances and there's some industry things that you could learn.

[00:09:45] Um, but if you learn how to build high quality relationships and add [00:09:50] value to people in a meaningful way, um, through a sales process, you could sell it. Yup. Yup. And that's, you're so right. It's again, if we have a sales process, if we have something that we can lean on, if you will. Right. And we say, if I do steps, 1, 2, 3, 4, and five, if I miss step four, it's not me, the end of the world.

[00:10:10] It may not go well, but it's not the end of the world. You can at least make progress in the right direction. Right. And if you have a process, you can follow, it's going to help you. If you're passionate about it, that's even better. Right. Because. But they, they say that, you know, if you, if you do something you love, you never work a day in your life, right?

[00:10:27] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, but yeah, people can learn, um, tips and tricks to be decent at sales. They may not be phenomenal at sales, but you need to understand the basics and have this baseline understanding of how do you overcome an objection? How do you build value? You may be the best, like you said earlier, you may be the best or have the best [00:10:49] product, but if you don't know how to communicate that you don't know how to build value around that what's going to happen.

[00:10:53] You're going to, you're going to be dead. And you're not going to be able to do the things that you want to do or sell the things that you want to sell or promote the product that you have, because you don't know how to communicate it better. Yeah. Yeah. And some of the best people that I've come across, you know, all heard, you know, fell into sales or got into sales by accident.

[00:11:14] They come from some very interesting places before, prior to that, like I've talked to some super successful salespeople that started off as teachers, you know, I've talked to successful salespeople that, you know, started off as more like customer success. Service where, you know, they just genuinely really care about helping people.

[00:11:34] Um, and they don't have a lot of that bad habit sales baggage that, uh, that a lot of people unfortunately get, which I did myself. When I first got started, I got taught all the wrong things and treating people transactionally, and I can go on and on which [00:11:48] I had to unlearn. Right. Um, so some of the best people, you know, they come from some interesting non-sales backgrounds, um, and do really well in sales.

[00:11:57] Right. And, and that's super helpful too, is if you really care about people, I mean, we were talking about this earlier. So many books, right. That are out there. They're just great fundamental books. Um, they, they can help you to learn to love and care and do those things. I can't, I can teach you to care to a certain extent, but you have to care.

[00:12:22] You have to do the things right. I can, I can give you all the tools. But I'm not going to hit the nail for you, right. You've gotta be able to hit the nail. Yeah. Yeah. Or as our mutual friend, Larry Levine likes to say, you're going to be walking around with commission breath in an empty suit. Yeah. Yeah. Ooh, man.

[00:12:44] I think, I mean, when I first got started, I think people [00:12:47] could smell my commission breath through the phone. Well, I think is, and again, it's young people, I think too often. We get those starry-eyed Ooh, I can, I can be successful in sales and I can do this and I can make all this money and we do all these things and we forget it like Larry or, or even, you know, Harry space, you know, with his book selling with dignity.

[00:13:10] Um, you, you get into these things that if you're not doing it the right way, you're right. You're going to smell. The commission breath, right? You're going to beat the guy walking up in the plaid suit and the Stripe tie and the flannel shirt. Right. And if the used car lot, and then everybody's going to want to run away from you.

[00:13:27] But if you care about people and you're genuinely interested in people, that's going to contribute to who you are from a sales perspective, right. That's going to contribute to your success if you truly care about people. Um, and I believe. And I've seen this for myself. The more I [00:13:46] concern myself with taking care of the people that I am dealing with and working with the more success comes my way, right?

[00:13:54] The sales really take care of themselves. Now I have to ask the right questions and I have to do the right things and I have to close. Right. I have to do all those things, but if I'm doing it with the, the care and the love and the concern. It makes all the difference in the world. And it's separates me from the person that comes in before or after me.

[00:14:12] Right. And I used to love that being that person when I came in behind them. And they're like, well, so-and-so never said that so-and-so never brought that up. And, and you clearly care and are passionate about what you do. And right then and there, you know, it'd be like, Yeah, it's, it's such a funny thing that like, just being totally brutally honest with your prospects about the things that other people in your space, typically aren't willing to tell them, or it's supposed to not be spoken about [00:14:45] or whatever the case is, it's supposed to be slipped under the rug.

[00:14:48] Tell your prospects, those things. That is the best way to build trust and rapport and, and build, you know, a relationship rather than just, you know, close the sale. Yeah. Yeah. And when I was in heating and air sales, one of the things that I would do is, is I looked at their homes when I was in people's homes.

[00:15:13] I would look at their home as if it were mine. And I would see things that they're not gonna see because they don't spend any time looking at their heating and air equipment or their water heater or their blah, blah, blah. Right. If I'm in their home and I get to see things and I, I would bring those things up, I would say, Hey, did you notice your water heater is leaking, right.

[00:15:31] It's not much right now. It's trip trip trip, but you may want to have that looked at by a professional. Right. And do we have that person in our office? Maybe, maybe not. Right, but I'm not bringing it up for that reason. I'm saying. You may have a problem and you may [00:15:44] want to look at this because that may be something that, uh, is going to be a problem in the near future for you.

[00:15:49] Yeah. So I mean, sometimes helping your prospects so we can things that. You don't do is also a great way to, to build and nurture those relationships. Hey, you know, this is something that might be helpful to you and there's no hidden agenda or motive of like, Hey, I'm only telling you about this thing because I've got this other thing to sell you, you know?

[00:16:13] Um, because, because buyers are just too damn smart in a lot of sellers, don't give them enough credit where they can see right through that crack. Absolutely well, but when they're like, Hey, this, this, this gentleman, you know, just helped me with something that I wasn't aware with. Wasn't aware of with it.

[00:16:36] He didn't try to sell me something to fix that. Or there wasn't some bait and switch or, you know, kind of [00:16:43] misleading reason for bringing that up. Um, you know, that's, that's stuff stands out. I mean, it shouldn't, but it does. Yeah, exactly. And we were talking earlier about this, about, um, I've helped to develop a lot of training programs over the years, and that's one of the things I really hit on when I train people or coach people is don't be that guy or that girl that goes out there and is only concerned about the money that you're going to make.

[00:17:11] Right. And you're looking at the dollar signs, you've got nothing but dollar signs in your eyes care about them. Look at the peripherals, look at the things that, that, to your point, you just said. They don't, you can't sell them. Right. Give them free advice. Give them, Hey, you've got six other quotes. Okay, great.

[00:17:29] Let's you want to sit down and we'll analyze them and I'll show you the pluses and the minuses and the differences. And I'm not, I won't be biased. I'll just, we'll just look at it from a, does it make sense from this perspective and does this help. [00:17:42] And you'd be surprised at how many people took me up on that.

[00:17:44] Right. Where they're just like, well, sure, that'd be great. And then we sit down and we look at all of them and I say, you know what, they're doing a really good job with this. They're a decent company and this, that, and the other. And you know, and I can say this now because I don't work for him anymore, but I used to tell people, you know what, that's a really good deal.

[00:17:59] You should go with them. Or here's the value that we bring. Yeah. That's a great, that's a great product. And they, they, they do really good job and they're a good couple. But here's what we're bringing to the table that they didn't bring, they didn't mention up, or they didn't bring to the table, or they didn't mention here's some things that, that you ought to consider.

[00:18:18] Um, but if you choose to go with them, knowing no, this, you know, here's the things that may be missing or, or maybe lacking in what they're doing.

[00:18:28] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, so many people try to ignore or avoid the competition. Like it's like, it's not there, you know, it's better to yeah, yeah. Or bash [00:18:41] them even worse. Like then it just makes you look like, you know, some desperate commissioned breath rep that, you know, has no value other than here's why the other people suck.

[00:18:52] We need to talk to Larry Levine. This program is as much as we're talking about. I'm a big fan of his book. I've I've uh, you mentioned you read his book. I've read his book a few times now. I'm feeling good. I probably should read this book again. So, yeah, sales hustlers. If you haven't checked out selling from the heart from Larry Levine now is the time pick it up, get it on audible, whatever.

[00:19:15] Um, yeah. Where Chris and I are both big fans of Larry. Yeah. So, so Chris, uh, thanks so much for coming on today. Really appreciate it. Where can you know anything exciting you're working on? You want to tell people about where can people find out more about what you're doing, follow you, all that good stuff.

[00:19:33] And what links will we include in the show notes for them? Sure. Um, with easiest way to find me is if you [00:19:40] text coach Chris, all one word. Coach Chris to 21,000. You'll get my digital business card, all my contact information. It has my phone number, my email address, my website, my LinkedIn, all of that stuff.

[00:19:52] You can always find me on LinkedIn. Um, and, uh, it's the last name is spelled M I C H E L. Um, so if you're looking for me, you know, that's probably the best way to find me on LinkedIn. Uh, love to connect that way. Uh, I am working on a book right now. Um, I'm trying to follow in Larry and, and Harry's shoes.

[00:20:13] Um, but, uh, yeah, I've been inspired to, to write, uh, a daily inspirational devotionals type of book really geared towards salespeople. And so that's what I'm working on right now. Hopefully we'll have everything done by the end of the year and everybody can check it out. But, uh, if you go to, um, we'll get my digital businesses.

[00:20:33] But then go to, um, my LinkedIn page and read about the red chair [00:20:39] experience. That will be the name of my book. Um, but that will kind of give you an idea of what it's about and where. Awesome. Thanks so much, Chris for coming on today. Really appreciate it. Sales hustlers. If you enjoyed today's episode rise, review, share the show with your friends and as always, we're listening for your feedback.

[00:20:56] Thank you for tuning into this episode of sales hustle. Are you a sales profession? Looking to take your sales career to the next level. If the answer is yes, then I want you to go over to sales,, check us out. And if you feel that you are ready, set up a time to talk with me and my co-founder Chris, I'm your host, Colin Mitchell.

[00:21:19] And if you enjoyed this episode, feel free to leave us a review and share the podcast with your friends.