DJ Switz joins Collin Mitchell in this episode of the Sales Hustle Podcast. DJ shares his journey leading to the path of sales. He shares a lot of tactical sales nuggets in this episode and talks about Business Development.
DJ Switz is a Business Development Manager at VentureDevs. VentureDevs is a software development firm providing digital product strategy, team augmentation, design, and development services to top startups and global enterprises. Their customized technology solutions have led to four successful exits and helped raise $750mm+ in VC funding. They also opportunistically invest in innovative companies and great people.
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Sales Hustle - Episode 45 - DJ Switz
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 too. Uh, your sales game today's episode is brought to you by sales cats, sales cast helps sales professionals transform the relationship building process and win their dream clients.
[00:00:30] I'm your host, Colin Mitchell. All right. Welcome sales hustlers. To another episode, I've got DJ he's a. Business development manager over at dev shops, uh, at venture devs, sorry, DaVinci or devs. Um, and we just started chatting away and I was like, Oh crap, we got to hit record. Cause we just started to really start talking shop and we needed to save some of the nuggets for you sales hustlers, so that you can up your sales game.
[00:00:58] DJ. Welcome to the, thank you. Thank you, Colin. Great to be here. So just tell folks a little bit of how you got into sales and then let's take it from there. Sure. Yeah. Uh, you know, eh, basically the, the short are going to sales is I, I was in completely different businesses. I started marketing, ended up working in hospitality, doing bartending for a little bit, took some time off, traveled a little and came back and, you know, like a friend of a friend offered me a job at a small startup doing, we actually doing restaurant technology, um, sort of worked my way up into like customer success.
[00:01:34] So like that kind of a. The sale, you know, the customer facing world, um, managing the customer success team over there for a while. And then, yeah, and then was able to jump into, you know, being an AED at a different company. And now I'm here doing biz dev at venture devs, which kind of what we were talking about was that I learned, you know, business development.
[00:01:55] So in services is a lot, lot different than, um, the standard like AA work and selling products. Hmm. All right. So something that's interesting that I think that I want to touch on is, so you spent some time in customer success. What do you think you learned out of that experience that helped you become better at the craft of sales?
[00:02:16] Yeah, you know, a lot actually like, like a ton. Um, when I was a rep like align level CS person, um, You know, I started to, you know, it's a progression of learning how to like, ask for things. Cause like, you're there, you're like, I'm the product expert. You can always call on me. Like, you feel like very like friendly, but then because that's the nature of like, or what you think the nature of your relationship is, um, with the client, uh, you stuck in, you're like, Oh, they're already paying us.
[00:02:44] I've got to do everything for them. But then you still, you realize that you got to ask these people something and like, Customer success is not like customer happiness, right? Like keeping a client happy when 9% of the time is not necessarily the end game. Right. Like keeping them successful is what it means.
[00:02:58] Sometimes you gotta push them. Um, and like to do things maybe they don't want to do, but you know, it's going to be better for them, whether it's with using your product or their own business. Um, so yeah, learning, you know, I think that was the, of my first, you know, customer facing moment of like learning how to make asks.
[00:03:13] Hm. I like that because a lot of people in sales are typically. I think scared to like challenge the customer. Like I think that, you know, the customer is always right, is such a load of shit and, you know, and, and like nothing helps build rapport and respect when you can challenge maybe what they think they know or what they, how they think something should be obviously in a tactful way without.
[00:03:40] Them feeling attacked. Um, but like positioning yourself as an expert and, you know, giving them your, your expert opinion as a trusted advisor of like, Hey, maybe you should think about this, or maybe we should think about this differently or in my experience, what you're thinking hasn't worked because of these reasons.
[00:03:58] And I think that's kind of what you're talking about. And I think that's an area that a lot of salespeople can grow is like, Not just telling the customer what they want to hear or just, you know, say being a yes, man, right. Is challenging and giving your opinion, even if it isn't as in a hundred percent alignment with that customer prospect.
[00:04:18] Yeah. Yeah. And I think, yeah. And that's, you know, to bring it back to where I'm at now, um, the way I kind of spin it and work with my solutions architect, who's kinda like our technical sales, um, sales guy. Is I talked about this, like leading with an insight, right? Like let's just, it doesn't even have to be correct.
[00:04:35] Let's just like, make some basic assumptions about what this like prospect or potential customer might be thinking, wanting to do or something which we think would be good for their business. So like, you know, if we're talking about some e-com client, right? We're like, Hey, maybe let's pitch them on doing some augmented reality, you know, virtual try-on kind of thing.
[00:04:57] Maybe they've thought about that. Maybe they haven't, maybe they've already ruled it out, but we're like, at least it shows like, Hey, they're thinking about our business critically. They don't even have to be right. Which I think is really interesting. Like you can still, it's still, it has the same effect of like building that rapport, showing that you're really engaged and thinking, putting a lot of thought towards their business.
[00:05:14] Yeah. Yeah. Bringing new ideas or, or being open to, uh, it shows that you're like thinking. On their behalf. Right. Like bringing ideas to the table so that you're not just looking for all the answers with them. Um, which makes a big difference. Right. It's like all about just trying to add value wherever you can and really showing that you care in the relationship.
[00:05:37] Yeah. And you've got to do it like from the beginning to set the tone. Right. And that's how I think that's how, when you hear people talk about like, we want them to view us as a partner. Right. And not just like a transaction. I think that's where it starts. Right? Like we used to get, I used to get that a lot from, you know, the sales managers in the past.
[00:05:54] Right. It's like everyone was like, it was our old CS teams, like metrics. Right. They ranked our customers based on whether they were, they thought we were a partner or like, it was just a transactional thing. Um, but yeah, I think it really starts there. Yeah, yeah. Setting the tone from the beginning and sometimes doing what's right for the customer or the prospect is doing nothing for them.
[00:06:12] Right? Like really, you know, being curious enough to ask the right questions to identify, like, can we help you with what you're looking for? And are we the right fit and being disciplined enough to even walk away if you're maybe not the right fit for whatever reason. Man it's, it's the best in, you know, we, we, we spoke briefly about, you know, the latest sales book I'm reading is that the Jeb Blount book, a fanatical prospecting.
[00:06:35] But I love when he, he talks about that, of like, of just how, how bad it is to be desperate. And like, you've been enough, you've been there. And like, you know, like everybody's going to have to, you know, is going to feel at once. But, um, yeah, it sucks. Like, it just sucks so bad to be desperate and like, Be too needy.
[00:06:54] It's it's so much better to be like, you know, first thing you're like, Hey, listen, let's just, yeah. Let's just see if we're the right fit. I don't know if this is going to work. Like, you know, there's a lot of work. There's a lot of shops like us out there. Um, yeah. And it, you know, it's yeah. It's, it's, it's a crazy game.
[00:07:09] The psychological components. Yeah. Yeah. And, and that's a, that's a great point. Right? So I love Jeb Blunt's book, uh, you know, one more call landmark. All right. Um, so what, and, and just to kind of touch on what you're talking about there is when you're, you're qualifying the prospect, just as much for them as you are for you, right?
[00:07:30] Because if you end up with a bunch of junk. In your pipeline because you skipped steps or you didn't qualify properly, or they weren't the right fit. And you knew it, but you tried to shove the deal. You know forward anyway, that's when you end up with, you know, 30 for 30 or 40% of your pipeline, that's junk and you know, it was never going to close and you spin your wheels and you waste time.
[00:07:54] And then you get to that point that you talked about where every deal. Matters. And it's going to make or break your commission check and then you're desperate. And then you're reaching out and you're overly reaching out. And then, you know, it's obvious to the prospect that you need the deal more than they need your help.
[00:08:14] And then you could actually end up ruining relationships or. Messing up deals that were solid, that could have closed. Yeah. And like, yeah, all the time. It, I feel like, you know, you're sort of hitting a stride in sales when you've got old, old prospects, that stuff you thought was long dead coming back. I dunno where, and you're just like, they're like, you know, and they're just referencing.
[00:08:38] They're like, Hey, so it's been like three and a half months, but I've talked to all these other competitors and now the time is right. And like, you really seem to have your shit together. Like, you seem like a smart guy. Like I trust you. Like, I think the way, you know, it's always like, yeah. Especially selling services, like you can really lean into that, like value sell, right?
[00:08:56] Because in the software developer space, there's like, there's a huge continuum of cost. Right? Like you can, you can literally measure it from like, Boston consulting groups, digital ventures, arm, all the way down to, you know, freelancer talent at, you know, 25 bucks an hour, probably, you know, in South Asia somewhere.
[00:09:15] And like there's so much room in between. So you can really, you know, there's a lot and every knows, everybody knows that there is like that, that, that breadth. So, and, and, and, and I think, you know, S a thing to talk about around that is like price matters, but it doesn't matter as much as you think. Nope.
[00:09:33] You like, you definitely, you don't really want to be the cheapest solution out there. Nope. Um, because if you're, you know, 20 or 30% less than everybody else, people are going to kind of question the value. Um, they're going to question the quality. They're going to question a lot of things, right? Like you don't want to be overly expensive where you're just like, Hey, we, you know, we only, you know, Where you, you price yourself out of the opportunity.
[00:09:58] Um, but you know, finding that sweet spot where you, you, you, you know, you understand your value and what you charge and what you bring to the table. Um, but also where the customer feels like they're getting a tremendous amount of value based on whatever it is that you're charging them for that particular service.
[00:10:15] Um, and, and, you know, I've, I've worked many deals. Where I was the more expensive option and got the deal. Um, because if they feel that it's the right fit, if you are curious enough to ask the right questions, if you do, like, what you mentioned is, you know, bring those ideas to the table that maybe other people aren't, because they're just like really going on.
[00:10:38] What's easy. Based on like just, yeah, we can do that. Sure. Yeah. Yeah. Just being that. Yes, man. Right. Um, and you know, maybe you challenge the products, the prospect a little bit to think about something that they hadn't thought about or challenged, you know, an opinion based on some experiences that you've had with other clients.
[00:10:54] Um, you know, and, and when you bring that sort of level, um, of just actually giving a shit into the relationship, it actually makes a big difference. Yeah. Yeah, I think I read, uh, like I read it in, like, it was like a Forbes article or something, but it was just like a one-liner where they said like any executive worth their salt knows that cost is more than just the price, you know?
[00:11:18] So like, yeah, like if you go with the cheaper option, like you're, you're probably getting less, you know, like it's costing you less, but what else is it going to? Cause more problems cost you more money later or an issue more time, not in making the wrong choice. It's super expensive. Yeah. Yeah. And, and, and, and just like, for example, you know, for your example, right?
[00:11:40] Like if it's a freelancer that has like a really low, hourly rate, like yeah. But how many hours is it going to take them to get the project done versus like a profession? Exactly. A team that's done it before together. Right? Like that's a, that's a big part of my pitch is like, Hey, like you work with us, you're working with a group of like hundreds of individuals who all work for us full time.
[00:12:02] They're not really at a serious threat from getting, you know, bought up with some nice salary by Amazon or whoever it is, right. Like where we've done it before we've done it yet. I gather that the service we're offering you. Mm Hmm. Don't come at me with you're my guy. I work with these people and. You know, some other country for who grinded out and worked 65 hours and costs half of the price.
[00:12:26] I'm like, then why aren't you going with, why are you getting more of them? You know? Like why, why are we speaking? Exactly. Um, so, and you know, the bottom line is people buy from people. People love to say this and I don't totally disagree with it. Um, but it's not everything. Right. People buy from people they like know or trust, which it's, there's, there's some relevance to that, but people buy from people that solve problems for them.
[00:12:52] People buy from people that help them see problems. They didn't even know it exists and understand how to articulate the impact of not solving that problem. Yeah. Yep. Yep. So tell me a little bit DJ about what's your favorite part of the sales process? Well, You know, it, the thing I've been thinking about a lot is, and I think I might have alluded this too to this before, um, they made the move forward press record, but it was really just like the difference between selling a product and selling a service.
[00:13:25] Um, and like specifically when it comes to like the prospecting, filling the pipe thing, I, I had a decent amount of success in my last company, like writing my own copy, you know, creating these nice campaigns, like doing the cold outreach thing. Um, you know, emails, calls all those sequences. Um, and when I got to venture Debs, which is now really right, we're selling services, that stuff wasn't working anymore.
[00:13:49] So I learned pretty quickly, um, you know, with a lot of, thanks to Joe, that the CEO who was the sales machine, the sales engine for, for a long time, that like, it's, it's really a referral based game. And like the activity that matters is not like. Email sends in calls. It's like, are you showing up on podcasts?
[00:14:12] Like, are you, you know, are you, are you posting like thoughtful stuff on LinkedIn? Are you meeting with VCs? And like, you know, all the, you know, different technology pieces either is not as tough. And just like just meeting a lot of people and just, you know, talking about what venture devs does and like the referrals just start flowing in.
[00:14:27] Like it turns out everybody knows somebody. Who needs some help with tech? Um, like one of the first big deals I closed with this company was I met a girl at a party, like a year prior. And I D I had, I had not even started the job yet. I mentioned it. So I was like, Oh yeah, I'm about to be starting at this company, blah, blah, blah.
[00:14:45] I was new to LA. Um, and she was like, Oh, cool. Yeah, take my email. Like I'm, I'm starting a new job as well. I think I might need to, you know, to work with a company like yours close that deal. Like six, seven months later, I met her once at a party. And then it was cohort. We never met again in person. Like it's unbelievable.
[00:15:01] Yeah. Yeah. So what I hear you're saying is like, what matters more than all of the trackable activities is, is relationships. The type of relationships that you're making meaningful relationships where, you know, it's not all about just like getting the next meeting or getting the demo or getting the presentation or getting the call booked, or just building relationships, more relationships with the right people.
[00:15:30] And you don't always know what those who those people are or where are you going to meet them? Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. I would agree. Like it could be anybody like, it's really like the, I feel like it's the first. Sales job I've had where like that, like meeting people on the golf course is actually like a valid prospecting technique.
[00:15:50] You know what I mean? Like, like when you're selling, like, I think it's a different, right. Like you can want to believe that. And maybe to a certain degree or in certain types of things, that's, that's true. But, um, yeah. Do, in, in this thing, like, like I said, like everybody knows somebody and so like as long as like, just like.
[00:16:08] Articulate the value prop of venture devs. Well, what sets us apart, referrals are going to come in and that they don't even have to be from people I've worked with. It can be from people I've met friends of friends, you know, and anything like that. But yeah, and also just doing a lot of it. Right. So I don't want to say it's untrackable, right?
[00:16:24] It's just like, you can have a lot of, you know, partnership conversations and you can track those. Right. And you can, you can hunt those down and it's way easier. Just not going to the direct end client. I've found like even cold outreach works for setting up partner conversations. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Most definitely.
[00:16:42] Um, and, and so something I like to tell folks that I work with is like, you know, the goal is. In all relationships, regardless of what that outcome looks like, right? Whether it's a potential partner, whether they end up becoming a partner, not becoming a partner, whether they're a potential customer, whether they sign up, whether they don't, what do they sign up and then leave for some, no reason.
[00:17:04] The goal is always to make sure that they're, that they had a good experience. Right. To try to add value and try to make them feel like they had a good experience, regardless of whether you get the outcome that you're looking for or not, because building relationships, adding value, and your reputation is a huge contributor to how successful you are in sales.
[00:17:28] A hundred percent, especially in, like I said, this, this services thing. So an example of that, I mean, we get an inbound it's from a VC, but they it's like they're the client in this case. Right. They want us to rebuild their website, um, go through the process with them. You know, we, we ended up basically making it to the very end it's between us and one other agency.
[00:17:49] They go with the other adage agency, but it's a really close call. They were super nice to me about it. Like gave me all this feedback and were like, Hey, honestly, like you weren't, there was nothing negative about you guys in your firm and the way you presented it, just, you know, we just went with the other firm I've since got three referrals for new business from them and they didn't even choose us.
[00:18:06] You know, they've never worked with us in their VC and they're referring, you know, some of their portfolio clients to us. Um, and I'm sure that they're probably referring a couple of others as well. Maybe it's the agency they went with as well, you know, but it's like, it's awesome. Yeah. Yeah. So what that says is like, even though they didn't choose you, like they had a good experience, a good enough experience where they felt comfortable.
[00:18:31] Like, Hey, we can send businesses way and we feel that it's a good option because people don't just refer business, you know, to anyone, they refer business to people that they, you know, trust. Cause it's kind of their reputation on the line as well. Like if they refer somebody and doesn't go, well, it reflects, reflects poorly on them as well.
[00:18:50] Yup. Yup. And there's a lot in, in this business. There's a lot of like, you can get a lot of value as a potential client, just from the sales process, right? Like. We may teach you something or give you ideas that you haven't had. And that's, you know, I think that's just the cost of doing business for us. Um, and it makes it really easy, you know, hopefully that's helping, you know, drive us referrals and all that.
[00:19:16] Right. Just like I said, it's part of the good experience. Right, right, right. So, you know, basically in, in, in a few things to kind of just. Touch on that. Right? It's like making sure people have a good experience is like, do what you say you're going to do. Right. You know? Um, a lot of times I think, you know, salespeople tend to get really busy and, uh, they may be say, they're going to do something and then get busy or something else.
[00:19:42] That's like a, a deal right now. And they don't follow through, or they don't do what they say they're going to do, or they don't do it in a timely manner. Or when they finally get around to doing it, they have some lame excuse that they made up of why or whatever the case is. Like, just do what you say you're going to do and do it in a timely manner.
[00:19:58] Like, that's one simple thing that you can do that will actually you wow. People when they're like, Oh, you know, he actually does what he says he's going to do. And he, and he did quit. Yeah. That's, that's gotta be at least half of like a good. Sales process experience, right? Just like, you know, you entered the top of any company's funnel, as long as you have the people you're talking to just can just do that basic stuff.
[00:20:23] Just say, just do what they're going to ask, like, do what you're asking or they're telling you, they're going to do. That's the other thing, right? When you're a sales person, a lot of times you're like, Oh, and here's what I'll do. Like here's my follow up. Here's what I'm going to do. And then they don't do it.
[00:20:35] Like that's that's bad. Yeah. Yeah. And then, and then also like, think about things. A little bit differently. Like what sort of relationships are they looking for? Can you send them some referrals? What type of connections are they looking for? You know, how can you help them? How can you support them? Maybe it's just engaging in their content on social and, you know, saying some thoughtful things.
[00:20:57] Um, you know, maybe it's, you know, you have somebody else who has a similar type of client as them and just connecting them and not expecting anything in return, you know? So helping as many people as you can, as often as you can. And, you know, without any sort of expectation is like, what's in it for me.
[00:21:14] Yeah. I agree. A hundred percent. I do a lot of that because you know, I've got all these friendly relationships with like VCs and in other people and like just all of these people I meet through the job and yeah. If I think somebody might be useful to somebody else. So just, yeah, I just, I just do it. Like we, somebody I met.
[00:21:32] A guy named Kurt called it horse trading. It's just like, yeah. You're just like constantly trading, you know, trading some horses, you know, kicking people some intros and be like, I think you two should meet. You guys could probably do something cool together. And then yeah. And that stuff all just, yeah.
[00:21:45] It's like I said, yeah, this is that like, this is sales activity for me. It's just not a straight line. And to the, to the end, you know, the end client, I think that's, like I said, that heart part of the heart of that difference between selling services and selling brought up. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Well, DJ, thanks for coming on today.
[00:22:03] Let folks know where they can connect with you where they can, you know, find out more about what you guys do and anything else that you have for sure. Um, I mean, ventured has.com is the website. You can check us out there. I'm just email@example.com. Um, I'm on LinkedIn as well. Of course. Uh, my name's DJ Switz as w I T Z is my last name.
[00:22:21] It sounds like a fake name. It's not, um, it's got the same name, so, um, I'm a junior as well. So that's why I'm DJ. Um, and, uh, and yeah, I mean, we, we've got a ton of really exciting stuff coming up. Um, you know, where ventured abs is, you know, on the cusp of launching our own venture studio, which should be really exciting, um, spin up some new companies, um, and provide some of the, you know, the Italy powered by venture debts as well.
[00:22:45] So that's, that's something that was really cool that we're really looking forward to in the new year. Awesome. Thanks for coming on DJ. If you're listening to the podcast, please subscribe, share with your friends and we are listening for your feedback. Thank you for tuning in into this episode of sales hustle.
[00:23:03] Are you a sales professional? Looking to take your sales career to the next level. If the answer is yes, then I want you to go over to sales, cast.com, 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 column Mitchell. And if you enjoyed this episode, feel free to leave us a review and share the podcast with your friends.