Joining Collin Mitchell in this episode of the Sales Hustle Podcast is Nick Cegelski. Nick has an exciting back story on how he got into sales. He shares some golden nuggets for SDRs and BDRs who look to improve their sales game.
Nick Cegelski is an Enterprise Account Executive at SurePoint Technologies. SurePoint Technologies (formerly Rippe & Kingston) is the fastest-growing legal tech firm in the U.S. With over 30 years of delivering critical firsts, SurePoint is a recognized Tier 1 provider of financial and practice management software to law firms nationwide.
Nick is also a Podcast Host on the show called 30 Minutes to President’s Club, where he gives you four reasons to listen to the show.
You can find learn more about Nick Cegelski and connect with him on LinkedIn at
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Sales Hustle - Episode 49 - Nick Cegelski
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[00:00:24] Sales professionals transform the relationship building process and win their dream clients. I'm your host, Colin Mitchell. What is happening? Sales hustlers. Welcome to you. Another episode as always, I've got a fantastic guest for you today. I've got Nick . He is an enterprise eight E at SharePoint, and is nothing less than a sales bad-ass.
[00:00:46] We were chopping it up over here and I told him we got to save the good stuff for the listeners. Um, he also is the host of the 30 minutes to president's club, which is a little deceiving, but we'll dig into that. Uh, so Nick, welcome to the show. How are you doing? Colin. I am living the dream. I'm excited to talk with you today.
[00:01:04] Okay. Awesome. Give us the short version. How did you get into sales? 92nd version. Here we go. I was a college wrestler and I started a company in college with one of my college wrestling teammates, and we did a ton of things. Great. And a ton of things really poorly. And. We ended up finding the business down after, after college ended, but I thought, okay, I got to get a real job now.
[00:01:25] What was my favorite part about that experience? And frankly, it was the business development. It was the, the deal making side of things. And it was easy cause I was the business owner. And once, once you start selling somebody else's thing, it gets a little bit tougher, but I said, all right, I'm going to, I'm going to go into software sales.
[00:01:39] And so, uh, I kind of followed the classic path where I got into a, an SDR job that was one of those sort of burn insurance pound, the phone like crazy. Um, and I said, all right, well, This, this is interesting. And so I was like, I got to get into where the real money where I think the real money is, which is when you get to the enterprise aid level.
[00:01:55] So I started taking, taken life really seriously from there. And a couple of years later, I've gotten myself into a pretty dang good enterprise AA role. Nice, nice. Okay. So most sales journeys start in a similar role like yours, where you just, you know, hammering the phone, doing business development. You know, now they've got fancier names for it.
[00:02:17] Right. You used to just be telemarketers now that you're an SDR or BDR. Right. So what do you tell, like the SDRs BDRs that are tuning in, like what's, what's a good, what would you S what sort of advice would you give to them of their like, path to becoming, you know, An enterprise, a E. So a lot of the skills that a enterprise IE leans on on a super daily basis are the same things you were doing as an SDR.
[00:02:42] The amount that I'm still like picking up the phone and cold calling, I thought, okay, maybe I'll move on from this. No, if you want to be successful, like the daily discipline is still really important. So I think there's probably three main areas. If I'm a new SDR, like I've got to nail these things right off the bat.
[00:02:58] The first is. Opening a cold call the right way. And we can talk about a permission-based opener because there's really two parts of a cold call. It's the person, not just hearing what you're saying, but actually listening to what you're saying. And I think that's where a lot of people screw up on cold calls.
[00:03:13] Um, I think the second thing I would need to nail, if I'm a new SDR is. How you frame your value proposition. And I would challenge people to maybe ditch the value proposition and instead use what I call a problem proposition. And then the third thing is really tightly managing your day. I think a lot of new salespeople struggle and ended up going down rabbit holes of researching and account for five hours who ends up.
[00:03:38] Sending all your emails, right. To the spam blocker and those personalized emails never make it through. We're filming this really custom video for somebody and not actually having those things scale. Um, and then they also get trapped in other like non-selling activities. Hey, let's set a weekly, one-on-one you and me, new SDR so we can all share best practices and that stuffs good, but I think really tightly managing your day and then figuring out.
[00:04:01] The first 30 seconds of a cold call. Like if you can do those as a new SDR. When I stumbled into my first real ag job, I didn't really know how to do anything else in the sales process, but because I really had those three things down, Pat, I was more successful than the rest. All right. So let's, let's dig in a little bit deep on that.
[00:04:18] Cause it's a topic that I love talking about. Um, You know, the more traditional way of a cold call is like, Hey Nick, how are you doing? Right. So there's so many things wrong with that. Um, so why don't you give me some examples of, of, of, of having that proper opening statement of a cold call. I think the first thing to understand is why the, Hey Nick, how's it going?
[00:04:41] Doesn't work. The fact of the matter is you're lying to the customer immediately in the interaction, because if you're an SDR and you're making 50 cold calls a day, you're calling 50 CFOs a day. Right? Like you can't honestly tell me that you really care about how each and every one, no there's people are doing and they know it's disingenuine.
[00:05:00] And you're just like, Trying to get them to interact back. Right. And, and, and then there's even, there's even people using scripts that have some sort of fake empathy in there to, you know, make it seem like you actually give a shit, but they know you don't. So, so, and not only that, not to mention. That's what everybody else is doing.
[00:05:21] Right. So they're, they're going to treat you the same way that they treated the last 50 people that use that same opening line. Yup. Probably hang up or tell you they're too busy. Yeah. So your goal as a sales person is you want to be like treated back as a professional and to do that, you got to treat the person on the other end of the line also as a professional.
[00:05:41] And when you call somebody out of the blue and interrupt their day, Like immediately, there's four things that they want to know who is this person? Where are they calling from? Why are they calling me? And how long is this thing going to take? Because this person's interrupting my day and I've got a full-time job to do.
[00:06:00] And so what I do when I open a cold call is, is it's called a permission-based opener. And what that entails is you've got to like state your name and company. Hey, Colin, this is Nick with 30 minutes to president's club. And then the next piece, what you do is you address the time and then you address the situation and then you ask permission.
[00:06:18] And so you might say something like, I know you didn't expect me to call you this afternoon. Do you mind if I take one minute, I'll tell you why I'm calling and then you can let me know if it makes sense for us to speak. And what you've done here is a couple of things like, so the way it actually sounds right is, Hey Colin, this is Nick with shore point.
[00:06:35] I know you didn't expect me to call you this afternoon. Do you mind if I take one minute, I'll tell you why I'm calling and then you can let me know if it makes sense for us to speak. Here's what you've done. You've said who you are, where you're calling from. And you're super clear about that. You have nothing to hide.
[00:06:48] You're a professional. Then what you're doing is you're addressing the fact that like you have some degree of emotional intelligence. Like I know he didn't expect me to call you, or I know I'm an interruption. Right. You're acknowledging you're a real person who like gets that this is kind of uncomfortable and awkward for the two of you.
[00:07:04] Anything you can do to make yourself seem more like a human and less like a pound in the phone sales person, the better then what you do is with that time piece. Do you mind if I take one minute, you're addressing the fact that like, nobody likes a sales person who goes on and on and on and on and customers or prospects.
[00:07:24] One of the biggest things that they hate is uncertainty. And so if they, if you just say, do you mind if I tell you why I called? They don't know if you're going to spend 45 minutes talking about, well, we were founded in 1668 and our, our founder was a humble potato farmer and realized we had to change the, like, they don't want that.
[00:07:40] So you say this is going to be quick. And then you ask permission. And one of the things we talked about earlier, Colin is the difference between them hearing what you're saying and the words that come out of your mouth. And then actually listening and they will not listen if they don't give permission.
[00:07:56] Hmm. Right, right. No, there's I absolutely agree. That's that's what we use is that same sort of format. The one thing I'll add to that is that permission based opener is so important. Um, however, also how you say it, what tone you use is, is equally, if not, in my opinion, more important. Um, and so I like to use that sort of permission-based opener.
[00:08:25] Um, There's a time to use more of a confident tone. And then there's a time to use more of like an unsure kind of like, you know, just human empathy, sort of tone. And I believe that opener is received really well when you just kind of say it with a very unsure tone, like, Hey Nick, I know I'm an interruption to your day, but do you, do you have a minute?
[00:08:43] So I could just tell you why I called. And so when you use that tone, it's like, you're the kid who got his hand caught in the cookie jar and you're like, yeah. Oh, and you picked up, the phone can play. If we speak well, you didn't expect me to call you here. Like I get, I'm an interruption. Like, you didn't want this to happen.
[00:09:03] And I understand that, like, can I tell you why I called? And we can get this out of the way. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, one of my favorites, um, I, and it's not original. Uh, I heard it somewhere and stole it and have just recently started testing. It is like, Hey, Hey Nick, you know, this is a cold call, but you know, I actually hate making cold calls probably more than you hate receiving them.
[00:09:25] But if you don't mind, do you have, you know, 15 seconds? So I can tell you why I called. Yeah, I've got a buddy who's like, and look, man, I don't like making these calls either. So like just, just please. I don't want to have to call you again, like it's it's yeah, just have fun. Just have fun, you know, and just constantly be testing new things.
[00:09:44] Like I think people. Want to have that silver bullet of like, this is the script and this is what's working. And yeah, it might work for a certain amount of time, but you know, if you get bored with it and, you know, just have fun, try new things, stick with the basics of like that permission based like before you speak or pitch, um, and letting them know, you know, who you are, where you're calling and you know, how long it's going to take.
[00:10:08] Those are all like, The essential ingredients to your opener of your script. Um, but change it up, have fun, you know, test some new things and, you know, that's how you can start to like, just really enjoy the activity a little bit more. Like I'm a founder of four companies and I still cold call for five hours a week because.
[00:10:26] It's fun for me. Do I work every lead that I generate? No, I pass them to my team. And, you know, I like to lead by example and test new things and I like, you know, building relationships out of nothing. Um, so, you know, cold calling doesn't have to be this like thing that you just hate with a passion. Well, when you, when you start to let loose and like kind of chuckle a little bit, like the customer senses that also, and.
[00:10:49] I mean, look banging out 70 cold calls in a day. Like that's, it's hard work and can it be, it could be super disheartening. And when you actually start to relax a little bit and like chuckle about it, the job actually starts to get kind of fun. Yeah. Yeah. And, and if you just focus more on the activity rather than the outcome, right.
[00:11:09] Because you know, uh, yes. A yes or a no is, is a positive outcome. If you get, uh, you know, if you get a no. And they have a legitimate reason. Like, I don't know. You'd mentioned you sell ERP software, like, sorry, Nick. We're in a. 20 year contract. There's like, and I hate the vendor, but there's absolutely nothing I can do.
[00:11:29] That's a legitimate. No. Okay. So great. I can take them off my list and go find somebody who I can help. Um, so a, no is a positive outcome too, because you're trying to refine the list to find those people that are either in market unsure or unhappy with their vendor. I mean, there's just, you know, so it's not all about just getting the outcome that you're looking for is which that next.
[00:11:52] Yes for most people. Yeah. I mean, there's something to be said for like evaluating, okay. What's my success rate on something, but ultimately that's outside of, of your control, which you have to focus on as a sales person, especially in sales, because you will get punched in the face and rejected for most of the day.
[00:12:09] Right? Most of your job as a salesperson is getting rejected. And so. I really try to focus just on the inputs you focus on, um, something my, my, my, uh, my high school wrestling coach always told us was he said, focus on the process, not the product. If you focus on the inputs being right, the outcome is going to be what the outcome's going to be.
[00:12:29] But if all of the inputs are right and you control what you can control, like the product is like, just it's going to happen. Like the outcomes just going to happen. And it might not be the outcome you want, but like, if you really gave the best of your abilities and you like. Focused on the inputs and those inputs were right.
[00:12:46] You probably couldn't have changed that outcome anyways. Hmm. All right. So let's, let's go, let's go a little bit further in the call, right? So let's assume you get permission to speak then what? Okay. So where a lot of sales people screw this piece up is. They understand. Okay. I probably don't need to like give the history of my company and say, we're the leading provider of X, but what they do do is yeah.
[00:13:15] I mean, that's, that's, that's a whole set of problems in itself. The next level beneath that, where someone understands, okay, like I'm not going to do that. That garbage is. They, they they've been taught. Okay. A value proposition or a value statement is really important. And I have issues with the word value itself because I understand what it means.
[00:13:35] But when you tell like a new sales person, Hey, you gotta sell value. Like they have no idea what the heck that means. So I think a lot of people struggle when they get told. Okay, next you're going to say a value proposition because a value proposition kind of is inherently about you. And again, you need to make it about the other person.
[00:13:53] How do you actually put this into play? What you're going to do is you say what I call it a problem proposition. And the way that that comes out is you've got to have some sort of social proof. So I might say something like Colin. The reason I'm calling you is I've spoken like, okay. So they say, all right, fine, go ahead.
[00:14:09] You've got one minute. Cool. Thanks Colin. Colin. The reason that I'm calling you is that I've spoken with a number of other insert their title there. I've spoken with a number of other VPs of sales who are, and then I insert a word here that is indicative of pain. So I might say something like who are stressed or who are frustrated or who are anxious or who are concerned that.
[00:14:33] And then you insert like a common challenge that you solve. So all you need to do, like if you're listening to this to like, come up with this on your own is, think about, okay. If somebody says like here, like if you're saying here's what we do to help just flip the inverse, if you can help in this way.
[00:14:50] Okay. Well, what sort of problem is someone's struggling with that you then help with? So for me, I'm like I'm selling this ERP system to, to CFOs and I might say something like, uh, Colin, the reason I'm calling you is I've spoken with a number of other CFOs of law firms who are frustrated that trying to get their law firms bills out the door is taking way longer than they're hoping to because of some of the special formatting requirements from the insurance companies that they built.
[00:15:15] Right. So I've said the problem. Now, what I'm going to do is I'm not going to talk about how we solve that problem because they don't like, I don't know if they even have that problem yet. Or what I've said is actually resonated with them. What I want to do here now is kind of implicitly, um, get permission and tell them that we can make that better.
[00:15:33] So I'm going to say that problem statement, and then I'm going to say, I'm calling you about something that makes that easier. And I'm wondering if you might be open to speaking when. So I'm not cold calling the out of the blue, what I've done here. Right. I've named the problem that I have a really good hunch that they have, and I've told them that we can help make that problem easier, better, whatever.
[00:15:52] And then I've said, would you be open to talking at some point about this area that a lot of sales people get stuck in is, is they say the problem. And then they say how they can solve it. But the person on the other end doesn't really care unless they have that problem. So you've got to like. Get them to affirm that that problem exists or get some more detailed about that.
[00:16:12] So instead of saying the problem and how you solve it, just say the problem, because if that problem doesn't exist, what the heck are you doing pitching to solve it? Now, I love that. Now I would argue that there's a lot of salespeople that don't even clearly know what problem they solve or don't even properly know the job that their prospect does.
[00:16:35] And. May or may not know how to speak their language in a way that's going to peak their interest. So let's assume they don't know how to get there. How can they get clear on that? Well, if you're the type of sales person that isn't clear on that my guess is you're not the one who started the company. My guess is you're working for an organization that hopefully, hopefully has at least one customer likely you work somewhere that has a couple of customers.
[00:17:01] And hopefully your company is keeping track of the deals that you've won. In whatever sort of CRM you have, or at least like an Excel spreadsheet. So what I would do is I would look back on like, I hear people say, Oh, you know, you should get a customer round table, put together and invite all of the CFOs and us like realistically, if I'm a new, like the chance of me putting together a round table with a bunch of our enterprise customers, like.
[00:17:24] That's not going to happen, but what you can do is like, take a look. Why did you win deals before? Talk to people at your company who have closed deals. Um, and then half the battle too is like calling people and like, okay, so let's say you're your new STR there's no resources whatsoever to help you with this stuff.
[00:17:42] Or like maybe you do work somewhere where you haven't closed anything. Like the company hasn't. It doesn't have a single customer. Well, I would still like, take your best shot at a problem. You think you're thinking solve. And then when you call someone and they're like, yeah, we're not really having that problem at all.
[00:17:57] Like you can just ask and be like, I appreciate that. That's cool. I'm going to let you go. Um, I guess I'm hoping you can help me cause I'm new in this sales job and like, I have no idea what I should be saying to CFOs when I call them. And like, I've been told that we helped with this, this and this. And like, I'm wondering if you think there's a better way that I should be phrasing this.
[00:18:16] Like, some people are just gonna be like, no, you know, hang up the phone. But like, eventually you're going to get some benevolent CFO. That's like, okay, I get it. You're suddenly 22 years, 22 year old SDR who like. Is struggling. And when you like ask for help, you will receive. Yeah, no, I love that. Those are, those are all great tips.
[00:18:34] Um, so, you know, one, if you do, are you, if you are at a company, um, that has some customers get some, like, find out why, why those customers bought from you, what problems you did solve. Right. And if maybe you're a company that's been around a little bit longer, Actually like read the, read the case studies if they exist, right?
[00:18:57] Like what challenges they have and look for some commonalities. Right. And then let's just assume you don't have any of that. I love what you said, Nick is, is, is collect feedback. Even from the people that are giving you notes, like I'm a big believer that the feedback from the people you don't do business with is more valuable value valuable than the people you do.
[00:19:16] Business with, because they have nothing to lose. They're going to be totally honest with you. Like, Hey, you're just too pushy. Or like, no, you didn't really solve the product or your product's just not quite there for what we need. Like, they will give you the feedback that you're really looking for to be a better seller.
[00:19:31] Yeah. I mean, when you actually like openly ask for feedback and like, I even do this in, in the sales process, right? Like I'm selling something like an 18 month sales cycle in some cases. Well, I'm doing some sort of calibration throughout the process. Like we showed you a demo. And uh, like I actually did this the other day.
[00:19:48] I had the CFO on the phone and we had showed them like a, a two-hour demo of this thing earlier that week. And she was telling me all the things she liked about it. And that's cool. I'm writing these down. We're going to highlight these as we keep going through the sales process. But one of the things I said is like, Hey, I'm also curious, like, what weren't you crazy about?
[00:20:06] Because I know our product's not perfect. Well, when I sing something like that, first of all, like we talked about like pushing us and stuff, all of a sudden you break the mold of the normal sales rep because the normal sales rep wants to close their eyes and just be super positive about the thing the whole way through.
[00:20:21] Well, the fact of the matter is your product's not perfect. Your company is not perfect. The customer knows it and you definitely know it cause you see behind the scenes. And when you actually admit that the customer gains more confidence in you. Just like, okay, this guy's telling me the truth. And then I also figure out what didn't they like?
[00:20:38] Well, you wouldn't believe half the time when people tell me things they didn't like about the product. There are actually things that are like factually wrong. But if I don't ask that question, I never know. And so when you ask or I do know. Okay, great. Well now I know sort of where the deal sits. If it's something that's like a major deal breaker thing, I have a pretty good sense of like the realisticness of that deal.
[00:21:00] And if it's something that's small, like, okay, now, now I have a chance to dig into it. But like, I don't know, salespeople who are actually working deals in their pipeline to spend enough time, like. On the negative side of it. Like what did you like, or, and kind of getting the sense that you feel like could we have done better?
[00:21:15] Yeah. Or it feels like we just haven't quite earned your trust. Like, can you share why, like, those are all great questions. Um, and, and the thing is, is what I find in that line of questioning. A lot of times the feedback that you get is things that they just. Like weren't paying attention to, or like didn't fully understand, um, or maybe you just didn't communicate it properly and they missed it for some reason.
[00:21:42] I mean, I'm assuming on a two hour demo, there's a lot of stuff that could get missed. Right. And you might have to re-explain things multiple times. So, um, you know, uh, asking for that negative feedback I think is, is, is so important. Um, because a lot of times you can clear up things that would've just gotten skipped and you would have lost the deal because they weren't cleared up the piece about, okay.
[00:22:04] A lot's missed in a two hour demo is so true. Like if you think about like your own experience as a salesperson, when you onboarded at the company, you didn't like learn everything in day one. And the fact of the matter is you're probably having the same, like four or five conversations. Dozens of times a week with dozens of different customers for you, everything about the product and the onboarding and the training and like your organization, that's all second nature.
[00:22:30] Like it's ingrained in your head for the customer. They only get that information like once, sometimes. And if you're to reiterating it throughout the process, like they're going to miss things. So you've got it. Like you've, you've got a one check for clarity, like multiple times throughout the process, but then too, Recognize that stuff's going to be missed.
[00:22:51] And if something's important to a customer and they acknowledge that at some point, it kind of feels silly, like the next meeting, like bringing that point up again, but they've already forgotten a week later or two weeks later. And so you've got to keep bringing that stuff up. That that is important to them.
[00:23:07] Yeah. Yup. Yup. Yup. All right. So, um, Nick man, thanks so much for coming on the show. We covered a lot of, uh, good nuggets here. Uh, I know you have a podcast. Why don't you let folks know where they can check that out and anything else you want to let them know? Sure. So I have a podcast it's called 30 minutes to president's club, a little bit of short term gratification there.
[00:23:27] People like their junk food probably takes more than 30 minutes to really be successful as a salesperson. But the idea behind the show is it probably similar to this one in the sense that there's a lot of sales podcasts out there and like 93% of them. Like to just talk about theory and mindset and how important it is to, uh, you know, uh, feel good and meditate before you do your cold calls and you got to work hard and that stuff's important, but like if you're listening to a person guests in your free time to get better at selling, like you probably know that in you're inherently a hard worker.
[00:23:58] So the idea behind my show is we only talk about things that salespeople can do say, or write that very day with a customer to be more successful in their sales job. Right. Get your theory, get your mindset from people who are more suited to do that, or just like figure it out. Um, but that's the idea behind the shell.
[00:24:16] Folks want to connect with me? Get with me on LinkedIn. The first name is easy. It's Nick. The last name is a little bit tougher. It's Sigelski CEG E L S K I and I, uh, I accept all. Requests so long as they don't include a pitch for more leads in the, uh, the connection invite or four paragraphs of junk. Ah, yeah.
[00:24:34] Well, you know, of moderate junk, but the amount of who, um, I, uh, I coach wrestling, uh, as a, sort of like a volunteer way to give back. I was a college wrestler and. Uh, and so I coach wrestling and the amount of business coaches that say hi, Nick, I see you're a coach. Do you want to learn how to grow your business?
[00:24:55] All right, man, you got to remove it from your headline. You just got to remove it. Uh, all right, Nick. Thanks so much. If you're listening to the podcast, please subscribe, share with your friends, write us a review. We'll drop all that stuff in the show notes. So you can connect with Nick and we are listening for your feedback.
[00:25:13] Thank you for tuning in to this episode of sales hustle. 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, Colin Mitchell.
[00:25:37] And if you enjoyed this episode, feel free to leave us a review. And share the podcast with your friends.