Sales Hustle is now Sales Transformation
Feb. 22, 2021

Episode #62 S1-EP62 Entrepreneurship And Innovation with Rob Napoli

Rob Napoli joins Collin Mitchell in this episode of the Sales Hustle Podcast. Rob and Collin share insightful sales tips in this episode. More importantly, Rob shares with us about driving sales which is helpful for sales folks and startups.

Rob Napoli is an accomplished trainer, speaker, entrepreneur, business, and career coach based in Brooklyn, NYC. He is originally from the Midwest, and his journey has taken him from his hometown in Kansas City, Missouri, to New York City by way of Milan, Italy. Rob’s career started in recruitment within Fortune 500/Forbes 100 companies before moving to Milan, Italy, to pursue a Masters in International Multi-Channel Marketing, where he also spent two years working for a global e-commerce startup and coaching professional American Football. He moved to New York years ago and worked for a large multinational corporation before transitioning to training and development for startup and growth-stage founders.

You can learn more and follow Rob Napoli on the links below.

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Episode 62 - Rob Napoli

Collin Mitchell: [00:00:00] Welcome to the sales hustle. The only no BS podcast, where we bring you the real 

[00:00:07] Rob Napoli: [00:00:07] raw uncut 

[00:00:09] Collin Mitchell: [00:00:09] experiences from sales change 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 cast 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 to another episode sales hustlers. I've got a great guest for you today. We had a ton of fun chatting up before we even hit record. Um, I've got Rob Nepalian. He's an accomplished trainer speaker, entrepreneur business and career coach based in Brooklyn, New York, originally from the Midwest and his journey has taken him from his hometown, Kansas city.

[00:00:57] Um, to New York and by the way of Milan. So he works with startups on driving sales and has found it a couple of market entry and coaching based businesses. Rob, welcome to sales hustle. How you doing? 

[00:01:13] Rob Napoli: [00:01:13] I'm doing well, thank you for being here. Excited to be chatting and you know how to give a shout out to, I know this is my Royals mug, but this is being filmed before the chief's got the super bowl this Sunday.

[00:01:23] So got to rep my hometown. 

[00:01:25] Collin Mitchell: [00:01:25] Okay. All right. Well, um, I hopefully that we don't lose any followers by that statement there.

[00:01:35] I'm not, I'm not a big sports guy, so I don't, I don't, I doesn't, I'm not too crazy about, uh, Rivalries are my sports team, but, but anyway, um, dude, I, I had a lot of fun just talking with you before we hit record here. So I know that this is going to be a ton of fun and, and provide a tremendous amount of value for all our sales hustlers out there.

[00:01:56] And as always, just give us the short version of your sales story, and then we will jump in to some of the tactical stuff. Yeah, 

[00:02:03] Rob Napoli: [00:02:03] absolutely. I'll I'll try to keep it short and sweet. I went to school, I played division three college football and got a degree in marketing, uh, because one of my early classes, I had to watch madman and I fell in love with Dom.

[00:02:17] Jeff was like, that's what I want to do. Um, limited. I know that advertising is different than marketing. So got my degree in marketing and you try to find a job marketing couldn't fell into sales. Started recruiting, uh, software developers for a fortune 500 fortune 100 companies. This is at the time after the financial crisis, back in 2011, 12, when these big insurance and financial companies were looking at becoming recession proof, right?

[00:02:42] So they're moving over from cobalt legacy onto the cloud. And I felt I fitted really nicely in that and did a $5 million book of business in about four years, had a lot of great things going for me working for this company in the Midwest. Uh, met my now wife who, uh, was finishing her degree and said, Hey, I'm going to get my master's in Europe.

[00:03:02] If you want to keep dating, you want to come with me, said, sure. Why the hell not sold everything house left my job, everything. Went to Europe and Milan, Italy, coach professional, American football, and got a master's degree and worked for a startup. It was a direct to consumer company, wearable device, connected to an app.

[00:03:22] I helped him scale from 5k monthly to a hundred K monthly. I've got to sell them with every country around the world. Minus a few that wouldn't allow me to sell to them because I was at a time it's business, that to come to New York city through an accelerator. So I was a C-level executive for a startup.

[00:03:37] Helping go through the fundraising process, the acceleration process selling and bring it to the market. Did some great things, ultimately decided not to, to fully do that. And so, um, got into sales recruitment here in New York for a large global firm, went to a smaller firm after building a team and a million dollar book of business there, um, got fired for the first time, uh, because I was wow.

[00:03:59] It's selling and doing things, right. Uh, the guy that hired me, he looked at me. He's like, I know that this isn't your fashion. And so he actually fired me and you gave me a great little package and said, Rob, go start your own thing. Like, you need to do this. This is who you are. And so I started two businesses, a rise up coaching, which is my entrepreneurship mindset, leadership coaching, and career coaching.

[00:04:21] So focusing on how to, you know, scale tactically, certain things and businesses, and then half day group with my business partner, Phil, which is a us market entry company and sales as a service. So we've got a outsource sales team for hire. And we help companies come into the market really drive that early traction and growth in market research, testing, customer discovery, all those things.

[00:04:42] So they can come over with full confidence that they have market validation. And so that's, that's my sales journey to today where, you know, I run my own businesses. I do a lot of coaching speaking and training, um, right now. 

[00:04:55] Collin Mitchell: [00:04:55] Wow. All right. Sounds like it's been a bit of a ride, huh? 

[00:04:59] Rob Napoli: [00:04:59] It has been, it's been a little all over the place.

[00:05:01] And you know, through that, I've learned a lot of lessons. Made a lot of mistakes in my career as well. I told you all the highlights there. We can dive into some of the mistakes, including, you know, getting fired for the first time, which was a much needed kick in the ass. 

[00:05:14] Collin Mitchell: [00:05:14] Mm. Mm. Now out of all those sales accolades, I think the one that stands out most is, uh, uh, selling your wife to drop everything and move to another.

[00:05:24] No, she, she 

[00:05:25] Rob Napoli: [00:05:25] sold me. She saw me, she was out the door. She saw me, which was surprising. I was like, uh, sure, sure. Like, let's go. And, uh, it was, it was a lot of fun and, uh, you know, I couldn't be more happier and that was six years ago, seven years ago now. Okay. 

[00:05:42] Collin Mitchell: [00:05:42] So tell me, um, so many things there and I feel like a short period of time.

[00:05:47] Um, so tell me, tell me about getting fired for the first time. Like, what was that like and kind of, you know, why you say it was the needed kick in the ass that you need a bit of? Probably still didn't feel that good. 

[00:06:01] Rob Napoli: [00:06:01] No, it didn't. You know, and it was one of those things where I made the decision to go there.

[00:06:09] Because I knew the company I was working for while I was being successful, had opportunities. It was not, it was not the impact that when I had a chance to go to the, a lot of business, I got to build some teams. I got to do some cool things. I know stressful. I made some mistakes and that large part, I wanted it.

[00:06:24] I wanted that large corporate experience and, you know, got to go in and you'll be a part of some, some cool changes and things bringing in some, a little bit of flares. You could tell, I got the flow going on and, and whatnot. And so, um, You know, when I went to this, this company, I knew that I wanted to go more startups.

[00:06:41] I was, I've always been working side by side. After I worked for a startup, came over here, I got to the accelerator community. I spent a lot of time working as a mentor for amazing startups. And, and, you know, I was recruiting salespeople. I was recruiting, marketing people in for them, but I wanted to do more.

[00:06:57] I wanted to help more. And so when I went to the smaller firm, I just, I didn't. I tried to give them my all, but it wasn't there. I was, I realized that I was one foot in one foot out. And I think he saw that my boss, he saw that if he knew that I was still, you know, it wasn't the best seller on the team. I wasn't like blowing stuff up, but I wasn't like not hitting quota either.

[00:07:20] And it was just one of those things where we both kind of knew it was the right fit. And we both knew there was something missing, but you know, I'd be honest to say, if I. If it felt it didn't feel good, but I would be remiss sad. I knew it was coming in a way. And, but I was still blindsided. Right. Like I knew that at some point something, something had to give whether it was, it was, you know, me just, you know, my mindset shifting whether it was me making the decision to walk away or was I'm going to get kicked out the door because, you know, my time is seeming being split.

[00:07:51] So yeah, it felt, you know, it was horrible. I remember walking out and just, they can. You know, this is what I was wanting to. I mean, I wanted this opportunity to potentially go build something on my own and do something. The reason why I never did it, I was scared and I got fired. I was like, Oh shit. And the fear left, right?

[00:08:14] I mean, I was scared. I was hurt. I didn't wanna have to tell my wife. And, you know, I was like, how do I say that? He even said, he's like, you don't have to tell people got fired. If you could tell whatever story you want, he was so supportive of it. But I needed to tell people I got, I didn't even tell myself that I got fired and were hurt and stung.

[00:08:32] It also took away some of the fear to go build something and look at, I want to do what makes me happy and the impact that I can make into the communities that I serve and go make money doing it. Right. But that impact in that passion piece was something that I was. You know, missing, I love talking about recruitment strategies and how to attract and bring online is how to engage them, all these things.

[00:08:56] But I don't love recruiting, you know? And so it made sense. It was the right thing. It hurt like hell, but it also, you know, made me look in the mirror of, you know, impact, passion and, you know, just. Did I give everything I had? No. Is that on him? No, it's on me. And so many times we look for an excuse and I did at first, but I looked in the mirror and said, you know what?

[00:09:26] This is all me. It's me for not giving a hundred percent to where I needed to give it to. 

[00:09:32] Collin Mitchell: [00:09:32] So, yeah, I think that I love your, your honesty and vulnerability around this topic. And the reason I asked that question is because I'm just gonna take a bit of a, uh, a guest here, and there's probably a lot of people in sales or in particular roles that might.

[00:09:50] Be in that position, right. Where they're half in, half out looking for the next thing. Don't really love what they're selling. Don't really love. Maybe the team they're working with and are just kind of sticking around maybe because they're decent at it, maybe because, so how, how important do you think it is to be passionate about what you do or what's yourself?

[00:10:10] Rob Napoli: [00:10:10] Yeah. I love this question and it there's a couple of different types of people. So you, when you speak to people, this there's some that. That want to do what they're comfortable with and that's okay because they've got other things that they have outside there, you know, this or that. And that's, they want that kind of stability within there's the people that, as you just explained, they're not happy, but they're good at have a decent, and it's because they're scared and it's really important to be passionate about what you sell, you know, the millennial generation.

[00:10:41] My generation cares about impact. They care about what are they actually doing and what it's making, not only how they're making money, but what it's doing for others. And that there's something there. And it's either. Yeah, the environment that they're in working for a cool startup, even though they're not at a startup, they're at a series C funded scale up growth stage company, they call it startup because they don't know what the real startup is or it's the product.

[00:11:06] And they want to make sure that their product they're selling makes a difference. And there's a lot of derivative products that don't, and it's really about being scared. You know, we're always looking for the next thing. The market's volatile. The average sales person stays at their job 12 to 18 months.

[00:11:23] And that's six months longer than what usually happens. And it's because everybody is looking for the next best thing versus finding joy and passion and what they're doing and why they're doing it for the company. So I think passion is everything and it could be the product. It could be the company's mission.

[00:11:39] It could be the team, but what are you passionate about and why? And that makes a big difference. And that should be a driving factor into where you go. What you're selling and why you're doing it. 

[00:11:52] Collin Mitchell: [00:11:52] And, and so, and this is really important when recruiting salespeople to know, you know, is it something they're going to be passionate about?

[00:12:04] Um, so talk to me a little bit about like recruiting the right sales talent, maybe specifically millennials. Yeah. 

[00:12:12] Rob Napoli: [00:12:12] So. The biggest thing I think about is a lot of sales managers and sales leaders now, especially at the frontline level are millennial. If they're 25, 26, 27, and they're putting that position because they were good at sales and they closed the business.

[00:12:26] That's not always the right person to put an advocate. Sometimes people are just better sellers than leaders, right? Yeah. You know, Andy Reed is going to sports analogy is one of the best coaches in the world. But if he played football, he was marginally good, but he wasn't great. You know, not everyone has, you know, not every good coach is a great player and that every great player is going to be a good coach.

[00:12:47] And it's first and foremost, really important to analyze why you're putting people in leadership positions and putting the right people in those positions. The second piece is interviewing when you have wrong people in those positions, they don't know how to interview. No, one's gone through an interview training course.

[00:13:01] So you're interviewing salespeople that you can have a beer with because you like the Yankees, you like this. Yeah, it'd be a good fit for our team. We like the Yankees and go out and have beers on Friday after work, but other than the best sale seller. So as we're looking at bringing in these, you know, building sales teams, it's comes down to, you know, what a millennials will want in a role.

[00:13:20] They want the ability to make an impact, right. And the impact does it need to change the world? That could just be the chance that they have for growth opportunities. It could be because the impact is the product. That they're selling. It could be that the space that they're helping serve. Right. You know, I want to be able to sell this product into nonprofits, to help nonprofits have an easier place to do their mission work and be thinking about the things that your company does and the way it's structured to what millennials want.

[00:13:51] And then, you know, really work that through and have that shine through culture, have that shine through employee engagement, have that shine through the way you write a job description. You know, putting it out there, like we, you know, we like to get shit done here. You like the inbox, yo, well, high five, you put that in your job description.

[00:14:08] Cause that's gonna make me be like, hell yeah, I want to come work for Collin. Right? That attitude, that passion that comes across the page where it says, we need another person with two years of SAS experience. Another thing is. Hire for ability. Sometimes the best sellers don't come from your competitor.

[00:14:24] They're sitting there wanting to get into sales because they went into accounting and I realized I wanted to talk to people and they hate accounting everyday, but they're good at numbers. And they've got to process to the best sales people I've ever met are introverted and have financial degrees long gone are the days of like me relationship, everything, super connect with you.

[00:14:45] But I can't do hold process to save my life. You know, those days are different. It's not always be closing. It's, you know, providing value always. And the way that you go through process, the way you serve the clients that you do, the way that you sell, the way you create relationships. 

[00:14:59] Collin Mitchell: [00:14:59] So, so some of my, some of the best qualities that I look for in a salesperson, and I don't care if they have been in sales or are wanting to get in sales, but there's three kind of key.

[00:15:12] And there's probably a few more, but I'd say these are the ones that stand out the most is. Are they hungry? Are they curious? And are they coachable? Those are like that. Those are like the three I think essential is. And I don't, and there's people that have been in sales that have a lot of experience that are not coachable or not hungry.

[00:15:37] And are curious. And the reason that people that are curious are so good in sales is because those are the typical people that really want to learn and are going to be curious with their prospects to ask the right questions, to find out like, Hey, are we a right fit? Does it make sense for us to work together?

[00:15:53] Do you have a problem? That is number one, even worth solving for you in am I the right fit to fix that problem? Like, those are the best people in sales. I was not that when I first got in sales, I had just, you could smell my commission breath from a mile away. Like, and that's just because that's the way I was taught.

[00:16:12] Um, and I didn't know any better and I didn't go to college and I frankly barely made it through high school. Pretty much dropped out and got my credits. And sales was really the only thing that was going to take a chance on me. And I learned a lot of bad habits early on, um, and had to kind of seek out some of my own knowledge to just kind of transition from that really kind of gross, always be closing sort of mentality, to always be helping and serving.

[00:16:36] Um, So, what do you look for? Do you agree with those or there's anything that you'd add to like, you know, you said that people with accounting experience typically how you've seen beat as best salespeople, what are some other examples or qualities that you look for? 

[00:16:50] Rob Napoli: [00:16:50] Yeah. Well, what I want to just, you know, appreciate you for being super vulnerable and sharing kind of your story and that, and, you know, I might kind of see all the hungry, curious, and coachable.

[00:16:59] That's that's amazing because I think the curiosity thing is like the key. There's a lot of people that are hungry, I'm hungry. I've always been hungry, but I've been hungry to the point of hungry for ideas versus how many for execution. So I think when you think about hungry curiosity, coachability, the hungry needs to be a hunger for the execution because they're hungry for our commission.

[00:17:20] They're hungry for a title they're hungry for this. They're not going to be hungry for the shit the day to day. Right. Curious was the one that really stuck out to me because in sales too much where I was like, Okay. I got to drive the next step. I got to get my band and I got to get my quota and I got to hit all this stuff.

[00:17:39] And I got to get my top of funnel, my 500 messages out that my 25 calls, I got to get all these things versus am I listening to my prospects? And I have them on the phone. Am I curious enough to understand their pain? And am I listening to say, Hey, you know what, I can't help you right now, but these other things can or should just have to understand the pain of where that I can say, you know, I can help you.

[00:18:01] And here's why. And instead of selling every feature and benefit you sell the two or three that matter to them. And so I agree with all of those things, you know, again, going back to the hungry thing is really looking at what are they hungry for? And so all of that kind of comes to me. The big piece is I hire for, you know, raw talent and skill.

[00:18:20] You know, I, you know, I've lost out on jobs that I've applied to try to get into SAS sales for years. And I've always never once ever taken a chance on me. And I've always been, you know, you've never sold SAS. You can't sell SAS. I'm like, should I have sold people and sold services? I've sold products from B2C and B2B.

[00:18:39] I've sold shoes. I sold multi-level marketing. Tell me I can't sell SAS like this mentality that you have to have. You know, you have to get lucky to get a job in SAS, out of school, and then go through this whole training process to be a SAS. Seller is crazy. It's software as a service, it doesn't change.

[00:18:56] It's you learn the benefit. You learn the feature and you learn how to do a really good demo. And those are skills that you can just teach for. Are they curious, are they hungry? Are they driven for what sets another coachable? Can you teach them and train them and say, Hey, I can take this talent and turn them into a great sales person and they want it because that's what they're looking to do and have that passion.

[00:19:18] That's what I look for. And that's why I tell people. Look, I tell, I work with a lot of entrepreneurs and founders who are looking to make first hires or build teams here. And when I talk to them, I say, Don't look for a box. What are the things you need to be successful in this market and find something that's hungry enough to go do that.

[00:19:39] And it's a whole different mentality of thinking, because they're just a little bit, competitor has this job description. This is what I want to hire and I'll pay 10 K to hire my competitors 10 K more. And that person's worth because they worked at my competitor for a year and they've already been trained and I'll have to train them.

[00:19:53] Collin Mitchell: [00:19:53] Yeah, that's a big mistake to people, especially with the younger generation. Like people think that just paying them a little bit more, a little bit better, or is going to be enough to retain them or to even get them in the first place. And it's not like the younger generation really cares. Like what, what, what are, you know, is there an impact.

[00:20:11] You know, well, who are we serving? What are we fixing? What's the culture like, there's so many other variables that matter more than just the actual, I mean, there's, some people will take a pay cut just to get more learning experience. Like if they feel like they're not getting the necessary coaching or support to become better at their craft, they will take a pay cut to get that sort of level of support.

[00:20:32] Um, and I think it's just so common that people think, Oh, just pay him more and we should be able to get them. And that is not 

[00:20:38] the 

[00:20:38] Rob Napoli: [00:20:38] answer. No, it's not in the ones that you do pay more to get them here. Realize that they could be paid more at a competitor. And so what are they going to do in 12 months, they're going to leave and do the same thing.

[00:20:49] And so then it comes down to, okay. If I were to bring this person in, I need to milk every value out of a year. I know that they're going to leave me in a year, probably unless I go and find what their actual passion is and tap into that. Right. So then that's 

[00:20:59] Collin Mitchell: [00:20:59] so that's, so that's when they get crazy about it, you better hit you in your activity quota, you better be getting meetings.

[00:21:03] You better begin your demos. You better get in your pipeline because. As soon as somebody offers you a higher pay you're out of here. So let's maximize productivity while you're here. And it's just a recipe for 

[00:21:12] Rob Napoli: [00:21:12] disaster. It is. And it's a, it's a high pin number. And then your team is spinning 40 to 60 credits time every week, their managers hiring and your sales managers, aren't training the employees.

[00:21:22] You brought this point, everyone's looking for more training, right? What would the hiring? The sales manager is spending 60% of the time covering turnover. And they sell their own quota and they have their executive meetings when they have time to actually coach and train, perhaps that they're responsible for.

[00:21:40] They don't, you know, you know, you've talked, you know, we only talked before Larry Long, Jr. He talks about his plan of keeping his employees engaged in how he spends time, training them and giving them the opportunity and he's doing it right. And many don't and it's just, it causes a various circle wheel.

[00:21:56] And it's why, you know, to the point that you and I talked about earlier, About training. There's all these now online training was all this free content training out there that everybody's looking for because they're not getting it from their employer. And so it's so easy for them to jump at all these different things and be disconnected.

[00:22:16] And like me not fully invested in the company. I worked for the product that I was selling and the thing I was there to do because my time and attention is pulled because I'm not getting it there to be engaged fully 100%. With clear eyes and a full heart to the mission at hand. 

[00:22:33] Collin Mitchell: [00:22:33] Yeah. And, and so, and, and I see that, and I have a little bit of a different perspective on it because if you're not getting the support from the organization that you represent for it's your responsibility to go out and seek it right now, if you're, if you're, if, if you are.

[00:22:51] Fortunate enough to get that. And it's kind of sad to say that, right? Like it should be, it should be more than norm. It shouldn't be like out of the ordinary to get that level of like support for, you know, personal and professional development in a company that you're fully committed to. Um, but most don't, um, and there is lots of resources out there and, you know, and, and most of a lot of them are free.

[00:23:15] Like, Blogs podcasts, you know, books. I mean the best coaches that I know, the best people that I look up to, they give so much stuff away for free. They're constantly putting stuff out. That's tremendously valuable for you to, you know, become better at your craft and learn. Uh, and most of them, most of them are even willing to hop on, you know, you and I were talking about something before here and I was like, Hey, here's some ideas I'm kicking around and we've got to talk in and you have a tremendous amount of experience.

[00:23:45] And you're like, Hey, let's just. Get on a call and I'm happy to help you. The people that I follow, the people that I surround myself with, that's the sort of mindset that they have. So a lot of these folks, like if you reach out and ask for some help, they have no problem getting on, hopping on giving you all their best ideas, you know, help coaching you a little bit through some things.

[00:24:03] Even if you, you know, it's not all about just some transition. 

[00:24:07] Rob Napoli: [00:24:07] No. And that's a great plan you just made, you know, I think. When I talk to entrepreneurs, when I asked to talk to new grads, I do a lot of work career coaching for no college kids and speak at some different universities, things like that. As I tell them, you know, look at organizations, you want go reach out, have coffee, learn about it, but.

[00:24:26] I think everyone should have the little, own little mini board of advisors. Right? You should have a coach, a mentor, someone to look up for someone outside of your eco chamber. Right? So to your point, if you want that all day, but you should have one or two people outside of your echo chamber of every day that you can talk to and come to with, with things that you get stuck on, that don't know you so innately and intensely that they can give you real talk, right?

[00:24:49] They get to know you and they get to know you from a place of real talk. So by 10 they know you so well. I've been with you for two years. They're always going to shoot your straight versus, you know, you know, if you and I knew each other for 12 years had been friends and you know, now we're starting to kind of come into the business world together.

[00:25:04] We may not, it may either one ruin our friendship or to not be straight with each other. And so you're not getting that real feedback and that I think. Is really important is to have kind of little bit of outside mentorship, um, and whatnot. But you know, when you don't have anything internally, you go look for so much externally that you lose out on, you know, a lot and a lot of passion and a lot of growth.

[00:25:27] And everyone, again, everyone just wants to make an impact in that. I don't care if you have a five-year plan for me, but at least give me a chance to know that I have opportunity to grow outside of. And at CR and H E R this one space. I know that I could potentially go do these other things with my life and my career, as long as I have that glimmer of hope.

[00:25:46] And there is some training and development around that. I want to be happy, you know, producing day in and day out. 

[00:25:52] Collin Mitchell: [00:25:52] Yeah. Yeah. And I think that people need to also be intentional about the roles they take, because I think a lot of people are so quick to just take any SAS sales job because they just like, Hey, if I can get into SAS, then it's just a, it's just a good, it's a good resume builder, you know?

[00:26:08] And, and that's, and, and you gotta be intentional about that. So I want to shift gears a little bit. Uh, we talked about a lot of great things, but I want to talk a little bit about. Um, so we talked about recruiting talent, things like that, kind of talked about both sides of it. Um, but let's kind of shift gears to like more founders founders that are selling, do founders need to sell if they don't, what should they do?

[00:26:28] Like let's kind of talk, talk about that a little bit. Yeah. 

[00:26:31] Rob Napoli: [00:26:31] Love that. So I believe that every founder of a company of a startup should sell their seller product. At one point, usually the early sales one too. I don't, they don't need to go sell 3 million. They don't to be all that, but they need to get some that really sells well, why.

[00:26:47] Because they need to understand that sales process it and understand how to sell their product, the value, the unique selling propositions that they give, because if they don't know it, Oh, I'm going to go hire Rob or Collin to come sell my company. How is Robin calling going to know uniquely and innately the value and the unique side propositions that you started this company with?

[00:27:06] Right. So it's really important for founders to, to go through and do that and to validate and understand. And then it's also really important for founders to, to track that. Right? Because a lot of times I was like, Oh, I have a network. I'm going to go sell, I'm going to go do this stuff. And I'm going to go with my first three clients.

[00:27:23] I get my first few clients. I bring in $300,000. If that was easy, I'm going to go hire Colin. Colin. Your job is to double revenue. I did 300,000 last year. Colin comes in, you come in and you're like, shit, there's no CRM. The people he sold to, I don't have access to. I don't, there's no collateral. There's no case studies.

[00:27:42] There's no process. There's no unique selling propositions. There's no, ISEP six months later calling you to quit. So you fire Khan because you didn't give him any true training or really show him what to do. And that's a $300,000 mistake. So founders really need to understand. So what, you know, every founder understands the what and the how, but many don't really always understand that why they need to be able to go say that why to a client and get that client to buy in and be able to understand that process.

[00:28:12] And they can go train their people. I'm actually working with Amanda right now, out of Belgium, who I'm working with this. And he is so bought in to being the sales guy. He's an engineer by trade, never sold, but he knows that for his company to grow the way he needs to, he needs to learn to sell that he is a process guy.

[00:28:29] Can teach that process to a sales team and run that spoolie. And he is so bought in having so much fun with it. And he's seen so much success. He's learned so much off of doing the standard selling that he, I, I have no doubt that when he does a team, they're going to all be so bought in. To what they're selling a, why it's the company culture, because he built the process that he went and did it, and he can coach them through that and have that connection and be understanding of the challenges of those rejections that salespeople get.

[00:28:58] So when you're sitting in with your CEO of like, well, why are you selling well, these are the things I'm overcoming. The data says they should be doing this. Well, no, like, have you done or just, you know, have you, how did you overcome that objection when you sold to that CEO? You know, and that's just a really.

[00:29:13] Amazing thing that changes the culture and PR trajectory of startups. 

[00:29:19] Collin Mitchell: [00:29:19] Hm. And, and I love that answer because I, I, I believe the same that, you know, and, and if you, if you have a co-founder like somebody needs to sell, one of the founders should have either selling skills or should. Learn to sell the product or, you know, maybe get some coaching or some mentorship or seek out some knowledge and figure out how to create that sales process.

[00:29:44] I think that's so important. Um, and so, but at what point can they step away from the process or do you think they always kind of need to keep their, you know, keep, keep, keep their, their, their hands in the trenches? Uh, because things change, right? The selling process that works today. Things change, product changes, needs, change, competitors come like there's so many things that change that the process doesn't always look the same.

[00:30:12] Rob Napoli: [00:30:12] That's a great question. And I'm going to say it depends, right? It depends on what type of founder you are. Um, one, it depends on how you surround yourself with talent, right? The other big mistake that founders do when they want itself is they go hire a CRO or a consultant that has a black book. That is going to get them in front of all these people.

[00:30:31] And they hired the consultant, the black book, they get a lot of false positives. Cause they're going to introduce them to people that will take the meeting. I can get people meetings. It doesn't mean they're going to buy. And as long as you know, it's a customer discovery meeting and that a buyer meeting, you know, then, then you're in good shape, but why would you be paying me all that money to get closure early deals?

[00:30:48] And so it's a lot of false positives or they hire a CRO who wants to build a team and spend money who doesn't want to get their hands dirty to build anything. So, uh, you know, once you sell a couple clients and you understand higher and junior hungry salesperson that you can work with on the side, you can share those lessons, let them build a process, let them go through some of those mistakes together.

[00:31:08] So you're always listening to the voice of the customer. Once you get a process that starts being scalable, you can bring on another salesperson and then a sales leader, and then you hire a sales leader. At that point, you've got some scalability. You have consistent revenue. And then you hire that sales later.

[00:31:23] If you want to step away completely the need to hire a really good sales leader that is going to be your eyes and your ears and invested in listening to the voice of the customer. And when they report to you are going to give you real talk and not be worried about the numbers and be worried about what the market's doing and saying, and what their customers are feeling otherwise, you know, you need to be in, in that because you hire sales leaders who are only wanting to save their job.

[00:31:47] They're going to be, should be thinking about the number and spend it any way possible. So it's really important to have. Transparency of, uh, through that leadership. And so that's how founders can stay so involved. And again, it really depends on how the founder, you know, works in their personality style, but that's kind of how they should be building and that C level or that sales leader should be hired later.

[00:32:06] After you have a couple of salespeople that are driving, you know, stable sales. 

[00:32:10] Collin Mitchell: [00:32:10] Yeah. Yeah. I love that answer. And in the one thing that you said that really stands out, that I just want to touch on for a minute, because it resonates with me so much is, um, hire a junior sales person and make mistakes together.

[00:32:26] And I think that's so important on so many levels, because I think a lot of founders or sales leaders. Tend to kind of think that like they need to have all the answers or have it all figured out or be perfect. And, and there's, uh, there's, it's, it's so important to just be that real and authentic with, with your team is like, Hey, you know, here's, what's working, we're going to do this.

[00:32:48] And we're also going to test these things and they may work. They may not work. We're going to listen. We're going to see what the customers are going to say. We're going to adapt and we're going to figure it out together. Um, and I think that. Creates an amazing culture in your sales team, um, where, you know, you don't have to have all the answers.

[00:33:07] Rob Napoli: [00:33:07] Yeah. And the earliest stage, you know, the reason why so many startups don't make it past a certain level are because they think they know everything. And I think that. They have this myth that their product is so good that they should really do a little bit of sales and go get 50 million in funding and be the next Uber.

[00:33:25] Now that's the 1%, or if those unicorns are, you know, so innovative, you can't say I'm going to build a company like Collins co because Colin has received his companies receive 50 million in series B funding. I show that build something similar with a little bit more improvement and actually get 50 million in funding.

[00:33:41] Now, why would they do that? They'd probably go invest in more money into Collins company. To outpace me, then invest all that money to me, to have a very similar little bit innovative product. You need to be truly innovative and understand that if you have try to have all the answers, it's never going to work.

[00:33:58] But if you take that step back and you say, you know what, my business could be a multimillion dollar business and multi-national, I'm not trying to become the next unicorn. I'm trying to grow up amazing business that makes impact and money. And we're going to learn together. If you're going to have staying power.

[00:34:12] It's going to be resilient. What we saw in the pandemic as companies that were built off of the next big thing versus being resilient and for their customers are gone. Those that were able to pivot, listened to the customers and did it with passion and purpose. We're able to stay through because their customers stayed with them.

[00:34:28] And when you build that from the ground up and you stop thinking as a founder, that you know everything because you don't and you be vulnerable and transparent, that will grow. It's the same thing I think of, of corporate executives. You know, they think they know everything. They have all these big teams, they don't even have a brand presence, but thing is they're so out of touch with the basic ground level, that, that they don't have all the answers easy either.

[00:34:52] And so for big companies with the corporate secretaries and these big large brands, they need to make sure that their executives are talking to frontline and actually have that line of communications. Why Elon Musk is doing so well. And he did a clubhouse of that day, like 2000 limit, like 10,000, 20,000.

[00:35:07] He will try to get into it. Because he wanted to talk with startup stuff and like, he doesn't need to be talking to, to, you know, average shows like us in that clubhouse, but he's doing it because he wants to take that and understand what the millennials want, how can they get back? How can he continue to create engaging product services and teams by listening to what the future leaders of tomorrow are feeling and doing and learning together with them and sharing those insights.

[00:35:33] That changes the game for sales, for every industry, for marketing, for everything. When you start doing that as a founder and looking at that from culture building, it really changes the game on how we create dynamic teams and growth opportunities, especially within the sales professional, where it's so volatile.

[00:35:49] And, you know, there's so many different things and you could be selling you either write per seller with the wrong product and you go find a product that you're passionate about and. Do multi-millions, you know, and you can be the best seller go to a company that you don't feel passionate about and sell nothing because it doesn't come out.

[00:36:02] And that's just, you know, I know that's a long tangent to it, but. Yeah, the point still there. 

[00:36:07] Collin Mitchell: [00:36:07] No. And, and I think, uh, the thing, I mean, adding value and taking time to serve and help others is so important because those are the type of founders that people want to work for. Those are the types of founders that, you know, are making themselves accessible.

[00:36:23] Um, and you know, for anybody who says, Oh, I don't have time. I'm too busy. I'm doing all this. They're full of shit. You can make time, um, because it makes a big difference. So Rob, tons of stuff in here really enjoyed the conversation. Um, any final thoughts? Where can people find out more about what you're doing?

[00:36:42] All that? Yeah. 

[00:36:43] Rob Napoli: [00:36:43] Yeah. I mean, I appreciate it. And you know, my final thought is just, you know, always continued to think about the impact you can make in your own circle. I know we all want to make a great big impact. You all wanna do these things, but. In a world where there's so much stuff going on, think about the impact you can make daily and what attitude and effort can you bring to that?

[00:37:03] Cause you control two things daily. That's your attitude and your effort, but have a good attitude, getting paid effort, good things happen and bring that into every aspect of your life. You can follow me on LinkedIn. You can follow me on Instagram. I'll make sure that we have the links into the podcast.

[00:37:17] It's rides up. Rob Knapp. Um, Rob Napoli on LinkedIn. Know, follow me, connect with me if you want to chat. I know I'm, as I told Collin earlier, shoot me a note. Say, you've heard me on this podcast would love to chat around a few things. I always like to offer some free time, um, whether it's coaching, whether it's ideas, whatever, they'll always, that first call is kind of free idea, no selling, nothing required.

[00:37:39] And then, you know, see what happens after that. See how I can introduce you to somebody or something, or, you know, help you, help you move on with what you're looking to do. So. Get in touch, reach out, you know, let me know that you heard it from this podcast. I can give constant love and, you know, continue sharing some great feedback with, with you.

[00:37:55] And I'm excited about the opportunity and thanks for being here and. Yeah, love the conversation. I'm jacked up for the rest of the day already. Right? 

[00:38:04] Collin Mitchell: [00:38:04] Uh, thanks Rob. If you're listening to the podcast and you enjoy today's episode, please write us a review, share with your friends and we're listening for your feedback.

[00:38:14] 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,, 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.

[00:38:37] And if you enjoyed this episode, feel free to leave us a review and share the podcast with your friends.