Sales Hustle is now Sales Transformation
April 14, 2021

Episode #84 S1-EP84 The Top 1% Sales Skill with Bryan McDonald

Bryan McDonald joins Collin Mitchell in this episode of the Sales Hustle podcast. Let’s hear from Bryan as he retells how he got started on his sales career feeling that no other job was willing to give him a chance and how he’s transformed this seemingly one chance into the opportunity that catapulted him to the expansion of his expertise in the field.

Bryan McDonald is the Sales and Executive Business Coach, Speaker, Podcast Host, and Partner of onPurpose Growth, a coaching and consulting platform that helps businesses achieve the kind of results that they want through their carefully curated work pattern: Purpose. Process. People. 

As a leading expert in B2B sales strategies, systems, processes, and tactics, Bryan’s exposure in the field of sales started 20 years ago with his comprehensive experience in business development and new revenue growth. Serving entrepreneurs and consultants, the main backbone of his service is based on businesses such as financial services and insurance. Selling products that are intangible and to be measured based on value and not direct pricing, his most successful clients are really good technicians who are passionate about what they do and are eager to use the top 1% income earners use for business development and sales strategy skills. 

Find out more and reach out to Bryan McDonald through the following links:

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

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Episode 84 - Bryan McDonald

Welcome to the sales hustle. The only no BS podcast, where we bring you the real raw uncut experiences from sales change makers across various industries. The only place where you can get what you're looking for. To up your sales game today's episode is brought to you by sales Katz sales CAS helps sales professionals transformed the relationship building process and win their dream clients.

[00:00:30] I'm your host, Colin Mitchell. Oh, right. What's happened in sales hustlers. Welcome to another episode. I'm excited today to bring on Brian McDonald. Brian is a leading expert spurt in B2B sales strategies, systems, processes, tactics. He serves entrepreneurs and consultants who developed an expertise in corporate America, and now uses those expertise to serve small and medium sized businesses.

[00:00:55] Brian, how you doing? I'm great, man. Happy to be here. Happy to, uh, be here with your sales hustlers, man. Yeah, I was a little nervous. I didn't know if you were going to agree to our ground rules of the show so that we can so that we can actually record today. So I'm glad that you did it and we can share some fire for the sales hustlers.

[00:01:13] Uh, you make it easy, man. You make it easy. Uh, all right. So we always start these out pretty similar here. Uh, give us the cliff notes, short version of your sales story, and then let's get into the good stuff. Yeah. So, uh, I've been in sales for my whole 20 plus career. And, uh, I think, you know, growing up, just being a people, person, being around, people love being around people.

[00:01:39] It was natural. I didn't, uh, I didn't question. Uh, you know, getting into it, I just hopped in feet first and just figured out my place, you know, where was my role best, where was my best fit and what kind of role in, in sales. And it was always in some type of entrepreneurial, uh, sales position until, uh, I started my own company.

[00:02:03] Mm. Hmm. Okay. So you didn't get into sales, kicking and screaming, like a lot of people? No. Uh, actually my first job out of college, to be honest, I knew I was in the right place because I was looking around going, man, if these dudes can do it, I can do it. Yeah. Yeah. Um, I got into sales because nothing else was willing to give me a chance.

[00:02:23] So, well, you know, here's a funny thing that you say that is the, uh, my first job out of college. The reason why they hired me is because, uh, it was a, um, uh, packaging wholesaler. And the reason why they hired me is I had a summer job in college working in a box manufacturing plant. I don't know how that added up to me being able to sell the stuff.

[00:02:47] But here I am today, man. Yeah. Interesting. A lot of people get into sales because they say, Oh, you know, I wanted to do this and then realize it didn't like it. And then sales was kinda my plan B uh, sales was my. Only playing. Yeah. Yeah. Awesome. All right. So let, let's get into it here. Um, you know, a lot of people have been talking about some of these topics, but, um, I'm really keen to get some of your thoughts around it.

[00:03:14] You know, uh, talking about, you know, salespeople, just being more comfortable, being more authentic, being themselves, like why is that important? What does that look like to you? Uh, you know, I, I talked to a lot of my clients that you mentioned are these experts, people who didn't choose sales as their, as their no more career.

[00:03:37] And, and a lot of times they're stuck in their head, eh, and. And can't get out of their own way. And what that allows them to do is they try to be somebody else or some persona that slick has all the answers and, or, or this, this super smart expert. Uh, and it, it, it doesn't show well in sales because in my opinion, Uh, you have to be present and listen to understand the, the, the buyer, uh, especially in the word war now.

[00:04:15] And if you're in your head trying to be somebody else you're, you're not paying attention to what's going on. So if you can just be present, be yourself and, uh, and show up authentically. I believe you can, um, communicate to a buyer. That you're, you're there to understand them. And I think that in the hierarchy of needs of a buyer, that's pretty high up there.

[00:04:38] Yeah. I was going to have a question for you, but I was in my head and I missed everything you said

[00:04:51] um, there's so many, there's so many things. There's so many things we can peel back on, on what you just said. So let's start with a couple of them here. So. You said, you know, being present, um, being present so that you're actually listening, you know, and not being in your head. Right. And so what happens when you, when you, when you are in your head and you're not present and you're not listening to what your prospect's saying, uh you're you turn the focus on yourself when the focus should be on the other person.

[00:05:23] Right? Right. Uh, one of the, one of the greatest things a mentor might taught me. Was, uh, when he, uh, something he did is that when he sat down, uh, with a prospect, if there was a chair next to him, uh, or not, he would, he would put imaginary chair and he would put himself in. It would say, Hey, uh, I'm going to be here to spend time with this person.

[00:05:46] Right. You can sit here, just don't say anything and I'll get back to you when we're done and any would turn the chair backwards. And it was one of the creative mind tricks that I've ever learned, because when, at times when I'm feeling nervous, I do that and I can, I can present myself because the, uh, I allow the it's a focus to not be on myself and, and create a mechanism to have it on the other person.

[00:06:13] Wow. That's a pretty incredible trick, but I mean, these days, that chair better be six feet apart. Well, and in a better have a mask handy hand sanitizer and gloves. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Um, okay, so there's one more thing that you said there in the beginning that I just, I really want to, um, uh, dig into as well.

[00:06:35] So you, you mentioned that, um, a lot of sellers struggle cause you know, they're in their head or they want to be perfect or have all the answers. Right. And I know from experience and from people that I've talked to, like actually not having all the answers and showing that level of like vulnerability and like having more of a collaborative conversation with your prospect is actually, most people are too scared to like, if I don't have all the answers.

[00:07:06] Then I'm not going to be this expert that I'm supposed to be, and I'm going to lose that sort of trust or respect or rapport that I'm working towards, but it's actually the exact opposite  spot on, right? Because, uh, if you, if you are the expert, The prospect wants you to understand them in the situation first and then apply your expertise.

[00:07:33] What I've found to be true is people get that caught, get caught in what we're talking about in the negative side of this, they just dump the expertise. Uh, and, and, and don't understand the situation like, Hey, I got all the answers and you actually come off as a, as an arrogant asshole. Yeah. Yeah, right.

[00:07:52] Which doesn't really put you in the category of expert. Exactly. Uh, I believe that that. At some point in time in the recent past, uh, sales has changed where, uh, maybe, maybe in the fifties and sixties, you had to have all the answers. Now, what buyers want is that collaboration that you're talking about this back and forth.

[00:08:20] It's more of a, to me, it's a discovery process rather than a, I got all the answers process because the. They don't judge you by your expertise. They judge you by the questions that you ask. Exactly. Yeah. I mean, you need to know some, I mean, you need to know some basics, right? Like you need to have a general sense of what might resonate with them or what problems they might have or what might peak their interest, or, I mean, you need to know some things, but I think where a lot of sellers fall into trouble is you don't need to know.

[00:08:53] Everything. And you actually can build trust and rapport by like, Oh, tell him, you know, tell me more about that. Or, you know, why is that important? Um, I mean, your prospects want to feel like you understand them, which is something that you mentioned that you get them specifically, because, well, I think that they're unique.

[00:09:10] I mean, they're not, they're not that unique, but I want to feel like they are. And as a seller, it's your job to, you know, Show him that, you know, and, and there's a big difference here. Not like, pretend like you care or act like you care, like actually care enough to ask questions, spend time with them, learn more, uh, and ask the right questions and deeper questions that most people aren't willing to take the time to do.

[00:09:35] Yeah. And that whole. Uh, acting like you care, not just, you know, just lip service that to me has, is, is illustrated through your tonality, your body language and things like that. Uh, it's a, it's a nonverbal communication. You make them feel it, uh, you don't make them hear it. Hmm. Yeah. I mean, people remember more of how you made them feel them, what you actually said.

[00:10:03] Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. And so, um, all right. So now with your, with your prospects, you know, making them see that you actually care, it's going to stand out. Most people aren't doing this stuff. Most people are still in that place of fear of like trying to have all the answers and just, you know, spilling their guts about features and benefits and why they're the best for me.

[00:10:33] That's a couple of things. One it's ego. That you get less ego gets in the way. And too, I have a belief that says I have the expertise and the prospect is going to tell me exactly what part of that expertise to offer them. So I need to listen for it. And Dale, like, for instance, when I'm on sales calls, I, uh, I'll ask people, you know, I'll find out where they're going.

[00:11:02] Like, why, why this, why now? To get a, to get a story. And I just, I know that the, the, the areas that they're going to, that I work with, that they can go into. And usually at the end of an introductory call, all I do is repeat back to them. What they told me. I tell them a story around a client that I helped that matches something to that.

[00:11:24] And I asked him if they want to talk more and I'm repeating back to them, what they're telling me. And, and, and they pick that up as, as a deep expertise. Yeah. And they're able to see if you care and or feel that you care based on yeah. A couple of things, right. Were you actually listening to what they said?

[00:11:50] So if you're repeating a lot of that stuff back, or if you're asking good questions, because a lot of times it was something you mentioned early on, right. As a lot of times, sellers can get caught up in their head. Right. And they miss opportunities to ask. Good questions too. They miss, they miss things that were said that could take them places that are going to, you know, build that trust and the rapport.

[00:12:12] Um, and so when you ask those good questions and, and, and you, you don't miss certain things, that's the way to show, you know, and build that trust and rapport. And then one of my personal favorite things is actually challenge them a little bit. Like so many people want to just be yes, yes, yes. We can do that.

[00:12:27] Sure. Like, let's get to the next step of the selling process and, you know, make your prospects think a little bit differently, challenge them on something, you know? Um, that's what they want. They want somebody that's going to maybe teach them something that they don't already know. Not just agree with everything that they already think.

[00:12:44] Oh, I love that because, uh, it's, it's, uh, they're actually expecting that they're expecting you to challenge them. What I found to be true is people either sit too far on one side or the other, they're just challenging the whole time and just showing up like a Dick or they're just a yes person and they're showing up like a, like a woosie.

[00:13:08] Right. But again, there's an in between there. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, I mean, you gotta, you gotta find what that, that place is. But a lot of this is like, if we kind of take a couple steps back, right. Um, a lot of this comes to like mindset and confidence with your, with yourself individually, just personally, so that you can.

[00:13:29] Be more present, being more curious, ask better questions, be willing to ask deeper questions, not feel like you have to have all the answers. So what are some things that sellers can do to kind of get in the right head space, to apply some of these things that are maybe really against what they're doing now?

[00:13:49] Yeah. So I think that there's an overarching, a formula or process that, that, that I'll talk about and then dive deep into that. So it's, when you have clarity, it gives you confidence. And when you have confidence, you take effective action. You know, that's, that's, that's real high level. So, uh, when you think about being in sales situations and creating clarity for yourself, You have to be clear on, um, who is it that you serve?

[00:14:19] And I mean, not, I'm not talking about a niche, I'm talking about a demographic and a psychographic profile of people, uh, understanding how you serve them and what you can and cannot do. Uh, and, and how those problems or those things that you resolved show up in a business, because people are going to talk about symptoms of problems quicker than they're going to talk about the actual problem itself.

[00:14:45] They, they think they're, they think the symptom is the actual problem. So excuse me. So if you get those things down, uh, Uh, and, and you have those, you can sit and, and be more present, which when you're present, you're very confident. So inside that meeting, you'll take the most effective action. Uh, you know, I'm not a big on, I'm not real big on us scripts or scripts person, uh, because I'm always pivoting off of.

[00:15:15] What the other person's saying, because you know what I mean, conversations are too dynamic. Like a lot of people are looking for like the perfect playbook or the silver, silver bullet script. I think scripts are important because it gives you a bit of a guide or like, you know, somewhere to start like, Hey, here's kind of the.

[00:15:34] General things to get the conversation going. Um, here's what we're looking to, like learn in this conversation. Um, but you can't just fully rely like you gotta, and, and sales leaders need to just kinda, you know, Encourage their teams to have more autonomy in like being more creative and bringing themselves into, you know, how they get to that goal of the conversation.

[00:16:01] Um, and not just like, Hey, if they say this, you know, here's, here's the objection. Here's the rebuttal. Here's the objection. Here's the rebuttal, right? Yeah. If you want a robot go buy one. Yeah, we're not, these are people, right. And on the, uh, uh, in, in on-purpose growth, my business I'm I run the coaching side of our business.

[00:16:20] We have a consulting side where we work with sales leaders and organizations, and it drives us nuts because, uh, There's a lot of tools or practices that are just ineffective, that are accepted in sales leadership as kind of this, these are how things are done and it's just complete BS. Uh, like, uh, we, uh, we, we did a podcast called, uh, using metrics as weapons, uh, meaning that there's a lot of companies that.

[00:16:52] Set up metrics just to beat people over the head with that and create no meaningful progress in a business other than being able to fire people. And that's completely ridiculous. Right. So, so, uh, and to learn your people. And how they show up best in the world and then leverage that right. If you've got a relationship guy figured out how to help that guy build relationships and leverage that if you've got a cold caller figured out how to get the cold collar and leverage that right.

[00:17:22] Be fluid because these are people not fucking robots. All right. If you didn't hear that rewind and listen to it again, um, Yeah. I mean, yeah. I mean, there's, there's so many people that are just pissed off. They're like, I'm tired of this fricking dashboard, Jacky sales manager, that all he cares about these activity quotas.

[00:17:46] And you wonder why people aren't hitting quota because they're shoving all this damn fluff into their pipeline just to keep their managers off their neck. Well, and, uh, and this is a pet peeve of mine. I don't want to too far off on a tangent. So, um, The very first client that I had years ago was a banker who went to move to the, uh, uh, finance world.

[00:18:09] You know, I'm not going to say the name of the company, but a wholesaler. Right. And there was an event that happened with one of the other reps where a market opened up that never opens up. And it was like the perfect storm. A couple of hundred million dollars came to the marketplace and it wasn't, this guy's control.

[00:18:27] And he had the key to the one thing that most people wanted in the marketplace. So he, he, he crushed his sales goal by like four or 500%. And then what they did was they literally took the guy. They didn't look at the situation. They took the guy's, uh, uh, goals for next year and ratcheted it up and set him up for failure because the market, the marketplace, wasn't going to support him bringing enough money.

[00:18:54] And then they, they, they eventually put the guy on, uh, um, uh, uh, what do you call it? Probation. Uh, and eventually he tried to fire him or something that they set up. It just blows my mind. It blows my mind. The sad thing is, is that story that you just laid out, uh, happens more often than, than, than, than it should.

[00:19:19] Like that's, that's not like a one in a million story. That's like a common scenario there. Um, So I want to go back to one thing. We were talking about a little bit, cause we mentioned a lot about confidence, right? So if you want to get out of your head, you want to ask good questions. You want to be more authentic.

[00:19:35] You want to be yourself. You want to be able to have these dynamic conversations where you're not relying on the script. Um, it comes back to confidence and mindset, right? And so recently I interviewed. Mark Hunter and I dove into one of his books recently and, uh, and he said something interesting that I was like, I think I knew it, but like, it just really resonated with me.

[00:19:57] So I want to get your thoughts. And so he said, uh, you know, the most important person you'll ever sell it's you? Oh, absolutely. I was just reading the, uh, uh, quantum physics, quantum mindset book and, uh, It reminded me of what you just said is that you can't get out of life, what you want until you accept yourself and where you are right now, because the war you're not going to line up.

[00:20:30] You're not going to be in alignment of what you want because you're battling yourself and you're battling, achieving what you want. It's kind of like you got your foot on the brake and the gas at the same exact time. Mm. So how do you do that? Uh, Pants there's a lot. Give yourself grace. Um, make better assessments.

[00:20:51] Well, uh, rephrase, make, um, a more meaningful and powerful assessments about yourself. Yeah. Uh, don't be the biggest judge. And, and here's your, here's the one way? This, this may, people may hear this or see this and go, what the fuck is this guy talking about? But I know it to be true is that if you want to figure out where you're judging yourself, look at the judgments you're making of other people, because we, the people you get along with do an act the way you like to act.

[00:21:29] The people you judge are, the things that you dislike and hate about yourself. Directly proportionate. So when you, when you you're pissed off at somebody who, uh, uh, it doesn't show up somewhere on time, you judge yourself for not being somewhere on time. So you hold that standard to yourself and that's, that's mostly likely a place that you're being hard on yourself.

[00:21:56] So if you're, if you're, if you're judging people for having other things. And if you're judging people for, uh, being a jerk, you're most likely as proportion a juror. Yeah. Yeah, no, I totally agree with that. And, uh, there was somebody who put a post out about like all this. Bunch of lists of things like that.

[00:22:18] Forget, you know, S you know, salespeople never do any of these things or on a demo, never do any of these things. And there's this, just this big, long list of things to never do. And, you know, they were decent things like, yeah, you shouldn't do it, but it just like having a list of like, I'm never going to do this, or, you know, it just creates.

[00:22:35] Additional stress and more things to judge yourself about as a seller, like, yeah. I mean, common sense. Don't be late to a demo. Like you shouldn't be late to a demo, but you know what, sometimes it does happen. It does happen, but don't show up and say, Hey, Oh, I'm really sorry. You know, my computer wasn't working, you know, they're going to, you know, yeah, sure.

[00:22:56] I, I show up, I show up late and say, Hey, you know what, I'm really sorry. My last meeting went over and I apologize, you know? And they're like, cool. You, you earn more trust and respect from the people in the relationships that you're building, whether it's your customers, your prospects or partners, whatever the case is, if they're just a hundred percent, totally honest, no matter what, if you make a mistake own it.

[00:23:19] And it actually helps you. More than it hurts you. There was a lot of things in this world that we do. That the world teaches you to do that actually hurt you more than help you. And, and for even less like that, I tell people Flippa, don't make a list of what not to do, make a list of what you intend to do and focus on that shit because yeah, because if you like, my wife always says to me, Hey, don't forget this.

[00:23:49] Or don't forget that. And I instantaneously Fitbit to, okay, I'm going to remember this, or I'm going to remember that because my mind, all of our minds are programmed to follow the directive. Right. So flip it to a positive directive. Yeah. Yeah. If you have a big list of things not to do or things not to forget, you're not going to do them and you're going to forget them.

[00:24:10] Exactly, exactly. That's great. They posted, like, they were things, they were decent things like, you know, Hey, don't have a bunch of personal bookmarks saved, you know, show up on time, you know, don't um, you know, Don't have crappy internet or, you know, don't have audio issues. They're, they're decent things, but like having a big list of shit to not do, I mean, sellers have enough stress from their, from their, from their dashboard, Jackie sales manager, activity quotas, as you know, I love trading, creating another big.

[00:24:42] And then, uh, the post was, got a lot of attention. There's all these other people adding more shit to the list. Don't do this, don't do this. Don't do. What the fuck can I do not much left? Yeah. Oh, I get it. You want me to be perfect? Yeah. Yeah. And so there's a lot of people talking about, you know, be real, be yourself, be more in the thing that I'm really getting a kick out of these days.

[00:25:05] And we talked about it a little before, right. Is be more human. What the fuck does that mean? Okay. So yeah, I'm human. You want me to be more human, but really what people I think are saying is like, just be yourself, be real, be authentic, be honest. You're going to make mistakes. That's okay. Don't judge yourself for them.

[00:25:24] If you only, if you make a mistake own it. Learn from it improve, you know, um, a lot of pressure to be perfect, to hit these huge quotas that are unjustified, you know, to do this many meetings and this many demos and this many that, and, you know, if you just stay out of the results and be more of yourself and invest more in yourself personally, in your mindset and your confidence, like your professional role becomes so much easier.

[00:25:53] Yeah. Uh, and I love what you said about stay out of the result. And this is one of those things where it's kind of like a paradox backwards. It's it live in the process to be about the process of getting better, be about the process of being yourself, being about the process of, you know, hitting your goals and, and, and they will actually come, uh, a lot of times when I'm I crossed somebody who's in their head.

[00:26:18] Um, telling them to detach from the outcome because when you detach from the outcome, you're so tied on the outcome that you're holding onto it. So tightly that you, you in, you start doing things that you don't intend or want to do because you're, you're holding onto it so tight. It's like to get what you want.

[00:26:36] Let it go. And it'll show up. Yeah. Yeah, no, I totally agree with that. Hey, Brian, it's been fantastic having you on today. Uh, really, really, really enjoyed this conversation. Um, what do you want to up any final thoughts? Uh, anything you want to share with folks? Any links we can include in the show notes for them?

[00:26:54] Yeah, I mean, uh, I, I appreciate you having me on this was awesome. Always great conversation and yeah. Uh, there's a couple places where you can find me, uh, I'm on LinkedIn a lot. So it's, uh, the, my username is McDonald Brian, my last name, first name, uh, and then on purpose is our, uh, is our website.

[00:27:12] And if you're a, uh, if you're an entrepreneur who is an expert that selling and delivering, I've got a community on Facebook called the on-purpose growth community. You can find this there and joined. It's a, we talk all things, sales and revenue growth. So, uh, I'd love to see people there. Awesome. We'll include the links there in the show notes.

[00:27:31] And if you enjoy today's episode, feel free to write us a review, share with your friends and as always we're listening for your feet. 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.

[00:27:55] 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.