Entrepreneurial Sales 101 With Brian Williams
Episode 486: Entrepreneurial Sales 101 With Brian Williams
Contrary to popular belief, sales is not just about selling. There’s much more to it than meets the eye. In this episode, sales expert Brian Williams sheds light on what makes a truly successful sales pitch. He sits down with host Mitch Stephen and shares valuable tips to help you elevate and improve your approach to sales from here on out. Brian talks about the true essence of sales and some common mistakes that people, including himself, have made when entering a room and starting a pitch.
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I am here with Brian Williams. I met this man at Multipliers Mastermind that I’m a part of. It’s a great organization. We had some long and in-depth talks over the three days we were there together in February of 2021. I got to know a lot of people and Brian Williams was one of the people I got to meet.
He’s an expert in sales. One of the things that’s unique about Multipliers is it’s a group of men; high-level functioning men that are in the middle of a crisis. As we learned, you’re either in a crisis, coming out of a crisis or going into a crisis. The word crisis is always right around the corner if it’s not right in your face.
It’s the recipe of life. It’s hard, it’s never easy and it’s always changing. If you’re not in a crisis now, give it some time and you will be. You’ll need a place to go like Multipliers. You’ve got to have someplace to go to talk.
This was a group of men talking about a lot of universal issues, a lot of men-specific issues and even more specific than highly successful men. The problem with highly successful men or women is that there’s a likelihood that you’ll just implode. You have so many things and so much responsibility and you’re trying to hold everything together all the time.
That’s what Multipliers was about. Before you walk out and burn the whole place down to the ground, let’s have a conversation first. Maybe we don’t have to do all that. You don’t have to start over at 50, 60 or whatever you are.
I learned that Brian was an expert in sales. We’re going to talk about sales because no matter what you are doing, you are going to be in sales. We’re selling every day. If you’re married, you’re selling every day to your spouse. If you have kids, they’re selling you every day. The kids are some of the best salesmen in the world. They find out your weak spots fast and they learn to go right to that. They push that button.
Give us a little bit about your background, Brian, so we can know where you came from, and then we’ll go on and talk about the importance of sales and some key things to deal with sales.
I’m a Computer Science grad from Texas A&M, which surprises people. I spent most of my career in Silicon Valley, writing software of all things. It’s a fascinating place to live and work with some of the brightest brains on the planet because everybody from all over the world wants to come and work there. What I started to notice was we had world-class products and services but we weren’t selling very many. I’m writing a code and saying, “The technology platform and the software architecture in this product are superior to this one but this one is selling more.” It frustrated the crap out of me. I couldn’t understand how that was happening. I realized we were spending all of our time in R&D, Research and Development. They were spending their time on their pitch, their presentation and connecting with people, and we were just focused on technology. It happens in a lot of industries, real estate included. They are focused on the product instead of the purse. I love presentations and public speaking so I pursued the World Championship of Public Speaking. I made it to the world semi-finals. That’s the top 40 of the 30,000 people that competed that year.You'd be amazed at how human beings respond when you ask questions and then stop talking and listen to what they have to say. Click To Tweet
I took my corporate background of twenty years and put those two together, and formed Perspectivity. I left corporate, made a U-turn, went right back in and said, “I can help you guys. You have complicated technology products and services but you’re focused on the tech. I’m going to help you sell this complex tech to people because that’s who’s going to be buying it.” That’s what we do now. I wrote a book on the process and use that book to get into companies we work with like AT&T, Amazon, Citibank and places like that.
What I heard in that was, somewhere you got disenchanted with the corporate world and you struck out on your own which is the right key with this audience. While I may be talking to predominantly real estate investors or creative real estate investors, they’re all entrepreneurs. The goal of this show is to help people find where they belong so that they can quit their job and how to create enough passive income so that you don’t need a boss or a job. That frees up 2,600 hours so that you can start learning to become who you’re supposed to become, and become the expert in what you want to become an expert in. Two thousand six hundred hours a year is a lot of hours. That’s the kind of person you’re going to need to be to make it as an entrepreneur. While this particular episode is not going to be just on real estate, there is no business that doesn’t need sales. When we hang up from here, I want to talk to you about a company that has the exact same problem, “I’m better than everybody else but I’m not selling a fraction of what they’re selling.” That’s another thing I want to talk to you about. Isn’t that the right brain, left brain, separate technology and sales? I would picture sales as a right-brain thing.
I don’t understand and I didn’t plan it. In terms of business, it works well. When a technology company says, “You have a background in tech, you wrote software and you’d like people and communicating it. That’s a unique mix and blend.” When I come in, the folks I’m talking to and working with tend to appreciate that. It is a rare combination but it’s worked well in business because most people either have one or the other, not all the time, but usually. I play on both sides of the fence.
I’m right brain, left brain. I’ve written songs and played the drums. I have this whole side over here. I wrote the books. I communicate and sell. On the other side, I’ve got this other sense. It’s been both a curse and a blessing because I can do so many things. It’s hard to focus on just one because you move from right brain to left brain all the time. You got to learn to hang out on one side or the other for a while so your juice is running. It keeps going back and forth. That would be a blessing to the technology. You said some pretty big names, AT&T and Amazon. How are you landing jobs with them? What are you doing for those folks?
For those two, in particular, we’re coming in and it’s going to be business presentation skills because not all of them are doing meetings on Zoom all the time or they’re selling using presentations. It’s going to be sales or business presentations. We also do a lot of work on emotional intelligence, how to read yourself, how to connect with other people, and why you’re not getting along well with people. I spent a lot of time in corporate so I understand that environment. I’m comfortable in that environment. It is hard to get into those companies primarily because everybody’s trying to get in. You’re going up against the best to get into those accounts.
One thing that has helped me is I had to learn how to do what I do. I have to learn how to do what I teach. I have to put these principles that I’m going to share here. I have to practice this stuff every single day in order to win those accounts. One thing that has helped me more has been confidence. I show up to accounts very differently now than when I used to. I’m telling people, “We are more expensive and there’s a reason for that. When you pay us, it’s not that you may get them or you may get the most of them, it’s you’re going to get the results you’re looking for.” I’m talking to people like that and they feed off of that. I like talking to people who have swag, who have confidence. I’m not telling them that to brag. I have testimonials and case studies. I got proof points. I can share all the data with you.
You have to do that because there are a lot of people right now who are faking it until they make it. You can see it on Facebook and it makes me sick. There are people out there teaching or wanting to talk about houses. They’ve done 10, 20 or 40 houses. It’s nothing and they’ve got courses on that. While I do believe in fake it until you make it to a degree, you got to inch it a little above what you’ve done, not miles above because it’s going to show up. I like the confidence. It always helps when you can show the data of other companies that you worked for and say, “This is how it worked for this company. This is how it worked for that company.” Those are the people I signed up for. I’m saying, “If it worked for those three guys, they’re pretty much like me. It’ll work for me.” You got to believe your data. There’s a different kind of confidence that comes through when you believe in your heart about it and when you’re faking it. Those are two different things.
The subconscious brain knows the difference between the two and people pick up on that difference. Think about it. I was helping this company’s sales team. They were making calls, buying and selling distressed homes. They sent me a bunch of recorded calls. I was listening to the calls. One thing I noticed is that the homeowners were sensing. I don’t know this industry. I’m listening to the recordings and it sounds like there were a lot of funny businesses going on in that world in terms of not honoring the right price down, suppressing the value of the homes, all that kind of stuff. You would hear these homeowners talk about this on these calls. They’re almost teasing out how genuine and honest is the person going to be.
While the salespeople are focused on the clothes and the pitch and the price, you can listen to the homeowner’s going, “Is this two going to shoot me straight? Are they give me a fair deal? Can I trust them?” You have all these sales skills and tools and books but the people have one question, “Can I trust this guy to take care of me? I’m in an unfortunate situation.” There were two observations I had. By the way, I’m listening to call after call. I was taking notes and made an assessment. There are two things that came out. One, the sellers were clearly more interested in the sale than they were in the person. Here’s how I know that. I remember there’s one guy who started describing why he was selling his home. He had lost his wife and two kids moved out of the house at the same time.
No one said, “I’m sorry.” They’re just like, “Can I buy your house?” This blew off the fact that his wife died and his kids moved out.
I’m listening to the recording and I’m going, “How could you miss that?” When I got back with the team, I said, “If you spend fifteen minutes connecting with a guy over that much loss, that is an effective use of time because if the next person runs by that fact, I guarantee you they’re going to call you back because they feel like they can trust you.” It has to be genuine. You can’t fake that because they’ll pick up on that. You have to genuinely press pause, ask them how are they doing, and where are they going. Listen, press mute on the phone. They’ll talk forever if you have the heart to listen and to share. That’s sales, especially given what happened with COVID.
That’s still in any industry, Brian. It’s called human compassion. Show that you’re a human first so that they can feel like they can do business with you, so they know you’re not a shark. There’s a difference between a human and a shark. Show them you’re a human.
When I met with the team, it became clear to me that they view that as, “That’s not sales and that’s not an effective use of time. We have a lot of calls we need to make. We got a quota that we’ve got to hit.” They were not interested in slowing down. You don’t find that in a lot of sales books, spend fifteen minutes just connecting with the person and understanding the pain that they’re going through. I had to convince them and persuade them that is exactly what I want you guys to start doing. If you look at my book, most people will say, “Is this a book on sales or psychology or emotion?” Most of the time, I spent on those emotional things.
Sales is psychology. There is no in between on that. What were the five most common mistakes people make? You have a whole list of mistakes that people make. Let’s talk about five of them.
The five that I came up with from reading and working with clients, one is connecting. The reason that’s first on the list is it’s the easiest to neglect and forget. How much time are you spending getting to know the person? I don’t know if in your industry you may or may not have a chance to find out something about the person in advance if you can take advantage of that, otherwise, you’d be amazed at how human beings respond when you ask questions, and then stop talking and listen to what they have to say.
You brought something to mind. This is on the other side. I’ve already found someone who wants to buy my house. I’ve already bought a house and people are coming in. I’m seller financing my house. I’m trying to figure out who they are. I need to know the technical things. Do they have enough money to make the payment? Are there enough bedrooms for this number of people in their family? Are they just taking the house because it’s the only one they can afford or is this a good fit? What is going on? Is the wife sold? Does he have a felony record? What does their credit look like? I did all that stuff. In the middle of that, I also told my people, “You got to ask them at least 10 if not 15 questions that have nothing to do with anything.” If you see their kids in a soccer uniform, “What soccer team do they play for? Are you their coach? Is this a church group? What church is that?” Get them talking because once they start talking about their life, I’m going to get to figure out who they are and if they’re going to be a good risk to put in my house.Sales is about finding out what's important to people and giving it to them. Click To Tweet
For example, if they go on with a tragedy after tragedy, and never take any personal responsibility, and the guy that rented my house was an asshole and he did this to me, and my teacher was an asshole to me, everyone’s an asshole and they never take it, I’m going to be the next asshole to sold them my house. Watch their kids how they act in the office. If they’re running their hands up down the walls and knocking things off the shelf, the house will be destroyed in 30 days. If they are quiet and say, “Yes, ma’am. No, ma’am,” this person has control of their houses. They probably run their house like that. They probably run their bills like that. They probably handle their life like that. If there’s chaos all around all the time, that’s how they’re going to handle their payments. We would set little things for them to do and a time for them to do them. If they wouldn’t meet these little bitty tasks like, “I need to get your W2’s. I’m going to get them tomorrow at 2:00.” If they didn’t meet that time, this is how they’re going to pay. I love the idea of talking to them about what you’re saying and get to know them. Maybe it is as blatant as when you have all this technical information you have to have on the other side of the sheet. Here’s a list of 15 or 20 or 30 questions you hand to this guy that has not anything to do with this.
Here’s the deal though. You got your technical questions. We all have to do that piece. That’s common. You gained so much insight from those other questions. Here’s something that you demonstrated. You’re not just asking those questions to have a conversation. That’s part of it but you’re building a story in your mind as they’re talking. You’re taking mental notes and building a profile.
I’m building a data bank of everything I can figure out about this guy.
That’s why people don’t value chit-chat. They are not building that database in that profile as a person. I will admit, that takes skill to know how someone is rambling on about a lot of disconnected things. You’re putting three solid points together from the response they gave. You use that information to know whether you want to move forward or not. They thought they were just sharing their story. They had no idea they kicked themselves out of the business proposition that you have in front of them. The skill is learning how to ask those questions and how to listen. The third and the most important piece is, what did I gain from that conversation? What kind of client would this person make based on how they answered those questions? That’s the hardest skill to develop over time. It’s using the story that I heard and what kind of client is he going to make if we decided to do business together?
What you said early on, they were trying to close the sale. You said they were not compassionate or they’ve blown over some important points. It became apparent to me in that conversation that you were describing, they weren’t interested in helping the person with their problems or if they’re going to be a good fit for that person. When I’m taking coaching people, I’m asking 45 minutes worth of questions from them to see if I’m going to be able to help them get the money that they gave me back. If I don’t think I’m going to get it back to them, I don’t need that guy as my client because that’s a problem. It’s a very long day to play on a losing team. Every week, I’m interviewing everybody like, “Is this team going to make it to the finals?” If not, I’m not playing. I don’t want to be on that team.
Number two is the 70/30 time rule. I’m not talking about what have you heard. I’m talking about what have you done as it relates to these principles. We hear a lot of it. Everyone in this country knows about, “If I exercise and eat right, I’ll lose weight.” We have heart disease and weight epidemic in the country. Knowing it and doing it are different things. When I say these things, I want you to ask yourself, “Am I practicing it?” The 70/30 time rule, we alluded to it. That is I am listening 70% of the time. I’m talking 30% of the time. Telling is not selling. If you’re telling and talking, you are not selling. It’s what you talked about. It’s asking those questions and then listening and building a story in your mind as they are talking. Most people love talking if you know how to ask the right questions and you know how to listen.
I’m horrible at this because I like to talk too much. I would have to be measuring that 70/30 all the time. If you shut the hell up long enough, they’ll tell you how to sell them.
Prospects will tell you how to sell.
You got to find out their problem and what the biggest angst is. You got to see if they got any ideas of how to fix it and then tell them how you’re going to fix it.
I’ve learned prospects will tell you how to sell to them. They will tell you exactly what their fears and concerns are. For example, we’re fortunate to be pursuing this deal with Nike. We talked to them. Something happened in the past that didn’t go too well. They had hired someone that came in that didn’t go too well. They were skeptical about moving forward. I understood that. It’s all about human psychology, fear and emotion. This person is reluctant to spend more money on another agency because they fear the same thing is going to happen again. The whole time I’m talking to him, I am communicating to him over and over again exactly, “I understand what you guys went through. All I can share with you is we’ve never had that experience. In fact, if I find that this isn’t going to work, I’m going to let you know that upfront because I don’t like losing. I have a reputation to protect and I’m going to do that at all costs.”
Who cares about the technology, the product or the service? The first rule is I have to overcome his fear. What did I do? I said, “Can you explain to me what happened? What did not go so well?” Zip and let him talk. As he’s talking, I’m writing and taking notes. When we finished, I got with my team and said, “Our number one job is to deal with these fears.” That’s it. If we can address these fears, we can move forward with the account because nobody can touch us on what we do. I know that. That may sound arrogant, but we worked hard to get there. We have plenty of case studies that show we get results. The priority became how do we get there and how do we do it. I ask questions and set it on mute and start writing as he started talking. Once I had a pretty clear understanding of what disaster they went through, my job is to give them the assurance that this won’t be a repeat of what they went through.
Don’t underestimate that part that he said, he was writing it down. There’s nothing a person who’s trying to tell you their problem or trying to explain something to you likes better than to look at the guy that he’s explaining to and the guy’s writing down everything. He’s not missing a damn thing. He’s getting it down. If nothing else, he’ll walk out of the room and go, “I don’t know about this guy, Brian Williams, but he sure as hell was paying attention. He understands what the problem is because I saw him write it down.”
That brings me to my next point, which is mirroring or how to reflect back on what you heard. Once they finished talking, I said, “I want to bounce back just to make sure I heard it correct.” I literally went point by point and fed back to them, “I want to make sure I have this correctly,” and start walking down, “This happened and you didn’t like this and that.” You could see them nodding their head. I’m always thinking about, what are they going to think when a call is over? Most people focus on what’s happening during the call. I’m asking myself, when we hang up, when we dropped the Zoom, it was four people on the call, “What is that conversation going to sound like?” I want that conversation to be, “I don’t think there’s a risk in moving forward with these guys. They clearly understand what the issues are. They know how to overcome it.”
I want you guys to think about the homeowner, whoever you’re talking to, when the call is over, what thought processes are going to be floating in their mind. You have the opportunity to control what that thought process looks like based on how you conduct yourself during the call. That’s including learning how to connect, the 70/30 rule and mirroring. I’m not repeating everything they say to me. I want them to know the things that are important to them or important to me and feed that back to them. A lot of times with the clients we work with, they make sure that the prospect knows the things that are important to them and they’re feeding that to them. I want you to put that on pause and reverse the script. Find out what’s important to them and give it to them. That’s the definition of sales to me.Find the elephant in the room and go kick it. Don't act. Walk around it, dance around it. Click To Tweet
The fourth is empathy, which we talked about a little bit. The fifth one I want to jump into is dealing with the issue because a lot of times people are avoiding the issue because they fear that the deal won’t move forward. For example, in one of the calls I happen to be listening to, the person clearly says, “I’m having a hard time trusting these people that buy and sell homes because I don’t think they’re going treat me fairly.” The guy literally says those words on the call. That is an opportunity to not defend and protect yourself and tell them how awesome your product and services are because he’s already said he doesn’t trust people like you. That’s an opportunity to say, “What happened? Why did you not trust them? What did they say that made them untrustworthy? What proof and evidence were there as you continue working within that prove that these people are asking those questions and dealing with the truth?”
I ask clients, find the elephant in the room and go kick it. Don’t walk and dance around it because here’s another thing, when the call is over, what they’re going to be talking about and thinking about is the biggest issue that came up on the call. If you don’t address that issue, that’s what’s going to kill the deal. Just because you’re not talking about it does not mean the issue has gone away. It means, they’re just going to sit on it. We’re all controlled by fear. Human beings are controlled by two emotions primarily. They want to seek pleasure and avoid pain. If a problem has happened that created pain in their past, that’s what’s going to influence that decision. If you don’t deal with the pain or the problem, that’s what’s going to determine the result of the sale. Most people focus on the pleasure piece, great house, great price, great product and great service, but fear is a stronger motivator in humans than pleasure.
I started doing this thing and I wish I did it better and more often when I can remember. Do you ever code your prospect? Is he yellow, green or blue? You figure out, “How do I need to talk to this guy?” You can study this thing way deep and goes off into a million tangents like a big old oak tree with a bunch of limbs. I haven’t studied it that much. I studied it from the basics. Figure out who this guy is. He’s a minister of a church or he works for a charity. This guy is a blue. He’s not interested in getting rich. He’s interested in what good this is going to do for mankind more than anything else. The guy was an engineer. This guy needs numbers and graphs. By asking where did he grow up, he told me inadvertently that he’s an engineer. I got another thing in the database. This guy needs facts, graphs, spreadsheets, whatever I can get him. I got to talk to him in that language.
Yellow has nothing about the future. It’s all today. Immediate gratification. How long before I can get my money? What can I do with the money? What do you want to do with the money? You got to talk to yellows about immediate gratification. Greens are savers and planners. I have these four cards that I carried around long enough that I don’t have to carry them around anymore. It helped me to find and knowing those four personality traits and then starting to talk to them in their language.
I once was talking to a blue about how much money he was going to make when he sold this free and clear house he got. He wasn’t interested in it at all. When I finally realized that I was talking to a blue in a green’s language and said, “I got to start talking in the blue language.” I went back to him and said, “I got a family that needs this house desperately. If you’ll sell it to me, I can get it to this family who has these five kids. They need this five-bedroom house. There’s no one in their dire straits for one.” I bought the house that hour. That was after nine months of pursuit and a call every month. I was talking to the man in the wrong language. He wasn’t interested in the things I was interested in which I’m interested in the money and the profit you could make. Unfortunately, I’m not as blue as a lot of people and I’m not as yellow. I’m green and red.
That sounds like a psychologist or psychiatrist almost. This is what you’re doing which is a hard skill to learn and master. You have to know your caller to know how you impact other callers. You’re in real-time talking to a stranger and defining their profile and putting color to it. Once you determine the color, you’re saying, “I need to modify my language to be more appealing to this particular color.” The thing is Mitch can’t show up as Mitch on every sales call. You’re going to lose a lot of deals that way. That’s a hard thing to do because it takes a lot of humility to say, “I know how I’m wired but I need to modify and adapt my language a little bit to be more appealing to that color. I got to figure out the color then modify my language to appeal to that color.” You got to stay in character for the whole call.
You have to stay genuine. The hardest part for me is to transfer their language and still be genuine. I may be talking about concepts that I’m not so excited about. How I do that is I try to move over into their shoes and see how excited they would be if this was the way the presentation went, the language that we’re speaking.
What’s interesting is the number one question I get when teaching that one particular topic is, “Brian, aren’t you not being genuine when you modify and you’re acting like this and you’re not like that?” That’s one perspective. Another perspective is you’re more interested in serving a need that they have than you are your own. To me, it’s selfish to show up as yourself and walk the way you walk and talk every day and completely ignore what the other person’s going through and what might interest them most. Sales is about finding out what they want and giving it to them. The number one thing you have to do is find out what they want. When you give it to them, you have to communicate in a way in which they will receive it.
We did a lot of business in China when I was in corporate. That’s like me showing up in China and talking the way I do in South Texas. I’m not going to get very much progress. That’s a different culture and a different language, and a different way of connecting with people. I remember, I was in Thailand for work and I didn’t know this at the time. I went to a meeting with the big boss and I crossed my legs in the chair and the sole of my foot was facing the senior leader. I backed away from the chairs and he can see my foot. In their culture, the most disrespectful thing you can do is point the soles of your feet or the bottom of your shoe at another person. Essentially, I was in the meeting doing this to the senior leader the whole meeting. That’s how they interpret it. The guy was super graceful. It’s our job to understand how people receive what we’re giving out. We have to make some modifications if we want them to receive it accordingly.
Tell us, do you offer services to people in my field? Are you dealing with bigger corporate people? How can you help the average person in this audience if you can? Maybe this is not your forte and we’re just having a good conversation. Can you help the readers? How do you help them?
There are two ways. The book that I wrote, The Ultimate Sales Messaging System, is a six-step process. It’s about having effective sales conversations in sales presentations. That’s my niche. Pursuing the World Championship of Public Speaking, I love communication and presentation. A lot of that shows up in the book. It’s around having effective sales presentations and sales conversations. That’s one way in which I help. The other way is that we have an online university. That’s a step above where the book is. I had a film crew come in and I’m teaching the six principles in the book to a live audience with exercises, videos, role-plays and all of the stuff that we’re doing live. We broke those up into six bite-sized segments. The longest segment is thirteen minutes long, the shortest is four minutes long. I don’t like watching long training videos so I didn’t create one. There are six modules, three are about fourteen minutes long. You can download the exercises. It’s the same thing that those people in a live audience use. You can download all of those things. If you have a larger team, maybe 8 to 10 people-plus and we can work together. We have virtual training and workshops that we do. That trails off into smaller group sessions. We do one-on-one coaching as well.Make sure not just to have enough money but to have a game plan to create more money with. Click To Tweet
This is all centered around sales.
We focus specifically on sales conversation skills or sales presentation skills.
We were talking about your business and how you can help people and what your expertise is or your forte. Let’s put all that down on a table. Let’s move to a whole other chapter. If you don’t mind, it’s transparent and personal as to when you’re getting successful like you are and you’re starting to pick up these clients, there is a backstory somewhere that’s not very pretty. Do you care to talk about that?
I’ll give it a try.
Nothing that you don’t want to say. I just always know there are some trials and tribulations before all that works. What has it taken for you to get to this point in your life where you’re talking to people like Nike, Amazon, AT&T and all that?
I remember two things specifically. I’ll never forget this day. I had an opportunity to speak to four senior leaders at American Express. They had broken the country up into four segments, the Western region and all of that. I was talking to the heads of each of the regions. The meeting was at 11:00 and I’m driving somewhere. I was a mess back then. I lose track of time. I had to go dive into a McDonald’s to get Wi-Fi and a place to sit so I can do this call. That’s the only place I can get to in time. I’m on the phone with the senior leaders and there are literally kids on the indoor playground screaming and yelling. I’m going on and off the mute as I’m trying to have a conversation. There are orders being called out in the restaurant. At the same time though, those principles that I shared, I literally violated every last one of them. There was no connection. I talk all the time. I was not dealing with the issue. It was just pitch and pitch.
I remember at the end of the call, it was so terrible that I didn’t even follow up and ask if they wanted to move forward because I knew they didn’t. I was at home the next day. There was this Mayflower moving truck going down the street. I said, “That’s a sign from God. I’m going to lose my house and lose everything. We’re going to have to move.” That’s how bad my head trash was at the time. That’s how bad my skills were. I knew how to get on stage and rock the platform. I knew the content of what we did but my ability to sell it and simplify and connect with people. It was invisible.
I ended up hiring a sales coach. He’s out of the game now. He’s one of the baddest man on the planet when it comes to sales. I went to a one-year program with him and he said, “You are killing this thing so well. Can you help me grow my own business?” I got a chance to work with him a second year but that second year I was behind the scenes. I’m going on calls with him. He’s showing me how he does what he does. I haven’t stopped ever since. I oftentimes say I’m so grateful for that experience because I learned so much from him. Honestly, that’s why I’m able to do what I’m able to do now. It all started with the world’s worst sales conversation in a McDonald’s restaurant.
One thing I appreciate about you is your willingness to be transparent. I was interviewing someone and they said, “If you talk to a guy that wants you to loan them money and he’s never lost money on a deal, that’s not your guy.” “I heard all the great things about you. Tell me your bad stuff.” If there’s no bad stuff, this is not working. Everybody has it.
You can’t trust them.
I’m talking to a lot of new people that are reading this that are trying to find a way to move from their job to become independent. What do you have to say to them before we wrap it up?
That was one of the craziest things I ever did. You hear a lot of people say, “Make sure that you have enough in savings. You have enough money to carry you.” I would say to have a game plan. Have money but have a game plan. The best thing to do is work the side job until you can’t work it anymore and then make a smooth transition. That is not what I did. I would not recommend what I did. Let me show you what not to do because I want you to avoid the pitfall. I was working here and they said, “Brian, we need to move back to California because they came up with this dumb rule. You have to live in the same state that you work.” With all this internet and all, this made no sense. I said, “I’m not interested in going back to California.”
They said, “You need to take a relocation package back to Cali or take a severance package and leave the company.” I took severance and left. That’s when I started the business. I got plenty of money and I burned through every last dollar because I didn’t have a game plan to win. I knew what I wanted to do. I’m taking sales calls at McDonald’s trying to sell stuff. I’m talking to AmEx. I didn’t have a problem getting access because of all of my connections in corporate. If you don’t have a sales playbook, meaning, “This is how many calls I want to make. This is the target market I’m going after. This is a sales conversation I’m going to have. This is my sales presentation.” If you don’t have a sales playbook that defines what that looks like, how are you going to grow revenue, it’s not time to start the business. It’s all about that sales engine and how much revenue you’re going to be able to generate.
I don’t care how much cash you have. I had a business that was probably worth about $20 million who came to us and said, “I do believe in this business. This is a different business. I feel like we knew him. God is telling me I’m supposed to finance and bankroll the business.” Get this, we had unlimited access to revenue. One day we asked him, he was a celebrity guy. We say, “Would you like to come in and do some endorsements and commercial?” He said, “My only job in this business is to write checks. That’s all I want to do. I don’t do anything else.” Even with a guy like that on the team, the company still went bankrupt. That’s a very valuable lesson for me. Money solves a lot of problems. They don’t solve all of them. You can tank a business by having too much money. I know that sounds crazy but I’ve heard of two millionaires say it and I went through it myself. Make sure you have not just enough money, but you have a game plan to create more money with.
On a side note attached to that, I’ve had several people come to me, “I got $500,000. I have $1 million. I want to learn your business.” I say, “Go put the money away. We’re going to learn how to do it with no money. If you can figure out how to do with no money, then you’ll understand the business and you won’t lose the money that you have.” It didn’t come with me because I wouldn’t do it. The ones that I know that jumped in with $1 million finally learned the business but they had to lose that $1 million first.
I believe that. It’s hard to believe but I see that to be very true and I experienced it. We had access to so much capital. You got to have a game plan. That’s true in anything. I don’t think it’s just business. It’s true in any endeavor you pursue. You can’t run out there and hope for the best.
We’ve been talking to Brian Williams. He’s an expert in sales. If you think you or your organization needs sales, I want you to go to 1000Houses.com/BWilliams. I’m sure he’s got some things that he wants you to see. Do you give away a copy of your book or do you have access to your book?
It’s probably going to be on that BWilliams site.
My people are going to get with his people and they’re going to get this digital copy of whatever we’ve got to offer. Just go to 1000Houses.com/BWilliams. There are also ways to contact Brian if you want to talk to him. I haven’t talked to him before but if you’re like everyone else I know, if I’m saying this wrong, then correct me. All he ever wants and all you should ever do is call to see if there’s a natural fit if you’ve got a sales problem. If you got a sales problem, call and get a consult call and see if there’s a fit. He already said he doesn’t want to be on a losing team either. If he can’t help you, there won’t be anything but find out because he might have the help you need. Sometimes it’s not even about the price. It’s, will it work? If it works, it doesn’t matter the price because you’re going to outrun whatever it is you’re outrunning.
I had to learn how to get to that level, to focus more on the result than the price.
I used to think all these prices that people charge back in the early stages of my career was, “No way I’m paying $5,000, $10,000 for this.” Now it’s like, “If I pay $10,000 or $20,000 or $30,000 for that and I figured this out, that’d be worth millions of dollars a year.” It will make that money look like a chump change.
That’s why we were able to charge what we charge because we figured out how to get the results they’re looking for. We tell people now, “Perhaps we’re not the best fit. If budget is a primary concern, we’re probably not going to be the best supplier for you.” We just zip it and see how they respond to that. I respect who you are and what you do. I’m grateful to be on this show sharing. Hopefully, I’ve shared something with your audience that would be a benefit to them. That was my heart’s intent in the first place.
I’d like to thank everybody for stopping by to get you some Brian Williams. Check out 1000Houses.com/BWilliams. We will be bringing you some more episodes in the future. I appreciate you being on, Brian. Thank you so much.
Much love. Peace.
About Brian Williams
A professional speaker, sales consultant, and presentation expert, Brian runs Perspectivity from Dallas, TX.
Health/Fitness enthusiast. Married, 4 kids.
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