What if the key to success in sales was understanding the power of sacrifice?
Brace yourself for a reality check in this episode as Mike O'Kelly, seasoned sales veteran, takes you through the complex landscape of the sales world. He emphasizes why staying up-to-date, taking risks and nurturing curiosity are paramount in this ever-evolving arena, and reveals how the buyer-seller relationship has transformed in the age of technology. Prepare for a deep dive into Mike's own career journey, his trials, and triumphs, offering invaluable insights into the challenges one must be ready to face.
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The Surviving Outside Sales podcast, hosted by Mike O'Kelly, presented by Sales Builder Academy. The goal is to survive and thrive all phases of outside sales, whether you're getting in, dominating or getting out. Surviving Outside Sales. Now on with the show. This podcast is brought to you by Sales Builder Academy. Sales Builder Academy is your online sales training resource for all things outside sales, from training, recommended products and sales coaching. Sales Builder Academy is your one-stop shop for everything in all phases of your sales career. Learn how to build and scale a sales business. Learn how to build a network that sells for you. Learn how to start your sales podcast and, if you're ready to make that move, learn how you can build your sales escape plan to build the life that you've always dreamed of. If this sounds like you and you're interested, click in the show notes in this podcast or text the letters SOS to the phone number 980-689-6989. Again, that's the letters SOS to the phone number 980-689-6989. Now back to the show, to the Surviving Outside Sales podcast. I'm your host, mike O'Kelly. What are you willing to sacrifice for success? It's probably a question as old as time. What are you willing to give up to go after and achieve your dreams? It's a very important question you need to ask yourself in the sales world because, I hate to break it to you Just working 8 to 5 or 9 to 5 in a W2 job, you are never going to reach your goals, trust me. The reason why is the sand is moving beneath your feet. Some people know that the sand is moving, but others don't not until it's too late. And the reason why is because when I first started in the sales world, it was completely different. There were no cell phones. I'll take that back. There were some cell phones, but there was not the cell phone usage as there is today. They definitely were not smartphones. There were no laptops. You didn't have the element of video. You didn't have things that were on demand. So everybody had patience. Everybody waited. The buyers did the exact same thing. You also waited with your company. Companies wouldn't be so quick to hire and fire, and companies wouldn't be so quick to dump their executive team, start all over from scratch or cut their entire sales division, because they need to ramp up for a product launch in 9 months and they need the runway and the capital in order to do so. The sand is moving underneath your feet every single day. You just don't know it, and the professionals that have insulated themselves from this. It's almost as if they're like Michael Jordan and they're just floating in air. They're not bothered by the sand moving underneath their feet. But for most people who are listening right now, if you are a W2 sales employee, you're not going to get the level of success that you want through your daily job, not at the levels that you're putting out right now. Now, if you happen to be listening to me right now and you're using your spare time, if you're role playing in between calls, if you are elevating your sales, if you've hired a coach, you've bought a course, you've found a mentor, you've started a study group, you are partnering with other people in other industries to get better, if you're ferociously reading, if you're listening to audiobooks, if you are watching YouTube videos on the subject, then this doesn't apply to you. But for everybody else that isn't doing any of those things, your career is a way to walk on time bomb, and this is not a threat, it's more of a warning. Don't allow it to go off and not have a plan and not be prepared. The amount of people that I speak with there's a wide swath of people that I speak with and some I speak with have recently lost their jobs and there is a level of fear in their voice that is palpable, that's noticeable, and I've been there before. I've worked for three companies that went out of business while I was a sales professional there. I know you could be saying, oh my gosh, you're bad luck. In fact one of my former coworkers was like oh my gosh, I better put my resume in now because you're working at the same company as me. But I've been through it. I've gotten those phone calls. Hey, we got a national conference call today. Hey, we got a national meeting. Hey, I've gotten the phone call. And there was a company I worked for. I was the last full-time rep. Now I knew the writing was on the wall about three months prior when we got down to about six or seven reps and then the last three months every rep was let go and then I was the last one, and I was the last one because I was producing. But I remember getting that phone call and it was right before my first daughter was being born and the VP of sales called me and said Mike, I have bad news. And I said what is it? He goes, I can't pay your salary anymore. And I was like what do you mean? You can't pay my salary, I can't pay your salary, I can't keep you on. He's like I can pay you as a 1099. I can keep you on there and you can still make money from sales. I just can't give you a base salary. Now in the moment, a lot of people can freak out. A lot of people will just let their minds race to some pretty negative places. But some of the first words that came out of my mouth were what's my commission percentage? And I don't remember exactly what it was. It was in the 20s and I thought it was a very fair commission percentage. And I get it. The company was struggling. It was highly leveraged and the reason why this did not become a shock to me of what was going on was because I understood the business of sales. The writing was on the wall. This did not blindside me. It's just I couldn't find anything to leave that I really saw myself doing, that I was passionate about. I was far enough along in my career. I wasn't going to just jump to another company for the sake of jumping. That's not what I suggest you do either, but it happens all the time and I get it. There's a lot of pressure, but what are you willing to sacrifice? This entire episode is about sacrifice. Are you willing to sacrifice a little bit of security to find something that's going to give you true meaning that you are fit for? Remember, there's a lot of different fits. There's a product market fit. There's also a employee company fit and not. A lot of people talk about the employee company fit, the employee culture fit. One time in my career I did not listen. I just took a job and it got me into an industry that was not a fit for me and I did not like it. I did not like it at all. I had been struggling to find work for several months. This was during the bloodletting of 2011. If you were in the pharmaceutical and medical space in 2011, you know what I'm talking about. Tons of I mean thousands of reps for Let Go. A lot of products were being pulled by the FDA and thousands of reps were being Let Go. I at the time was managing some 1099 reps with an allergy company and I was making decent money, but the writing was on the wall there that it wasn't going to be something that was going to last forever and we had some internal issues, and so I just jumped to the first opportunity that I got, and it was selling pain management products. I didn't have any passion for pain management zero. So when I woke up in the morning, it was a job. That's all it was. It was a job to me and with the circumstances that I walked into, I did really well. However, it just wasn't for me. Now, fortunately enough for me, I was working for a company Well, unfortunately that company. When I got into training, I found out the company was for sale. My timing was impeccable in 2011. And I luckily I had found something, because I immediately started looking and I found something in my wheelhouse, which was dermatology sales, and I had an opportunity to join that organization. But it was just absolutely wild what happened, and from that moment forward, I told myself it doesn't matter how long it takes. I'm going to align myself with an industry or an organization or both. Hopefully that fit what I'm trying to do. I'm not just going to take a job for job's sake. I'm not going to hold my nose and just block out things that I don't like either about a product, a market or management. And there was some sacrifice along the way. I let opportunities walk by probably great opportunities, but I let them walk by because it wasn't going to get me to where I wanted to go. And that's the one thing that I wish more sales pros I talked to I wish they understood that your career is a marathon, it's not a sprint. And yet everything in the sales world is telling us to sprint. Even the sales world is telling us to move faster, faster, faster. Well, the best thing for us is not to move faster, it's to move slower in certain instances. But going back to the, what are you willing to sacrifice If you are truly a sales professional? Are you going to sacrifice time with your family? Are you going to sacrifice time watching Netflix? Are you going to sacrifice going out? Are you going to sacrifice alcohol, any one of your vices, so that you can be physically prepared to work the next day? Are you going to sacrifice, you know, anything in your life that is an escape. You should not be escaping from your world. You should not be escaping from your life. If you're trying to escape on the weekends, you got to do something about your weeks. Life is not meant to be escaped from. It's to be lived to, experienced, to grow. It's the exact same thing if you're a sales professional. But what are you willing to give up Because you're going to have to sacrifice something? What I sacrificed was my former self. I got rid of the former Mike. The former Mike would party his ass off on the weekends and sometimes during the week. Now, mind you, I always rang the bell in the morning. I always made it to work. I never slept in. I wasn't hungover. That was back from my enterprise days where the saying was if you're going to hoot with the owls at night, you better soar with the eagles in the morning. I had plenty of that practice under my belt, but I sacrificed to the parting. On the weekends, I sacrificed watching television shows and programs and sporting events. I used to watch every big sporting event you could possibly think of. It didn't matter if it was NCAA tournament, it didn't matter if it was college football, nba, nhl, you name it Tennis matches, golf, baseball. I watched it all. And then I woke up one morning and I said what is that getting me? The game is going to happen whether I watch or not, and it doesn't matter if I'm up to date on all the latest shows. Who cares? Who cares if I know what happens in Game of Thrones, or I can't even think of the shows used to be out about a decade ago, but who cares? Who cares about the latest movies? Those aren't going to pay my bills, those aren't going to get me to where I want to go. So instead, at nights, what I started doing was I started reading, I started researching, I started looking at YouTube, I started digging into the sales leaders, the people that were very influential. I started asking more questions. I got back to being curious. Instead of knowing it all, I acted like I knew nothing. And if you know nothing, what do you do? You just ask questions, like a little child. Little kids ask questions all day long. Why, why are you doing it that way? Do I need to do it that way? You reach out to people, you build networks, you take risks, you make plans. I sacrificed my former self, the freedom that I had, and what evolved was a much stronger version of myself. Just so you know, I'm still evolving every single month, every single week. I didn't reverse order, but accidentally, I think you know what I mean. I'm always evolving. I'm always trying to get better. I was frustrated by a book I was reading because the way the book was formatted it was not how do I say this? It wasn't a typical book. It was a book with a bunch of images like cartoon drawings. It was very popular by Russell Brunson and I was very frustrated by it. So what did I do? I sacrificed. I bought the audiobook because the paper version just, I was really struggling to stay with the book and stay interested. It's just too many graphics. I know it sounds funny, but I just actually preferred read books that have words in it, not a bunch of books that have words and pictures and graphics and all that stuff. It's very disjointed. Just give me the words, give me the important stuff. So I bought the audiobook and I listened to the audiobook. It was a three and a half hours. I read it, or listened to it, on one and a half speed and I finished it in what? Two and a half hours, two hours and 40 minutes, something like that, very easy. I got all the same information. I still have the book, but point being is, I sacrificed. I didn't have to do that, but do I want to retain the information in that book? I saw a value in it. I believe the person who wrote it. It's little things like that. What are you willing to give up? Are you willing to do something that's free? You're not gonna get paid for it, but you're gonna earn goodwill, you're gonna get smarter, you're gonna practice your craft. I've now done five speaking events and I have not gotten paid at any of those events. But that's okay. I'm not expecting to get paid. In fact, what people say is you won't get. You won't get paid in speaking events until you either are a big-time author or but what you're getting is you're getting experience, you're building a network, you're gaining authority. I'm getting practice, and that's the point. I'm sacrificing my time to practice a skill, live in front of people that are my audience, and I learned something along the way. I do a lot of free strategy calls with people and some people say well, that's a waste of time. I was like it is not a waste of time. You don't understand what I have learned about this industry. I could probably write a book on just the things that I have learned from my 75 ish Strategy calls that I have done in the last six months, just by telling people on this podcast hey, if you want to have a strategy call reach out to me about 75. Yeah, it's been about 75 hours of my life, so about three days I've spent. But you understand what I have gained from that. I believe I have helped every individual that has reached out to me, but do you realize what I have gained? I've gained knowledge, insight, data. They say data is king. It's a hundred percent true. What are you willing to sacrifice? We're heading into a weekend right now. Are you gonna Clock off at four o'clock, not think of anything for the weekend? That's fine. This is not a hustle culture type of conversation. But what are you willing to give up? This is a question for you that I pose to you, the listener. What are you willing to give up To get what you want? Is it time with your loved one in the short term? Is it money? Are you gonna go all in on something? I've done it, done it multiple times? I'm doing it right now. Are you gonna do something that's uncomfortable? That Is the pathway to success. That is the key to success. Are you going to be willing to sacrifice? Are you gonna meet with that prospect and you don't even know if you're gonna get anything for it? Just go book the meeting. There's a lot of things you can sacrifice. You can sacrifice your effort, you can sacrifice your time, you can sacrifice your money. There's a lot of things you can sacrifice, but if you are content to where you are today, you have already failed. The sand is moving beneath your feet. You just don't know it yet. Thank you so much. I really do appreciate it, man. It has been quite the week. I hope everybody has a great chance to recharge over the weekend or whenever you are listening to this episode. I hope you're having a fantastic month of June. We're getting close to Q3. Halfway through the year, 2023 is absolutely flown by. If you've got kiddos like I, do you understand why they say it's the days are long, but the years are short. That is one of the truest statements. I can't believe that my littlest one is going to be two next month. I just remember when she was born. It's already been two years. Absolutely wild. If you want to reach out to me, mike is surviving outside sales I absolutely love. I do a free strategy call with anybody who wants to chat. If you want to talk about where you want to go in your career, if you want to talk about how to get started. Some advice what you want to do If you're thinking about buying a business. I'm going through that right now. My wife and I were opening our first franchise this fall. We have two purchased and we're going to be opening two in the next three years, but this one in the fall and Rock Hill, south Carolina, with Restore Hyper Wellness. I've also started a podcast co-founded sales technology company and sales training company. There's a lot I could talk to you about. You want to just chat? Chat it up. Let me know. Mike is surviving outside sales. You can shoot me a DM on LinkedIn it's the easiest thing to do. Or you can go to mikeokellycom M-I-K-E-O-K-E-L-L-Ycom. Connect, slash, connect and reach out to me. I'm Mike, I'm Mike, I'm Mike, I'm Mike, I'm Mike, I'm Mike, I'm Mike. Reach out to me. That way, there's a lot of ways that are going to make it as easy as possible. If you want to know more about the business of sales or have any questions, or if you want to be a podcast guest, let me know. I am accepting new podcast guests right now. If you have something you want to share with the world of sales and you'd be interested in doing it, reach out to me as well, hope you all have a great weekend. See you next time. Bye.