Surviving Outside Sales

Navigating Personal Challenges: A Journey of Resilience and Lessons from a Sales Legacy | SOS Ep. 358

September 22, 2023 Mike O'Kelly Season 1 Episode 358
Surviving Outside Sales
Navigating Personal Challenges: A Journey of Resilience and Lessons from a Sales Legacy | SOS Ep. 358
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Sometimes, life throws us curveballs that make us question everything. This episode of Surviving Outside Sales is a testament to that. I, your host, Mike O'Kelly, find myself wrestling with the imminent loss of my father, a veteran pharmaceutical sales rep who has been my greatest inspiration. As I navigate the emotional whirlwind, I hit the mic to discuss how personal challenges shape our professional lives.

While the episode is deeply personal, it is also a reminder of the importance of seizing opportunities when they come knocking. As I share anecdotes and insights from my journey in sales, influenced by my father's principles over shortcuts, my aim is to motivate you to embrace every moment in your sales career. Remember, the ripple effect of our actions as sales professionals can have far-reaching impacts on people's lives. So, join me for this heartfelt conversation as we traverse the uncertainties of life and the world of outside sales.

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Where are...

Speaker 1:

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.

Speaker 2:

Welcome to Surviving Outside Sales Podcast. I'm your host, mike O'Kelly. You know I was really debating with myself whether I should reshoot this episode, and the reason why I say that is because while I was shooting the episode and talking about this topic, my computer crashed. So I thought to myself is this a sign that I should not be talking about this? But I believe that when I started the podcast and those of you who are listening and you might be new to the show I told you this is going to be. It was a very raw, very real podcast. I don't script any of the shows. I have one topic and then I just turn on the mic and I know that my show could be a lot better if I did rehearse it, if I scripted it. But that's just not who I am. That's not my personality and I don't think it's going to be as authentic because I will remember things as I'm talking that I haven't talked about in a year or two years and it's very pertinent to the conversation. So by me just doing a free flow, it taps into my creative side and that is where all my memories are stored. That's where all my expertise lies, is in my memory. So that's kind of what I do, and so the reason why I bring that up is you know, right now is a very difficult time in the O'Kelly household. The reason why is because my father is in hospice and he is probably not going to make it longer than a few weeks. And the reason why I share this is because my dad was the consummate professional. He was in sales his entire life pharmaceutical sales for 30 years, and this was back when pharmaceutical sales reps would sit down with doctors for 15 to 20 minutes and have a clinical discussion. It wasn't just simply features and benefits. You know, my dad was required to know more about the heart than sometimes first year medical students. When he had a product that dealt with the heart, I would see my dad studying all the time. He'd have medical textbooks out, he'd be jotting notes, et cetera, while I'm sitting there watching TV, cartoons, et cetera. And it was just a different time. And the reason why I bring this up is a lot of what I talk about the sales builder blueprint. Not about scripts, not about gimmicks, not about hacks. It's about principles that were tried and true even back in my dad's time 70s, 80s, 90s the principles of building relationships, bringing somebody into your own world and a lot of people say, well, you naturally got into sales because your father and I said, no, actually I didn't want to be a sales person. I felt backwards into it. I wanted to be a baseball player. That was my entire life. I didn't have a plan B. So I tell people, have a plan B, because plan A might not work out. You might want it. I hear this all the time. Well, I really want this. Yeah, I wanted to play in the big leagues. I wasn't good enough. I didn't have the talent, have the ability, and I couldn't get it done. I did have a very good baseball career. I look back on it fondly but I didn't have a plan B and I don't know when my father will pass but it's soon and I spent almost all of yesterday at his at my parents' house till late last night. I didn't get home until the AM, got up early, got the girls up, was excited to see them because I didn't put them to bed last night and I'm gonna go back over there very shortly. I just have about six or seven things I have to do from my house because I have computers, equipment, I have the infrastructure. There's just deadlines, things that I have to do, and then I'm gonna head back over there. And the thing about the reason why I bring this up is you don't know what your future holds. You can't predict everything. Now I guess you could say we are fortunate to know that my dad did not die of a heart attack in the middle of the night randomly. I didn't get a random call from my mom saying your father's gone. I'm gonna have an opportunity to say goodbye. I don't know if it's going to be directly, but every time I leave I say goodbye and I think to myself this could be the last time I talk to him. It is very morbid, but the point of this is everything in the surviving outside sales world is about preparing you to not make the same mistakes that I have made, for you also to accelerate your success through my successes, sharing my stories, learn from the failures and copy the successes if you wish. And when it comes to my dad, I don't believe I have any failures or successes, but it just hits you like a ton of bricks when you realize that we are not in control of our own destiny. You could walk out and I know it's very cliche and get hit by a car, something can happen to you. You can be a safe person, take no risks, but something can happen to you. And when you're out there in the field and you're sweating and you're tired, you have to remind yourself there may not be a tomorrow. You have to give every single opportunity you have in the moment and you have to seize your opportunities. You have to seize them because you don't know when those opportunities are going to come back around, if ever. I got a message on my phone that my voicemail was full, so I went back and looked and I got an iPhone. In the fall. I didn't realize I had to delete the voicemails. I didn't know how the iPhone, all the iPhone systems worked, so I deleted a bunch of the voicemails. I had four or five voicemails from my dad I'm not going to and my mom. I didn't delete any of those and you know, when he's gone I'm going to have his voicemails on my phone forever and I do feel very fortunate that, even though he wasn't too sure about it, I interviewed him last fall. So if you want to listen to the conversation with my dad from several months ago, I think it's episode like 120 or 123. There's a three-part episode and we talk about the sales world and we talk about what has changed, and I did it live in his house and the audio is not the best, but it's like the baton is being passed and that is what I'm trying to do every day on this podcast. That's what I'm trying to do at Sales Builder Academy. That's what I'm trying to do with the next generation, or even people that are in my generation that are still in the fight. I believe there's a lot of issues in outside sales and I'm trying to bridge the gap from what people have to what they need. And while this is a very unorthodox kind of episode, I just want you to realize. If you're out in the field today, right now, you have a day to make change in your life. You have an opportunity to change the life of yourself. You have an opportunity to change the life of your family, but you also have a chance to change the lives of the people you're selling to. Your product or service may save the life of the end user, the end customer. Maybe it's an end patient if you're in the medical sales, and when I say save your life, there are people that might be going through bankruptcy. There might be people that are going, are living paycheck to paycheck and you sell them a product or service that saves their business. Going through the franchising process my wife and I have been going through, I have a new found respect for anybody that starts a business where you have to get a loan, you have to rent space, you have to build something. The amount of meetings that I'm going to be having, or I've already had, the amount of time that I have spent, it's astronomical and it's about 10 times more than I thought when I first started that I was getting myself into and look, don't, don't, don't shed a tear for me on that. I'm excited and I'm very happy of what I'm doing. But the point being is keep doing what you're doing, because you might be selling something that's going to change my life. It's going to change my family's life. You don't understand the ripple effect and the power that you have as an outside sales professional. You have the ability to change people's lives forever and that's not hyperbole. You don't know what people are going through and people are not going to tell you To the outside world. People probably thought that everything was roses and butterflies, but I've been dealing with my father, been going through the franchising. I've got my students. I've got my clients that I'm consulting with. Meanwhile, I've got two girls, two toddlers. I'm spinning plates everywhere, just making sure that none of the plates fall down so you don't know what people are going through and your product or service could change their life. So I'm going to do whatever I can to facilitate you being able to do that to the best of your ability, and I do not believe that companies are doing that right now. Companies are not teaching you about business acumen. They are not talking about business acumen. I call it the business of sales. I'm going to keep talking about the business of sales till I'm blue in the face and every single person in the world has heard about business of sales. At that point I will stop, but until that time I'm going to keep going. I feel as if that I owe that to myself. I owe that to an industry that has given me so much. I owe it to my dad, who sacrificed for me. So keep going. I know you're tired, I know it's hot, I know you're sick of getting in and out of the car, but that is the life that you chose. That's the life we all chose because it's a way to change our lives. I've mentioned this before and I'll say it again you can go from zero to wealth with sales. You can't do that in accounting. I've told you before my wife has a very important job. She's in corporate finance. She pretty much knows what she's going to make the next five years. I can sell a million dollars worth of courses.

Speaker 1:

My franchise could make a million dollars in profit.

Speaker 2:

I could get 15 companies on board. I could go speak on stages. The possibilities in sales, when you're selling a product or service or you're selling yourself, are endless. That is why we do what we do. The possibilities are endless, but in order to see the possibilities being endless, we have to take the opportunities that are before us. You have an opportunity today. You don't know if you have an opportunity tomorrow or the next day or the day after that, why your company could sell. Things could be happening behind the scenes that you don't know, so you might as well prepare. It's one of the reasons why tomorrow, thursday it's July 20th at noon I'll be talking about this on LinkedIn. I'll be talking about expanding your income, looking around the world and finding things that align with your mission, your goal, what you do, what you're good at and ways for you to leverage that for more income. And I was just thinking to yourself well, it's pretty good, I'm just gonna keep doing what I'm doing. I said that many times in my career. And then I got the dreaded email. We have a conference call today, and it happened far too often. I got too many of the phone calls. I mean I think I shared one of the phone calls I got was Mike, we ran out of money, we can't pay you anymore. I said I don't understand. I don't understand how you don't have money, but you don't know what's going on behind the scenes. What you can control is what is out in front of you today and what you prepare and plan for the future. Go out there and crush it today. Or, if you're listening to this at night, go out and crush it tomorrow. If you're listening to this on a weekend, go out and crush it on Monday. You have that opportunity. Success is out there. You just have to go after it with every fiber of your being. And if you need help to get there, reach out to me. I'd love to see more faces. I'd love to see people at the webinar tomorrow. If not, that's okay. I'm gonna be doing webinars every Thursday at noon on LinkedIn. I'm just gonna go live Different topics, because I believe that is my opportunity right now is to give back to the sales world, to share the wisdom that I have been taught. I have learned the hard way. The school of hard knocks has probably been the best teacher for me. The ability for me to persevere through the difficulties has made me stronger. Thank you for a much different surviving outside sales episode than in the past. I really do appreciate it, as always. Please download the episode, share it with somebody you think is also struggling or maybe they need to hear something today and reach out to me on LinkedIn and I'll try to get back as fast as possible. I do feel bad. There were a couple individuals that I didn't get back to in a timely manner. I'm not gonna be able to do that. I'm gonna be able to do that. I didn't get back to in a timely fashion and I'm trying to be a lot faster. I just there's just a lot. There's a lot spinning in the O'Kelly world. But thank you so much. I really do appreciate it. I hope everybody has a fantastic day and you get after it out there in the field and we'll see you tomorrow surviving outside sales. Bye-bye.

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