Surviving Outside Sales

Sailing into Success Crafting Dynamic Sales Plans for a Prosperous 2024 | SOS Ep. 361

January 01, 2024 Mike O'Kelly Season 1 Episode 361
Surviving Outside Sales
Sailing into Success Crafting Dynamic Sales Plans for a Prosperous 2024 | SOS Ep. 361
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Have you ever stood at the precipice of change, heart pounding with the exhilaration of a new venture? 

That's where my journey took me as I embarked on the daunting task of launching a health and wellness franchise. It was a test of resilience and a lesson in the importance of health as we sail through the years. In this rollercoaster update, I lay bare the hurdles of early business challenges, from market shifts to real estate woes, and the profound shift from passive investment to active involvement. My gratitude runs deep for your support, and I'm eager to share the wisdom gleaned from consistency and presence, keystones for sustaining success no matter the playing field.

The winds of change didn't just bring a new business; they heralded a transformative professional shift that demanded my all. Picture this: a single nugget of wisdom from a conference, igniting a whole new focus for my career. Tough choices were on the horizon—sunsetting clients, pausing the podcast, causing ripples of concern in my network—but they were necessary. This episode takes you through the art of balancing commitments and the finesse required to delegate effectively. And when personal loss and overwhelming workloads tried to break my spirit, I emerged as an advocate for the power of embracing challenges, armed with confidence and unafraid to fail. 

As we look ahead to 2024, let's arm ourselves with a strategy for triumph. It's about more than setting goals—it's about embracing a growth mindset and understanding the changing tides of our market. In this candid wrap-up, I go beyond just the sales tactics to delve into product knowledge and client engagement that can elevate your game from good to exceptional. Let's continue this journey together on LinkedIn, where we can strengthen our professional ties and share strategies that surge us forward. Here's to a year of seizing opportunities and achieving greatness, with you by my side.

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Connect with Mike:
Website:
Mike O'Kelly
Mike@survivingoutsidesales.com
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IG: Mike O'Kelly - Sales Builder
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If you are in outside sales and have had any of the following:

- New to Outside Sales
- New to an industry, new product, new territory - any type of change
- Experienced, but have lacked training and business development
- Seasoned but feel like you have hit your ceiling and need a reboot

If any of those descriptions sound like you or someone you know,

Check out the blueprint at MikeOKelly.com/salesbuilderblueprint.
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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. Welcome to the Surviving Outside Sales podcast. I'm your host, mike O'Kelly. It's been a while. We are in a new year. It has been almost three months since a continuous episode of the Surviving Outside Sales podcast. I've been a little busy, as I'm sure a lot of you were, in Q4 of 2023, but that's gone. Hopefully, everybody hits your goals. You hit your numbers, you got your bonuses, you're going to get your commissions and you have set yourself up for a fantastic 2024. I just want to start off by giving you a little bit of an update what has been going on in my world and then discuss how to set yourself up for success in 2024. So let's take it back several months. If you're new to the podcast or you're just listening to this first episode, welcome. My name is Mike O'Kelly. I've been in sales and business of some sort for the past 20 years and in 2023, it was a massive transition year for me. I've been in the restaurant hospitality industry as a bar manager. I managed Enterprise Renekar. I got into pharmaceutical sales and then medical sales medical device sales Started a sales technology company. I started a sales training company a couple of years ago and opened a health and wellness franchise in 2023. And that's one of the reasons why I was extremely busy in Q4, getting the studio up and running. We are now open. We have been open. We opened on December 14th, so we had two weeks a little over two weeks and we did really good. I won't say great, we did really good. The reason why I reserve that is because great assumes that everything went according to plan. We made no mistakes. But great is something that you strive for, but we did really good. I wouldn't say good, we didn't do good, we didn't do average, we did really good. I like the trajectory that we are taking and I love the challenge of creating what is being created right now in Rock Hill, south Carolina. So I live in Charleston, north Carolina, and my wife and I decided to invest in a company where we go to on or we did go to on a weekly basis and for me it was a daily basis and that was restore hyper wellness. My wife loved to go get IVs and do cryotherapy. She had back issues and I would go to restore to do some cryotherapy and occasionally I would do an IV, but most day I was there for the infrared sauna and the cryotherapy that was really helping me as a mid 40s guy. Since we have taken a quote unquote little break. I turned 45 into 7. So I'm halfway to 50. And the type of things that I'm thinking about now not only as a father of two, as a husband, as business owner, entrepreneur and a sales guy, it's also the fact of I'm now closer to 50 than I am 40. I really have to start thinking about my health and my wellness, and it's funny that I opened a health and wellness store. But my health and wellness has not been great over the last several months and one of the reasons why is I've been burning the candle at both ends. I have not really gotten sick, which is great. That's why I get sick is when I burn the candle at both ends and I'm not sleeping great. I've been working a lot of 16, 18 hour days for about eight to 10 weeks straight and I took a couple of days off right after Christmas. Right around Christmas we were close Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and I took a couple of days off last week. There was always things to do for the business, but I took a couple of days off and I'll take a couple of days off this week, coming up just to refresh, because we've got our grand opening weekend in a couple of weeks and we're off and running in 2024. I'm so excited. I have finally feel like I have stopped treading water and all of a sudden now I'm swimming towards land and it's great. I'm very excited. We have a great team in place and things are looking ahead for 2024. When it comes to the Rock Hill location of restore hyper wellness. I will actually release another episode, probably later this week, discussing my lessons and things that I've learned from actually being open. What I want to share with you is kind of how did we get from October to today? In January, you, for, just completely went and there were very little. There were two episodes of the surviving outside sales podcast, so I wanted to discuss Q4 and setting yourself up for 2024, because, again, it's all about the listeners and, speaking of the listeners, I know we're several minutes into the podcast. I just want to thank you for a record setting 2023 for the surviving outside sales podcast. One of the things you have to do in order to stay relevant, to stay successful, to stay on people's radar, you have to show up. And for the last quarter I did not, and it was a conscious decision, it wasn't something that just happened. I knew I would have to go all in to get this business off the ground, because it was a pivot moment. It was a pivot moment because when my wife and I signed up for Restore Hyper Wellness, the model was a done for you type of model. So what my wife and I were thinking was we're going to invest, we're going to financially open a brick and mortar wellness studio and we would just kind of be the periphery, be the owners and kind of oversight. Well, that changed. And because by the time we actually got a chance to find a piece of real estate and by the time we opened our doors, it was almost two years after we signed our franchise agreement. And that was not any fault of corporate, it was not the fault of Restore, it was the market, it was the environment and the commercial real estate in Charlotte and in Rock Hill. We just couldn't find anything. So it was a very long, arduous journey that we went on and that model changed. And it changed because the economy changed, inflation hit really hard and the cost of goods and services skyrocketed. Whatever the government tells us is the inflation rate. I have to tell you, as a business owner, it's full of shit. Okay, you have to understand, especially if you're in the sales world. When you're talking to you know, if you're in the medical sales world, you're talking to doctors, you're talking to hospital administrators, you're talking to office managers. Don't walk in saying well, I heard the inflation rate was like 7%, it was 9%, it was 11%. That's bullshit, because what you have to understand is the supply chain. So, for instance, if I have something ordered, there's four to five different steps along the supply chain. Every single person needs to cover that inflationary cost. So there are goods that two years ago would have cost $100. This year they could cost about 170. So almost everything has skyrocketed and the cost of labor skyrocketed. So Restore Corporate had to go through some adjustments, streamline Operations, so it went from a done for you model to a done by you, which is fine. If somebody signed up to be a franchise owner and Restore six months ago, that's the model that they would have assumed was going to be happening, was it done for you, and so it kind of changed the thought process. But, as I've always said before, you have to be good with the pivot and you have to let go of things that you think you're going to do because your path is going to change. Just because you think everything has laid out perfectly. It's going to change. You have to pivot and you have to adjust and mentally you have to come to grips with that very quickly. You can't hold on to the past and say, well, this is what I used to do or this is what I used to be. September, late September, I went to a conference and I was a business consultant, I was a sales coach and I was a podcast host that was doing five podcasts a week. I was in the sales world, I was doing live webinars on LinkedIn and I went to a sales conference the last week in September out in Texas and I met with a really a lot of smart people and they said you got to pivot, you got to go all in, you got to go all in right now on this business until you feel like it is on solid footing and it's headed in the right direction and until that moment comes, don't think about anything else. I sunsetted all my clients. I did not take any new clients on in Q4. I don't think I posted once on LinkedIn. I used to post two, three times a day on LinkedIn. I basically just disappeared. I had people text me like, hey man, are you okay? Which was great, it was great. I had to leave some people in the dark. There was just too much going on. There was too much to do. So you have to understand that's what you need to do is just pivot. You have to pivot and there's going to be some short-term pain, but there's going to be long-term gain and that's what I had to do. And some of the short-term pain that I had was I had made some commitments to people that I failed and I feel horrendous about that. And one of the things I'm going to be doing here in the first quarter is trying to make amends In any way, shape or form. I can make amends to the people that I let down. I made some commitments and I wasn't able to follow through because I had to cut bait with quote, unquote the plan, because what I was doing wasn't working. It was you can't have, you can't dip your toe into the entrepreneurial world. You have to go in like a cannonball. And so I had to do that in Q4. And I didn't know how long I was going to have to do that. I thought I was going to have to do that for maybe a year. So I was mentally preparing myself that this could be just Q4, could be Q1, could be into Q2 of 2024. It's probably still going to be for a majority of Q1. But at that conference I heard a very great speaker talking about delegation and being able to delegate out tasks and being happy with the success and the percentage of success from those tasks, and it was 60%. Delegate all tasks when it comes to the minutiae of your business, and as long as you get above a 60% success rate of what would have happened if you performed that task, you just need to live with that. And it's crazy because the guy, all he does is coach CEOs and these CEOs push back and they're like 60%, that's not really a lot. You just have to understand you can achieve more by just getting 60% from certain tasks, because instead of you focusing and getting 100% of success on that one task, you can get 60% on about 10 tasks. You're actually getting more work done. And the goal in business is not perfection. It's done is better than perfect. And I know this now for a fact, because I went into this thinking I was going to be perfect on every facet of what we do at Restore and Rock Hill and I quickly found out that can't happen. It's virtually impossible to be perfect on anything. Now I've always said, and I tell my students and I tell my staff now, the goal is not perfection, the goal is to strive to be perfect, and there's a difference between that. You always want to strive to be your best version. You're never going to achieve it and as long as you know, you're never going to achieve it. You're always going to have something to strive towards, but you're never going to be perfect. So don't beat yourself up if you're not. The way to know if you're growing is you don't make the same mistakes twice, but you still move forward. You're still progressing. Some months you're going to progress a couple of feet. Some months you're going to progress a couple of hundred yards. Sometimes it's consistent, sometimes it's not. The goal is to get to consistency. But it was just a lot and I had to keep reminding myself. I had to keep reminding myself of what was said at the conference delegate and being okay with it. Now it also was a very difficult Q4 because we had several losses in the family. We had several losses in the family, which really hurt If you've listened to the podcast. My dad passed away in July and so we were still dealing with this. We had his military funeral in September at the end of September and so there was some closure there, but we had some other family members that passed away in Q4. So it was just on top of everything going on New business. My laundry list of things to do every day I'm not joking was like 15 to 20. And I'll tell you this it was one of the most gut-wrenching experiences of my life the last two years opening this business. But every time that I do something challenging like this and I highly suggest that you jump out of your comfort zone and you try something forget about oh, am I going to be a failure? Just do it. There's nothing that I feel like I can't accomplish, nothing. I was never lacking confidence before, because I've tried so many things and I'm not afraid to fail. I have zero fear of failure. I have 100% fear of not going for it, and so I can always, if I go for something and it doesn't work out, I can always say you know what? I tried, I gave it everything I had and it just didn't work out. It's not everything's gonna work out, but it's the going for it, not staying in your comfort zone, but actually going for it, going for what you want in this world and using the sales world as the vehicle to get there. But it was a very challenging quarter. I know a lot about state, local, state jurisdiction. I know a lot about the state cosmetology board. Now. I know a lot about the state nursing board. I know a lot about the state pharmacy board. I know a lot about construction. I know a lot about rules and regulations. I know a lot about inspections. I know a lot about HVAC systems. I know a lot about opening a retail store just from a, just a retail business, a brick and mortar. I know a lot about opening a health and wellness studio. I know a lot about the latest and greatest technology Cause. Remember, if you've listened to this podcast, I was a retail branch manager for Enterprise Renekar until 2008. A lot has changed since 2008. I mean, obviously we know that, but the amount of technology that is used in a restore is through the roof. I mean, we have about 10 different platforms that we have to use and everything has to talk to each other, and you have to go through a lot of hoops now with Google and with Meta to advertise and to make sure that everything is connected. And you know, people use their smartphones now. So if you don't have a link that's connected and it goes to nowhere, you've missed an opportunity, and so there's just a lot of things on the backend that have to get tied up and we're still working on it. I mean, this morning it's New Year's Day. I wasn't planning on doing anything for work, but I just felt like you know what, I just need to do a couple of things and I just decided, hey, let me just have a podcast, let me get out there, and I've got people that are listening and it is crazy. The last three months there's been about 2,500 downloads and I haven't released a single episode. I haven't done any kind of marketing whenever, and I've been on 2,500 downloads in the last three months. And shoot, there was three downloads today and I know it doesn't sound like a lot but three downloads on New Year's Day, when I haven't had a podcast episode in months and I haven't promoted any of them. It's just probably people that were like maybe going back and listening to other episodes or episodes that hadn't downloaded. But point being is I don't know what the point was. I got off on a tangent. I apologize, I was shooting. I'm shooting from the hip today. You know it's New Year's Day. I'm about to sit down and watch some football. Both my kiddos are taking a nap. I've got a beer in my hand because you know what? I've worked hard and I just decided to have a beer. I'm not doing a video podcast, but just wanted to come on here and talk about Q4 and then the Pivot 2, q1. So that's a little bit of a background of what's been going on. If you happen to be in the Charlotte Rock Hill, fort Mill, lancaster area in South Carolina, please stop by. Please stop by, just check us out. Come get a tour. It's a really cool place and it's funny how, when people come in, they're just amazed at how cool the technology is. I mean our cryo machine. It looks like something out of a sci-fi movie. It is unbelievable and if you wanna check us out? You can go to Instagram. We have a very popular Instagram page right now that's growing very quickly. It is rhw underscore Rockhill. I believe that's right. Let me just double check real quick. This is what happens when you do live podcasts. I'm trying to figure out yeah, let's see R, yes, rhw underscore. That little line, that bottom line, rockhill. No spaces on Rockhill. Rhw underscore Rockhill. Go check us out and give us a follow if you're local in the area, and come check us out. It's unbelievable for your health and wellness and getting you on the right track in 2024. Would really love your support and I'd love to meet you. I'd love to have a conversation, especially if you're in sales. Why don't you stop in? I'm still a sales guy. I'm probably gonna do some sales stuff in 2024 with some companies. I've had a couple conversations with some companies that just happened to randomly reach out to me in December. So I might be doing some stuff to kind of get back in the game. I will. You know, I just love the sales world and it has been kind of hurting me that I haven't been able to share experiences and talk about the best plans for growing your business in Q4. I know it was a super important order for people, so I do apologize, because I wanted to be out there and I know you were listening and all of a sudden I dropped off. But I'm back. It's Q1. So I just wanna spend about 10 minutes, giving another 10 minutes. I thank you for listening for the first 20 or so. I got 10 minutes and let's talk about setting yourself up for success in 2024. Okay, first thing that's gonna happen, it starts with mindset, and the mindset has to be a growth mindset. So some of this stuff is basic. So if you've been listening to the podcast, you've heard this stuff before. Having a growth mindset All right, having a growth mindset that 2024 is gonna be the best year ever. It's gonna be better than 23. It's gonna be better than 22. It's gonna be better than 21. You have to believe that. I believe that every year I start and every quarter I go into, I'm saying to myself this is gonna be the best. That's the mindset. If you start having a limited mindset, if you start having a defeatist mindset, you've already lost, because what's gonna happen is when push comes to shove, when things get difficult, you're gonna start packing it up, and you don't necessarily wanna do that. So when you are looking towards January, you have to have the mindset. Number two you have to have an understanding of where you are in the market. Okay, and part one of understanding where you are in the market is Q1 of 2024 is not the same as Q1 of 2023, a Q1 of 2022. No two quarters are the same. Everything evolves. Your market evolves, products evolve, your buyers evolve. What worked last year is not gonna work in Q1. So there is no rinse and repeat. Now you can have the same process of fact-finding, of creating goals, understanding your messaging, but just repeating and regurgitating the same things that you did in 2023, it's not gonna be successful. Now, if you do happen to have a really great product, if you do happen to have a really great product, a great company that you work for that has a name brand, it's going to mask a lot of the success that you have and a lot of times I've seen it before a lot of sales pros they assume that it's because of them and it masks a lot of the things that they could have been doing to grow their business and they kinda just rode the coattails of a big brand's name or a big product's name. I mean, if you have a product where people are just constantly calling you left and right and you don't really have to do a lot of work, you don't have to do a lot of prospecting how much did you earn that sale? I want you to really think about this. This is not accusatory. This is just how well did you acquire that sale? Was it you? Or could you have just taken three weeks off and your inbound leads would have come in? Think about that. But you have to understand where you are in the market. How are you viewed? This is a great time. I'm not a big New Year, new you type guy. I just believe that okay, it's a new year, so it's a new quarter. I see every three months as a rebirth and a chance to go after your goals, but also to prepare for what's upcoming, so that you can maximize your opportunities, and that's really all sales are. It's just maximizing your opportunities. That's what you wanna do. So there's gonna be new opportunities and those opportunities are gonna change and they might look different this quarter. So you have to adjust. You have to ask great questions. Again, I love leading with questions. Never assume In the minute you believe you get the right information. Ask one more question to clarify. So you might have somebody who comes in and I'll give you an example of what we're going through right now is a lot of people are coming into our studio and they say oh man, this is great, how much is your membership? Well, if we just answer the question, well, our memberships are XYZ. We have no idea what's going on inside their head. The client's head, the buyer's head, it's the exact same head. We don't know what's going on inside the head. We haven't qualified them. We need to ask more questions Instead of just answering the question in kind, which is not wrong. It's good. I was mentioning this to my team the other day. It's a good thing to think about. There's good answers, there's better answers and there's best answers. Good, better, best. There's three levels. Good is just giving them information. That's needed. Better is nancing it, but not getting an action. The best is nancing it, getting information, making the other person verbalize what they need to do and then getting a commitment out of them and pulling through the sale. That's best. Having them say it in their own words, what they need to do, the action they need to take, and then holding them to what they say and pulling them through. So, for instance, in our Restore, hyper Wellness Studio, it is if somebody comes in and they say do you have memberships? Absolutely, how often do you think you need to come in? Or how often were you thinking about coming in? Because somebody just says, hey, I want a membership. Well, there's lots of different memberships. And again, you don't wanna just sell something for the sake of selling something. You want to give them a solution to what the problem is or something that they perceive as the problem. So you have to understand what that problem is first. And that problem is different in January of 24 than it was in December of 23. It's amazing how that happens and I'm telling you, you might have been talking to prospects in December of 23. I am 100% certain the problems that they have are larger in January than they were in December or they're different. They don't have the same types of problems they think they do. And that's the problem Allowing the prospect to dictate their problems without asking a bunch of questions and having them verbalize what has changed? Has the environment changed? Has their situation changed? You gotta get the prospect talking. You need to dig deeper. January the credit card bills are coming due for what people spent in December. It's the same in a business. When I was in the medical world, a lot of the physicians, they spent a ton of money in December to get that 179 tax credit. So come January they weren't even thinking about buying anything because they were exhausted. They're tired from buying something and you had to push through that fatigue that they had. They probably didn't get enough time off, so they were tired. You gotta push through that. It's the same thing right now in the retail space. People are gonna come in and say well, I just, I don't know, I spent all my money at Christmas, all your money. You broke, you got no money Again. It is focusing on the mindset and it's focusing on your market. And the last thing is so the three things focusing on your mindset, focusing on your market and creating goals that are going to push you. Okay, you wanna have realistic goals, but you also wanna have stretch goals. And, to be honest, I really only do stretch goals because I realize I'm not gonna be perfect, but if everything lines up, where would I be? And then I can get pretty close to where I'm going, and if I'm close enough, I realize that I would have blown past realistic goals. So those are some things that I highly recommend you do. You can do them today, doesn't take a lot. You can do them today, start tomorrow. But I always say too, the first week of January is that buffer week. Okay, so from today, monday, january 1st, all through this week, that's a buffer week. This is when you're putting your plan into place, but Friday, before you're done with work, your plan needs to be set up for the month, for Q1, and for the year. Now I would also try to do Q2, q3, and Q4. I would try to do some goals Because in order to hit your goal for 2024, you have to know all four quarters, because obviously the year comes up to four quarters. So let's say, your goal is 100K in sales and Q1, 120 in Q2, 140 in Q3, and then another 140,. What's that math? That's 500K. Well, how did you get to 500K? How did you get to 500K if you only did Q1? Point being, figure out your goals and then figure out how are you going to get there. You should be striving for 8% to 10% growth monthly and you should be understanding how to reengage clients who fell off, how to get referrals, how to build advocates and how to pull people through the client journey. Those are three easy things you can do this week. You can get your mind right, you can come up with your plan. And I'm listening to my dogs bark outside and I've lost train of thought of what the second one was, but you already heard it. Those are the three things you should be doing Besides, obviously, listening to the Surviving Outside Sales podcast. So reach out to me. Reach out to me on LinkedIn. You can shoot me a DM, michael Kelly, follow me on LinkedIn if you aren't following me already. Listen to the podcast, share the podcast with a friend, have these conversations and be a professional. Understand the business of sales. Understand the business, be a business professional in the sales world and you're gonna have the best 2024 of your life. All right, thank you so much. I do appreciate it. Hope you have a great rest of your New Year's Day and the rest of this week and I will talk to you soon on the Surviving Outside Sales podcast. Cheers.

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