The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast
The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast

Episode · 2 months ago

Lessons Learned in Sales W/ Brian Walsh

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Our podcast series “Lessons Learned in Sales” continues this week as John Kaplan talks with Force Management Senior Director of Facilitation Brian Walsh. They discuss: 

  • One experience that showed Brian how to effectively drive urgency in his deals.
  • What the best sales leaders he worked with did
  • How to recruit A-players and secure them from their existing organizations.
  • The time his client was ready to sign a major deal and the one thing he forgot that almost cost him that deal.

Here are some additional resources based on the conversations with Brian:

Check out this and other episodes of The Audible-Ready Podcast at Apple Podcasts , Spotify , or our website .

In that moment, I remember learning thelesson of urgency: A don't wait, but there's always something else. You canbe doing to provide value and move to the OL forward. You're listening to the audible, ready,podcast, the show that helps you and your teams sell more faster willfeature sales leader sharing their best insights on how to create a salesengine that helps you feel repeatable revenue growth presented by the team fforced management, a leader in PT sales, effective this, let's get started big bad brian was how brother I'm good.How are you good to see you and I'm doing fantastic? I've been waiting forthis. I've been waiting for this segment with you for a while. We'vereally been enjoying these as the as our listeners have been getting to knowour facilitators better. So I'm not sure many people know how far you and Igo back, but I thought one of the first questions I wanted to just ask. You was like just for thelisteners, obviously I'm aware, but how did you wind up common to forcemanagement? Well, I mean I officially came inSeptember two thousand and twelve, but a hunded, twelve yeah, but as youmentioned, it goes back to the early s right when you and I first met so youknow you and I were in that same management- development track at Xeroxand we met at least Bert. The Xerox International Training Center, whereyou and I both did a two year tour of duty- and we didn't know of each otheruntil we both got there and- and it was was funny, was you know I was. I grewup in northern Ohio and was working here and you had grown up in Detroitwere working there. So we weren't that far apart the way the company was builtback, then we were in separate worlds right. We really were in our own littledistrict, and so we met I'd been at least Bir a yearand you came in and you were coming in...

...at the beginning of my second year forthe beginning of year. First Year in that program and Ann was your wife. Ann was about tohave your second, I would have been yeah. What's Amileyou're right yeah, I would have been back a yeah, and so you and I justbecame fast friends and to me it felt like we'd known each other forever whenwe first met yeah. Well, I you know, I have reallyfond memories of that. You know that Corporate Training and DevelopmentCenter I'd never guessed that I would ever be doing what I'm doing for aliving. But if it hadn't ha been for what what I learned from that CorporateTraining and Development Center and from you. So you were my mentor when Igot there and I often told people I remember telling Grant Wilson the COfounder of force management when we first startedthe company- and I said man if we ever get any bigger, I can't wait tointroduce it to Brian Walls who who is the best front of the room person that I've thatI've ever met, and I would say that to him all the time and you know grantwould say to me: Hey Watch you call Brian, and so I was calling you. I think you have to correct man this,but I tell people that I think you of all of my years of sales management andjust management. I think that you were probably one of my coveted recruitsbecause it took me ten years to recruit you. I think I called you every singleyear. Not You know our families know each other and you know so we werecatching up, but I would always just always throw that in and say hey, buthow you doing you know yeah over her or I was always too scared, O Yeh. You know how I'm built I'm oneof these loyal types and- and I you know, I always appreciate it- men a lot,but I was always. I always had an excuse not to come. It was like. Oh I'mgoing to get my masters or Oh, I just got the next job and...

...we're about to have our next child, soI always had a reason, but was what I find fascinating about that. Actually,John, is in two thousand and twelve. When I decided I wanted to move on andchange careers, it was I reaching out to you, and it was just a weird youknow just it was my turn that time to reach out to you and the moment youheard me say it. You were like. Well, let's go, and so then you know over thenext few months we figured it all out, and I was I was so excited. What wasreally funny was when I reached out to you. I wasn't even thinking aboutcoming. I was just saying: Hey, I'm starting the job search and I need someadvice in counsel and you, you said well wait a minute. Why not us? So itwas really. It was so organic. It was so natural in terms of how it allhappened, which I thought in the end was really a good thing right, and youknow I think, for everybody listening and I talk about this withorganizations when we, when we talk about these kinds of topics, what youand granted for me e as I transitioned out and transitioned in you know, youhelped me transition out in a way that I'm not sure I would have been able todo on my own, because I had never had to have those conversations. I neverreally had to prepare for them and you, the two of you, really helping me thinkthrough what it was like to to be able to leave, and I mean I knew I wanted toleave gracefully and all that. But you really help me think through it and Ithink that's a like not that this was supposed to be a learning moment, buthe, like the there's like a nugget here, that I hope anybody listening wouldthink about. If you're getting ready to do something, that's going to changeyour life or change your career, it's just as important to be ready. For thatmoment, when you're going to tell people and you and you and grant,really help me think through that and understand how important it was to dothat. That was real. So it's so critical! I mean you and I talk aboutthis- a lot with with companies that that that we work with you got to be recruiting all the time,and you know I'm kind of proud of the fact that you- and I stated you and Ihad a meaningful conversation, probably...

...every year from the first few years offor force management and when we were looking to you know to scale, and youknow the responsibility that I felt to help, because I knew anybody. A talentlike you and so far, listeners that are listening to this, like if you'rerecruiting an a player like Brian, was an a player and not in play player. Yougot to catch him in transition and you got a you know. He knew enough aboutforce management over time just because we have been talking every year aboutforce management, but to get Brian Ready to get you ready, Bryant to go.Have that conversation, because when you were done, you were like okay. Iwant to do this right and but you know I'm done and I'm I said Brian they'renot going to let you go dude like if you think you're going to walk in thereand say hey want to do this right want to do is great belly or whatever, andyou know they're going to throw the kitchen think at you which- and I thinkmost people really underestimate- that most repruning managers reallyunderestimate if you're going after an a player- and you want them that samecompany, that's potentially going to lose, them is going to want to keepthem just as bad, and that was a really good experience that you and I hadbecause we were prepared. We were prepared- and you know Xerox came backto you and said: Hey Brian. You know how about this and how about that- andyou were very gracious- Some professional and you had already madeup your mind and and so it worked out in a great transition, but I thinkpeople really underestimate you been with a company for a while and you'redoing really. Well, if you don't think they're going to lay down in the doorin front of you before you go, then it's it's harder to leave than mostpeople think yeah yeah. It's one thing to get something say: I'm going toleave it it's another thing to make sure they actually do yeah right yeah.So that was where I were thankful that you came. It'salmost been ten years now, which blows me away, and...

...you know you're one of the favoritefacilitators in the company companies just love. You participants, just lovedyou and, and so we're really really thankful, and you run that organizationnow so now, you're recruiting other facilitators to come and you'redeveloping other facilitators. So it's just such a joy for me to have thisconversation with the let's dive into the list of things that we've been kindof consistent talking to the other facilitators about. Let's back it up alittle bit, why did you get into Sales Brian? Why did you get into sales? So the short story is, I entered collegeas an accounting Major- and I was a couple o years in. I was doing fine,but I got involved in a lot of the business school activities and beforeyou knew it, I was you know, doing some some speech contests and do you knowsome public speaking and stuff, and then you know about my summer job atthe big amusement park here up on Lake Erie and that it was those twoexperiences it with some of these college experiences in getting involvedin like programming and and doing stuff in the business school, and then thissummer, job where I was effectively doing a bad stand up back twenty timesa day. For you know ten twelve minutes on the big river boat and people adults.You know I'm a nineteen twenty year old kid and and these adults would come upto me after or they'd, ask questions at the end of that boat ride and you knowwhat are you majoring in and I'd say, counting and people would laugh and I'dhave I'd. Have Men and women? Stop me after and say: Hey Kid you're, amarketing guy you're a sales got your this, so I went back to school for myjunior yea and I went to my. I still remember his name, Dr Kimmel, myfavorite accounting teacher and I went into his office and I already had mycourse work set out for the for the for the year to include. I think I think Iwas supposed to take tax accounting that fall and I said, listen, I'mstarting to think maybe I'm more of a marketing salesmajor and he looked atit me and he said well, it's about time.

You figured it out and really yeah andhe literally picked stood up. He said come on and he walked me down the hallof the Marketing Department and he personally helped me change my courseload and I just and from there back then Xerox had a big presence on campus.You know imagine one of the big technology players, Oh yeah right andthey would come in and do these business seminars and they take fifteenor twenty college students for three four days and I applied and got intothat and what I didn't know was they used that as a recruiting mechanismthey would look, they would use that to look for talent and four or five of usout of that group of fifteen or twenty ended up taking jobs there as sellersand the rest is history I mean you know it's amazing. It's amazing. When Ithink about you- and you tell me I I I didn't know I alidoro ten- that youwere an accounting major because it seems so it seems so UN nonbelieveryou're, probably one of the most extroverted, not that accountants arein. You know introverting, but yeah, but the this, the stereotype yeah. Butyou are one of the most extroverted people. I've ever met, and I remember atime where we were goofing around and we were in the car and you and me andKenny granted deer and were joking around it. I'm not I'm not going toembarrass you, but I'm going to try not to embarrass you but dode. You havelike you're a professional performer, meaning singer like you are. You areone of the best singers. I've ever met that doesn't do it for a living, and Isaid so. Do you remember that day when we were in the car and it was, I wasgoing to try to fish you and put in that little table I had in you or thatI put it in and Grady, and I were just like Holly Smoked Bryan is that youyeah that was lible yeah so that people know that and then and then you getinto the job and because you know when you're right out of college and you getthis job in this case in sales. I think John, a lot of your desire to stay inthat profession. Whatever profession,...

...it is, has a lot to do with yourinitial experiences and yeah. I was actually going to quit. After about sixmonths. My first boss was person an Ambrady. He was never there and my Igot a second job that next January and second boss set next January, and Iknow we're going to talk about some of that later, but he's really the reasonI stayed, and because of that I was able to really develop and flourish andsee. Sales is more than just making money, which was obviously a big partof it, but also this hey there's a lot of value in just like the service thatyou give and how you help people think through problems and if you're not theright fit. If you do this well, it's a consultative approach and it doesn'treally matter and like you get over the hurt of being rejected, it was andthat's the other part I got lucky. I landed in a place that had a salesmentality. You know that, and I had a couple of managers early in my career,who really made a difference. My experience was very, very, very similarto yours, thank God for that academic advisor Yeah. I can't even imagine well,I know what you would professor in. I know you would be you'd, be on Broadwayor doing something like that. It's well, that was the go. Yeah goal was toactually be a performer and my family, and including some people who were inthe business said, don't get a business degree and that if you want to do thatfor a living come out to Los Angeles kind of thing well, you know now that Ifind my my calling professionally here, but I also, I also met Jenny in collegeand so yeah. She, you know those two things changed everything yeah and I'mnot allowed to say you know what you know what I want to say about a clownSHACO. Just the same, I think the phrases you out kick your coverage,their brothers right. Let's just put it in Bat, I did. I did yeahhey, let's up, let's tig into some little bit of funnies. This will be.This will be good with you tell me the the worst mistake that youthink that you ever made in a sales job.

Oh and fortunately I learned the lessonas a rat and I t o the story. I was a bit of a waiter and that I would waitfor things to happen and I had this boss who, who I think, gottired of me waiting and they was the end of the quarter, and I remember Ihad a couple of deals still on the table and I only needed one of them toget over the quarterly bonus and I was waiting and she says, as I remember,Pat Alazan, she says you got two deals left on the table and it was the lastday of the border and she says you only need one of them to get overthe line which one has a better chance, and I said this one: It was a schooldistrict that was relatively close to our office and she said well. What are you doing? I said well,I'm waiting. I think the guy's name was Jerry. The business manner ature. Isaid I'm waiting for Jerry to call me and tell me he's got you know, we'vegot the order and she said she looke at a watch. It was like two o'clock in theafternoon. She said. Why are you sitting here and I just looked at herand she goes go like go there and wait go knock on thedoor, so I said okay, so I get my car and I drive over and you know I walkinto the Board of Education Office and I tell tell his anist system. You knowwhy in there she knew why I was you know she knew and she said well. Let mesee if he can see you and so I sat down and I'm in the lobby. She she goes back.She comes back on. She says he said he can see you, but it's going to be a bit.I said no problem, I sat there for two and a half hours. Hmm, I waited and Iwaited and I waited and I didn't leave because I knew if I left pat was goingto kick me in the head when I got back so I waited a way he went and finally,it was it was already five o'clock or maybe just after he comes out and helets me back to his office and from there I go in and he's even be a bit of a hardtime, and he finally gives me the order...

...and I go back to the office and youremember those days. We would keep the the light tin for order. No, yes- andyou know all of that, and I got the order and I got my bonus and it wasn'tuntil years later. I don't remember how manyyears where she was back in Cleveland and we were talking and that story cameup and she says you know he knew you were coming in so what she says. I called him by eMo Shit. That sounds like her office yeah. THAT'S ALL HE REMEMBERIN! Listen!Here's! What's going on! I need to teach his kid lesson and he made me wait outside of his officefor two and a half hours. He was he had every tent of giving us the order thatday, but she and he cooked up this little plan is a usin. Oh Yeah. I never,but I never waited again. You know what I mean. Yes, I was, and I told me agood lesson about and I saw I saw like a video recently with comic man whoI've never met, but I know you know very well, but he made this commentabout a rep. I want to say in Italy and this concept of Virgin and authenticdiscal yeah, and I wrote that story because it literally brought that backto this. My story back to me- and I look in that moment. I rememberlearning the lesson of urgency. Yeah don't wait, but there's alwayssomething else. You can be doing to provide value and move the deal forwardand those kinds of things. So that's a great story dude. I love that. Hey tellme tell me: What's the funniest thing: that's everhappened to you on a sales call, and I probably when you got this list ofquestions beforehand, you're like, but which one do I pick I know, and so I'mit I'm picking the first one. Okay. This is the first one I was twenty three years old and I'm working inYoungstown Ohio and I'm calling on the mid market customers at that pointright, I'm just like the new business rap for the for the mid marketcustomers and I had this deal. I was...

...working at a youngstown welding and Istill remember the name of that. Coming back, I looked him out the other day,they're still there. I had this deal as work on and and they had one of ourdevices, but they had a whole bunch of competitive stuff. Both you knowpompiers and even some printers back then typewriters were big back then youknow a MS electrics and we were trying to replace them with the Xerox, memorwriter and stuff, and I remember, as looking at this account going boy. Thiswould be a big account for somebody like me. I'm just trying to replace theone xerox of vice to you know, get get him the new technology and get up get afoot hold in and one thing led to another and they dumble one of ourmemory writers and they loved it. Everything was great and this guy pullsme and he says, listen we're going to think about doing that one copy, butthe rest of that stuff. We can't afford right now. So now, all of a sudden, mybig deal is falling apart on yea and to lay on bodle pro yeah yeah.That's right, yeah, that's right and he says- and I quote boy it would be ashame if you know like human some comment about getting burglarized. Itwould be a shame if we got burglarized- and you know I just passed right pastme and about a week later on a Monday morning. I Call I got a call at theoffice and it's him and he says: Hey you're, not going to believe whathappened. I said, what's that he says we got burglar rice over the weekend.All of our IBM typewriters are gon what and they had someone had burglarizedthey didn't take any of the tooling or anything like that thin tore on somebody came in and stole all the Osquipment somewhat for you. No so now so now, I'm okay I'm coming out,but I actually have someone traveling with me today that they were doing abig Blett and they brought all the region people and had this woman fromChicago I had never met before. who was a regent person, Nancy Allen. I stillremember her name and we go out and we meet with this guy that day and I'vegot the pricing built in set Etceteraa...

...and and here's the best part. So notonly is this like going to be an easy sail right because they got insurancemoney. I don't know what's going on. All I know is there about to buy abunch of stuff. I got the proposal ready and he says he looks at it and Ihad introduced him to her and he knows she's like the be one of the big region,people he says, I think we're ready to go. I said Okay and she looks at me. She isgreat. Let's, let's write the order now you know back, then we had orderagrements, yeah right right there in the spot. Yeah I didn't have one dering didn't have an order agreement.I have to sheepishly look at this guy and say I don't have an order agreement. She looks at me. She you don't have anorder, agree that I got no and she takes over. She looks at him. She says I probably shouldn't mention anyonewell statute. eliminations of this point I said Dave she says Dave. Can we come back in about an hour,because our office is right down the street. He says sure he looks at me,begause you're in trouble. She says: No, No, no! So we're going togo back and write the orders and bring them back from the sign and on the wayback to the office. She says all right, we're going to make a deal right now. Isaid, what's that she said we're not going to tell anybody ever about God,you not having an order agreement for that call, but you're never going to goon a call again. Without an importer agreement in hand, I die lucky you were,and there are some and year tore really cool people, man, because I never wantto live that the crew I was working for. I never live at everyone Lerton. Inever told anybody that because she and I had that agreement, but it was afunny funny because then we went back, we got the deal sign, we went the threeof us went to lunch and we just laughed and laughed and left, and you know tothe day I left Youngstown, which was a year. So you know two year to two yearslater to the next roll I was in. He and I were stayed in touch. You know theywere ongoing customers stuff and he never told me what really did happen ordidn't happen yeah, because it's kind...

...of hot burtle yeah he mentioned burglareyes before he even left the first time yeah. It was like some one of a movie.I really junks town. That was the kind of thing that would happen to you. Yes,so yes, I think he was just tired of the IBM type. That's exactly right andthe people own, a Madonna, that's exactly right: Hey Dude, who's, thebest sales person or sales and leader that you ever work with in your career. The best salesman ter ever had was JeffCanada. He taught me how Nell he taught me how to sell. He taught me aboutpreparing your day really knowing where you're going the next day the nightbefore and taught me about how to have conversations with clients that wereabout them. First, not our product. First, it was like youknow it's the second manager ever had he was he was in to this day. I owe hima lot about just pure sales skills and the best- and I had other great mangersand pat and Freddie Thomas and other. So you know that it's almost unfair toask me who it is yeah and then the best men to drive a head from a leadershipperspective was Brian leady. But again I worked with some other. You know Igot the chance to work not too closely, but I got a chance to meet amok or COand yeahs. I was really lucky to have great people to look up to, but BrianLeedy, just like Jeff, Canada was willing to meet you wherever you were,and that just me, but anyone that worked for them right. So as a sellerJeff Canada was grated that, as a leader, Brian was great at thatteaching you how to lead right. So I was I I was really lucky and I thinkwhat they have in common was that they were both able to meet you wherever youwere in your skill set and give you the next thing that you need it and reallycoach you on it. Not just tell you what to do. They were both great coaches ofskill and the skill that you needed in the world that you weren't at the time.Yeah you, you guys had great leaders and coaches and Cleveland, and youmentioned Freddy Thomas on Frankton Yeah in in the Ohio Yeah. I think t ewhat they call on Business Unit. Back...

...then yeah and Freddy had a twin brothernamed Johnny, Thomas and Johnny. Thomas was one of one of my great mentors, andI got to tell you. I was thinking about John the other day and I don't know how many people weaveraged down a team brand somewhere between seven and ten and Jo, probablyhad a group of about ten, probably yeah, and the managers that you'rereferencing. They had big teams as well, just because they had a lot of capacitybut think about this concept. John Thomas called me every morning atseven a every single morning at seventy John Thomas, called me every night atten PM, and I remember in the early days my wife and she would be like youknow what type of a loonatic are you working for Paul and the phone would ring, and Ithink it was just in the beginning days when we might have had cell phonesthere weren't these big brick things, but a thinking it a lot of times. Youwould just call in on the home phone. You didn't have to hell waitingwhenever, but you just knew that. That's John Thomas and I have such anappreciation for that today. So listeners, I'm not telling you that yougot to call your, but I'm just telling you right about this. He was soinstrumental and me showing up prepared every single day and for the next day,he'd be like okay. Where are you going today? Yeah Bombo? We talk about it.What are you going to say? Let's roll play, that conversation yeah, I wasn'tthat time is calling you wouldn't be doing that anymore. But Oh, but you'rewere right on it, the level of care that those leaders took unbelievablefor you that, because that's really what because, if it wasn't care for you,they wouldn't have done it as consistently. If it was only worryingabout John's, got a deal in the forecast that I got to make sure itcomes through. That's when that's the only time you hear from him, but youheard from people like Jeff and Fred...

...and John his brother, etc. Consistently,like Jeff Canada, had a team of major account, Reps Yeah on the biggestaccounts on the eastern Outoi, and then me I was the little commercial repbecause he had to have one over there. Jeff was going to make his number withor without me my number. My performance was meaningless to Jeff's teamperformance. He spent as much, if not more time with me than he did withanybody else in his team, consistently yeah. You know that such good such good,valuable nuggets when I think about that. It's, like you, talked aboutmeeting people where they are and talked about investing helping peoplebe prepared. Regardless of you know their their, you know, regardless of how muchrevenue they're bring in to the table. I mean that Jeff was the best thing inyou because he knew you were going to run the place some day like you didyeah, and I think John was doing the same thing with me, but the interestingthing was they did that with everybody. So when I started to feel comfortableto just not complain, but just go man, this dude calls me, and he goes yeah metoo, and I checked with everybody on my team and John Thomas was doing thatwith every single rap that he had on his can call them in the morning andthen call him in in the evening and as er time o day went okay. What are yougoing to just for tomorrow, just really really old school, which is just a justa lost leadership bard. I think all right last question brother lastquestion for you: what's the best piece of sales advice he ever got and thatmaybe you don't often hear best piece of sales advice, you ever got what wefind up. We're kind of swimming around it right now I mean, I think, a lot ofpeople hear the word prepare a lot, but the word I hear use the one that reallysticks with me and the one that is kind of a kin to that, and it reminds me ofone of the best reps I've worked with WHO sadly passed away last year, muchto young Dan, O Nusa with strategy,...

...and what I mean by that is, if you wereworking on a deal with Dan, was a career seller count executive, productspecialist? He carried the big iron, it Siroc, so you know he I'm sold the bigstuff. Dan was the one who would always get the group to stop.You know because everybody's ready to run out the door and go you know whatdo you like to say rip the heads off chicken three I yea was ready to justgo. Take the Hilo people really go. Take the hill and ban would be the onea few days. I have time to say, wait a minute hold on. What's her objective for this meeting,what's our agenda? What's the choreography like who's going to dowhat went what's the outcome and then what's the question we're going to askat the end like Dan? Was this master strategist? That would really get theteam to think through those four or five things we never Dan and I werepiers and then and was a product specialist one I went off to Virginiaand then I came back and at one point I was you know, running a team and damnwas on the team and then I was run in the region and damn was still a part ofthe teeth. So Dan and I had this long careertogether and he was one of the people, not the only one, but he was one of thepeople that I always knew. He was always going to be ready and,more importantly, the team collectively is going to be ready because of hismindset and you never went on the call with Dan that went wrong. Never imaginethat! Never Yeah! You didn't always get the outcome. You wanted right, that'snot what I'm suggesting, but it was always well done. It was always wellthought out. It was always well executed. He was a master at that andit makes me think about stransom of the best advice that I got in probably inour zero x days. I can't remember who it came from, but they were telling methe difference between stress and pressure is preparedness, yeah absolute,and that is you know now that we're just kind of reminiscing a little bit.That was a wonderfullesson that we...

...learned early that just never goes awayit's still now it is still the same for me today, yeah and there in lives. Ithink the nugget, which is everything we talked about today, has nothing todo with the fact that we sold when we salt- or you know the market is changedor any of that stuff. The reality is the things we're talking about ourtenants that do not change. These are universal truths that do notchange and that's the beauty, no doubt about it. So brother, we are so blessedto have yet force management, the what you do in the market place and and themarket feedback and the customer feedback and the participant feedbackis always just first class. We're so thankful to have you so grateful tohave yet- and I know that we're you know we're growing leaps and bounds areports management. I'm surprised, we even got you for this podcast with yourschedule, but I know I, sir, to do it yea brother. I thankyou for the time you're an absolute blessing to us and to and to ourlisteners, and we just went a few continued success and then also bestwishes to best with into the family thanks. My friend thanks for properlyfun. To do this I'll see as soon no doubt brother, so care, bice right atforce management. We're focused on transforming sales organizations intoelite teams, are proven methodologies. Deliver programs that build companyalignment and fuel repeatable revenue growth, give your teams the ability toexecute the gross strategy at the point of sale. Our strength is our experience.The proof is in our results. Let's get started visit us at Force ManagementCom, you've been listening to the audible, ready podcast to not miss anepisode subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player until next time.I.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (138)