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

Episode · 1 week ago

Owning Your Success


When you work for someone else, much of your day to day can be out of your control and power. So, how do you take ownership of that which you can control? In this episode, John Kaplan explains the importance of owning your success and shares tips on how to put yourself in a position to succeed as a sales rep.

Plus, as promised, here is the definition of a floppy disk for our younger listeners: a thin plastic disk coated with magnetic material on which data for a computer can be stored (Merriam-Webster).

If you have any ideas for future episodes, send them to Rachel at

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

The most successful people that I've ever matter. Grinders there. And what do I mean by grinders? They are the ones that they commit themselves to a process of excellence. You're listening to the audible ready podcast, the show that helps you and your team's sell more faster. Will feat your sales leader sharing their best insights on how to create a sales engine that helps you fuel repeatable revenue growth, presented by the team afforce management, a leader in BB sales effectiveness. Let's get started. Hello and welcome to the audible ready sales podcast. I'm Rachel Clap Miller, and today we are going to talk about our own career progression, our own career success and sales. Who about it to join me today for this conversation, then, John Kaplin. John, welcome, Hey, Rachel, thank you, great topic today. Yeah, I know, I know you appreciate this one, so let's just start. John. I think you know when you work for someone else, there's a lot that is out of your control. We, if we're sales people, no matter what our role is, we are often in the grips of company decisions that we have no say in. But when we look at our own sales rhythm, our own sales career. We need to own what we can control and in some ways, if you take that ownership, it leaves to great success in this profession. Yeah, again, I really, really like this topic. I think those people who tend to think about being accountable for their own success and career progression tend to be the the most successful. And it's not that you're not going to get help and guidance along the way. It's more about thinking you own the outcome and the plan to get there, versus someone else owning it for you. In the big caution as we go through this today is I just want to make sure that we all kind of get level set. We were all working in teams and in a world of collaborations. So you can't be totally self centered and self focused. So you know, unfortunately, there are a lot of people walk in this earth that that might as well be carrying signs that read it's all about me, and so we're not going to talk. We're not talking about that today. Right, exactly. So let's let's get into it. How can I really own my own success? The first step is to make sure that you are in the right place, make sure you are working for a great company and we have a couple of litmus tests to help you with this. Yeah, great point. Great Point, and if you're in sales you can control this. You know, make sure you're working for a great company. So many great sales companies out there today. There's no shortage of opportunities. So listen up when we talk about owning this. You know, make sure that you know the... you're working for, that they have clear answers to what we call the essential questions. What problems do you solve for your customers? How specifically do you solve them? How do you solve them differently or better than anybody else? And where have you done it before? It's that great value proposition. If they don't have this, it's going to be hard for you to sell successfully and and it as as a salesperson, you can't really kind of make that up. You can't. You can't make it up for the for the company. See, you need that clarity and make sure it's clear what you need to do to be successful in that organization. You know, there's a sales and engagement model. It talks about who's doing what when. I'm going to talk about that again in a moment here and if it's not, you know, find yourself another company that has those things and look for companies that have large Tams Tam or total addressful market. You know, there's a lot of people who can buy that product or service. You don't want to be a big fish and a little pond and just run out of people to sell to. And the last thing that you can control is picking a place that has a great culture. You know, I like to talk about you know, looking for a group of Patriots versus mercenaries. What's the difference? You know, mercenaries are a bunch of self centered individuals without a real cause and they're they're mostly in it for the competent, for the compensation. In war times, mercenaries are the first ones to lay down their weapons when things get tough, and the Patriots they go home and melt down their furniture to make more bullets. Right. Always a good analogy there. So the next step, you know, if you are in the right company. The second thing, that thing through is really making sure that you are using the resources available to you within that company in order to help you drive success. Yeah, I mean every company has what we call the hundred pound brains and and these are the really smart people in the company that everybody is clamoring to get on sales calls and all great company should have a very defined what I spoke about earlier, sales than engagement process, but it's got to be mapped to a customers buying journey and each stage of the engagement process should be clearly defined by roll who's doing what and when, including the customer, and as long as that process leads to great outcomes, you gotta Trust it. As a seller, you have to trust it. So be the person that the hundred pound brains in your company loved to work with, because you bring them into opportunities the proper way and at the proper time. These hundre pound brains can't stand being brought in poorly. I call this the miracle cloud. The sellers that abdicate their responsibilities for preparation and qualification to the resources that they're bringing in and...

...then the theme is and then a miracle happens. Nobody likes that. Nobody likes that and when you think about it, the hundred pound brains are the people that you want to learn from and your career you need these people to progress your career. You need to understand how things work. You need to understand what great looks like. So when you engage with them in the proper way and at the right times, they tend to be very open to coaching and developing you, including your career. That's such a good point, I think, John. We have a lot of a hundred pound brains on our team, as you know. Sometimes, when I say sit in a room with a lot of our team members and like wow, I am clearly not the smartest person in this room. But I think you know, when you're working in those environments, you might step in and you can be kind of stressed out, like everybody knows more than me, I don't know what what to do here, how am I supposed to do this? But when you figure out how to leverage those hundred pound brains that you just spoke about, the load becomes a lot, a lot lighter because they know the answers to the questions. You just have to tap into that. Yeah, and the hundred pound brains, they typically don't expect you to know everything, but what they do expect you to do is to follow the guidelines and process sesses that are put in place for you to be successful. And what I find is is that there's just way too many people out there just cutting corners and they you know, I got a great opportunity. I need you on this or I need you on that. And in the people that have the knowledge and the skills inside your company that you need access to, they really resent being put in situations of like then an Anana, year's Rachel or, here's Johnny and you know, and then the miracle happens. They're expecting and then a miracle happens. And so what I find is is those people that really take ownership of their own career and their own career progression. They learned the rules of engagement, they learn and they follow the the rules of engagement. They normally get the resources, they get the access to the information, they get great outcomes because they commit themselves to excellence in that regard. So I don't want to just I like that to highlighted it. I don't. I don't want anybody to blow that off. And if your company doesn't have that, then you're probably not in the right company. Yeah, yeah, let them lead you and then follow the direction that they provide. Yep. So when we talk about owning your success as a salesperson and we talked about a great company understanding what it takes to be successful, leveraging those resources. But another big, big component to this is really how you operate in that daily grind...

...that is sales. You need to own that rhythm, own your own enablement, so to speak. Yeah, I like that. There's a there's a t shirt out there. I think it says embrace the suck and, you know, every now and then when I see that it just kind of gives me a smile and I like to think of it as like, you know, embrace the grind. You know, the most successful people that I've ever met or grinders there. And what do I mean by grinders? They are the ones that they commit themselves to a process of excellence. They do the uncommon things that the common man or woman has available to them but decides not to do. And so, you know, you gotta you have to. You're responsible for following those processes that your your companies, you know, put out there for you. But you need to make the decision of okay, what am I doing every day to ensure that I'm executing on my plan, to make my plan you own that you own, that you know. Map Out your week, your month, your quarter. Make sure you're focused on the right activities you know and again, follow the sales and engagement process. Those activities are there. They're clearly stepping stipulated, at least in the great companies they are, and great companies understand that they need to provide knowledge and skills to the company, to to you, for you to be successful. Make sure you under understand exactly what that knowledge is and what the skill set is and commit yourself to mastery. When your company provides you training around this knowledge and skills. Lean into it hard. Be Comfortable being uncomfortable. Write that one down. Be Comfortable being uncomfortable. Those are the people that typically are the most successful in life. In our business, Rachel, at the force management, we're training our customers all the time and there's always prework and there's always exercises to apply what you're learning. And I can tell instantly who the grinders are. They always do the prework, they always apply what they are learning to their own situations. They thrive in learning new things and they I can spot at a million miles away. And guess what, so can your leadership team. The leaders were always fine extra time to coach and develop the grinders. And Rachel, I have a little I have a little story for you from back in the day. It's it was a when I was preparing for this I thought about this story and and and I'm going to share it with you really quick so, so, when back in the day, and it's kind of funny because you're going to laugh a little bit at the at the lack of technology that we had back then, but it just it is what it is. But it is what it was, sir. But when I was at Zerox, I was really focused on being the best that...

I could be and there was an argument that I was probably maybe a little self centered. It's kind of those those grinders are kind of borderline. They're kind of self centered. You don't rely on a lot of other people for your success, but you don't want to miss the opportunity to build great relationships with people inside of companies and I had to kind of learn that the hard way back in the day. So I kind of like being set apart from everybody else and being a little bit of a loner and focused on my own opportunities and being the very best that I could be in that rely on anybody else for my success and that can kind of get into a little bit of a little bit of a problem because in today's world where you're near not alone, every most sales today are collaborative. So I just want to kind of set level, set us on that. So back to the zerox store. I love the feeling of having a number and the number. It wasn't my quota, but it was my number for me and my family and I love putting together the plan to go make it. So when I was at Zerox I went to a printing systems guy and man, I hope this guy hears this. I've been trying to find him, but anybody out there knows where Dan Huffnagal is, please just write me Jake Kaplan Force Managementcom or send me something on Linkedin. But he was one of my favorites. He was a hundred pound brain and he worked with the really smart people and in printing systems and and and he was programmer by by nature, and we didn't have laptops or computers back then, Rachel and and, but I knew this guy was a hundred pound brain and and I asked him to help me one year. So I had a big number of my quota. Zerox back in the day was like whatever you did for your number became your quota for the next year and that was that's a whole nother podcast, you know, setting up good complaints, but I think people can relate to that. But Anyway, so I get my number and I'm trying to figure out ways to, you know, just to get focused on my number and to go. I gotta believe that I can make this thing or I can't. I can't grind. If I don't believe I can make my number, then I can't grind. And but it's my responsibility to go through the process of making sure that I've got the opportunity to make my number. And if I go through that and I can't do it, I go to my leadership team and I say, Hey, look, you, maybe you can help me, but there's no way I can make this number, you know, this year, because here's all my opportunities. Blah, blah, blah. So I was I was one of those people that did that. So what I did was I asked him to, you know, to write a program for me that would take all my top opportunities and map them to like an automatic calculation of my compensation and then stack rank them by size of opportunity and size of competit of compensation. I love doing that. So he wrote the program and then he gave me a floppy disk and I'm like, okay, well, what do I do...

...with this flap? And I'm saying floppy disk and knowing that a lot of our lists are going to have to go look that up, but go ahead and look it up, be a grinder and go look like yeah, we'll put the definition of this, yell how old I actually am. But so he writes to see, writes this program, puts on a floppy disk and you know, I had to go out by a computer and yeah, okay, company didn't have laptops, didn't have computers. I didn't wait for anybody to say, you know, hey, let me go find your computer. I went out and got a computer and I got one of these in the early days, man, it was like Tandy computer was the was the bomb, you know, back in the day. And so I went and bought this Tandy computer and Rachel, I love coming home at night after closing an opportunity and watching the program, I plug it in, I'd say, got the opportunity and automatically calculated not only my compet compensation but progression on the overall goal. And I was so maniacal about the program that I printed out a list for my boss and asked them to ask me about these opportunities every day. So, what did you do today on your largest opportunities? I asked my boss to ask me about that. I didn't wait for him to ask me about what did I do my largest opportunities? And sometimes, Rachel, he drive me nuts. So when I had like an Admin Day or paperwork, which I couldn't stand, their internal meetings, which I couldn't stand, you know, he'd come up to me and you go, Hey, what did you do on Xyze Opportun Unity? And I would just kind of smile to myself because I knew that he knew that was going to get me kind of focused on the grind. You know, I'm laughing a little bit to myself thinking about the story and you know people are like, dude, that's a poor man crm before crm ever existed. And you know, Rachel, if I was smarter, I probably should have worked on that idea a little bit harder and maybe I could have been one of the founders. Is that Firstcom but you know, I never was. I guess I was. You know, I was a grinder. I didn't say I was smart, I said I was a grinder. But the bottom line was. The point is, nobody had to tell me how to focus myself on these things, Rachel. I got a lot of great suggestions along the way. I watched and learned from some of the great hundred pound brains and you know, in the end I'm the one who had to be uncommon and grind away. Nobody could do that for me. I did it, and I'm not saying me, me, me, I am just saying I didn't advocate that to anybody else. The grind was mine and I loved it. Yeah, you owned it, I think. Yes, ownership is a great way to think about that grind. I know that accountability ownership is one of your favorite topics, John. We could probably do every podcast episode on the topic. But as we wrap up here, and I want to be sure that for the people listening...

...out there that this doesn't seem overwhelming, like this is all is extra stuff I have to do, I don't want it to feel overwhelming for you listening. I want you to be motivated so you can really own your success. So as we wrap John, how about some motivational words to inspire that owning the grind? Yeah, it's my pleasure. So I think about you got to think about putting yourself in a position and you got to put yourself in a position to go work for a company where you can wake up every day and say what I do matters. You have to feel that like you have to feel like what you do matters. That means you you have a meaningful product or service, it's highly differentiated, it has a great total addressful market, you have the answers to the four essential questions and you understand the why of what makes your you know what makes your by or by by solving a need and a problem. So what you do matters. You got to go find that in yourself. If you can't find that, it's going to be really, really tough for you to be motivated around these ideas that I'm talking about. Then go work for a company that helps you with the knowledge and skills to be successful and lean into those knowledge and skills. They provide you the knowledge and skills. You provide the grind around embracing that knowledge and skills and apply it. Make yourself uncomfortable and get comfortable being on comfortable culture of Patriots versus mercenaries. We talked about be a patriot. Go find a place where you can be a patriot. When you're a mercenary, you know the pay might be good, but I'm telling you, as soon as something happens, as soon as something happens in the company or outside in the marketplace, mercenaries tend to lay their weapons down and go home, and that sucks. I've been in that environment before. Last thing, embrace the grind and turn it into something powerful. Sit Down and with yourself and say to yourself, who's doing this like right now? Who's doing this grind, and just enjoy being uncommon. You know things that the common man or woman are unwilling to do. A lot of it shows up in the grind. It's available to everybody, but only some of US choose to do it. That's going to put you on a great path of success, of owning your own career progression. That's great, a great recipe for success, John, Hey man, go do it and I'll add one more ingredient to that. Rey. Continue to listen to the audible ready sales podcast every week. I love it. I love it. Hey, Rachel, we're getting some great feedback to out there and people are sending us some ideas. A lot of these topics were coming up with every week they're coming from our listener, so we love that. I'd encourage people to do that. If you're struggling with stuff out there and you and you want us to take a crack get helping you get on...

...stock, just send us, communicate with us and send us some ideas on topics you'd like us to copper. Yeah, I'll go ahead and put my email address in the show notes. You can go ahead and shoot them to me. It's a great point. I appreciate that, John. We pretty in common. Yeah, we produce fifty two of these a year. So it's fifty two topics that we need to deliver. Would love somehow and want to that we're providing value to all of you listening. Amen. All right, thank you. Thank you, John. You're welcome. All right, on the grind, everybody at force management, we're focused on transforming sales organizations into elite teams. Are Proven methodologies deliver programs that build company alignment and fuel repeatable revenue growth. Give your teams the ability to execute the growth 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 an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Until next time,.

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