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Mastering the Process: Inside the Mind of a High Achiever
Episode 3422nd March 2024 • Connect & Convert: The Sales Accelerator Podcast • Sales RX and Wizard of Ads Employee Optimization
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In this episode, we explore the power of focusing on process over goals when training high achievers. Through the story of Jay, a highly motivated individual with no prior sales experience, we learn how a well-designed deliberate practice regimen can transform a "blank slate" into a top performer. By prioritizing the mastery of skills and processes, rather than just setting lofty targets, we can unlock the potential of driven individuals and cultivate long-term success in any industry.

Transcripts

Dennis:

Welcome back.

Dennis:

It's connect and convert your sales accelerator podcast, where

Dennis:

you get insider secrets to growing your sales faster than ever.

Dennis:

I'm your host, Dennis Collins.

Dennis:

I am joined today by the lovely and talented.

Dennis:

Hello,

Leah:

Leah Bumfrey out of Canada, where we still have snow.

Dennis:

You still have snow.

Dennis:

As we record this, I'm in Florida and we have no snow.

Dennis:

I don't understand.

Dennis:

How could that be?

Dennis:

Hey, Liam, today I thought we would talk about something

Dennis:

that's very personal to me.

Dennis:

Goal focused or process focused?

Dennis:

Inside the mind of a high achiever.

Dennis:

That sounds pretty lofty.

Dennis:

I don't know if I hope we can deliver to our viewers and listeners on that.

Dennis:

That's a lofty topic, but I want to start, uh, by telling a story.

Dennis:

I want to introduce you to Jay.

Dennis:

I knew this kid as he was growing up, but my clearest memory of him

Dennis:

was when he graduated college.

Dennis:

Now, this kid was an achiever in everything he did.

Dennis:

I saw that.

Dennis:

Because I was a tennis player at the time, and this kid didn't even start

Dennis:

tennis until he was in his teens.

Dennis:

And he ended up becoming a high level competitive tennis player.

Dennis:

Very coachable, very smart, highly motivated.

Dennis:

In college he was a criminal justice major, but he lost interest in law

Dennis:

enforcement and he needed a job.

Dennis:

So, I met with him, we had lunch, we talked, I had an idea.

Dennis:

I had a plan.

Dennis:

There was something in my belief system that I'd always wanted

Dennis:

to try, but the right situation was rarely, if ever, available.

Dennis:

And I said to myself, this could be the perfect opportunity.

Dennis:

I'd always wanted to take someone new, someone fresh, someone without bad habits

Dennis:

and preconceived ideas, basically a blank slate, and prove a long held belief.

Dennis:

So, what do you think I called it?

Dennis:

I call it the blank slate challenge.

Dennis:

Isn't that creative?

Dennis:

I like that.

Dennis:

Okay.

Dennis:

Well, let me tell you, maybe you will.

Dennis:

Maybe you won't.

Dennis:

I want your opinion on this.

Dennis:

I've had this long held belief.

Dennis:

Again, as I said, if I could find someone who's qualified with the right

Dennis:

attitude, and as I said, the fresh new, no prior experience, no bad habits,

Dennis:

no preconceived ideas, and give them a specific non traditional training

Dennis:

regimen, they would have a better chance of becoming a master high performer

Dennis:

than others who don't have that.

Dennis:

So, when we focus on people who win, here's, here's the

Dennis:

traditional thing that we think.

Dennis:

They won because they had lofty, ambitious goals.

Dennis:

That's what got them to the win.

Dennis:

But I will say this, my theory is behind every high achiever, you will

Dennis:

find a process, a system for success.

Dennis:

So do you mind if I share my theory, Leah?

Dennis:

Are you ready for this?

Leah:

I'm, I'm very curious.

Leah:

Cause what you're saying is, okay, this is a guy who didn't have,

Leah:

cause we're talking sales, so he had no previous sales experience.

Leah:

He didn't have that mindset of, okay, I want to be doing this.

Leah:

He knew that he was ambitious in the general sense, but you were

Leah:

going to take him and see what you could do with this blank slate.

Leah:

I'm very curious.

Dennis:

Yeah.

Dennis:

Yeah.

Dennis:

Well, big risk and you know, somewhat expensive, but let me tell

Dennis:

you how I arrived at this theory.

Dennis:

Bill Walsh, three times Super Bowl winner coach focus on the process.

Dennis:

The score will take care of itself.

Dennis:

Those words have echoed in my mind for decades.

Dennis:

Goals are good to set the direction.

Dennis:

We've got to have a direction.

Dennis:

But processes and systems are best for building skills and making progress.

Dennis:

If you, let's say you totally ignored goals.

Dennis:

No goals.

Dennis:

And focused only on perfecting your process, your system.

Dennis:

I want to know what would happen.

Dennis:

See, I don't think results are the problem.

Dennis:

I think it's the systems that produce the results that are the problem.

Dennis:

Okay.

Dennis:

Okay.

Dennis:

So.

Dennis:

You already guessed it.

Dennis:

I am talking about a salesperson.

Dennis:

Why was this risky?

Dennis:

Well, it defies conventional wisdom, wisdom.

Dennis:

You know, I grew up, as you know, in the radio business and managed all the

Dennis:

way through to general manager and, you know, three decades in that business.

Dennis:

So I, I, the conventional wisdom was, Oh, you got to hire

Dennis:

someone with radio experience.

Dennis:

You got to have somebody who knows the business.

Dennis:

Right.

Dennis:

Right.

Dennis:

Well, guess what?

Dennis:

I was going against traditional wisdom.

Dennis:

That's tough.

Dennis:

Uh, the traditional wisdom was read a few books, go to a couple seminars,

Dennis:

get out there and sell, focus on your outcomes, your targets, your goals.

Dennis:

And when you hit these targets, some nice things happen.

Dennis:

You make some money and you get to keep your job.

Dennis:

That was how I was hired.

Dennis:

I figured, you know, that was very traditional . Yep.

Dennis:

I know you've spent some time in the radio business.

Dennis:

Does that sound familiar?

Leah:

Oh, yes.

Leah:

Here's the yellow pages.

Leah:

Go make some calls,

Leah:

. Dennis: That's what I was told.

Leah:

Hey, if it hadn't been, you know, I had a burning desire to learn more, as I'm sure

Leah:

you do, and that's what is the difference.

Leah:

I taught myself this stuff, but I wanted to try this.

Leah:

Now, I don't want to negate the value of goals and targets.

Leah:

In every human endeavor, I don't care what it is, they're important.

Leah:

But there's something that I believe is more critical, and that is learning

Leah:

and installing the process for success.

Leah:

How do we get to success?

Leah:

What actions do we have to take?

Leah:

What do we have to do to get to success?

Leah:

Continuous, monitored, daily, small.

Leah:

process improvements, continuous every day monitored.

Leah:

You got to have a coach, a sales manager, a buddy, an accountability

Leah:

partner, somebody who's monitoring your, your progress.

Leah:

So here's what we did.

Leah:

My sales managers and I devised a very extensive, deliberate practice routine.

Leah:

Jay was accustomed to this.

Leah:

I knew his tennis coach, by the way.

Leah:

Um, I don't know.

Leah:

I, I had that same coach.

Leah:

I never became an exceptional tennis player.

Leah:

What the hell happened there?

Leah:

Why did Jay?

Leah:

Well, anyway, I did know the coach.

Leah:

I knew he got a high rank in tennis, even though he was relatively late.

Leah:

Uh, he was a high level college player and His coach believed in what we have heard.

Leah:

You've heard us talk about deliberate practice, break down the process into

Leah:

its component parts, deliberately practice, practice with a purpose, how to

Leah:

effectively open a sale and master that.

Leah:

Then we move on to questions.

Leah:

How many different kinds of questions do we ask in a sales conversation?

Leah:

Lots.

Leah:

How about techniques?

Leah:

How about, uh, disrupting a, a, uh, brush off or an objection?

Leah:

Master that.

Leah:

How do we do that?

Leah:

Monitored, recorded role plays.

Leah:

Not it's fine to practice by yourself, but they've got to be monitored.

Leah:

They've got to be coached to be effective.

Leah:

Deliberate practice requires coaching, instant coaching and feedback.

Leah:

Do more of this.

Leah:

Do less of that over and over and over until each segment of the

Leah:

selling process is near perfect.

Leah:

Okay.

Leah:

Every segment of the sales conversation, how to open, what kind

Leah:

of questions, how to listen, every anticipated brush off an objection.

Leah:

So of course the objective or the goals informs the process.

Leah:

It is not the process.

Leah:

It guides the process.

Leah:

Yes, we have to have results in business.

Leah:

We don't just get rewarded for process.

Leah:

The process though has to get to the result.

Leah:

We, we, we do the process.

Leah:

We check the result.

Leah:

We make the necessary correction.

Leah:

We're a little bit off here.

Leah:

We're a little bit off there.

Leah:

It's like firing an arrow at Archer, you know, okay, I'm bullseye, move

Leah:

over just a tad, blah, blah, blah.

Leah:

Repeat until the execution of the process produces the desired outcome.

Leah:

So Dennis, I want to make sure I understand what you're saying.

Leah:

Of course.

Leah:

So you know, you would know, you would be communicating to Jay

Leah:

where it is you want him to go.

Leah:

But then you're giving him basically a template of activities this this

Leah:

this and this with with monitored Feedback so that you're telling him.

Leah:

Nope.

Leah:

Not like that.

Leah:

Do this.

Leah:

Nope.

Leah:

Not like that do this and Critically he's teachable He's in student mode.

Leah:

He is not feeling.

Leah:

Oh, quit telling me this.

Leah:

Almost like that.

Leah:

Well, exactly like his coach in tennis.

Leah:

You, there would be a trust that, that he would have to have a trust that you're

Leah:

doing this for the, for his benefit.

Dennis:

Yeah.

Dennis:

He would have to have, you know, again, this was a, a wonderfully motivated.

Dennis:

Person He would have to have a vision of his future success.

Dennis:

Okay.

Dennis:

Again If you have someone who doesn't care or is not motivated to become

Dennis:

better, this doesn't work okay, right this kid wanted to be better he proved

Dennis:

that to me in many ways as I knew him and watched him grow up otherwise You're

Dennis:

you're hitting on a you know, one of the weaknesses of this it wouldn't work.

Dennis:

It doesn't work for everybody Okay Bye.

Leah:

Yeah.

Leah:

If you have someone who wants it and you have someone who wants you

Leah:

your success, it's a, it's a match.

Leah:

Like so many relationships, right?

Dennis:

I can teach skills.

Dennis:

You can teach skills.

Dennis:

We can teach skills.

Dennis:

I haven't found a way yet to teach motivation.

Dennis:

Okay.

Dennis:

I can tell if someone has it or not, but I, I can, I can try to create

Dennis:

an environment that's motivating, but I can't motivate anybody.

Dennis:

Thank you.

Dennis:

That's, you know, hire for attitude, train and skills.

Dennis:

That was my motto, hire for attitude, for motivation.

Dennis:

This kid had the right attitude.

Dennis:

I had the sales managers and I had the knowledge about what skills were

Dennis:

needed for him to be successful.

Dennis:

Okay.

Dennis:

Does that make sense?

Leah:

Okay.

Leah:

It does.

Leah:

And what I love about it is that this applies to any industry because the

Leah:

people already in it know the skills.

Leah:

And if you have someone motivated, you have that right person and hire

Leah:

for the person because, uh, then you're not having to also, um, train

Leah:

out bad habits, you know, don't do this, don't do this, don't do this.

Leah:

That's really hard once they're embedded.

Dennis:

I, if I had a dollar for every one of those people that I hired in the radio

Dennis:

industry, Leah, we'd be doing this podcast from my yacht somewhere in the Caribbean.

Dennis:

Okay.

Dennis:

I mean, that, that is a killer.

Dennis:

That's what I got tired of.

Dennis:

And I wanted to try this and I tried this in other forms too, not

Dennis:

just with this brand new person.

Dennis:

And it's, it, it's, it does work.

Dennis:

It works best with this scenario.

Dennis:

But it worked in other scenarios that were similar to this.

Dennis:

Okay.

Dennis:

Traditionally, what happens when we put a new salesperson out there,

Dennis:

we give them some cursory training.

Dennis:

Here's your Riella pages.

Dennis:

See ya.

Dennis:

And by the way, if you don't hit this target in three months, you're fired.

Dennis:

What does that do to their psyche?

Dennis:

What does that do to their emotions?

Dennis:

Their, what does it do to their anxiety?

Dennis:

How is that a good way?

Dennis:

to onboard a salesperson.

Dennis:

I've never understood that.

Dennis:

Guilty.

Dennis:

Yeah, I had, I have done that at times.

Dennis:

I don't, I'm not proud of that, but I tried never to do that.

Dennis:

And this was an experiment that proved, and I'll tell you why.

Dennis:

So you might ask, well, what's become of Jay?

Dennis:

Well, he spent a very successful time as a salesperson, but not for long.

Dennis:

Uh, we parted ways many years ago, but.

Dennis:

He became a sales manager when he left our company and eventually became a major a

Dennis:

sales manager for a major pharmaceutical, uh, international pharmaceutical firm.

Dennis:

They then started his own business and sold it successfully.

Dennis:

He's now a partner in an exciting new startup, mostly because he

Dennis:

understands and masters process.

Dennis:

the process of persuasion, the process of communication, the process of influence.

Dennis:

As you said, Leah, these skills, this process works across many disciplines.

Dennis:

Wow.

Leah:

What I am excited about hearing you, well, it gets me excited because

Leah:

there are many people out there that are motivated for their own success.

Leah:

They want to make a difference in business.

Leah:

They might not have the, the foundation of a specific industry.

Leah:

It's the finding of those people that can make the difference in any business.

Leah:

And this is a template that anyone listening, any, any business manager,

Leah:

any business owner can take, but also any sales professional can look at themselves

Leah:

and go, okay, am I in student mode?

Leah:

Am I willing to learn?

Leah:

Am I looking at what I, the basic foundation of what I should be doing?

Leah:

Because when you have those droughts where the success isn't happening,

Leah:

when you're not achieving your goals, sometimes you have to look inward.

Leah:

And this template, this process that you're talking about gives.

Leah:

Both sides.

Leah:

The opportunity to look at that.

Leah:

Um, you were talking about communication and, you know, those basic skills.

Leah:

And again, that always brings me back to Wizard Academy where they teach that

Leah:

they teach that to people who are open.

Leah:

And when you're open to learning, wow.

Dennis:

That's a great point.

Dennis:

Jay was open to learning.

Dennis:

Had he been closed off to learning, not only would this experiment

Dennis:

not have worked, but he wouldn't like the Wizard Academy, would he?

Dennis:

No, no, no.

Dennis:

You need to approach the Wizard Academy with an open mind, you know?

Dennis:

Because I guarantee you, one visit there and your mind will explode.

Dennis:

Wizardacademy.

Dennis:

org.

Dennis:

Our sponsor, we appreciate them and you will appreciate checking

Dennis:

them out at wizardacademy.

Dennis:

org.

Dennis:

So let's issue our breakout challenge.

Dennis:

We always try to end this with a challenge, right, Leah?

Dennis:

Yes, absolutely.

Dennis:

So, so how daring are you?

Dennis:

Do you have people in your organization who have that potential to be great, but

Dennis:

they just don't seem to be getting it?

Dennis:

If they have the attitude and the motivation and the desire,

Dennis:

it's probably about the training.

Dennis:

Are you willing to do your version of the blank slate challenge?

Dennis:

By the way, it can be done with the right person, the right regimen, the

Dennis:

right regimen of deliberate practice.

Dennis:

Jay is living example of that.

Dennis:

Are you bold enough to try it?

Dennis:

Okay.

Leah:

This is about building people.

Leah:

It's about building business and it's about building potential in industries.

Leah:

It's very exciting.

Dennis:

It is.

Dennis:

But to me, that's the bedrock of my philosophy of human performance

Dennis:

that give me the blank slate that has the attitude and the motivation

Dennis:

to get better and we can find a way to train the process and the skills.

Dennis:

But the process and the skills determine the level of flight.

Dennis:

How high you go is not how high you set your goal.

Dennis:

It's how much skill you have and how much successful process you have.

Dennis:

I think fantastic.

Dennis:

I think we've covered this, Leo.

Dennis:

I love your questions.

Dennis:

Is there anything else that puzzles you about this or that you'd like

Dennis:

to ask on behalf of our listeners?

Leah:

Well, I mean, if it hadn't worked when it, when it doesn't

Leah:

work, I'm sure you have the other side of it when it doesn't, is

Leah:

there a P what's what's missing?

Leah:

What, what is missing when it's not working?

Dennis:

There are several things.

Dennis:

Number one, the raw material.

Dennis:

If, if you made a bad selection, in other words, this person does not

Dennis:

want to grow, they are not motivated.

Dennis:

They don't have the proper mentality.

Dennis:

And, and people can fake that.

Dennis:

I hate to say it, you know, job interviews are a joke, right?

Dennis:

I mean, you could, they could tell you anything.

Dennis:

I mean, you know, I never relied on interviews to, to hire a person.

Dennis:

I go deeper than that.

Dennis:

So you could have the wrong person.

Dennis:

Number two, it's time consuming to do deliberate practice to train that.

Dennis:

You gotta have the manpower, the person power.

Dennis:

To do that, you've got to, luckily I had, you know, about five sales

Dennis:

managers working with me that I could task, you know, myself

Dennis:

and them with each part of this.

Dennis:

So no one of us had to do it all.

Dennis:

So actually doing the, the deliberate practice is hard.

Dennis:

It's outside the comfort zone by definition.

Dennis:

If, if, if practice is comfortable for you, you are

Dennis:

not doing deliberate practice.

Dennis:

So, you know, it's too hard and we, it's just a time thing.

Dennis:

We just don't have it.

Dennis:

Or if If the deliberate practice is not designed properly to eventually

Dennis:

produce a desirable result, you know, I'm not saying throw goals away.

Dennis:

I'm saying put goals aside at first so we don't have that emotional attachment

Dennis:

to making the goal and have the emotional attachment to building your process.

Dennis:

Those are the three things that I think work and go wrong.

Dennis:

But today I wanted to talk about where it went right.

Leah:

And, and you know what, for every time it goes wrong, that doesn't

Leah:

mean, like, I mean, I love that you, you're, you've clarified it's the

Leah:

person, it's the how, it's the why.

Leah:

Those are all the reasons to make it work.

Leah:

Because when you find, I mean, just think of any industry, when you find

Leah:

the gem sitting in the warehouse, working on parts, and you can just

Leah:

see that it's the right type of person that already understands your industry.

Leah:

Wow.

Leah:

If you can get them on the sales floor, they, they are so excited.

Leah:

They are so motivated and they are so loyal.

Leah:

It changes business.

Leah:

Yeah.

Dennis:

They're just waiting for their chance for someone to believe in them.

Dennis:

So you know, your radar has to be on at all times because those

Dennis:

people are in your organization.

Dennis:

I guarantee it.

Dennis:

It's not just finding a guy like Jay who was outside and I brought him in.

Dennis:

They're inside your organization.

Dennis:

Put your radar on.

Dennis:

We'll do a podcast on that one day.

Dennis:

How's that?

Leah:

I'm excited.

Leah:

I'm excited to hear from our listeners and watchers when they do this and the people

Leah:

that they find the gems that they find and yes, how it helps the organization.

Dennis:

Yeah.

Dennis:

Send in your comments and questions.

Dennis:

We'd be happy to put them on the, uh, on the air.

Dennis:

Okay.

Dennis:

Okay, let's close out another episode of Connect and Convert

Dennis:

the Sales Accelerator Podcast.

Dennis:

We'll be back next week.

Dennis:

Tune in.

Dennis:

Thanks for listening.

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