Having broken the $1 million commission barrier year-on-year-on-year, Brandon Fluharty knows exactly where your focus needs to be to build a successful sales career. And it's not where you might expect.
In this episode of the Sales IQ Podcast, Brandon Fluharty shares the secret to his career with Luigi including:
Connect with Luigi on LinkedIn.
Do you need help setting up your rhythm for 2022? Building a strong mindset is a major component of the coursework and weekly coaching in the Create Pipeline Program from Sales IQ.
Have you ever set a goal,a big, hairy, audacious goal that when you set it, you looked at it and thought, oh my God, how am I going to actually achieve this? That it frightened you a little bit?
Because that's what this week's guest did. He set a goal. He set a target that for many would say it was unrealistic. He set a goal to achieve a million dollars in commission in one year. Well, that's massive when you actually think about it from a sales perspective, that's huge. That's not how many sales he's going to make. That's how much commission. And obviously he's getting a percentage of the sales that he's making. So the actual number of sales that he needed to make was massive. But it didn't just do it once. He's done it multiple times. And that's what this week session is all about.
We're going to talk about what Brandon did to build a pipeline, to enable him to make a million bucks in commission. And it sounds wild. But what I love about this episode is Brandon talks about why hustle, why you've got a hustle less and focus more, and why the bro culture, why the culture of, you know, working all night and, and working 18-20 hour days as a badge of honor is not the way in which you need to approach things.
This really did connect with me because I am, I get a bit obsessed sometimes when it comes to working towards a target. And I do struggle when it comes to balance. And what I loved about what Brandon shared is, is Brandon shared some of the unintended consequences that occurred for him when working in his career, trying to achieve a particular target and why he needed to make a shift and really focus on health and focus on thinking differently about the world of selling.done your plan thinking about:
Brandon's going to share a little bit about the journey that he's been on and how he came up with his formula to achieve such incredible results.
Welcome to the show Brandon.[: [: [:
So as a young 20 something I got into it out in necessity, but really actually fell in love with it. Funny enough. It it helped me with my sales role. 1) The company where I learned to DJ, this was Scratch DJ Academy is my homage toJam Master Jay of Run DMC. He co-founded a DJ school called Scratch, and I learned to DJ there and I would just go and I think you could pay like 20 bucks for an hour, just like practice. Cause I didn't have my own turntables. So it was the only place where I could go practice. And then I just became friendly with some of the folks there cause they started hiring DJs to DJ department stores like Bloomingdale's and Nordstrom's and they started booking me once I started getting halfway decent.
And then I eventually landed a job there as a, as an account manager, trying to sell music marketing solutions to the likes of Gucci and Royal Caribbean cruise lines and other brands.
So it helped me very specifically get into sales and then 2) just how to read a room. Cause I'm, I'm more introverted in nature. So being able to like, sit back, listen, observe and see what I need to do to kind of bring people together and bring them onto the dance floor. It actually, ironically was a sales skill that I honed from that.[: [:
You need to almost tell a story. It's the same thing in enterprise strategic sells. You've got to tell a story, but you got to do it in front of the right audience. Say the right things at the right time.[: [: first economic crisis hit in:
And for me it was all upside. Cause I didn't have any money at the time we were sort of rebuilding and we didn't, we've never owned a home. So it was our first time to like buy and get a home after the housing crisis. And at that point, I was like, okay, like I amdedicated as a career in sales, because I've got to make things happen. We've got to pay for the home. Like, you know, as we want to start a family one day, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
So yeah, that was my first time, but I had to start over leaving New York city and going to a small town in Florida. I had to completely start over in my sales career. So I cut my chops in selling $45 print ad space in like one of those local little papers that told you about the events going on.
So I was selling to bars and, you know, small, medium sized business owners. And then and then just had to work my way up the ranks to eventually small and medium sized business to mid-market to you know, enterprise. And then, you know, now Fortune 50 level.[: [: [: [:
So a major airlines, major healthcare companies you know, major restaurant chains. Brands that people would recognize from Delta Airlines to Chipole to United Healthcare. Those are just a handful that I can publicly mention. So working with those level of types of companies selling into them and, and selling transformations.[: [:
And I think I had a part of me that again, just didn't know how to explain it. And I was chasing at, at certain points in my career, I was definitely chasing a leaderboard. I was hyper competitive. I wanted to be number one. And that caused sort of this angst and anxiety and like mental you know health struggles that like my whole identity was being, you know, number one on the leader board.[: [: [:
Before talking about the time you hit that, that commission level, that seven figure commission level. What was the low point in your sales career that made you stop and really think about what is the mindset required to achieve the success that I want to achieve?[:
So I think another low point physically, you know, landing in the hospital after having a stroke, a mini stroke. I lost my part of my vision and I didn't know what was happening. And after doing, like being in the hospital overnight, getting a battery of tests and trying to understand what the hell happened, I was diagnosed as somebody who had a stroke and it affected my vision for a long time.
Usually when a young person has a stroke, it's because they have a hole in their heart, unbeknownst to them to find, you know, a hereditary condition, that didn't occur or heavy drug use, that wasn't me. So it, the, the only thing I could sort of point to at the time was I was just working around the clock. I was wearing a lack of sleep as a badge of honor. Hyper-caffeinated at all times and just hustling and grinding around the clock. So that was a wake-up call for sure. Of like, well, some things need to change.[: [: [: [:
But when the pandemic. It reminded me of when we didn't really talk about this, like early in my career, I was trying to be a professional footballer. And I spent a year and a half in Europe primarily a year in Romania with a professional club over there trying to earn a contract.
And when we went to bed, when we woke up, when we trained, when we ate, how much we ate, all those things what we visualize all of that was sort of mapped out for us. And we got support on that and we had to make decisions in our own time, like, okay, you know, no drinking alcohol and, and, and, you know, watch what we eat and go to bed at, at a, at a reasonable time so that we could perform well the next day. Cause you wanted to earn a spot. You wanted to win that contract.
So that when, when the pandemic hit, it reminded me of that. So I doubled down on things like, you know, looking and becoming aware of my sleep and so forth. And I try to correlate that to my sales performance. I realize things like getting proper sleep helped boost my performance and actually celebrate deals.[:
Because I think it's one thing that I can erode to actually focus on other things, and short term sure I can get more done.[: [: [: [:
So I have to combat more with the positive, as you know, it can become a real challenge, right?[:
But you're so right. It's, it's hard to do, especially when you are fed this pressure of hustle culture. And you even see it from some of the top founders of, oh, I'm in bed by midnight still firing off emails and I'm up at 4:00 AM for my workout. And you're like, well, that's obviously the path to success is, is, is operating that way.[:
But even Instagram, I'm noticing you like a few others are pushing this, you know, building, the only light on, and I connect to that, right, because I'm more than happy to put the hours in to get a job done. We all know that sometimes you've got to be up late. You've just done a discovery call or whatever it might be you go shit. I've got to get my notes to them because this has got momentum and I've got to jump on it. Right?[: [: [: [: [:
There are gonna be cycles where you have to sprint and not to over index on the sales and sports analogies, but, but it really is, I try to look at it like a marathon and especially in enterprise and strategic sales where it's a long sales cycle. Yeah, absolutely. There are going to be moments. There was last December, an 11 day cycle where I went hard on closing the deal in literally 11 days and we could get it done by the end of the year. They were motivated to do it. We were motivated to do it.
And, you know, I wear things like WHOOP and so I could see what's happening with my sleep. I'm getting in the red zone, but I had the conscious thought to say, Hey, you know, after this deal is done, I need to recuperate and rest. Just like if you were running a marathon, nobody at this level right now, could sprint a marathon.
But at some times, hey, if it's coming down to the finish line, you might need to sprint to win that marathon, right? Or you need to ebb and flow throughout the 26 miles so, same thing, we, we need to go through those ebbs and flows.
But if we can align ourselves more with intrinsic motivation, something that's got a bit more motivational factor that will help us last through life, not just a sales cycle, a deal a month, a quarter, even a year. If we can sort of start to push away the clouds and find something our true north star personally, that's when you can start to become unstoppable.[:
So let's now talk about, I think this is a great segue into, again, you talk about the fact that it's not a hustle mentality, it's a focused mentality. There are, there are ways in which you've designed your schedule to allow you to achieve seven figures.[: [: [:
So that first one is, and then I looked at it on a micro level, like earning a million dollars could be super in commissions, could be super intimidating. Like, no, no, no way. Like actually when I first entered the seven-figure earners club, I had an aspiration, I had a goal, of earn a half a million dollars for the year. Like that was my aspirational goal.he seven figures club back in:
And so I look at the, the, the micro efforts is the single day, the single unit of, of focus that really we should, I don't want to call it obsessed about, but be hyper-focused on, is a single work day. And so what I like to do is the last thing I do before I end my work day is plan out tomorrow.[: [:
Everything's in a project. Every account that I'm pursuing is a project. It's all brain dumped so that when I do spend time with my wife my mind isn't elsewhere. I'm not emailing that clients at night, I'm not slacking with my CEO. I'm actually present. And then that foundation will help me to rest easy. I can rest at night, I can sleep well.
And then, and then that allows me to put a hundred percent effort into executing my plan. And then I just measure my performance. And, and when I measure my performance, I try to take the emotion out of it. And think about being like a scientist. I want to be curious and I want to use the, the data points and I can point to things because I'm tracking it like, oh, my sleep was seven and a half hours and I was in four hours of meetings. And here was my big win for the day. How do I replicate? And I'm feeling good and I'm, I'm satisfied, motivated. How do I keep that going every single day? You do that, a natural outcome is earning a million dollars in sales.[:
I talk a lot about the metrics, you know, know your metrics, know what, what activities you need to be doing to achieve your target. What you're doing is you're breaking that even further to go. Actually, let's have a look at the habits. Let's have a look at what are the things, how do I structure my day on top of those activity metrics that allow me to achieve the number. And I love that. You helping me, I'm actually going to go away because I do the nighttime before big tick.
I think though my biggest challenge and you really helping me sort of realize that I need to focus on it over the Christmas, is that detachment, yeah? Then my daughter said it to me yesterday, my 19 year old daughter, she said, well, I was talking to you yesterday and you weren't listening. And I'm like, you know what? I wasn't listening. I'm thinking about everything else going on. And I'm not listening to my daughter. Who's 19 years old who wants my attention.[:
The prep helps you to, you know, have a flywheel it's, it's the momentum because it's coming from you, it's coming from an intrinsic motivation. And just as if you're having a great relationship and you're in the moment with a spouse, or your daughter, because you're fully present, well, that's going to play up the next day when you're in front of a C level executive, who's pushing back and questioning what you're putting in front of them, as far as an ROI.
Well, you'll be, because you're well rested, you're feeling good about your life because you've worked, you've integrated work and life together, and it's not about not working hard, it's definitely about, you have to have a strong work ethic and you have to be smart about how you work.
But, it's also being present when, you know, you need to be present at the right things at the right time. And so just again, living by like these four core pillars of planning and resting and putting in a hundred percent effort, concentrated effort, deep work, I'm a big fan of that.
And then measuring your performance through curiosity. You know, do that every day consistently. It's just like investing it's it's compound interest that will pay you back and you focus less on the leaderboard. You focus less on president's club. You, you focus less on your earnings. Those will just be natural outcomes and you'll become more fulfilled from the inside.[: [: [:
And I found that all I was allowing the pandemic as a reason why I didn't have to train oh well, the gyms aren't open. I'll go for a run. I'll start early today and I'll run later today. And then by the time you get to later today, I can't be fucked going for a run, it's seven o'clock at night, I've got to have dinner, I'm not going for a run.
And then that was, which was a non-negotiable for me, because become started becoming a negotiable. Yeah, the minute I allowed that to become a negotiable, it became it wasn't in my top priorities. Right. And I felt, even though I'll look I didn't put on any weight or anything like that, but my mental focus actually shifted, I found myself a little bit, not fatigued, but my ability to focus actually changed.[: [: [: [: [:
That's a really powerful exercise because you can always rely on those. We do it as companies, right. But many individuals lack that exercise, but in sales, we're our own mini CEOs. We need to treat ourselves, not just like the athlete, not just like the agents, but the agency and the sports franchise. Like all of it we need to, to take ownership of.
And if we can just take the time and reflect and understand what's important to us. Then, like I said, you start to move the clouds and you start seeing that north star and it starts to shine brighter. And if you work on it every day, deliberately and intentionally, you keep the clouds from coming over and covering up that star.[:
What advice would you have for somebody that's sitting here while they're listening to this? They might be on a run, in the car going, yes. I know. I've got to get it done. But every time I try, but I can't, I don't hold myself accountable. I can't I get it done? What advice could you give them? That's allowed you to move from that point of, you know, there was that moment in time where you are unhealthy, you've really bad habits.
How, if I want to make a shift, how do I make it happen? And how do I, hold myself accountable[:
So getting help, getting a coach, getting a mentor all of those things can, can help. So that's like advice, piece number one, piece. Advice piece number two is those things don't have to come out of your pocket. You can also, we're in the amazing explosion of the creator economy, that the knowledge era, the, you know, whatever you want to call it where you can download a a free ebook or you can go watch YouTube, but do it systematically, do it intentionally where you can just carve out, and one of the biggest things that I did, I carve out 25 minutes to something that's important to me every morning as a part of my, I call it the daily start routine. My morning routine before I give my first email away. I give my first slack away. I give my first time for a meeting away. I give to myself first. And I think that it's the most unselfish thing you can do, even though ironically, it's, it's selfish. But give to yourself first, because then that puts you in a better place to give to others, your prospects, your coworkers, your leaders, your family members, and friends[: love to let the world know in: [: [:
So mate, obviously people can connect with you on LinkedIn and we'll make sure we put the show notes of where they can connect with you. Is there anywhere else that they can find you and engage with you?[:
So yeah, you can find me there and, and get a bunch of cool knowledge. And as, as well as that ebook.[:
So I just want to say thanks for coming on the Sales IQ Podcast.[: