It’s The Sales Evangelist 1000th episode and Stephen A. Hart from the Trailblazers.FM Podcast is conducting the interview while Donald Kelly answers the questions.
This podcast started five years ago after Donald attended sales training to try to improve his performance. He started seeing some gains, and he figured the very least he could do was tell other people what was working for him.
He realized along the way that he would get to interview great guests like Jeffrey Gitomer who would share a wealth of information and he was hooked. Donald wanted to share sales content that would help himself and others at the same time.
Blessings and opportunities
The greatest benefit to a podcast like this is the relationships you build. There’s a camaraderie and people want to help each other. [05:50]
Perhaps it’s because the medium is so new, but a lot of podcasters are connecting with each other to share experiences.
People have become like family, and many business opportunities have emerged from it.
There’s a whole crew of people in the background who help create the content, and it’s blessing people along the way.
After Donald jumped ship from his full-time job in 2015, this lifestyle business allowed him to travel and speak in different parts of the country, and it all stemmed from the training and consulting that has developed.
The podcast is officially five years old, which amounts to about 10,000 work hours. According to Malcolm Gladwell’s theory that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert, Donald is officially an expert podcaster now.
The story started when Donald was working at a software company in Boca. His plan was that at the three-year mark, he wanted to go back to grad school for an MBA. [10:11]
The other alternative was that he would launch a startup.
TSE started as a hobby because Donald had done B2C in high school and college. Now, he transitioned to B2B, but he didn’t know how to talk to people or set up business opportunities.
His company provided training and he discovered a love of teaching and an excitement about the content he had learned.
He paired his love of teaching and his desire to be the center of attention, and it was a perfect marriage. Edutainment allowed him to educate and entertain at the same time.
Birth of a podcast
Jared Easley introduced Donald to the world of podcasting despite the fact that Donald knew nothing about it.
He started by listening to Seth Godin’s Startup School, a podcast that featured Seth guiding 30 entrepreneurs through the process of launching a dream business. [11:46]
He was still debating startup or college, and he realized that a startup didn’t have to mean developing a product. Donald didn’t see how the podcast was going to make money, but he launched it as a hobby.
The platform existed six months before the podcast did, but Donald recalls that he had to get over the worry and just pull the trigger. He had to stop worrying about how it would sound and what people would say about it.
He eventually decided that he had something valuable and he needed to share it. When he got out of his own way, the money started coming in.
When Donald started producing content that benefited the people around him, people started to raise their hands and seek his help.
Donald calls episode 1 cringe-worthy. He says he was nervous and afraid throughout it. He was self-conscious about his voice, and he didn’t own his personality. [15:29]
Donald also wishes he had done video much sooner. He was afraid of the comments people would make and that fear kept him from producing video.
Donald also wishes he had known that people don’t know what you have to offer until they know what you have to offer. He was afraid of sounding pushy, so he was apprehensive about sharing what he knew.
Take more action. Get out of your comfort zone. Get out of your own way.
Despite the late start to the video world, TSE is getting into video now, so it’s better late than never.
Donald points to the burned-ship theory that dates to sailors who were either going to burn the ships and win the battle or die on the seashore. There was no escape.
If you’ve burned the ship, there’s no alternative, so you have to make it work. Those men are the master of their own destiny.
Although Donald could still be employable in the sales realm if necessary, he doesn’t want to use that as a parachute. [19:27]
The “no’s” can’t hinder him. He either has to conquer or die.
He realizes that the “no’s” aren’t personally directed at him.
Donald’s desire to provide for his family drives his passion and his motivation. He wants to make things happen so that his family never has to be in the predicament of being homeless again. [21:50]
Those dark moments such as the first lull in listenership can plague podcasters.
Although numbers are great for measuring, Donald got too focused on the numbers. He started to compare too much and he neglected his own community.
When the website was down for a prolonged period in 2016, he started to feel tremendous stress. For 1-2 months there was no new content.
He worried about losing listeners and the huge setback that might come. He wasn’t sure he would be able to continue because there were so many technical problems.
You can’t succeed in a silo. Name any company and you can almost guarantee that they had help from some outside forces. [29:17]
The term entrepreneur is deceptive because there’s really no single person who creates a business. Donald avoided asking for help because he was embarrassed and he thought he was supposed to know how to solve the problem.
Advice and discussion help people share their burdens and to recognize that they can benefit from other people’s input.
People who succeed do so because they partnered with others for good. There are people who are willing to partner strategically to make things work. [31:57]
All of his guests who have had success did so because they found synergy in the people they worked with.
Look at Henry Ford and the number of companies that spawned from his invention. Tire companies, radio companies, and other companies developed because of it.
You can’t be a lone wolf and you must be willing to admit that other people might be able to do things better than you can.
Don’t be afraid to sell yourself. People in post-recording conversations advised Donald that he was charging too little.
Customers aren’t paying for one hour of guidance or coaching. They are paying for 15 years of experience. [35:23]
Be aware of your worth. If you undervalue yourself, no one will willingly pay you more. Ask for more than you’re comfortable asking for.
Always push yourself for bigger and better things.
Once you push outside of your comfort zone, you’ll evolve. You’ll find yourself doing things that once scared you.
Preparation helps us avoid the emotional rollercoaster of sales. October Donald should be helping December Donald. Salespeople must plan much further out than they can comfortably do. [38:50]
If you know you need 5 deals, you should put 7 or 8 in your pipeline. Never ease up off the gas. Have a systematic approach.
When Donald coaches people, he helps them see beyond the now. He helps them develop a system that prevents lulls.
Donald remembers wanting to be included on a list of top sales podcasts. [44:01]
He refers to the power of “coopertition,” where people become allies.
As a track athlete, he learned that when you’re turning back to see where other people are, you aren’t aerodynamic anymore. You lose your focus and you slow down.
Instead of looking to see where other people are, look toward the finish line. Compete against your own yesterday instead of competing against others.
Future of TSE
The Sales Podcast Network will continue to grow and offer a community of salespeople who will encourage one another. [50:57]
If TSE ever gets boring, maybe the day would come when it would be “sunset.”
TSE will continue to grow. The goal on sponsorship side will eventually separate so that the training organization will separate from the media company side.
TSE will seek to double its revenue, and ultimately the platform will be bigger than just a podcast.
TSE has been a huge influence in the podcasting space by encouraging those people who are in the community.
The Sales Evangelist 1000th Episode resources
Connect with Stephen A. Hart and check out his Trailblazer.FM Podcast.
This episode is brought to you in part by prospect.io, a powerful sales automation platform that allows you to build highly personalized, cold email campaigns. To learn more, go to prospect.io/tse. It will help you with your outbound to expand your outreach. It allows you to set it and forget it. Your prospecting will never ever be the same.
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