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Alright, welcome back to The prospecting show. Today is July 8th, 2020. we are still in the post-covid area here. We got John Donovan on the call, how are you?
One of the Erin yourself. Very good, thank you. So everybody who listens to show, they know there’s three parts, we kind of modify the podcast over the last three, four months, the past, the present in the future, is kind of what we’re focusing on, but we also wanna learn about you, what you do and how you serve the world. So to start off, tell us a little bit about your back story. Where did you come from and how did you get to today?
Yeah, absolutely. So John Donovan, I’m born and bred in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. My background was in engineering, and I basically went into a career where I didn’t really appreciate what I had or I really didn’t like it, so what I did was what any entrepreneurial-minded person would do is quit my engineering job, bought of rental property and start my own business with zero capital, right?Henchman bootstrap it. That’s the original hustle, right? It’s like, Hey, wake up one day and just come up with an idea, and not really to cut you off there, but a lot of people have heard my story… The exact same kind of thing, right? One day I left art clinic and I was a chiropractor pacing in Pittsburgh, I left the clinic overnight, decided I’m done, drove to the border, switched my immigration status, came back into the country as a diehard entrepreneur, and honestly, that one second change with zero capital is the scariest thing in your life, or once you hear your hair, so anyway, continue with your story. You basically bought the house… No capital. Just kind of doing your own thing in. benoni started a company, I was like A carles rewards program for high traffic businesses, coffee shops, pizza shops, everything along those lines. a childhood friend of mine, and I started it. I bought a couple properties and really was just living that entrepreneurial dream, did that for about four years, and the Bootstrap mentality, and a lot of entrepreneurs who would be listening to this know that not all ventures end up where you want them to go, right.
So more years, I couldn’t turn the profit that we needed to, and so we eventually closed the doors and dissolved… When I was looking for a new position. Right now, I’m working for a company called Prime pay, we do payroll in HR. And the lessons that I learned as an entrepreneur going through that as far as understanding business structures, understanding the technologies, understanding data and the need for data have really helped me drive to where I am now, and now… Sales is all I focus on now. I think as an entrepreneur, knowing the sales game put you at such an advantage that I’m really grateful for where it’s taken me, so that’s where I’m at right now.
So let’s talk a little bit about the sales experience, ’cause most entrepreneurs, there’s only two types, there’s the people who are the developers and the ops guys, they have a great idea, they’re a technology partner or whatever they are, and they’re really good at their thing that they build, then there’s the other guys who are really good at sales, those are the two verticals, obviously, every entrepreneur has to be good at their product or service and sales, but some people recognize like, Hey, I’m a great computer programmer, but I can’t tell anything. So there’s always this partnership that ends up happening between different people in the sales world, what do you think is the most important thing for people to realize as an entrepreneur or somebody who’s in a sales role like you… Right, you’re panning up the phone, I’m sure you’re talking to a lot of different people, and sales is not an easy thing, so what… Give us some background there.
That’s a really tough question. Right, you can answer that so many different ways. I think part of it is knowing yourself, and you only know that through the process of trial and air, process and failure, understanding what your strengths are, how you work, how you work better with teams, and that’s really just something that comes with time and a lot of hard work.
I think if I could go back to your question, I think the most important thing is time. And an effort, right? So whether you are an entrepreneur or a sales person, you’re running against the clock all the time, and so number one, it’s working as hard you can for as long as you can, but more importantly, it’s being able to prioritize block scheduling and really say no to things, that are taken out the time that aren’t really gonna get you where you need to go, and that’s critical, that’s that break, ’cause a lot of people… I have this issue all the time in our business where it’s like, we have the podcast, we have sales development calls, we’ve got business development calls, we have operational calls, we have internal, and it’s like, Listen, if I’m the primary revenue generator on the company, I need to focus on things that are revenue-generating it so it can’t be ops, and so we basically develop the system here where I spend a little bit of time and of… But my primary goal is to meet people at a high level, do the podcast, do sales, diagnose things in people’s businesses and kinda drive that side of it forward. What has been your experience being entrepreneur, have you had to juggle the ops and operations and in the sales side of the business, or were you always just sales… Sales sales all day.
We were all over the place. I was doing the development work for the rewards card program, so doing the coding, a lot of the reports were forming, didn’t teach myself how to code, I had an awesome mentor who walked me to time doing all the analytics from all the card users and developing grass for that, to show what kind of repeat customers they had, what their demographic was as far as age, gender, that whole thing, what kind of products were going on, and so I was on the development side of that, but also was trying to connect with businesses to get them signed up for the program as well, right?
You can be coding well into the night or over three or four days straight, and you can make a lot of progress, but if you don’t get new people in the door, minor product and the development isn’t worthwhile. Right, right.
And then I think they say, an idea without money is just a hobby, right? That’s really what it comes down to it. It’s not a business at that point, that’s a good idea, that’s a hobby that people can do, but you have to have that revenue come in to funnel and drive through there to be able to push development forward, which operations, growth, sales, marketing, whatever it is.
So where was the bottom back that… Where do you see most bottlenecks now that you’re in the sales process with your day-to-day job, where do you see… Most people get longed up in sales.
Well, let me take a step back there, because if I could go back to myself and give myself advice, I would always prioritize the sales over the development work, because number one, the sales are gonna drive the revenue that brings in product for more development, right.
But more importantly, what I think I realize is if you’re developing all the time, you’re not getting as much feedback from the customers and actually creating a product that is tailored to what they need it, and 00%.
Also, the important thing is blocking the time, to make sure that your golden hours are dedicated to connecting with people as much as possible, and then when you’re not on those colors, those times where you can connect with people to make sales, that’s when you get the rest of this stuff on the non-revenue-generating type of things, I think that’s what a lot of young or inexperienced entrepreneurs or sales people do, and that’s true, you’re… You’re 100% right about that. And two different principals, brading 8020 role, Pareto, I guess, if you pronounce properly, and then also Parkinson’s law, which is like a sister or brother to a proper Nile a lot of people don’t know about… In Parkinson’s law states that the amount of time you have to do a task because the amount of time you will take to do it, so if I give you four hours to make sales calls, guess what, you’re gonna take four hours to do it. If I give you one hour to make the same number of sales calls, guess what, you’re still gonna do it, you will… It’s just the way it is. You’ll drag things out and you’ll expand your efforts to the amount of time that you’re giving to do a task, and the best way I can explain this to people, if you’re a solo printer or self-employed or anything, and you pay quarterly taxes, and I guarantee you on the 14th, which is in six days from now, everybody’s gonna start getting their tax paperwork together to file the 10, it’s always that last minute, but it’s gonna be done in one one day, it’s not gonna take weeks, you’re gonna wait the last mine in the… You’re gonna execute on it, you’re gonna get that done and it’s gonna be done really efficiently, so… Yes. Is there more stress involved with that kind of approach, leaving it to last minute… Yes, by ultra efficient. Same thing with your work, if you give yourself for a T10 every morning to make 00 sales calls, and guess what’s gonna happen, you’re gonna make 100 sales cost, you’re gonna force yourself to get there over and over again, but you have to be dedicated, so on that topic, with what you’re doing right now, what are you finding that people are responding best to know that everybody’s working from home and people are not in the OCS, are you finding its phone, LinkedIn, email, text, we calling them directly and leaving voicemails. Where are you seeing fracturing?
Yeah, it’s definitely been a change up for the past four months, I manage an outside sales team, so we have a bunch of reps who typically are able to go knock on doors, shake hands, introduce themselves, go to networking events, present in front of people, and that was literally stripped away in a couple of days, and all of a sudden we had to hop on the phone, and I think the phones and follow up on the phones are the most tried and true, but I also think that… I call it the 1-2-3 punch, where you’re not just calling, because think about it right now from anyone who owns a business, is this slightly stressful going through this time period.
Sure, and do you have any other people calling on you because no one can come into your front door, and every sales person is struggling to differentiate it, so getting calls in, being able to collect pertinent data without talking to this site, make the first time and being able to connect with them on LinkedIn, shoot them a follow-up email. Because if you don’t do that, you’re gonna get lost in the weeds very quickly that… For sure. And you have to have the system to where you have to have the process in place to be able to now, not like, Oh, we’re gonna knock on the store, we might send an email, or we might send a LinkedIn message. We might connect with them, we might find someone downstream of them in the company, you have to have like, no, we’re doing this procedure, these 10 steps for every person and we’re gonna repeat it over and over and over again because success leaves clues. And at the end of the day, if you have a procedure, an SOP, right, standard operating procedure that everybody’s doing, it will be replicable and system and high, so you get the results, you’re… Look, it’s interesting you bring that up though, because I think, Yeah, syntax, which is one of the companies we own, we specialize in B2B development and prospecting in our system, what we’ve put together is LinkedIn outreach, connect with those people, a message… Those people follow up on LinkedIn, take them off LinkedIn, go to email, go to tax, and go to voicemail. And we do that for every single prospect, and so we have a system in place where it’s… We’re doing those steps no matter what happens, the only reason we wouldn’t do them is you don’t have an email or don’t have a phone number, and so to your point, what’s the process that you guys have found successful now, are you finding that omni-channel approach where you’re going to multiple platforms better, or are you finding just like pure volumes, the number is the game right now… It’s a combination of both. I hate to give you a non-answer, but what you guys are doing, that’s right, is, is you hitting him from different angles, but it’s not just hitting them once and then going down a list, the volume is good, but it’s not the width of what you have is the depth… Do you know what I’m saying?
It’s a combination of that, but if you are calling a 1000 different people one time… We all know the statistics. I don’t know if your listeners know, but 80% of sales are made after the fifth contact… Yeah, right, it’s crazy. You’ve heard that before. So what you have to do is you have to utilize LinkedIn, text messages, emails to get all that pertinent information, so you can just consistently get the depth you need in that contact point until you get that decision maker, you deliver the value proposition, you ask it for the meeting and be in the meeting. I think this is the critical staff, there’s two parts of business to the sales process, right? They’re prospecting. It’s really three prospecting, sales and closing, those are kind of like the three piers and the prospecting part, which is really what we’re talking about. How do you get the meeting? People think like, Oh, I got the meeting, but you still left, that’s the start of it. You still have to actually do the sales, and then if you do that, you still have to close it, and so I think it comes down to, Can you steam roll through the front end of the process to get the appointment, and then Can you slow down and take it a methodical, that job job of kind of Stay in there, stay tight and make sure you don’t lose the deal, it’s high speed, high velocity, High Output upfront, but then when you get the five or six people that are interest, it’s like, Let’s slow it down and let’s hit them with a few different spots because that’s where we’re gonna actually get to get the deal done, so from your experience, ’cause you have these outside guys on your team… What’s the piece of advice that you give them to be successful? What is a common Indo-EMS you’re seeing for the guys who really kill it, set a daily goal and hit it no matter what.
And what do those look like for you guys? What is a goal on outbound activity, is it based on… How do you… Give me an example of the goal…
Well, each person is different because people have different goals and you can’t coach every single person in the same way, one of my guys, you wanna be able to set two meetings and in the morning… Right, so you Bacall to how many calls you have to make to do. So another one of my guys wants to focus on his radio of calls to meeting set.
So for example, you can call 100 people and get one meeting, but if you get more fish on the phone and change a couple of variables and you get down the 40 calls per meeting, now all of a sudden you have a little bit more of a machine and we have more detailed discussions on, alright, what are those variables that we can change and is it the list that we’re calling, is it the value proposition that we’re delivering to that list… Right, is that the people were calling, what time we are?
There’s a lot of different things that you can concentrate on. What you identify… That goal for the day.
Yeah, and that’s, I think an important part to talk about a lot of Pinga Cardone says this, right? He says, Before you can be good, you have to be frequent, and that’s totally true, and you can’t be a wizard at moving through the sales process, if you’ve done two calls it, you gotta do 10000 calls, 100000 calls where you’re sitting here and say, Okay, we do this, we do this, do we? Okay, that works. Let’s do that again and again. And you have thousands and thousands of times. So you get the data like you say, to be able to pick out, we’re good here, we’re terrible here, this part could use a lot of improvement, so let’s focus on what we’re bad at, flip that around, and all of a sudden you got a smooth machine going forward. What about for you guys, what do you see that coding for most people? Is it in the prospecting area, is it enclosing, is it in actually setting appointments, where do you find most people struggle as prospecting, setting employments in think about it, how many people would love to get a prospect brought to them, they understand the product and they can walk through, they can talk about features benefits, offer a price, and that’s it, but actually going out there creating something cold or nurturing that relationship to generate the net news is absolutely the most challenging piece for my team and a lot of other sales people out there, and I think people think about it just too short-term, to think about it about one call, gosh, I did a 100 calls and they’re gonna leave the nothing… No, every single call you make, you are creating a connection and you wanna create a web of of every single call, like you said, with the link that connections. Who else do they know? And eventually, as you go, do those 10000 activities, as you said, the web starts to connect and you start to get well-known, you start to generate opportunities, relationships, and that’s how it really goes. I think if you have… I’m sure you see this in every entrance tremors like me or like this, where you start to succeed about it, you start to see as something and you’re like, Alright, what’s the next thing?
But I would challenge anyone to, at least in the sales realm, can you start to get good at that PAs and say, Should I change and do something else? Or Should I double down on what I’m doing? And I come… And people like to jump to it, that’s the biggest thing, is like, Oh, let’s do that, or, Oh, let’s do that, or they see success with somebody else, I think that’s the thing that they need to be… To get the deal done.
So you’re right, when you get something that’s working, replicate, replicate, replicate, and be humble and be focused to be able to say, Okay, I got this little piece work and let’s build the gears, let’s put the machine together over and over again, so that we can actually scale it not, Oh, we got to the 50-yard line, let’s go run the other way, or let’s go run it, let’s go somewhere else where you’re right there, just replicate and replicate and replicate, and also, I think you have to have empathy with the customer to know what’s working to have that actual connection with them, but you also have to have an understanding, like a high level mentality of what you’re doing, you gotta be able to kinda step out of your body and look down on yourself and say, These are the things that I’m doing that are working, and a lot of people don’t know why things work or don’t work, they just go, Oh, it’s working, but I have no idea why. I don’t know what’s working is just something’s working, and if you can’t step away and go back towards it, that’s dangerous, because you are not gonna have an opportunity to actually scale that skill.
So when you’re training, what do you recommend people to do once they find that one thing… Yeah, so going back to what you just said, a way to be able to step outside of yourself, ’cause that is so incredibly important, you can sprint all day long and realize at the end of the day you’re going the absolutely wrong direction. Right.
So having a mentor, having a good coach, having someone to guide you is really important number one, number two, having scheduled reviews to slow yourself the heck down and self-evaluate are incredibly important.Weekly reviews. So what we do, and has gone very effective, as we do quarterly reviews, Monteverdi weekly reviews, but they have different topics… Right, sure.
Look at the progress from quarter to quarter, and then each month we actually have goals, personal goals that we want to attain, then each week, it’s just broken down into the sub-goals of what we need to adjust, what to be hit, what do we not hit as far as activity, call volume, meeting set and everything along those lines, and so taking the time to pause and really understand what we’re doing, what’s working, what’s not, what we need to adjust on a weekly basis helps make those incremental shifts, so the boats always… Not ever too far. Of course, per se.
Right, you get those slight crack, those 10-degree connections, not the, Hey, we gotta turn their ship totally around ’cause you’re going the wrong direction, right. And those course corrections, like you said, if you can do those day-to-day, week-to-week, month a month, as opposed to just every quarter every year, it’s gonna be a lot more effective. It’s like, it’s like, Oh, we’re gonna go… But if you just hit crappy shots all year and then next year go, Oh, let’s start looking at what I’m doing wrong, if you had a whole year of the wrong Skill or that you’ve learned incorrectly, same thing with sales. You have to finesse it after each call and go, What went wrong there, which piece can be improved, and ultimately that’s a piece that I think you have to do that course correction on, so for you guys break down, I like to get the podcast fairly short, but break down what you’re doing right now with the products and services that you guys sell directly to the audience and understand that, and then give us a website or an email or phone number or something, so that people can reach out to both you and the people on your team, if that makes sense for that.
Yeah, with about what we’re doing is we’re selling payroll services technology to small to medium-sized businesses, nonprofits, restaurants, obviously, restaurants are hurting very much right now as far as this covid thing is going, but we do a lot of construction companies as well, time clock, digital onboarding all sorts of paperless products for these vertices, you can always reach me at 216-210-4467. my emails, J Donovan, CMPA dot com, and our website is prime pay dot com.
Yeah, I appreciate you having me. And the main thing about this is, I’d love to look at this podcast as a way to broadcast the potential sales candidates, you know what I mean? If you’re looking at people and listening to the content that you have, you bring a lot of great content to the table, and if anyone’s listening really resonates that with stuff… I think that they would be interested in something that we do as well.
Yeah, no, absolutely, and I think you guys are serving the audience that’s needed most to your point it small and medium businesses in the United States are a huge part of it. I know they’re from a capital standpoint or a market cap standpoint, they’re the top 500 companies on probably the bottom 90%, but in terms of volume and people that are employed, self-employed, small business, under 25 employee companies, there’s a ton of them. Yes, a lot of them are hurting right now, but at the of the day, things like payroll and technology and core services that are basically built into their business that they can work on with you are huge, because at the end of the day, people will either hire a full-time person to do some of these skills and have a big expense there, that’s not performance-based, right, because they’re just… You’re trained time for dollars, or you can go and outsource a portion of those skills, where for a fraction of the cost of having a full-time person, you can get the deal done right, you can get the actual skills, the payroll work that you guys are doing.
Done properly, but then you actually never have to worry about it ’cause it’s step input out, but it’s like the revolving door, it happens every single day without failure, so if you’re interested, check them out, I really appreciate your time and John, and this was super… It’s nice to have somebody who’s in sales on the podcast, we have a lot of entrepreneurs that they’re not sure about the sales process, but you having the entrepreneurial focus, the sales experience, and then the management experience on the top of it makes for a killer episode. So holiness was good energy for everybody. I really appreciate your time and thank you so much for coming on the show. Thanks for having you, sire.
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