EFP 161: Building And Scaling Sales Teams

Justin Cooke August 11, 2016

No matter what kind of entrepreneur you are or plan to be, improving your sales chops will be critical to your success.

We’re not talking the slimy salesman on the used car lot or the boiler room type shouting “Rico!!!” when he’s got a hot lead on the line.

No – we’re talking about passionately explaining your product or service to almost anyone that will listen.

And that’s not always potential customers. Whether you know it or not, you’ll be putting on your sales hat when you deal with:

  • Vendors – Trying to get a better deal on needed goods/services
  • Partners – Getting them onboard, negotiating deals
  • Hiring – Selling potential employees on the benefits of working with you
  • Employees – Selling your team on the vision you’ve laid out

In this episode, we bring our good friend Damian Thompson back onto the podcast to discuss building out sales teams. We cover issues like hiring, compensation, training, and management.


Check Out This Week’s Episode:

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Topics Discussed This Week:

  • Hiring Process
  • Compensation
  • Training
  • Sales Tips


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“Sales is the transfer of enthusiasm.” – Damian – Tweet This!

“The way you onboard an employee is the window to the soul of your organisation.” – Damian – Tweet This!

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Justin:                                   Welcome to the Empire podcast episode 161. It really doesn’t matter what kind of online business you have, sales is always critical to your success. Today we talked to our good friend Damien Thompson about the sales process, building sales teams, and compensation plans that actually work. All right, let’s do this.

Speaker 2:                           Sick of listening to entrepreneurial advice from guys with day jobs? Want to hear about the real successes and failures that come with building an online empire? You are not alone. From San Diego to Tokyo, New York to Bangkok, join thousands of entrepreneur and investors who are prioritizing wealth and personal freedom over the oppression of an office cubicle. Check out the Empire podcast. And now your hosts, Justin and Joe.

Justin:                                   If you’re an entrepreneur and struggle with sales in your business, you’re in a for a really, really tough time. Nobody you hire is gonna be able to talk with more enthusiasm or excitement about your business than you’re able to.

Joe:                                        Yeah, I think that’s really true. I mean you’ve got to get the process down at the very least in order to teach new people, unless you’re gonna hire a professional sales guy, which is probably a bad idea anyway.

Justin:                                   Oh, we’re gonna talk about the professional sales guy in this episode a little bit, this mythical unicorn that you and I discuss often. We say, oh, if we just hire this crazy expensive sales guy, that would fix the sales problems. Well, maybe not so much. And the truth is, you don’t have to be a sales expert to be an entrepreneur. It’s not like the only people that can become entrepreneurs are traditional B2B or B2C sales guys. But you’re gonna have to pick up some sales skills if you want to be an entrepreneur, there’s no question about that.

Joe:                                        Yeah, you need to learn some basic skills. And look, those sales skills are applicable in other places in your business, not just selling your product or services.

Justin:                                   I think that’s true. It doesn’t matter. Even if you’re listening to this podcast and you’re like oh, I don’t think sales necessarily apply to me. I have an affiliate site, or I have an FBA business, and sales aren’t really that important to me, we’re gonna kind of expand the definitely of sales throughout the episode. And we’re talking about things like vendor relationships. If you’re an FBA guy and you are ordering products, how do you sell them on terms? How do you sell them on giving you bulk discounts? If you’re dealing with affiliate managers, or you want to get better at pricing deals, or you’re working with partners, or you’re trying to sell employees on coming on board with you, I think these are the same kinds of sales skills that you’re gonna need to apply throughout the business.

And both you and I have had this kind of love, hate relationship with sales, right? I mean we kind of got our chops in the mortgage business, where we were selling mortgages, effectively. And then we worked for an internet marketing company where sales kind of dragged down the organization. They were a burden. The cost of sales were way too high. They, I think, overran at times operations, so we got kind of down on sales. We didn’t like their sales process, we didn’t like the team they were running, and things changed a bit for us and we’re like, ugh, we got a little down on sales.

And we do a lot of sales now, and it’s not just sales in the sense of having customers, it’s also selling employees, future employees, it’s also selling partners on deals we want to make. So there’s a lot of sales that’s involved.

Joe:                                        Yeah, I’ve definitely been part of multiple organizations, even before we met, Justin, that the sales piece was not only broken, but wound up bringing the company to its knees. And I think if you approach sales correctly, that can be avoided. But you’re right, sales it the lifeblood of the company, and it probably needs to be led by you, the founder, at least initially.

Justin:                                   All right, buddy, these are all things that are important, because these are things that we’re looking at right now with Empire Flippers. We’re looking to hire some sales people by the end of the year, we’re re-looking our profit share agreements for 2017, we already have something in place, but I think we can make it even better, both for us and our team. So these questions were kind of based out of our need to answer them in the near future, but I also thought it’d be really interesting for our listeners that either struggle with sales or are looking to expand their sales team, or have some agreements or partnerships they need to work on. Before we get into any of that though, buddy, let’s pay the bills with our featured listening of the week. What do you got for us?

Joe:                                        We’re talking about listening 40580. This is an AdSense, and affiliate site created back in October 2014. It’s basically one of those new sites that covers things like sports, technology, TV, cars, politics, definitely a man’s man’s kind of site, and would be interesting, but you don’t need to write the content yourself. There are contract content writers that are going to be coming over to the new owner. The current owner only spends about one to two hours a week on the business, and we have it listed for just over $84,000, and the net profit is just over $2,600 a month.

Justin:                                   Yeah, I was looking at the chart on this one, and I see it like page views. Well first off, I just mentioned that page views in March 2016 were through the roof, 11 million plus page views, and they dropped down to a more reasonable or manageable, 780,000 the next month, and around 840 the month after that. What’s the reasoning there? What’s going on?

Joe:                                        Yeah. I mean, whenever you have a new site that has this much content, the content is bound to go viral. And that won’t necessarily convert into more money, and that’s why you’ll see the big spike in traffic, but revenue and net profit stayed relatively level.

Justin:                                   It’s interesting that you say that it doesn’t convert to money. I’d imagine with a new site it typically would convert to more money, and if not, that viral traffic, at least the way the site is built, it’s not built to take advantage of viral traffic very well, it seems, right?

Joe:                                        Yeah, definitely maybe that’s an opportunity for some conversion rate optimization to go in there. But if you have one particular article that just happens to go viral, people click on that article and then click back, so you could have that kind of issue with this type of new set.

Justin:                                   I don’t know, I was just pitching it as weird, and you turn around and look at it an opportunity for a buyer, but just sell it. This is a sales episode, Joe, sell it, man. All right, buddy, enough about the featured listing of the week. Let’s get into the heart of this week’s episode.

Speaker 2:                           Now for the heart of this week’s episode.

Justin:                                   Really excited to have my good buddy Damien Thompson back on the show. Buddy, it’s been a while.

Damien Thompson:        It has been a while.

Justin:                                   Hey man. Tell me a little bit about what you’re doing, what you’re up to, and why our listeners should be listening to you today.

Damien Thompson:        Oh wow. Okay, sure. So they should listen to me ’cause I have the sexiest voice on podcast radio. Does that work? No? Okay. Yeah, so I’m a sales guy. I’ve been a sales guy for a long time. I’m currently the chief sales officer of a company called LeadFuze. We do prospecting software, we help automate people’s out bounds so they can find more leads. But I’ve been in software and service sales for, as Rob Walling would say, three decades. So it’s been 20 years of selling things and building sales teams, with a particular focus on smaller companies, so like agencies or startups, software companies, companies that a lot of times, the founder is the primary sales person and they’re looking to grow their team.

Justin:                                   So I wanted to do this podcast about sales, about building sales teams, because it’s a particular interest of Joe and I right now with the Empire Flippers, something we’re focused on. And I know that some in our audience are in that position too, but I was wondering about it, I was thinking to myself, let’s say there’s an FBA business owner, or there’s an ecommerce business owner out there and wondering, why do they need to be paying attention to sales? Why do they need to worry about sales teams? Is this an episode they should skip? I don’t think so. What are your thoughts on sales in general? What do sales encompass?

Damien Thompson:        Sure. I’m gonna give you the cliché answer, but cliches are cliches for a reason, and that’s, selling is everywhere. You sell all the time. You sell your ideas, you sell to your business partners. If you’re an FBA site, you’re gonna sell either your manufacturers, or if you’re a drop shipping company, you’re gonna sell your partners that could let you promote their product. So understanding how psychology works, understanding how to create win-win situations where you can get something to do, something that’s in your best interests, by framing it in their best interests, that’s selling to me.

And so it’s not just that prototypical knocking on doors or trying to screw a little old lady into a 1972 Corvette. So it’s about, how do you express ideas, and really I see sales as problem solving. It’s this idea that I work with people that have a problem, I help them solve that problem, I figure out what their problem is, I help them realize they have a problem, or, a lot of times, they know they have a problem but don’t realize there’s an answer, I help them understand if there’s an answer. And sometimes there’s not, and I think that’s the biggest … I’m very proud of my profession, I love it. I could have done anything and I chose this profession, but what I don’t like is, it’s got a lot of negative connotations to it, and a lot of them are fair.

A lot of them are well earned, because people get into my profession and don’t treat it professionally. But one of the biggest changes over the last decade has been a real move to data and science and analytics and engineering process, and also an idea that isn’t just tricks, it’s a, I’m not for everybody. Love you and Joe, we’re very close friends, we’ve done a little bit of work in the past, but we’re not a good fit to work together, and haven’t been for years, so we don’t work together. We don’t try to twist it and make it so, hey, I got something I gotta sell. The idea saying, be able to walk away and saying no as a sales professional is much more accepted now than it was 10, 20 years ago, where your boss would be like, “Everybody’s a customer.” Well no, not everybody’s a customer, so knowing when to walk-

Justin:                                   So I’ve got blue suede shoes. I want people that are looking for blue suede shoes. I don’t want to pitch this person who’s looking for basketball sneakers or something. There’s not a good fit, why even bother spending time trying to sell them? It’s silly.

Damien Thompson:        Yeah. That’s a great example, I’d go farther though, that’s easy though. I mean you could probably handle most of that from inbound, ’cause now it’s, I’m looking for blue suede shoes, but what about the person that’s gonna go dancing, gonna go swing dancing this weekend, doesn’t know what he needs, but knows he needs to upgrade his wardrobe, your job as a sales professional is to go find those people and convince them that blue suede shoes would be the best thing to put on his feet when he wants to go out and impress the ladies on the swing dance floor, or whatever.

But that’s where sales comes in. So there’s a lot of confusion, and frankly it’s a lot of just words, but sales versus marketing, sales and marketing, what’s the difference between the two? A lot of times, to me, it’s about complexity of process. So if it’s something that can be automated to the nth degree, something you can do through messaging, through qualification, and do that hands off, that’s more of a marketing function, but marketing is sales, sales is marketing, but it actually requires some level of complexity, some level of human interaction, then generally I’ll put that into the sales camp.

Justin:                                   So let’s go back to the negative impression of sales. So you know our story [inaudible 00:10:30], and Joe and I, we got our chops selling back in the mortgage business, and then we ended up working for a company that had a real problem with sales, where sales people kind of took over the company and put us down a bad path and we’re overpriced, and just was really bad, and Joe and I had a fairly negative connotation of sales, and turned it around a bit, Joe is now basically heading up our sales for our company and doing well with it. So we’ve kind of been on both sides of it, but I think a lot of millennials, and I think a lot of 30 somethings are listening to this and just kind of, they have that negative impression of sales. They think of the used car salesman. Why do you think that impression is wrong? Because it’s not that way anymore, but it used to be? Where do they get that from?

Damien Thompson:        Yeah, I mean look, I think there’s always been … let’s talk about why people go into sales. One of the biggest problems with sales is, is there are very few people that actively made a decision to get into sales. It’s something they kind of were forced to do ’cause they owned a business, or it was the job they could get out of college. They went to college to get an art history degree and got out of college and they went and learned how to become an insurance sales person. But yes, a lot of the techniques, a lot of the training …

The problem with sales is, is most of the advice you get is bad. So it’s either contextually bad because they’re trying to get you to use something that worked 50 years ago or worked on a specific market, or it’s bad because they’re trying to sell you something themselves. It’s like all things. Let’s look at engineering. So if you were going to build a product, there is 100 different ways to build a product, 100 different software languages to use. There’s 100 different methodologies you can use. It’s exactly the same with sales. The difference is they take a more studious approach to picking it, which is what good companies are doing today in sales, too.

They’re saying, “Hey, we can now measure these things.” It’s no longer just that … like you said with your sales culture, and you’re right, I’ve seen sales cultures ruin an organization. But I’ve also seen engineering cultures ruin an organization, where they have this idea that hey, we just create this great product and it sells itself. That never happens, ever. If it did, [inaudible 00:12:30] would have been the VHS. Macs would have been the bigger operating system over Windows, blah blah blah.

The world is littered with a better technical product that did not win because it wasn’t marketed or sold the correct way. So now I think we’re getting better. One is, we have better analytics. We have better ways of seeing what works and what doesn’t work, but two, it’s a cultural difference, too. It’s also an understanding of what sales actually is. And I talk about the first big thing is this idea of finding a good fit, but the second part is, when I started out in sales, it was only 20 years ago, but when I started out in sales, you were expected to do all things.

So you’re expected to go out to find your prospects, go out and find leads, to sign them up, to then manage them ongoing to keep them, have good customers, to take care of their day to day problems, all the rest of that. There’s a couple problems with that. We’ve always known that there was generally two prototypical sales types, and this is not personality types, ’cause it’s all sorts. The stereotypical idea of a sales person is not correct. Yes, I happen to talk a little fast. I happen to be a little bit outgoing, but that doesn’t mean that I’m meant for this. I’m good at sales ’cause I’m analytical. That’s what I’m good at. But I’ve seen people very quiet be very successful. I’ve seen people very loud be very successful. And so-

Justin:                                   Yeah. Yeah, that’s totally true. There is this idea that you have to be an extrovert, and that’s not true at all. I’ve known introverts that are particularly good sales people.

Damien Thompson:        Yeah. I mean, Rob Walling is one of the best sales people I know. He would never call himself a sales person. He’d never call himself a marketer.

Justin:                                   Yeah, yeah.

Damien Thompson:        He’s very, very clever. He’s very good at it, ’cause he takes a very, very analytical … he takes an engineer’s approach to it, and understands that I’m not gonna win everything, and so I want to find the market that I can sell to and I’m gonna win more often than not, and I want to provide them with the tools and the information they need to make a buying decision. So there’s a lot of ways to do that, but the biggest thing is understanding that sales, to me, is really three things.

It’s lead generation, qualification. The second thing is, it’s customer acquisition. And the third thing is, it’s about retention, keeping customers longer. So there’s all these fancy words out there now for business development and account execs and customer success and all that, but the reality is they are three different functions, and generally three different personality types like them. I like the hunt. That’s what I like to do. I like to go out and win. I like to go out and go talk to new people that haven’t bought from me before and sell them something new. I’m not great at the ongoing. I’m not great at the account management. I’m not great at making sure that they’re getting the most out of it, and that is a key function in every business.

Justin:                                   It’s funny that you talk about account management as a sales role, and it is. There is a sales aspect to it in our question, and I think that’s where sales and customer service blends. I ran a customer service team at one point, and we had the bright idea … it was a bright idea, to go back after old customers that had been with us previously and to resign them up. We figured that’d be cheaper than trying to acquire them. We had our customer service team go after them, and our revenue per sales person was better than the sales team, much higher, like three times higher, and performing basically a customer service role, trying to find out what went wrong [crosstalk 00:15:28]

Damien Thompson:        But customer service is sales. Customer-

Justin:                                   Yeah, yeah.

Damien Thompson:        So I mean it is, it drive revenue. If it drives revenue in my world, it’s in the sales bucket. So the two biggest things is, it’s why I hate the term in sales, a lot of these outdated terms that I hate. I hate the word close, like I’m closing a deal, because you’re not closing, you’re actually starting your relationship with a customer. So it’s the beginning, not the end. So there’s a clear past there. That’s why I think if you look at them as individual functions … yeah, first function of kind of generating opportunity, generating leads, then there’s a baton pass to the account acquisition person.

That person’s job is to close the deal … see, I just used the bad term right there because it’s just so ingrained … but it’s to win the deal, to get success, or to lose the deal. So I like to call it the success stage, and a win or a loss is a success, ’cause there’s nothing worse than chasing someone who’s never gonna say yes to you. It makes you feel bad, it makes them feel bad, it makes you feel like a used car salesman, aluminum siding salesman, pestering them and calling them. So coming to a yes or no decision is that person’s job, and both are good.

Justin:                                   So I think we had a pretty good introduction on what’s sales, and we talked about an entrepreneur needs to worry about sales because they’re not just selling customers, they’re also selling their partners, they’re selling their vendors. There are sales in everything. So as an entrepreneur, you’re constantly selling. [crosstalk 00:16:40]

Damien Thompson:        They’re selling their first key employees.

Justin:                                   Yeah, yeah. [crosstalk 00:16:44] They’re selling them on the idea of the business and where you’re going. There’s also three steps. You talked about lead acquisition, you talked about customer acquisition, you talked about customer retention. So those are the three steps in the sales process, and that’s a lifetime value approach to customers, not just a, let’s get to the deal and that’s the final step. I think that’s an important way to view it.

But going back to the entrepreneurial perspective on sales, as an entrepreneur, when do you know you need to start hiring sales? What’s the lead in to that, where you’re like wow, I should start hiring a sales team or putting together a sales team?

Damien Thompson:        Okay, so everyone does this too early. So everyone thinks that they’re gonna go find the unicorn. They’re gonna find this mythical sales person that’s gonna come in and help them build their sales process, that’s gonna help them figure out how to sell their tool. That’s the wrong way to do it. If you are the founder, you are the chief sales person in that organization. So you need to go out, and you’re going to, just by force of cost, you’re going to have to land your first couple of deals, it’s just what’s gonna have to happen.

So while you’re doing that, you have to understand that even if you don’t consider yourself a sales person, you’re probably the best sales person your business is ever gonna have, ’cause no one’s gonna be more passionate than you are. No one’s gonna be more enthusiastic about what you do. And sales is the transfer of enthusiasm. And so no one’s gonna be able to match that. No employee is gonna match your commitment and drive and fervor in the business.

But what you need to do is you need to figure out what that process looks like. You need to define that sales process that you’re doing yourself, and then say okay, here’s the three, four, six, twelve stages that you have to take care of in total, right now I’m doing all 12, and start to say okay, when I’m ready to hire someone, I need to give them one or two of these phases, but be able to teach them exactly what that looks like.

Justin:                                   Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay, so in terms of the way that Joe and I talk about it in terms of on the podcast, there’s a marketing funnel, we call it top of marketing funnel all the way down to the bottom of marketing funnel, and we say the bottom of the marketing funnel is the top of the sales funnel, and it goes top to bottom of the sales funnel. And just thinking about it in those terms, let’s say that there’s 10 steps in the sales funnel, from top of the funnel to bottom, there’s 10 steps.

I can say, okay, I have defined the steps, I have written them down, I’ve gone through customer feedback on each of those steps, and I have a pretty solid process. Instead of just handing it off to my $150,000 a year super sales guy that’s gonna save the day, instead of doing that, I find two steps early on in the process, let’s say, and train someone to do that piece, not the entire sales process?

Damien Thompson:        Absolutely correct, and this is gonna go really well with your methodology very strongly, and SOPs and training and onboarding, and that’s exactly the way to do it. So what you do, is you keep the higher value, lower time expense for yourself to yourself. [crosstalk 00:19:24] So maybe someone comes in that does the lead qualification piece. They filter out the hundreds and turn them into the tens. So that’s not a great use of your time as a CEO. The better time would be, maybe you’re still on all of the sales calls.

And then eventually what you do is, you have someone come in and actually drive the sales process as well, and maybe you’re doing it, or maybe you keep the sales calls and you have someone else come in and do the account management process, the customer success process, and then you keep the middle until you’re big enough to actually afford to have someone take that entire funnel. But yeah, look at it in phases, and then start to outsource it. And I say outsource, I mean to internal employees, to third parties, whatever, but have someone else do that other than yourself, the higher activity, lower yield.

Justin:                                   Yeah, so that’s a lot. I’m digesting. So okay, so Joe and I used to talk about this, and he used to say, “We’re definitely not hiring that $150,000 sales guy. That’s just not gonna happen.” And both of us were on board with that. And-

Damien Thompson:        But no one should do that. No one should do that.

Justin:                                   And in terms of taking over pieces, documented pieces of the sales process, I’m just having him do that rather than hiring this overall sales person, we’re actually going through that right now. Instead of hiring a sales person, we were thinking about hiring an onboarding team. It’s basically an onboarding … and all they do, their entire job is to, yeah, basically work top of funnel leads, and the introduce them to our company, make them comfortable with our process, that’s it. They’re not selling anything, and just have them start there.

Now maybe they can work their way down the funnel over time, but we want to have them start there. And like you said, I’d rather have them deal with the very, very top of the sales funnel, people that have heard of us or thinking about doing business with us, or maybe, and have them deal with them, rather than the nitty gritty negotiation on a $500,000 deal. I don’t want them working out the details on that from the get go, that’s a bad idea.

Damien Thompson:        Yes, you’re doing it exactly right. That’s exactly what you should do. And again, it doesn’t have to be … if you have a one to ten step sales process, I’m not saying you let someone else do one, then two, then three. It might make sense for them to do steps one and two and also nine and ten.

Justin:                                   So let’s talk about inside versus outside then a bit, because I see how this all works internally. I am not at all convinced that you can outsource this to a third party that just does this. I mean is it the same thing?

Damien Thompson:        So let’s just clarify some terms here. So when you say inside and outside to sales, you’re still talking about people that work in the company, generally.

Justin:                                   Yes.

Damien Thompson:        The difference is, just inside means everyone’s in the same place or they’re internal, they’re not actually out in the field. Outside sales would be someone who’s actually out in the field, going and seeing customers face to face. So the reality is there’s far, far fewer of that these days, because planes are expensive, and businesses are expensive, and also customers don’t buy this way that often. Unless you’re selling big ticket items to big companies, but even then, they’re distributed teams. So you’re talking to the IT manager who’s in Schenectady, and you’re talking to the purchasing team who’s in Dallas, so it doesn’t really make as much sense with the technology advances, with go to meeting, and Uber conference, these sort of things.

Justin:                                   Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Damien Thompson:        You kind of do it from inside, [crosstalk 00:22:13]

Justin:                                   Okay, let’s-

Damien Thompson:        … you mean outsourcing versus insourcing.

Justin:                                   Yes, yes. Let me scrap the inside versus outside sales. I’m talking about outsourcing your sales team. So I’m on board with everything. So we have a ten step sales process, we bring someone on, either internally we hire them and they work for our company, and they do two steps of the process, they’re the onboarding team, or there’s a third party company that says that they’ll understand your business and they’ll allow you to take their employees and they will do that job, they can scale up for you, they can basically run that piece of the sales process for you. And what’s the difference between outsourcing it and hiring yourself?

Damien Thompson:        Okay, so great question. So I’ll say outsource sales, it’s a nirvana. It’s something that people want to have happen, because I’ve never seen it work from beginning to end. What you can see some success, is if you can be really clear about what they’re doing. Like maybe you have them doing outbound lead gen for you. But again, I love the idea of distributed teams to lower your internal costs, but they’re still team members. The same way that I think very rarely do you see outsource support … let’s talk about tech support for a second.

You’re almost always better off keeping that in house when you can, so lowering your burden by you doing knowledge bases and FAQs and stuff like that, but no one is gonna be … third party contractors, they’re mercenaries. They’re mercenaries. They’re not part of the team. They don’t have your culture, they have their company culture, and they can say all the great in brochures about how they’re gonna understand you and they’re gonna be an extended part of your team. Well, that’s great, that’s messaging. That’s not reality.

Justin:                                   So, buddy, that’s what we’re finding. So we’ve used a third party team to do live chat support, and they don’t do any customer service. It’s basically a sales tool. And it’s just not … I don’t love it. They don’t have our culture, they don’t understand exactly where they’re coming from. Yes, they can kind of get people to talk to the right people, that’s somewhat helpful, but I’m sure we could do a much better job with our own team, which is one of the reasons why we’re looking to switch over to that.

So yeah, I mean we’ve gone that route a little bit, and it hasn’t been wonderful. And you’re right. By the way, you’re absolutely right in terms of that’s the nirvana, that would be the crazy valuable thing. This company previously, I worked for a company where we tried to outsource some sales, and I ran an outsourcing company in the Philippines at one point, and we tried some sales, and oh my God, if we could have made it work, it would have been ridiculously valuable, but of course, it failed. Now, some of the lead gen stuff, appointment setting, that can happen, I’ve seen it work to where that does work, but even that’s somewhat rare.

Damien Thompson:        It’s not gonna be as good. The thing is, if it was something that was like hey, do steps one through twelve and then magically a customer agrees to buy or even to say yes to a meeting, that’d be great. You could outsource that, but that’s not how it really works. How it really works is, they send out a cold email, or they cold call, or they get in front of them somehow and try to book them a demo or a meeting or a sales call. That customer’s gonna have questions, and if the person’s not full time in your team, understands, lives and breathes you, they’re not gonna be able to ask those questions, they’re not gonna be comfortable of how they get the answer, they’re not gonna know who to talk to, and you [inaudible 00:25:16].

Live chat’s a perfect example, is you’ve seen a lot of companies that were built kind of this idea of hey, our customers want 24 by 7, we’ve got one internal live chat person, but let’s go ahead and use an outsource company for [inaudible 00:25:29]. But the level of response people get is actually a negative. You’d be better off not responding to them, than responding to them in either … never actually answer a question, so it’s always like, I don’t know, we’ll get back to you. What’s the difference between that and actually just having that on your website? I don’t know, we’ll get back … leave a question. [crosstalk 00:25:49]

Justin:                                   We’re exactly there right now, and we’re thinking the exact same thing. I’ll add to that. I’m gonna pile on here. Here’s the other thing. A lot of times, you’re gonna use that for top of funnel communication, ’cause that’s the easiest to do. Look, I want to make sure I’m touching the most amount of customers. Now you have a negative experience touching a higher amount of customers. That seems like a pretty bad situation to be in, and that’s kind of where we found ourselves with that. So that’s not ideal at all. So yeah, I’m with you on that.

Let’s get into … so for an entrepreneur listening to this, I mean that $150,000 sales person that’s gonna save the day is a unicorn, outsource sales in terms of them, even taking over piece by piece, it happens and can work, but it’s pretty rare. It’s almost a unicorn, it’s a platypus or something. You’re not gonna see them every day.

Damien Thompson:        Tasmanian devil. [inaudible 00:26:34]

Justin:                                   Yeah, you’re not gonna find them very often. Let’s get into this though, in terms of hiring process. So I’m an entrepreneur, I’ve documented my process, I am a bit overworked in terms of handling the entire sales funnel, but I’ve got it documented, I think I can hire for two steps in the process. How do I go about hiring? What’s in the position that would be attractive to a potential sales person?

Damien Thompson:        Okay, so let me give you some caveats first. So here’s the problem with what you said to me, and what I tell everyone who talks to me about hiring. You’re not gonna be able to … so the idea that, hey, I’m overworked, I need to hire someone? Well, here’s the bad news. The bad news is … here’s the good news. [crosstalk 00:27:10]

Justin:                                   It gets worse before it gets better.

Damien Thompson:        Absolutely. It’s [inaudible 00:27:12] days though. I mean not just short term, for quarter, for the full thirteen weeks, you’re gonna be adding more work to your calendar. So that [crosstalk 00:27:20]

Justin:                                   So I’m going through that with Joe right now, where I’m like, “Joe, you’re overburdened on this. We need to start passing some of this stuff on.” And he’s really resistant to the fact, because he knows he’s looking at two to four months of grueling training, getting these people up to speed and all that. So we’re very aware that it gets worse before it gets better. But the whole idea is, it does get better at some point. So let’s say that I’ve realized that I know that I want to start hiring. What’s the difference in a job ad for a sales person versus an operational person, let’s say?

Damien Thompson:        I mean, I subscribe to the fact that not a whole lot should be different, ’cause I think both of them should be pretty sexy. I don’t care what you’re hiring for in your organization, you better sell. You better sell why they should work for you, especially if you’re not Silicon Valley where you’re gonna offer them the magical lottery ticket stock options and silliness like that, or they’re not in a high, crazy demand like engineers that get signing bonuses or something like that. If you can’t offer things like that, then reality is that it’s gonna come down to them wanting to be a part of your team, and them being part of your team comes down to how well you can display your vision of why they should come with you.

So for me, excitement generally is growth. The business is growing, which means it’s gonna be more opportunities, and also your personal growth. We’re gonna help you grow from where you are today to where you’re going. Especially with the younger workforce. The younger workforce, they know. They know that lifetime employment is a scam. You know we’re the last generation of still kind of thinking maybe [crosstalk 00:28:48]

Justin:                                   We saw it. We saw where it did happen, and we’re [crosstalk 00:28:50]

Damien Thompson:        Through our parents, right, we saw it through our parents, but still, there was this kind of maybe glimmer that maybe the right company would do it. So realizing, hey, companies don’t care about you. You’re a number on a spreadsheet to them. And so these kids know that. They know that inherently, and so they know that it’s a tour of duty for them. They’re gonna go work for you for a couple years. What can you get out of them, but also what can they get out of you? And so you definitely want to position that as, look, I’m gonna give you all the tools to be successful, gonna pay you a fair wage, gonna give you these wonderful benefits, but on top of that, we’re gonna help you grow. We’re gonna help you figure out, you’re here today, you want to go here 10 years from now, how can we be the most positive step for you to take in order to get your medium longer term goals?

Justin:                                   Okay, so you do the same thing in operations, right? You’re showing growth for them, you’re showing growth for the company, you’re talking about opportunity, I get it. One of the things that’s challenging with hiring sales people is like, if I’m hiring a developer, do you know Ruby on Rails? Great. Show me. You know what I mean? There are hard skills that are easy to point to. This is a bad … I don’t like this description, but selling is a soft skill. Connecting to people is a soft skill. What characteristics can you look for? How do you ask around that in an application? How do you make that pop out to you when they’re applying for the position?

Damien Thompson:        Well so it kind of depends. So I’m gonna push back a little on your engineering example there though. So that’s great. Do you understand Ruby on Rails? Does Joe?

Justin:                                   No, no, no. No. [crosstalk 00:30:06] For us in particular, no, no, no. But we’ll bring someone on board that does. We don’t hire developer anyway, ’cause we suck at it and we failed [crosstalk 00:30:12]

Damien Thompson:        But that’s my point. My point is that whenever you’re hiring for skills that you don’t have, it’s tough. So if you’re an engineer hiring for Ruby, great. But if you’re a sales person hiring for a sales person, you’ve got some skills there. But when you’re not hiring for that skill, it is tougher. But I would say that you absolutely can. It depends. It depends on what the role is for sales, but generally they’re gonna fall into one or two categories. You’re looking for someone experienced at something, someone who’s gonna come in and have some experience to bring in ads to the table. Well in that case, you talk about experience. Give me an example of this. Give me an example of when you’ve done this.

This is what we think the challenges of the role will be. What do you think they’ll be? But I think even better than that is, if we’re gonna take this, break it down to phases and stages of the sale, is we’ll importantly say, “Hey, here’s the attitude and the aptitude we’re looking for. We’re gonna train you the skills.” And so I suggest to people that you guys, when you define what those top of funnel things are, this is another reason why there’s so much work involved, because you have to define those things, how you train them. I’ve had a lot of success with hiring people without a lot of sales experience, but come in with a hunger to learn, come in literally ambitious, that are willing to do the work, but this is the second part of bad news, especially in sales more than anything else.

If you’re gonna hire a sales person, especially if it’s a new position in your company, you gotta hire two. And the reason you gotta do that is because if you hire one and it doesn’t work out, there’s too much leeway to be, oh maybe it’s you’ve got the process wrong, maybe there’s [inaudible 00:31:29]. If you hire two and one of them has success, the other one doesn’t, then you know it’s a personnel problem.

Justin:                                   Yeah, you don’t [crosstalk 00:31:35] want to not know that and be six months or nine months or twelve months away from figuring it out.

Damien Thompson:        It’s very expensive. [crosstalk 00:31:44] just a lost opportunity cost there, yeah.

Justin:                                   When we’re interviewing for sales people, it’s easier for me to get a feel for their skills, because they need to sell you a bit on getting the job and why they’re a good fit, that makes more sense. It’s harder for me to do that in the application process where it’s just-

Damien Thompson:        Here’s the problem with hiring sales people. It’s that strength becomes the biggest weakness when you hire them. The other reason [inaudible 00:32:01] too is, you just don’t know. Your favorite quote unquote applicant of the pool will come in, and they just won’t do the work, just won’t pick up the phone 50 times a day, won’t send the emails, won’t follow up in a timely manner, won’t put the effort into learning your service or product better, not good enough, that they can actually become a little mini authority in it and actually demonstrate that they actually know what they’re talking about and can have expertise.

And so you just don’t know how much … it’s with all employees. You just don’t know until they show up. And so with sales, it’s harder, but yet so focused on the end goal being revenue. It’d be like if you hired an engineer and said, “Hey, your goal is to rewrite our code in six months,” and you just kind of left them alone for six months, and then the code wasn’t rewritten. You’d be like, “Oh, you suck, you’re fired.” You would never do that. You’d have these little mini ideas, but we don’t do that with sales. We take this, we say, oh, hands off management. No, that’s lazy management. You can’t be a lazy manager, especially in sales.

So what you need to say, “Hey, here’s where we want to get to, and we think in order to get there, these are the behaviors you’re gonna have to display, and these are the activities you’re gonna have to do on a daily, weekly, monthly basis, and we’re gonna measure you to activities at first until you start having revenue success. And when we have revenue success, fantastic. We’ll start backing off and we’ll start picking a bigger, wider view of what you’re doing, but at first, I want to see the activity. I want to see [crosstalk 00:33:17]

Justin:                                   So that’s interesting. We’re gonna get into that, ’cause I want to talk about training. So measuring activity pre revenue before they get their teeth cut on some deals, that’s not a bad way to do it. We’re gonna talk about that. I like your approach of hiring several … I mean our plan for our sales people, we like to do this in general with hiring. Even when we’re hiring operations, we like to hire two. It’s always beneficial. But there’s something that bugs me about the idea of hiring five, keep two. I understand testing the process, so we’re gonna do two, and if one doesn’t work, then we stick with the one that does, but is it a fair strategy in sales to hire ten people and-

Damien Thompson:        No.

Justin:                                   … plan to keep two or three?

Damien Thompson:        No. You’re a horrible company if you do that. So I’m not saying that. This is not, throw you against the wall, see what sticks. I’m saying-

Justin:                                   This is just test the process. Yeah, yeah, I get you.

Damien Thompson:        No. No. No. I’m saying you hire five, you probably keep four, I think is ideal.

Justin:                                   Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Damien Thompson:        So I did this last year for a company in Austin. We built from zero to twelve employees in 12 months, and we did two rounds of BDR hiring, and that was the success rate. Hire five and four of them stuck around, because that fifth just wasn’t a good fit, didn’t do the work, whatever it happens to be. And it doesn’t mean they’re bad people, it just means that it wasn’t a good fit, and you don’t know that-

Justin:                                   Yeah, sure.

Damien Thompson:        … until you get in there. And ’cause also, candidates have happy years. You can tell them … and this happens all the time. You tell them, “Hey, this is how hard it’s gonna be.” And you have three interviews with them. You tell them, “This is what the challenge is gonna be. This is the biggest challenge we have. This is the biggest challenge we have.” They get in there a week, they’re like, “Oh my God, I didn’t realize this was gonna be this big a challenge.” ‘Cause they were in the yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah phase, ’cause they wanted to get a job. Now they’re in the job, they feel more comfortable, and now all of a sudden you start seeing some true colors come out.

And so I’m not saying you … you should never hire five and keep two. That means you’ve done something wrong in your hiring process, you’ve done something wrong in your sales process, something else. But yes, you’re gonna lose one, because there is no long term commitment to you. They’re gonna take the job, then a new job is gonna pop up and [crosstalk 00:35:00]

Justin:                                   Yeah, and find some other opportunity. Okay, so yeah, there was something icky, something wrong about the throwing people against the wall and see what sticks. I don’t mind doing that with projects, like test projects, but yeah, hiring ten and hoping to keep two, it just seems … there’s something wrong about that. And honestly, that’s quite a waste of resources and the company’s time. If you’re planning to hire ten sales people and only keep two, you’re putting a lot of time, effort, and energy into those other eight. Wouldn’t it be better-

Damien Thompson:        Right. You’re a shitty general if your military strategy is to throw body at a machine gun nest. That’s not a good [crosstalk 00:35:32]

Justin:                                   Well if it’s enough bodies, Damien, right?

Damien Thompson:        No. That’s the analogy, right? So yes, you’re right, you probably will acclaim your objective, but how much wasted life will you have? And the same with jobs. You don’t want that. It sucks firing people. It sucks letting people go, and no one wants to do that, so yeah, that’s not a good strategy.

Justin:                                   So this is a good lead in to compensation, which I want to talk about a little bit. I’ve seen companies where their idea is, look, these guys bring in sales. They don’t bring in sales, they don’t get paid. Why don’t we make them commission only? So we’re making them commission only, we’re not gonna put a great training process around it, ’cause I don’t want to spend a lot, not just money, but I don’t want to spend a lot of time, effort, and energy on the sales people either. Let’s just bring them in. If they sell, they stay, if they don’t sell, they go away. And that seems like the throw the people against the wall strategy. But not all [crosstalk 00:36:17] commission only strategies are that way, are they?

Damien Thompson:        Yes they are, and that’s even worse than that, ’cause you just answered your question, which is, here’s what happens … I just, funny enough, answered this question in the sales forum this morning … hey, I’m thinking about doing a commission only, and this is the problem with that. Here’s what you signal to the market when you do that. You signal not only do I not have confidence in you as a sales person, you signal that I’m not willing to put the time and effort into actually getting this right.

Justin:                                   Yeah, I’m weak. That seems like a really weak position to do as a company.

Damien Thompson:        So what kind of candidates do you think you get when you send the signals out there? The best? The cream of the crop? The people that want to come, that really come crushing it? Of course not. And also, this idea of … so some of the highest paid sales jobs in the world are quote unquote commission only. High level commercial real estate, your people that sell jets, like big medical equipment salesmen, but that’s not exactly correct. ‘Cause if you go work for an MRI machine company, and Johnson and Johnson, you’re selling these big machines, and it takes two years to sell these sale cycles. The reality is, the company is giving you a draw every month. They’re paying you [crosstalk 00:37:11]

Justin:                                   Yeah, I was gonna say, I actually-

Damien Thompson:        … a month.

Justin:                                   Let’s talk about that. So I like the draw, both on the sales person side. I like the idea of draw, especially with a long sales cycle. So I like the idea of a draw. And for anyone listening to this who doesn’t know what a draw is, let’s say that you have a six month or nine month or eighteen month sales cycle for your two million dollar sale. The idea is you’re gonna be paid a minimum, kind of a base. So let’s say your draw is $3,000 a month, or $2,000 a month, or $5,000 a month, or whatever it is, you’re paid that.

When you finally get your commission, it’s taken out of that draw. So you’ve been paid $50,000, your commission was $160,000, you make the difference, because you’ve been paid that money up front.

Damien Thompson:        Yeah, so I think it’s a fine model, but I think the more important thing here is what you just said, which is, the biggest thing people get wrong with compensation is, you have to align compensation, not just the monetary amount, but you have to align the payment schedule and the objectives and what you expect from them, the expectations, based on the sales cycle itself. So if your business is a one or two call success cycle, you’re gonna get maybe yes or no after one or two calls, then giving someone an annual target is a mismatch there.

The same way that if your average sale cycle is three to four months and giving someone a monthly commission is a mismatch as well, so you have to align your average sales length with your commission or with your payment. And so a lot of times, it really starts solving itself. You want to pay people at least monthly, if not twice a month. So if you pay them monthly and it’s a three month sale cycle, then you pay them a lower monthly base, and then at the end of the quarter you size up and you go through a draw, you have base plus commission, you give them a target, you give them all that.

What I don’t suggest is, thinking about the draws and all that, that works really well when you want to pay them on a percentage of sales. I think as you grow though, that model isn’t the best model, because what you’d rather do … the problem with the percentage of sales approach is, is that if you aren’t managing that team very well, it can kind of ease in this weird idea of, hey, it’s okay I’m coasting this month, this quarter, ’cause I’m only getting paid what I kill anyway. Whereas if you set a target for them, you can make that target based on, hey, Q1 last year we did this number of sales. We’re farther along, you’re farther along, we expect you to do 150% of last year’s sales, and if you do that, here’s your bonus. [crosstalk 00:39:31]

Justin:                                   We had a conversation, this is pre [inaudible 00:39:35], it was like a month ago, or two months ago or something, we talked about our compensation structure. I was gonna do a podcast on that. I never actually published that. We didn’t record it ’cause it was too numbers focused and it sounded weird, but I talked to you about having these targets and adjustments to our compensation program to match that. And so we are gonna make some of the changes we talked about, but part of that involves a collaborative versus a competitive sales environment. So we’re very collaborative focused. We want the sales team to work together, and not to compete. But that’s not best for every business. In some businesses, a competitive sales environment is better. In what situations is a collaborative better than competitive, or competitive better than collaborative, in your opinion?

Damien Thompson:        So I think market size is a big deal with it. So for example, if you look at the big copier companies, Xerox and Ricoh, those. Not only do they have a very competitive sales nature internally, they actually have different divisions inside their business that compete with each other. So they’ll have a channel division that works with channel partners doing business, they’ll have a direct sales team, and then they’ll have a large account team. All three of those teams internally compete with each other, because what happens is, that market is so big, there’s so many competitors, and the deals are so hard, that they know that they need to sharpen that steel in order to win.

So that works for them. Also they’re big, they’re huge, and they’re making billions of dollars, they can afford to do that. They can afford for their individual reps to only hit … only 60% of them are hitting target, because when they’re hitting target, they’re crushing it. That doesn’t work for most smaller businesses. It also doesn’t work for a lot of 21st century businesses, to be honest. I mean, I like the collaborative nature, but again, it comes to … if you want sales, all people should be aligned. Everyone in your company, for culture’s sake, everyone should be aligned, but for sales specifically, when you’re paying someone based on their performance and it’s such an easy kind of correlation to draw between how they get paid.

Every other job, there’s some politics involves, and I don’t care how small of a company you are. If you’re a 10 person company, you’ve got two people on support, yeah, you can look at things like average ticket time and all that other stuff, but the reality is, their performance is gonna come after your feelings about that person. In sales, it’s much more cut and dry. Hey, I really like Sue over Bob, but man, Bob is doing three times [crosstalk 00:41:45] the revenue Sue is doing. And so because of that, that nature of those people too, you really have to make sure your time compensation and measurement to the overall company goals.

The other thing about sales is, is they are the forward line of your company. They are your brand ambassadors. Your support people, sure, they’re very important from a customer success point of view, very important from account management, from client relationships, but that’s people that already have a relationship with you. So there’s a history there, whereas your sales team, they’re the forward face of that. They’re the first people that people are learning about who you are from them. So you want to make sure that they’re compensated, sure, for their success, but not to the point where … you don’t want them out there burning bridges because they only care about closing deals.

Justin:                                   Or Mike is working against Sue, because Mike wants the deal, and … not [inaudible 00:42:34] necessarily, but even throwing shade on Sue or something. That’s bad.

Damien Thompson:        Yeah, and there’s a bunch of ways to do that. One way is, that I think has a lot of success, is this idea of, you pay them for the deals they land, and you want to pay them a piece of it when the deal lands, but then you tie the other piece of that commission to other things, like the customer has to have a positive customer satisfaction score after six months, which means they’re now going to assist the account management team. When the account management team asks for help or whatever, it’s not like screw it, don’t care, I already made my money. So that creates a more collaborative environment of, everybody’s pulling for the same thing, which is, your customers need to have success in order for you to keep them happy, in order for you to sell more things to them.

Justin:                                   That’s a really good point. So I think that’s particularly important for any of our podcast listeners that have affiliates, and so if you can tie back the customer happiness score to bonuses, or in some way to the compensation that the affiliates get, they are more aligned with your company. They’re not just trying to get the initial deal, they’re trying to get customers that are good, that are happy, that are gonna stick longer term, because it makes them more money. And you want them to see that and understand it.

Damien Thompson:        Yeah, I love that, because the affiliates, the way they work now is, essentially if you get too many charge backs or too many people dropping off, they just cut your affiliate. They just say, “You’re no longer an affiliate.” I think that’s a lazy way of doing it. A better way of doing it is saying, “Hey, everyone gets a 10% affiliate fee. For the people who are averaging customers sticking around for four months, five months [crosstalk 00:43:55]

Justin:                                   Yeah, yeah, ’cause-

Damien Thompson:        [inaudible 00:43:56]

Justin:                                   Yeah, you would agree with this. If you’re doing it the other way, you’re just cutting them off if the charge backs are too high, you’re focused on a real negative. You’re like, “Okay, I don’t mind charge backs. As long as it doesn’t go above that limit, I’m fine,” whereas otherwise, [crosstalk 00:44:10] you’re looking at, how can I get them the best customers that stick around the longest, that pay them the most, ’cause they’re the most viable to me?

Damien Thompson:        And that’s exactly … and again, affiliates are your sales team, it’s a channel sales team. It’s a channel. It’s a channel to market, and you need to align their compensation with the goals you have as an organization, alignment doesn’t mean [inaudible 00:44:28] yes, no. Oh, you’ve hit this magical recharge rates, so you’re gone. It’s more, hey, let’s use more carrots and fewer sticks. That’s a better way to get people doing what you want them to do.

Justin:                                   So to add on to compensation, let’s talk about bonuses and perks and that kind of thing, and I’ll give that caveat, or I’ll throw our experience in, is that one of the things we’ve learned working in the Philippines in particular, is that we can pay people, just pay people more, but for bonuses, sharing experiences with people was really valuable, because in the Philippines particularly, if you pay them more, most of that money’s going to their family anyway, ’cause that’s a very collaborative effort at home, everyone kind of pitches into the pot, and they live and survive on that.

So if you offer experiences, it’s not something that goes into the pot, it’s something they get to experience, and it’s super valuable. They love it. It’s really good for the company, it’s really good for the company culture, so we’ve applied that to our management team a bit too, in that we have these perks. We do these kind of crazy trips, and we’re [inaudible 00:45:29] an estate dinner in Macau, and doing really nice things that our management team probably wouldn’t do on their own, but it gives us a chance to do for them if they’re hitting tiers and goals. What do you think about bonuses, perks for the sales team and just the company overall based on hitting goals?

Damien Thompson:        Yeah, so I love it. And again, I spend a lot of time in the Philippines, and I understand that. And the funny part is, you find out, it would blow your mind, saying oh my God, giving them bonuses for money doesn’t really motivate the behavior we want. The reality is, it’s exactly the same in America, it’s just differently why it doesn’t work. So in the Philippines, like you said, it doesn’t work because they don’t see the money, it goes somewhere else. But in America, people are funny. And so when you give someone a cash bonus, here’s what you think their thought process is gonna be.

Hey, this is awesome, Joe and Justin are great. They saw how hard I was working and they gave me a bonus. That’s what you want them to think. That’s not what they think. What they think is, yeah, I deserved that. That’s what happened. We believe we deserve the bonus, so the bonus doesn’t have the effect we want it to have. It just becomes another piece of my monetary compensation. And I’ll hearken back to a joke, that old National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. So they took away the Christmas bonus, and he says the line, “We expect that as part of our compensation.” Well how much of a bonus is it then? How much of a bonus is it when all you’re doing … it’s just an extra paycheck to you? But you’re right. When you can tie it to an experience, not only it is, I think more positive for them, it’s definitely more positive for the business.

Justin:                                   Yeah, for the culture. The company culture.

Damien Thompson:        For the culture of the company, absolutely. Absolutely. And also, we’re all believers these days in remote-ish, remotely working at least, we spend a lot of time together, but also a lot of time apart, and the more time you can spend together in positive situations, the better. The tighter your culture’s gonna be, the more reason people are gonna see each other as human beings, as part of a team, not just that faceless person on the end of a Slack channel.

Justin:                                   It’s also a great sales tool for hiring. And people are talking about our company, especially people in our circle, and they’re like, “Man, what are these guys doing? What are they up to? Or I want to work for that company, or why can’t I work for that company?” So it attracts people that want to come work for us that gives us potentially a better talent pool when we’re hiring. We’ve talked about compensation. Let’s talk about training a little bit. I guess this is going to depend on the company. My question was around how much does a sales person need to know about your product and service? Can you spend a couple of days and talk about your product and have them start actually selling? Does it take months? I’m thinking about our process, it takes I’d say at least 30 days, probably 60 days to kind of get a feel for what we do, how we do it, and be able to talk about it reasonably well. Does this change industry to industry, do you think?

Damien Thompson:        So yeah, of course it depends a lot, but I’ll give you some good back of the envelope math, and that is 90 days. 90 days is the timeframe you’re gonna see what we call a fully on ramp sales person. And in big enterprise sales, it can take even longer. Sometimes it takes six months, two quarters, but let’s just aim for 90 days. So at 90 days, that person should have the skills, the knowledge, and they’ll always get better, but they should have the skills and knowledge they need to be autonomous in their role and be successful.

Now, that doesn’t mean you wait 90 days for them to start selling. It doesn’t mean you wait 90 days for that kind of stuff. However, what I suggest … and I think this is good for all positions, but especially in sales, is when Joe’s ready to start hiring these sales guys, the reality is, not only is it a lot work for him the first 90 days, that first two weeks needs to be really full on. If you’re gonna be distributed, especially if you’re distributed, but no matter what, they need to be all under the same roof for two weeks.

So under the same roof, coming in every day, and you need to have a schedule. The way you onboard an employee is the window to the soul of your organization. If you bring them on and you are organized, and you give them on day one a hand written letter from you and Joe welcoming them to the team, some welcome swag and a calendar, a schedule for the next two weeks. Monday morning, 10 AM, we’re gonna do this, introduce you to this team. At 12:30, you’re gonna do this, and have a calendar for them for the next two weeks. When you give that to them, the signal you’re sending to them is, we take this shit seriously. We are hard working. But you also have, Wednesday night we’re gonna go out to bingo night, next Thursday we’re gonna do hibachi, whatever, but we also play hard too.

[inaudible 00:49:34], especially for a distributed team, if you come in and you are, “Hey, grab a seat here, I’ll be with you in a few minutes. I’ve got this other call I gotta do,” and you do all this. You’re showing that, hey, we’re kind of laid back here. I can do whatever I want, kind of whenever I want. [crosstalk 00:49:48]

Justin:                                   You can hang out under the radar.

Damien Thompson:        Yeah.

Justin:                                   It’s interesting that you mention that. So these last two guys that we brought on, we brought on at one of our monthly meets up. So we were in Saigon, they got there right before. So as soon as they were there, they hit the ground with us under one roof. I really like your idea of kind of a welcome swag bag. So we’re doing that for customers, but doing that for employees, why not? Why wouldn’t we have them wearing Empire Flipper shirts, and have some amount of pride. It sounds silly, but why not do that?

Damien Thompson:        Not even about why not, I mean you should be doing that. Bad boss. Bad bosses. If you’re gonna onboard your customers … so I’m of belief your team’s more important than your customers, so one has to come first, and yeah, customers. And I’m not saying I’m right. You have a customer first. It’s either, shareholders first, customers first, or employees first, and I’m all about the team. If you get the team right, I think it takes care of the rest of it.

And so I think you want them to buy it, and I love it. And you know me, I’m a uniform guy, I wear my uniform. I wear my LeadFuze shirt to work every day to work, just ’cause I think it’s easy, it’s one less decision I have to make, but also, there is this point of pride to it. There’s this, sure, I’m a partner in the company, but as an employee, I did that. When I was working at a contract job last year helping this startup in Austin, I wore my [inaudible 00:51:03] shirt every day. Which it wasn’t my company, I had no equity in that business, but it put me right. My mind was right. I knew what I was doing. I showed up early, I left late, I put the effort in, and so I think that’s very important.

You want to get that step further kind of thing going, I think. You want to make sure that it’s us against the world. You’re in a competitive market. You can look at what you guys do as a very niche-y thing, but the reality is that’s not true. Business brokers have been around for a long time, and there’s a lot of them selling a lot of money. So-

Justin:                                   It’s interesting. So I love the idea of the swag bag to start from the very get go. We all have stickers on our laptops, and we have shirts and stuff, but starting from that point and getting them into the culture, which I really love the culture in our company, but starting with that, and then giving them the things, I think that makes a lot of sense for bringing them on board. I’m gonna switch topics a bit, Damien.

So let’s say it’s been six months. Let’s say it’s been three to six months. Three months, they kind of got the speed, and we were monitoring the whole time. And as you talked about at the beginning of this show, you might not be able to have them have revenue goals the first three months, but you can definitely have goals in terms of, you need to hit this, or this many calls, or this many contacts, or whatever. You can set other goals that are pre-revenue goals that will get them to where they need to be.

So let’s say we’ve done all that. Let’s say they’re starting to hit the revenue, and they’re just not hitting some of their numbers, and they’re not hitting their revenue goals. How do you know when they’re failing?

Damien Thompson:        So it should be four to six months, I’ll tell you that. So the way I frame this, especially if it’s for one of these younger positions where we’re gonna do a lot of training, we’re gonna give them the process, we’re gonna work it out together, I frame it as, it’s a 90 day training program. At the end of that 90 days, the idea is for you to come on full time and do all these things. Now it’s a full time training program. But for sales people especially, if there’s going to be a variable part of their comp, they’re not gonna see any of that comp in the first three months.

So instead, what I do is say, “Hey look, you’re gonna get a training fee. So you’re gonna come and we’re gonna pay you three grand a month,” four grand, five, whatever that number needs to be, wherever you are in the world, “but hey, we’re gonna pay you a fair fee and a fair wage for you to come in for those 90 days, and we’re gonna train you how to do your job. We’re gonna be very clear on our expectations of the work you do and the activity levels you have. And if you do all those things, at the end of the 90 days, we’re gonna transition you into a full time sales role, and your comp plan will look like this.” Variable plus base plus whatever.

And then you have those road maps. You should have a 30 day review and a 60 day review and a 90 day review. If they’re not putting the activity forward, you let them go. You give them some warnings, say, “Hey, we told you this is what we expect, you’re at 60% of that. Why? What’s going on?” And try to figure it out. And if they’re consistently just not putting the effort forward, you flush them out of the training program.

Justin:                                   Well, that’s one of the good things about sales in particular, is that there are numbers. And if your … let’s say a sales trainee, a sales apprentice is failing, if you’re having them track the numbers, and you damn well better be, you can say, “Okay, well, are you doing enough calls? Okay, you’re doing enough calls. Are you getting enough contacts? Okay, you’re getting enough contacts. Are you getting enough contacts to … whatever. Oh, you’re not? Okay, so there’s a problem there.” That’s a step that is a problem, and you can help drill in. So when you’re hiring a sales team, where do you see that problem usually [crosstalk 00:54:14]

Damien Thompson:        If it’s laziness, it happens very quickly. You see it early. You see the person that comes in a little bit late or isn’t quite hitting their deadlines, or isn’t doing their numbers. No one’s good enough to fake that for 90 days and then fall off the ledge. They might fake it for the first two weeks while they’re under the roots, but you’re gonna see really quickly they’re not doing the work. But I think it’s the same with all positions. If it was a tech support rep, you have, “Okay, here’s the expectations for you. These are the number of calls we want you to do, this is how long we want you to be on the call, this is the kind of time between tickets that need to be open, these are the stats we’re doing, plus we want you to add two new articles to the knowledge base every week.”

You should do that with every position, have very clear expectations with people. And if they’re not doing it, from activity, or through just work ethic, then that’s a really easy thing. You give them two strikes, third strike they’re out. And that’ll happen within the first 90 days. Here’s the hard part with sales, is that … I’m sure it’s the same in design and creative work and coding, everything else … the person that shows up, puts in the effort, just isn’t getting it. They’re just not getting it. They get flustered, they get nervous, they get on the call and they just don’t know what to do, and [inaudible 00:55:19] call, oh, I should have done this.

But a lot of that comes out during the training. You’re gonna be recording these calls, and Robin, Joe’s gonna say, “Hey, here’s what you did wrong on that call. Here’s what I liked. Here’s the positive. Here’s what you did wrong.” Ask the group, you’re gonna do some role play. There’s all these wonderful things you can do, but you can do the same thing with a tech support rep. But they just don’t get it. They don’t have the aptitude, and that is tougher, but the reality is, once you know they don’t have the aptitude, it’s the best thing for both of you to let that person go. And generally, the conversation’s pretty straightforward. People-

Justin:                                   When you convert a sales person … we did this quite often, actually, at a company I worked for, and it didn’t work out badly at all, where we took a sales person that was failing based on aptitude, not being lazy, not that they’re not doing the calls, but they just couldn’t get it done. They didn’t have the skills, and moved them to other positions where they were able to thrive. And that seemed to be effective. That worked, so I think that’s open for us, and I think that’s open for our listeners, too.

Damien Thompson:        No, I’ve done it, and if the person’s putting the effort in, they just don’t have the skillset and you have a position you think they’d be good at, absolutely move them there, ’cause they get the company. They’ve been there 90 days. Why go out to [crosstalk 00:56:24]

Justin:                                   They’re in the culture, they’re good, [crosstalk 00:56:25] you’re running all that risk when you hire a new person anyway. They might not get the culture-

Damien Thompson:        But don’t make it-

Justin:                                   … they might not be good. If they fit in everywhere else and they’re just having an aptitude problem with that job, that’s a perfect opportunity for a lateral move to something else.

Damien Thompson:        But be careful about making a job for that person.

Justin:                                   Oh, not [inaudible 00:56:40]. Yeah, yeah, [inaudible 00:56:41], no, no, no.

Damien Thompson:        Right.

Justin:                                   All right man, so with our current team, our management team, we asked someone if they want to step up and be a sales manager, and Joe was gonna work with him to be a sales manager, and he just wasn’t interested. He’s like, “Nope. I really don’t want to do it.” And we were thinking about that. We were like, well, if he doesn’t want to do it, he’s not interested in learning those skills, we don’t want to [inaudible 00:57:06] this shit. We don’t want to put him in a position above what he is good at or could be capable of. So that seemed like a bad move. And it seems like two separate roles. Sales management, you can be a great sales person and a horrible sales manager.

Damien Thompson:        Absolutely. There’s two things here. One, they are absolutely different roles. One is also, a lot of people that love sales and are successful at sales, what they love about it is they love the freedom of being measured for the work they do, of their effort turning into their reward. When you become a sales manager, you give that power to the team. Now you have to learn how to motivate other people to get to the goal that you get measured on. That loss of control, a lot of sales people, they don’t like it.

The other thing is, just ’cause you’re a good sales person doesn’t mean you’re a good leader of people. A lot of times what makes you good at being a sales person makes you a poor leader of people. Not always, but sometimes. The same that just because you’re the greatest coder in the world doesn’t make you a great programming manager. So they are different skill sets, and yes, ideally, if you had that position open, someone that displayed the ability to lead a team, to coach, to kind of take the company goals and to motivate and to massage and get people to do what they need them to do, if they want to do that from internally, that’d always be the best. I love hiring internally. I love promoting internally, but a lot of times, you have to go outside to get that person.

Justin:                                   Yeah, that seems like … I’m thinking about that, replacing … we’re gonna bring on a few sales people, that are actually gonna be introducing company role, and then we can hopefully move them up. We may hire another one or two, but eventually we’ll have to replace Joe and that sales manager role. And it might surprise you, but Joe’s actually really taken to the sales manager role. He likes it. He’s a fan of it, and he’s honestly good at it.

Damien Thompson:        These are the fights I’ve had with him. Joe, the I hate sales people [inaudible 00:58:46]. I knew he’d be a good sales manager. I knew he’d be a good sales person, ’cause sales is a process. Joe is process oriented. Sales is … and the thing that Joe-

Justin:                                   He just went through a period … I’m telling you, so he had done sales before and was really good at sales, not sales management, he’d never done that. But he’d done sales before and was quite good at it, and then we went through that period where we saw sales just gut a company, and on an operational side, it was just so horrifying and disappointing, that I think it was our screw sales period where I think both of us were kind of like, eh. Him more than me [crosstalk 00:59:17] maybe, but we’re both like, eh.

Damien Thompson:        That can happen anywhere, but it happens. I see it in the valley a lot. You get these really bro-y sales culture happening, and then there’s not good management that are putting constraints in their way. And constraints force creativity, but again, that’s lazy management. You can’t blame the sales team ’cause the managers were letting them run amok. If the inmates are running the asylum, well you know what? That’s the asylum operator’s problem, not the [crosstalk 00:59:39]

Justin:                                   So what do you look for in a sales manager as opposed to a sales person? I mean-

Damien Thompson:        I want to see someone who has empathy, someone who can coach, someone who has insight, that can kind of come to a decision very quickly, but yet has enough empathy to let the person try to figure it out themselves first. What you don’t want, is you don’t want super sales guy as your sales manager. You don’t want the guy or girl who’s gonna dive in and solve the problem themselves-

Justin:                                   Not even necessarily be the best sales person, maybe even not being the best sales person-

Damien Thompson:        No, generally they’re not the best sales person.

Justin:                                   Yeah, it sounds very similar, to me, to customer service manager. I mean very similar skills. You want that sales manager to have some sales skills, especially from a third party. So if they’re doing [inaudible 01:00:16] or something, they can point it out. Even if they wouldn’t have thought of it at the time, they can point it out after the fact.

Damien Thompson:        Yes. You want a teacher, a coach, an instructor, a motivator. I mean those skills, I always hated the word coach, but even thinking about that. The coach of the football team is by far not the best athlete on that field. But what they can do is, they can see how all the different pieces work together to get to the ultimate team goal, and that’s what a good manager should do in any position, but especially in sales.

Justin:                                   All right man, this has been a fantastic conversation. We’ve got a few minutes left. I want a couple of sales tips. So there is a listener out there, he is, or she is a solo entrepreneur. They’re struggling with sales in their business, they want to be a better sales person, but they’re either having trouble getting on the phone with the right people, they’re struggling converting them, they’re struggling. Give them the 80/20 on what you think they could do to hopefully improve their sales.

Damien Thompson:        Okay. So generally when someone tells me they’ve got a quote unquote sales problem, what they’re saying, they’ve got one of two problems. They’ve got a lead problem, like not enough of them, or they’ve got a conversion problem. They don’t get enough people to say yet. Those are the two big gotcha questions to ask.

Justin:                                   Leads is also a marketing problem.

Damien Thompson:        Well, yes, it could be, or what could be, is that it could be an outbound problem. Inbound marketing is great when you’ve got the time, energy, team to invest in it, if you’ve got a significant voice, if you’ve got something to say, but it’s not right for all businesses, and also it takes a while to do it. So what I would say is, if you’ve got a lead problem, generally what it is, is you don’t have a clear picture of who your perfect customer is. So you need to figure out who your perfect customer is. Look at your existing customers. What traits do they share?

And once you figure that out, this is not a pitch, but there are tools out there that will help you find more of them. Go find out where they hang out. If they are programmers that do this and this and this, then go hang out on Hacker News. Go hang out where they congregate, and go find more of them. But I think generally, it’s you don’t have a good clear picture of who they are, or you’re trying to serve everybody. And if you’re trying to serve everybody, you’re not serving anybody. So narrow in on who an ideal customer is to you. That’s the lead problem.

The conversion problem is a little different. Now let’s say you’ve got a bunch of leads, quote unquote. It still comes down, a lot of times, of is it really a lead? How much interest did they show? How well is your process documented? And you’re probably trying to race to the end too fast. Again, this depends on the complexity of your sale, but like in your business, for example, Justin. So someone’s trying to sell a bundle of $5,000 sites versus someone who’s trying to sell a $200,000 business online. Those are two different … for you guys as brokers, those are different complexity.

Justin:                                   Different approach, yep.

Damien Thompson:        Right, and you’re not gonna agree probably on that first phone call if you’re selling a quarter of a million dollar business. So understanding that and taking more time at the front of that sales process, what I call discovery, to make sure you’re a good fit. Because what happens a lot of times when you’re not converting enough, is you’re talking to the wrong people for too long. So you’re, oh my God, I finally got a lead, I’m not gonna ever let it go, I’m gonna keep talking forever.

But what you really should be doing is saying, hey, I have a very clear picture of who I serve and how I serve them and how I’m going to do a good job, and saying no earlier in the piece so you can focus more time and energy on the good fits, and really give them value. Because at the end of the day, sales is the transference of value. It’s theoretical value until they become customers, but it’s helping them understand the value you’re going to give them when they become customers.

And just like content marketing … content marketing’s all about giving people value for free. A good sales process does the exact same thing. A good sales process even goes a step further, ’cause I can give you one to one value. So what I’m trying to do during my sales process, is have you say, “Man, I gotta work with Damien. We haven’t even spent a dollar with him yet, and he’s already given me two insights into my business. He’s already given me some good advice into my business. He understands what I do.” And again, that comes back to really being very clear about your market.

Because if you’re clear about your market … back to the training, product training is important, but more important is industry training. So them understanding the pains and the fears and the problems that a site buyer, seller has is more important than them knowing exactly how your marketplace works. That’s far more important.

Justin:                                   Knowing the customer’s perspective, the buyer’s perspective, the seller’s perspective.

Damien Thompson:        Absolutely. It matters more.

Justin:                                   Okay, so there are two sides, lead gen. If it’s not enough leads, you probably need to find better sources, you need to get out there more. If it’s a conversion problem, you [crosstalk 01:04:34] need to get better leads.

Damien Thompson:        Yeah. If you define your market better, what’s gonna happen is a bunch of things. If you define your market better, you’re gonna write better content to attract that market, ’cause you’re gonna start talking just to them, or you’re gonna be able to go out and do outbound stuff [crosstalk 01:04:45] market.

Justin:                                   Oh, so instead of, I work with startups, I work with tech startups that are between 10 and 30 employees that are doing somewhere between $50,000 and $500,000 a month in revenue. That’s a much more defined market. [crosstalk 01:04:57]

Damien Thompson:        I work with health med startups. Again, the more defined you can get, the better.

Justin:                                   Great, okay, so niche down on your selection, and then if you’re having trouble converting, it could be the same problem where your leads aren’t really leads. They’re not good leads.

Damien Thompson:        They’re not good leads, but also what’s happening is you’re probably spending too much time with bad leads, and you’re not offering enough positive value to your good leads. So if you could actually spend more time with your good leads, if you could better define your good leads to spend more time with them, you’re gonna win more of those leads.

Justin:                                   Solves both problems. Look, now, give me a bit of advice for someone that … and it’s hard to do this, because it’s not very personalized for each individual listener, but someone with a small sales team now. And let’s say that they’ve got a small sales team, they are looking to expand. What advice would you have for someone that’s in that position?

Damien Thompson:        So, yeah, this is a very generic thing here. But I think the first thing this is, what does the success of that sales team look like? I think a lot of times, and this is especially true in sales, but in all startups, we get caught up, and I personally had this problem with a couple of my startups. I think you and Joe had this problem. We get very arrogant. We’d say how we don’t care about vanity metrics like traffic or whatever, but we have this vanity metric of employee count, of staff count being this real important thing, it’s so sexy, it’s how people … yeah, I started three years ago with just me and now I’ve got 42 people on the team.

So I’d be really careful to make sure that’s not your motivation. The only time you should expand your sales team is when you’re at full capacity and you’ve got a very clear process, and they’re all at number and they’re crushing, and you think great, I’m gonna pour more petrol on this fire. That-

Justin:                                   That’s super great, Damien. So mine used to be the office. If you have a real office, real company. I’m super over that now, [inaudible 01:06:36], it’s silly. Joe’s used to be, a long time ago, head count, in our company. How many people do we have. I want to have a lot of people, this would be so impressive. And he’s way over that now, but you’re totally right. And the worst problem with that, if you’re looking to scale that up because you have a big team, here we have a team of this, and blah blah blah, you can be scaling a net loss. If you’re [crosstalk 01:06:57] scaling, losing money, that’s a pretty shitty position to be in.

Damien Thompson:        If you’re an owner of a business, your job should be to increase revenue for employee, not for employee head count. That’s what you want. You want to get more money with a smaller team.

Justin:                                   Yeah, [inaudible 01:07:10] zero employees, we want a ton of money. That sounds amazing. [crosstalk 01:07:14] I just want a ton of money coming in, and no employee hassle.

Damien Thompson:        Yeah, I’m the third partner in that business. [inaudible 01:07:21]

Justin:                                   Give me that unicorn, man. Where is that sucker hanging out? Dude, it’s been fun catching up. You’re working over at LeadFuze. By the way, tell people a little bit about what LeadFuze does. We talked about this before the call, because I wasn’t sure either, but tell them what it does.

Damien Thompson:        So we help sales people, founders, agencies find better leads. What we do is, it’s about minimizing the tools you use to maximize the leads you gain. We’re gonna help you find leads that fit your target market, and then we automate the outbound emails to them, so you actually go out there and actually talk to more people that kind of fit and don’t waste time with bad leads, and ensure you’ve got enough new leads coming in that you can grow your revenue.

Justin:                                   Yeah, but it’s an interesting space. There’s a bunch of other companies in that space, which is generally a good sign. You don’t want to be the only one there, so there’s plenty of money in it, and I wish you and your company well. Damien, thank you so much for being on the call man, appreciate it.

Damien Thompson:        Cool.

Speaker 2:                           You’ve been listening to the Empire podcast. Now some news and updates.

Justin:                                   All right Joe, let’s talk some news and updates. First off, we are knocking out our manager meet up right now in Phuket, Thailand. We are here during the rainy season. We’ve had some sunny days. We did our quarterly strategy session last week. I thought that was super valuable. We do that every time we get together, and we get everyone together in a room, make them stop with their Slack and their emails and their customer communication, and just go dark. We put a Faraday cage around ourselves, in theory, and knock out some plans for the future.

Joe:                                        Some sunny days. I’m looking at a beautiful day on the bay right now in Phuket, Thailand. So we definitely got a good one today, and we have a beautiful office here to work from, so it’s pretty awesome. Yeah, the quarterly strategy meeting, a critical part of a business, and I always look forward to it, ’cause we get a lot done in terms of goals and whatnot.

Justin:                                   The other thing we have coming up next week is the Empire retreat. That would be August 16th to 19th. I think all the tickets are sold out on that, but we probably will be doing another one, very likely in November, in Chiang Mai, Thailand, so take a look out for that. I’m really excited about this though. We put it together. It’s basically a four day, three night kind of mastermind with the six figure, second figure entrepreneurs. We’ve got a bunch of fun stuff planned. We’re doing this barbecue at the Suite Villa. We’ve got this great party night planned. We’ve got a whole bunch of masterminds and hanging out by the pool, so I think it’s gonna be really interesting.

This is our first actual event. We’ve done workshops before, and we go to some events, but this is our first actual event that we’re running. Yeah, in terms of making money, Joe, I know you’re a hot money over there, but I don’t know if we’re going to make any money on this, because we’re blowing a ton. I saw that bill for the club, dude, it’s gonna be a little ridiculous. But I don’t care, whatever dude, it’s gonna be really fun.

Joe:                                        Yeah, I’m really looking forward to it. Anyone who’s coming to the event and listening to this podcast, I will see you next week.

Justin:                                   Last up, we got a crazy trip to … well, everywhere planned the next couple of months, but we’re actually heading out to Hong Kong the end of this month, August 27th. We’ll be in Hong Kong, Shenzhen for a few days. If you’d like to meet up with us if you hang out in that area, do reach out to us on Twitter or whatever, send us a message, and we’d be happy to meet up with you. And we’ve also got a trip to the US in September. Both you and I are going, we’re meeting up with our bookkeeper, our accountant, and then our attorney as well to talk numbers, to talk legalese, and have a little bit of fun while we’re out there.

Joe:                                        Yeah, we’ll be in Colorado and Michigan. So if anyone wants to meet up, just let us know if you’ll be in the area, maybe we can make something happen.

Justin:                                   All right buddy, time for some listener shouts, also known as the indulgent ego boosting social proof segment. First up, we’ve got our buddy Kevin Grahams, says, “Time for a coffee to focus on getting this guest post ready for Empire Flippers.” He was knocking it out. We actually published it this week. It’s a great post on how he built and sold a $145,000 website with us. And I just heard this literally 15 minutes ago, Joe, that one of our guys was kind of chatting with him on Facebook or whatever, and he was like, “Oh, do I get a treat for doing the post and for selling the business with you?” And they were like, “Dude, why don’t you just come down to Phuket?” He’s in Chiang Mai, and so he’s thinking about coming down this weekend, maybe doing some [inaudible 01:11:18] with us.

Joe:                                        Yeah, should be a lot of fun. I own a steak dinner, so Kevin, come on down.

Justin:                                   We got a great Tweet from Taylor Pearson, said, “Epic post on hiring an effective manager to run your online business.” I really appreciate that, Taylor. Yeah man, I mean hiring managers is kind of the position we’re in right now. We’re looking at sales people, and that’s kind of the new thing, that’s why we’re doing podcasts like this. Leanne said, “Hello Justin, amazing podcast. Do you currently have any French websites on the marketplace?” No, unfortunately, and we get this question a lot for Spanish sites, for German sites, for French sites.

We don’t have anyone on staff that can speak, read, or write French, so vetting would be a problem for us. That’s really the only reason. I think it’d also be a smaller market for us, and we’re kind of focused on the bigger picture. I think there might be a market for it, especially for kind of a small, solo broker. It’s probably something they could do, but it’s not something that we currently list, and honestly, French isn’t next on the list. If anything, it’d probably be Spanish sites.

Joe:                                        Yeah, a little bit of a sales issue too. While the buyer and the seller would most likely speak English, it would be difficult for me to position it and explain to him what it did if I don’t speak French.

Justin:                                   You had that one time. I remember you were on the phone, and it was a Chinese-American and then a Chinese guy, and they were talking back and forth, they were like, “Let’s just speak Mandarin” or whatever, and the whole time … it was you or Mike, and he was listening the whole time, or you were listening the whole time and were like, “I don’t know. I can’t really help. I guess I’m kind of just facilitating the call.” It was random, yeah.

We’ve got [Amed 01:12:44] who said, “Empire Flippers, a big thank you to Justin and Joe for the podcast. Seriously man, it’s what keeps me sane in rush hour traffic.” Really appreciate that Amed, and we like what you’re doing. I think we’re planning to set up a call with you in the near future.

Joe:                                        Amed’s also a customer, a buyer, just wound up buying a large site with us. He’s also a seller, so we love having you as a customer as well, Amed.

Justin:                                   Tony said, “Great podcast today, reminds me of your interview with Dan Pena and the importance of actually meeting people.” That was about our last podcast on the steak dinner. Really appreciate it, Tony. Yeah, that one with Dan Pena, if no one’s listened to it, it is crazy funny. That guy is hyped. He’s an interesting dude. You should go check it out. I’ll put a link to that episode in the show notes.

We’ve also been mentioned on a few sites. Joe is actually features on Business Insider about some productivity tips. That was a sweet mention. Also Nadia from Living Off Cloud wrote up her July income report and mentioned her video testimonial for EF. We have some buyers and seller customers that we talked to, said, “Hey, we’d love if you guys would do some testimonials.” A few people agreed, and we’d sent production companies out to meet them to do some videos. So that’s a little expensive, but it’s been a fun project, and I think it’ll be something that … we hear that from a lot. Like, can you guys … you’re doing all this business, where are your testimonials? And we have a ton of them, but they’re hodgepodge, put here, put there, whatever, so we figured we might as well fix that problem and put a bunch of testimonials out.

That’s it for episode 161 of the Empire podcast, thanks for sticking with us. We’ll be back next week with another show. You can find the show notes for this episode and more at EmpireFlippers.com/salesteams, and make sure to follow us on Twitter @EmpireFlippers. See you next week.

Joe:                                        Bye bye, everybody.

Speaker 2:                           Hope you enjoyed this episode of the Empire podcast with Justin and Joe. Hit up EmpireFlippers.com for more. That’s EmpireFlippers.com. Thanks for listening.


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