sales, people, book, organisation, consultants, salespeople, customers, selling, mindset, compress, founders, talk, business, obstacles, writing, fundamentals, important, podcast, find, thinking
Alastair McDermott, Brendan McAdams
Brendan McAdams 00:00
I think the big enemy for anyone that’s selling, and this includes consultants too, is is time is typically your enemy. Not always, but most of the time, time is your enemy. And for a couple reasons, many other things can happen. In the meantime, things you know, especially when you’re selling into a large organisation, there are reorg you know, people leave and quit, you know, go elsewhere, budgets change c ompetitive situ, the whole landscape can change.
Welcome to The Recognized Authority, a podcast that helps specialised consultants and domain experts on your journey to become known as an authority in your field. So you can increase your reach, have more impact and work with great clients. here’s your host, Alastair McDermott.
Alastair McDermott 00:41
Today, my guest is Brendan McAdams in his business kinetics, Brendon works with startups and founders to excel at sales, customer acquisition and onboarding. He’s co founder of expertscape.com, which is a web resource that identifies and objectively ranks medical experts. And he’s the host of the “Sales for Founders” podcast focused specifically on discussing sales from the perspective of the early stage startup founder. He’s also a consultant. He’s an author. He’s the author of “Salescraft: proven tips, practices, and ideas to advance your sales success”. Brendan, you’re very welcome. And can we start with the book, if you don’t mind, I just want to ask you, it’s something that a lot of consultants do is write a book. And you’re actually you’ve got one book already in you are writing a second. So can you tell me a bit about that.
Brendan McAdams 01:24
But the first book is “Salescraft”. And it started out is just as a series of notes, I just kept writing notes on a regular basis on various little things that I in that I just thought were kind of interesting sales tips or sales perspectives, and and I just kind of collected them over the years. And I always had aspired to write a book at some point, and I didn’t know what the book would be necessarily. And I finally three years ago, roughly three years ago, I just, I finally knuckle down and put it together and and publish it. But it’s, it’s a book about sales fundamentals. I believe that sales is a craft. It’s learnable. And I think it’s incredibly important. I think there’s a mindset to it, and fundamentals that you can execute and execution if you do those things right, you can be effective at sales. And I think for a lot of consultants in particular, that are experts in a in a particular area, technical area, or they have a specialty, they often neglect sales, but sales is such an important part for consultants to stay to be able to stay in their business. And so that’s what this book is, this particular book is about.
Alastair McDermott 02:08
Yeah, absolutely, I find that a lot of consultants are so focused on the execution part, and particularly when they’re in the middle of a project, and they don’t think about that next sale, keeping that pipeline full. So can I ask you a bit about then what are the mindset that you need for that?
Brendan McAdams 02:44
I think the first thing to understand is, it’s a mutual engagement. And that is a lot of salespeople think, or a lot of people, when they’re in the sales mode, think I’ve got to win this account, that, you know, it’s it’s, it’s up to me, and the first thing I would cause people or I would want people to understand is, this is a mutual sort of a relationship. And so you want to spend as much time qualifying them as they are qualifying you, I think that first of all, just having that mindset changes the whole dynamic for you as as a as a consultant, it allows you to have a lot more flexibility in in the process, if they’re not a good fit, you ought to be able to recognise that up front. And if you can do that, that’s incredibly empowering. Just that first step.
Alastair McDermott 03:25
Yeah, absolutely. And I think of this as kind of like a scarcity mindset, when people are in that in that kind of mode, where they’re kind of desperate for business, they make bad decisions, take on bad fit clients. So I’m absolutely with you there. So that’s talking about the mindset, is there anything that you can do, you know, to actually change your mindset there? Well, is it just it’s just a question of thinking about it? Or is there more that you can do?
Brendan McAdams 03:48
Well, first of all, yeah, I at some level, you have to be thinking about it, you have to, you have to understand, I think if you another one thing that kind of helps you with that mindset is if you understand who your ideal customer is. And the nice thing about the internet right now, and where things are is, is there are niches, very small niches that have like literally thousands of potential customers in them in a lot of cases. And so you can if you can figure out who your ideal customers are, and then figure out how to find them, then then when you go to qualify them, you’re much more likely to get the sort of people that are going to resonate with your messaging with your style with your offering. And so that those two things kind of together, can you can help your mindset can help put you in the right frame of mind to sell more effectively.
Alastair McDermott 04:38
Absolutely. Then the other thing that you mentioned was the fundamentals. So like kind of fundamental principles, I guess.
Brendan McAdams 04:44
Alastair McDermott 04:44
More techniques. Sure. Can you walk us through a couple of those and how that works.
Brendan McAdams 04:49
Yeah, so So just some of these are going to be very obvious brain dead simple things, but but they’re often often often overlooked. Simple things like under promise and over deliver showing up on time, right? I mean, if so much of sales is is psychology is expectation and is and risk avoidance. So when someone chooses not to buy from you, especially in a consulting situation, or any kind of a large scale sale, the number one reason isn’t because they’re going with some other competitor, it’s because the risk of going with you is greater than the risk of what they have today, it’s a behavioural change. And, So they’re avoiding, they’re avoiding risk. And so anything you can do to mitigate that risk, and lower that risk, lower the resistance is going to make that is going to put that customer in a more comfortable position to select you over sticking with what they’ve got, which may be nothing, it may be spreadsheets, it may be, it may be doing things by hand, whatever it is, the reason that they’re not doing it with you, potentially is because there’s risk and so you know, at various steps along the way, the things that you do can mitigate that risk. And there can make them feel comfortable and things simple things like showing up on time, delivering when you say you’re going to deliver, you know, don’t don’t this is again, brain dead simple. But don’t promise a proposal on a Friday afternoon, if it’s Thursday, and you know, you’ve got to get approvals from somebody to do it or you know, you, you know, if you’ve got boilerplate made and you’re in, you can churn out a proposal in 15 minutes, then by all means, tell them you’ll get it to him tomorrow, knowing that you can get him to him today.
Alastair McDermott 05:29
Brendan McAdams 06:28
And then those little things matter. Because you know, if you’re selling to a company of any size, the people that select you, their reputation is at some level riding on the fact that they selected the right person. And I guess one of the things I would say that goes to mindset that I think is critically important, a lot of people don’t realise this. And that is, most people don’t mind buying things. And they’re quite happy to pay if they get what they want. And if they get what they want, they don’t mind paying for a couple reasons. One is it helped them but number two, it makes them look smart. And I don’t think a lot of people appreciate that. And especially in a company in a larger company, if I hire a consultant, and that consultant makes me look good, or a delivers on time ahead of schedule or whatever, under budget I that makes me look good for selecting them. And so I have no qualms about paying them or you know, and so, I mean, if you deliver those sets, those are some of the fundamentals.
Alastair McDermott 07:21
Right. Yeah, I like quite what you said, you know, the risk of choosing you needs to be lower than the risk of doing nothing.
Brendan McAdams 07:29
Alastair McDermott 07:29
And yeah, and mitigating that risk. And I think, you know, for me, it’s all about trust and creating trust.
Brendan McAdams 07:36
Alastair McDermott 07:36
I think that everything you talked about there is around the, you know, around the concept of trust turning up on time delivering that they can trust that you’re going to deliver.
Brendan McAdams 07:44
Alastair McDermott 07:45
So yeah, that seems to be a massive part of it. Okay. That’s some of the fundamentals. Is there anything else in the fundamentals that we need to know about?
Brendan McAdams 07:51
Yeah, well, let’s let’s, let’s spend another minute on this risk thing, because I think it’s just critically important, because you know, and this, this applies across the board, regardless of the size of the deal. But this is especially true with like when I sell a lot to enterprises and b2b customers, and there’s a fair amount of complexity that’s just inherent in these deals. And you know, there are a lot of people involved and so forth. And so the way I would think about it is you think about this as a journey, someone’s going to select you. And there’s a journey. And at the tail end of this journey, ideally, there’s some successful outcome, there’s a better state, but,
Alastair McDermott 08:25
Brendan McAdams 08:25
In between, there are obstacles, there are pitfalls, and things that can go wrong. And if you can explain to your customer, what those steps are along the way, these are the obstacles, these are the pitfalls, these are the things we’re going to run into, like, here’s what I need from you, I need this data, I need this file, I need to talk to this person in this person. And in order for this engagement, to be successful, these are the things that I need to have happen. And you know, your customer is it’s not so much the obstacle that worries them. It’s the surprise, it’s the unknown. So if you can explain those things along the way, hey, I’m going to do all these things for you. Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, these 10 things, I need these three things to be successful. And if you can articulate those things and make them easy, most people don’t want to do the work, or that’s why they’re hiring you. I you know, I’m hiring you to do the work because I don’t want to do it, but I’m doing it because I don’t have another out another avenue if you prove that you’re a better outcome. And I know that the outcome at the end is going to be better. I’m happy to hire you to do it. So I can focus on other things. It’s that journey that you can that if you can map that out. And I would say that you can talk to your customer in those terms, like,
Alastair McDermott 09:37
Brendan McAdams 09:38
This is this is what we can expect. This is where can go wrong. And as part of the qualification process, you can say, I need to have this data file, or I need to have this thing in order to do my job. Is that going to be a problem? And if they say, Oh, well, I can’t get that to you. Well, then you’re qualifying at that point and they may not be a good fit for you. But that puts you in the driver’s seat because now you can, you know ahead of time that you’re running into a bad engagement potentially, and you can do something about it, you can either address it, you know, and you can at least you know what going in what you’re up against. And that empowers you. I think that that goes back to that whole mindset idea.
Alastair McDermott 10:13
Right? So mapping this out as a journey. I mean, I think a lot of people have have a repeatable process that they’re using anyway, we usually have documented processes, right, once we’ve got a couple of projects under our belt.
Brendan McAdams 10:26
Alastair McDermott 10:26
So it should be fairly easy to you know, to be able to, you know, draw that out on a sheet of paper. Yeah, for for somebody.
Brendan McAdams 10:32
Alastair McDermott 10:32
Look, here’s the you know, and give them a visual of what that would look like, or, or even have it printed out even have it on your website. You know, this is our process.
Brendan McAdams 10:40
Alastair McDermott 10:40
So yeah. And I like the idea of no surprises and kind of pre-warning them about the obstacles that you’re going to face.
Brendan McAdams 10:46
Alastair McDermott 10:47
Brendan McAdams 10:47
Alastair McDermott 10:47
Yeah. So that’s kind of the risk side of the equation. Can you talk? Are there more fundamentals that we need to know about?
Brendan McAdams 10:53
Yeah, there are a bunch, I mean, depends on like one, one that I I like to talk about, that’s kind of more in a in a larger account, if you’re selling, you know, larger account, it’s not this notion of triangulating, and that is, I’m a big fan of smaller meetings, the more people you have in the meeting, the more turns into a presentation, the less it turns into a discovery session. And if you’re in a consulting business, you’re always gathering information, you’re you’re kind of always in a discovery phase, partly because you’re on the lookout for the next engagement inside the company, you’re looking for ways to further add value, etc, etc. So the more you can have smaller conversations, and then triangulate those against other conversations you have is, I think, critically important, because when you’re selling into an organisation of any size, there’s complexity involved, and you have to in order to get hired, you know, you have to make sure that you’re not alienating people that could get in the way of your being selected, that could be an obstacle. And in larger accounts, for example, there’s politics, there’s just inherent politics, and it’s not entirely rational. And yet, you have to kind of figure that out. And you can’t easily figure that out in large group settings. I mean, sometimes there’s some interesting body language you can figure out, and you can see where people sit and things like that. But,
Alastair McDermott 12:11
Brendan McAdams 12:11
It’s a one on ones where you can really learn how to navigate inside an organisation. And so my, you know, I guess one of the fundamentals is, when you’re selling, you want to try and have as many conversations as you can, and the more that you can get different perspectives, the more you can anticipate the potential obstacles to the deal. And as well, as you know, in a consulting, if you’re in consulting world, yet, all the perspective, so you can gather as much information so you can provide the most valuable solution to the customer as possible. So that would be another one and just that, this, this notion of small, lots of conversations, more one on ones, and then kind of analysing the one against the other. So you can kind of see, you know, you can get the big picture.
Alastair McDermott 12:56
Right, like, kind of, like pattern recognition.
Brendan McAdams 12:58
Yeah, and one of the funny things about that is, is as an outsider coming in to an organisation, whether you’re a salesperson or a consultant, it’s this, it’s this, you know, and consultants are usually salespeople, on top of being consultants, is you oftentimes get to see the organisation broadly in a way that they don’t. They’re oftentimes these people, and it’s a larger company, they’re siloed, they don’t know what an organ another part of the organisation is doing, they don’t have access to the same people. And you know, they may be competitive, and now you’re in a position to kind of share information and, and really be an asset to them inside the company, you allow them to, to, you know, navigate and understand how the rest of the organisation works.
Alastair McDermott 13:37
Yeah, you know, on that siloing I was talking to a consultant recently, who told me how, in the medical devices organisation, the quality assurance team didn’t talk to the quality control team. It’s just insane. I don’t even know how that could happen. But you know, this this kind of deep siloing.
Brendan McAdams 13:55
Alastair McDermott 13:56
Brendan McAdams 13:57
Tt’s, there’s, there’s a tremendous amount of irrationality inside large corporate companies.
Alastair McDermott 14:01
Brendan McAdams 14:02
Sometimes it’s, it’s a, it’s a bit of a miracle that they operate at all. But,
Alastair McDermott 14:06
Yeah. So what kind of mistakes are people typically consultants likely to make? When when during the sales environment? What were like what should we watch out for when we’re talking?
Brendan McAdams 14:16
Oh, interesting question. I think the first one is talking too much. And I think the consultants not always but I mean, I think a lot of consultants a lot of salespeople want to raise right to the answer.
Alastair McDermott 14:28
Brendan McAdams 14:28
And I think a lot of customers want to they want to talk about the problem. And a really good salesperson and really good consultant knows when to shut up and listen, knows when to ask the and the open-ended question and knows when to pause. Because, you know, in a conversation if you’re, if you’re able to pause and wait before you respond, you’d be surprised what people will continue to talk about if they’re given the space to do so. And you’ll learn a tremendous amount of people that are, if you let in a number of customers that you’ll talk to, they don’t get to talk there. Other people talk and they, nobody listens to them. And then all of a sudden you go in and you’re in, you’re one of the people that listens, you can learn a tremendous amount about an organisation about the dynamics, you know. And so I think the first thing a consultant needs to be really aware of is their ability to silence, listening, asking the curious opening question, and, and so that would be, that’d be one.
Alastair McDermott 15:29
Brendan McAdams 15:30
Another one that comes to mind right away is, and this is maybe less true for consultants than it is for salespeople. But I like to give, give time back. So I try not to have hour long meetings if I don’t have to. And there is instances where you do but I try and book meetings for 30 minutes, and it’s much easier find time. And then what I try and do after that is, is I try and make the meeting not 30 minutes. And that kind of forces me to be really efficient with my time. When I’m calling on customers, they’re usually pretty important. Their business, they’re busy people, they don’t have a lot of time, if I can knock out a conversation with them in 20 minutes and give them 10 minutes back and make it productive, it makes it much easier for me to get the next 30 minute call with them. And so that to me is a that’s a tip that is just served me really well.
Alastair McDermott 16:17
Yeah, yeah. In this day and age of of zoom calls, and everything kind of being on the calendar now. I really appreciate that one. So give time back. So we have shut up. Give them some space to talk. Give time back. Any other any other mistakes or tips on along those lines?
Brendan McAdams 16:35
Oh, let’s see, well, why don’t know if it’s a mistake. But I, I always I talked about this one a lot, too. And that is I think every sales call, every call should have an agenda. And in this day and age, it can be three sentences in an email, but it should say what you’re going to cover in the meeting, why? Who should be there and why they should be there. And this is, you know, and this in and I send it a day or two beforehand. And the idea is you want to confirm what is you want to talk about? What are the priorities? And you can you can say it in the form of a question, hey, here’s what I’m planning to talk about, am I missing anything, or here’s what I think we’re covering or whatever. And then if you say, you know, obviously, the person you’re sending it to needs to be there, I’m assuming. And then if there are other people that are be there because of a certain topic, then you want you, want to explain who it who should be there, the head of engineering should be there. Because we’re because we’re going to talk about, you know, the flux capacitor, or whatever it is, you know, and by doing that you can have, you’re setting the stage on being prepared. This is what it allows you to confirm the call, hey, we’re having a call tomorrow or the next day at whatever time. And then the last thing I would add is if there, if there’s an admin involved, you definitely want to copy the admin make sure the admins involved because you know, a lot of cases the admin is in charge, they get things done, and they’re, they’re good, they can be your best. And that’s a whole another tip. But you’re the if there’s an administrative assistant in the mix, you want to weaponize them, if you will. I mean, I’ve, I’ve had such good success getting by treating the admin like a business person.
Alastair McDermott 18:10
Brendan McAdams 18:10
And if you do, they can be your best advocate, or one of your best advocates inside the company.
Alastair McDermott 18:16
Yeah. Well, I mean, they are a business person. So I mean, you should do and you should respect I mean, yeah. You know, like an admin to the CEO might have the same amount of power as a VP and in the organisation, you know?
Brendan McAdams 18:27
Alastair McDermott 18:29
So yeah, that also reminds me of a kind of like a dating tip for teenagers or whatever is is like, watch how your dating partner treats the waiting status.
Brendan McAdams 18:39
Alastair McDermott 18:39
And it’s kind of like the same thing. And I’m sure that there are situations where, you know, the CEO, the CFO is asking their admin, how did they talk to you?
Brendan McAdams 18:48
Yes, I’ve had admins tell me about other salespeople and how they don’t like they don’t let them in. I mean, like, because they, that salesperson treats him like, you know, like a functionary, like some, you know, like, sec, like, whatever, like a worker, and and these people oftentimes have, like, huge, huge influence over our organisations and who in the flow of information and so they can be, I mean, just you, you ignore them at your peril.
Alastair McDermott 19:16
Okay, so we have shut up and makes make some space for people to talk. Give time back by having shorter,
Brendan McAdams 19:23
Alastair McDermott 19:23
Meetings and trying to it’s time to finish them on early, if possible, have an agenda with a prioritised agenda beforehand.
Brendan McAdams 19:30
Alastair McDermott 19:30
We have and treat people like people, basically.
Brendan McAdams 19:35
Right, the more they’re more but yeah, there there are quite a few but it Yeah, I do believe it kind of comes down to fundamentals. I mean, if you keep if you do, you know, it’s it’s like in sports, it’s you know, it’s about footwork and and you know, little things that really matter. It’s, you know, it’s follow up, like follow up.
Alastair McDermott 19:53
Brendan McAdams 19:53
Right. Then after the call. Do you follow up?
Alastair McDermott 19:55
Brendan McAdams 19:55
I’m a I’m a fan of thank you notes. You know, so,
Alastair McDermott 19:59
Brendan McAdams 19:59
In, so I will I will write handwritten thank you notes. And I used to I don’t do this much anymore, but I used to clip out articles, and then I would mail them to people. But I don’t you know, it’s such a virtual world. I don’t know how much paper I don’t do as much paper as I used to. But I used to, you know, toss an article in the in an envelope and say, I thought you might find this interesting, but that seems to have gone to have gone away.
Alastair McDermott 20:23
Yeah. So. Okay, well, is there anything else really, really important? Or will I move on and ask you about something else?
Brendan McAdams 20:32
Yeah, go ahead. Fyros.
Alastair McDermott 20:33
Okay. So I want to ask you, then about your own business. And you sound like you’ve like you work with startups and founders.
Brendan McAdams 20:41
Alastair McDermott 20:41
And so obviously, you put some work into it to figure out who your target market is your ideal target market. So can you just tell us a bit about what you do and how you pick that particular niche to work with?
Brendan McAdams 20:50
Yeah, so so I’ve been in, I’ve been in Telecom, and then financial services. And then most recently, for the last 15 years or so in healthcare, it’s kind of funny how I got there. But that’s a story for another day. But I’ve been in healthcare for the last 15 years, or more consulting to in for much of that consulting to startups and kind of helping them with sales and marketing either as a as a sales resource as sales and marketing resource, in some instances as a kind of a fractional chief revenue officer. And so I’ve been doing that. And so now what I’m doing is I’m doing less of that, and more sales coaching, early stage startups and founders. And the reason for that is, well, partly, it’s, it’s kind of more fun for me, number one, and number two is, you know, I think that it’s a little more scalable, it’s kind of more what I want to do. And it’s in conjunction with some of the other things I’m working on. And, and I fundamentally believe that I think early stage, you know, founders need to sell, they need to be leading the sales organisation, they don’t have to be excellent at sales, but they have to be be able to execute on sales, because it’s so important for them early stage they in early on, they can’t afford salespeople, they don’t know who to get in terms of a salesperson, they need to be in front of customers to understand what the customer feedback is, what their obstacles are what’s resonating, they have to establish those relationships with early stage customers, because those are gonna be the early stage references. And in case studies that they need, all those things are going to be critically important. And so founders can’t off outsource that to, you know, to employee at this point. So I think that founders need to be able to sell at the same time, they’re oftentimes not salespeople, first and foremost, they’re technical people, their product, people, whatever. And so they could benefit from having coaching. And so that’s, that’s who my market is. So how do I identify them? I’m primarily doing work with Twitter, and I’m doing some kind of outreach to Twitter to make people aware of what I do. And then beyond that, my ideal source for customers is investors, VCs and angel investors, because they’re aggregators of the very people that I want to talk to. So that’s, that’s who I’m, that’s who my customers are.
Alastair McDermott 23:06
Yeah. So and perfect. So you have found, because I’m always looking at how can you access the market of your ideal clients? And so you’ve got a perfect in there. So you know, the the investors have collected the ideal clients in one place for you. So,
Brendan McAdams 23:21
Alastair McDermott 23:22
If you could, if you can go in through the investors, you’re going to find them all.
Brendan McAdams 23:24
Yeah. And I’m, I’m a risk mitigation tool for them. Right? Because for, For pennies, effectively, you know, they maybe not pennies, but you know, figuratively speaking for a very small investment, I’m basically helping to ensure that their investment, their their big investment, there, I’m optimised, I’m happy helping to optimise their investment in terms of just sales, momentum, and you know, making fewer mistakes, everything happening faster. One of the things I like to talk about is compressing time. And this is kind of a sales tip. But it’s also fundamental to what the message that I when I talk to to VCs and angel investors is what I do is I help compress time I help a sales cycle, go from six months to four months, or a year to eight months, something like that. That’s where I’m looking. That’s what I’m looking to do. And there are a lot of things you can do to kind of make that happen. And that’s kind of what I do. Right?
Alastair McDermott 23:29
Yeah. Right. Can you tell us a bit about that, then about how you actually speed the speed those processes up?
Brendan McAdams 24:24
Yeah. So there’s a couple things that come immediately mind. One is if you can do something sooner, then by all means, try and do it sooner. So don’t don’t obligate yourself, or don’t commit yourself to something you can’t deliver on time. But if you can, this is simple mindset stuff. But if you talk to a customer on Monday, and you can get them an answer on Tuesday or Wednesday, instead of Friday, then you can get on the phone with them again Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday, instead of week from a week later. And if you do that over and over again, you can compress you can significantly compress time. So how do you do that? Well, you you have a number of things at your disposal immediately this is I talked about this in the book, and that’s having a sales toolkit. And you know, imagine your audience, your, your consulting audience has a lot of this, you talked about having these, these kind of repeatable process and having tools in place, and a salesperson should be should behave the same way, they should have things immediately the disposal, if you can get a proposal out to someone, if you can have a template that allows you to put a proposal together and and knock it out and send it to someone the next day, then you can turn around and have a conversation with them that much sooner, because they’re going to, if they’re waiting a week for you to get a proposal to them, then that adds time, anything you can so so having a sales toolkit in place that allows you to immediately respond to things, you know, those things kind of help compress the sales cycle.
Alastair McDermott 25:48
Right. Yeah. And that accelerated effect. I mean, there’s just going to be a knock on effect for your business as well, because you’re also implementing these ideas, I’m sure.
Brendan McAdams 25:56
Yeah. So yeah.
Alastair McDermott 25:57
So you’re gonna be making more? I mean, if you make more sales,
Brendan McAdams 26:00
Alastair McDermott 26:00
Every year, you’re gonna have a higher income. So,
Brendan McAdams 26:03
Right, right, right. Yeah.
Alastair McDermott 26:04
Brendan McAdams 26:04
Alastair McDermott 26:05
That makes sense. Just there’s so much there that that’s, that’s brilliant. Yeah, go ahead.
Brendan McAdams 26:08
And I was just gonna say, and I think the big enemy for anyone that’s selling, and this includes consultants, to his his time is typically your enemy. Not always, but most of the time, time is your enemy. And for a couple reasons, many other things can happen. In the meantime, things, you know, especially when you’re selling into a large organisation, there are rewards, you know, people leave and quit, you know, go elsewhere, budgets change, competitive situ, the whole landscape can change. So if you can compress time, you eliminate some of those variables. And, and that increases your odds. And, and the other thing that time does is people get bored over time, if things there’s this inherent kind of perspective that if something takes a year to get done, it’s just not as exciting to people is something that takes four months to get done. If you can figure out ways to compress time, your likelihood of success goes up, because you know, and in early stages in an organisation, you know, or in a deal, I should say, the chance to compress time, you have a lot of control over that, I think.
Alastair McDermott 27:10
Yeah, I mean, other things can happen. I know of one project where it was taking so long that somebody who was who was a lead on the client side actually died.
Brendan McAdams 27:20
Alastair McDermott 27:20
Brendan McAdams 27:21
Alastair McDermott 27:21
It’s really unfortunate, horrible situation. But these things can happen. other situations, new CEO comes in and cancels the project.
Brendan McAdams 27:28
Alastair McDermott 27:29
So yeah, yeah. So absolutely. Getting getting through that quicker.
Brendan McAdams 27:32
Alastair McDermott 27:33
I just want to talk to you about the books for a minute, because you’re now writing your second book, what’s the name of the second book, by the way.
Brendan McAdams 27:38
It’s called “Sell Yourself”. And it’s the focus is I’ve spent the last decade as independent sales consultant sales and marketing consultant. And I have a fundamental belief that this gig economy, if you will, that’s probably not the best phrase, but this consulting, this solopreneur kind of economy is not going away. And I think that for talented salespeople, there’s an opportunity to be your own solopreneur salesperson. And this is basically a book that’s kind of a playbook of about how to think about it, and how to do how to do it. So if you’re a freelancer, any, like, basically, you’re kind of you instead of being at the, at the, at the whim, you know, subject to the whim of your boss, your your company, you now have control over your territory, your customers, your products, and all those sorts of things. And it’s frightening for some people think about it in those terms. But really, if you’re in sales, you’re really at the, you know, you’re really subject to whatever the company changes might, might be. And this allows you to kind of insulate yourself from that as a independent.
Alastair McDermott 28:44
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. One thing that I find that a lot of independent experts and consultants find difficult is actually the concept of selling themselves if they don’t want to,
Brendan McAdams 28:56
Alastair McDermott 28:56
The phrases blow your own trumpet.
Brendan McAdams 28:58
Alastair McDermott 28:58
You know, this kind of thing. So I mean, is that something that you’ve come across?
Brendan McAdams 29:02
Oh, yeah. Oh, certainly. And I have, I mean, we wouldn’t know it from this, this conversation, but I, I have that resistance at times, too. I you know, it’s like, it’s difficult to you know, that. It can be uncomfortable. Yeah, I agree. But I was listening to a podcast the other day, and it was two celebrities. And they were talking about how they both suffered from was imposter syndrome. And it was two very famous, very accomplished celebrities. And on a on a podcast, they were both explaining it, and I thought, Oh, that’s right. That’s, that’s reassuring that they suffer from this same sort of thing. And so I think, I think you you have to yeah, I don’t I don’t know exactly how you do it, except that I will recommend a book that I find to be really like, just one, this one book that I find really, really valuable in this. Steven Pressfield “The War of Art”.
Alastair McDermott 29:55
Brendan McAdams 29:55
And I just find it to be a fantastic book about this. And and about believing in yourself and dedication to work and so forth. And so I think, I think he’s, I think that book is, is had a big impact on me, and just terms of my mindset and so forth. And I think, you know, I so so I, I don’t exactly know how to overcome that. But I do know that you have to do it.
Alastair McDermott 30:20
Yeah, absolutely. And then on the books themselves,
Brendan McAdams 30:23
Alastair McDermott 30:23
How do you find the process of of marketing and selling your own books? Is that something that you put a lot of effort into? Or do you just kind of put them out there and see what happens? Or how do you feel about that?
Brendan McAdams 30:33
I didn’t put the first I didn’t make a huge effort in terms of marketing. The first book, I did it as it was a bit of a bucket list item for me. And I thought in my book as a more of a calling card for when I go out and talk to customers. And it’s been very useful for it’s been great for that. But I did not actively market it. And I didn’t have a huge audience for it at the time. And so this next book, and I didn’t really didn’t promote, it’s, it’s done fine. You know, but you know, you know, I, it’s very difficult to get rich writing a book, as you, you know, you may know, but for this next book, I’m making more of an effort to promote it. And through podcasts like this, and through through Twitter, and in the like.
Alastair McDermott 31:19
So I was listening just just on like getting rich, or just trying to look up, look up a name there. I’ll put it in the show notes. But it was it was an author and somebody asks, you know, how much have you made from your book? And like, how many copies Have you sold? Nice sold? Probably have. So maybe 100 copies of Oh, wow, geez, that’s not great. Really? Is it? And they said, Yeah, but I’ve made about $3 million from it.
Brendan McAdams 31:39
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Alastair McDermott 31:41
So it’s in I think, in our world, the purpose of a book is is very different, or, you know, it can be really effective at driving those sales. So yeah,
Brendan McAdams 31:53
Yeah, yeah, I think I’ve sold not quite 500 I don’t think so. It’s been okay that way, but you don’t make any it’s not it’s not about the money. The thing for me is there is my mindset is like this, I don’t believe something is really it’s it’s if it isn’t somehow makes me uncomfortable at some point, it’s probably not worth doing. And writing the book was a grind for me. And but I’m so happy that when it’s done, it’s just, I wholeheartedly recommend people, if they have it in them to want to do it. They should do it. It’s it’s not pleasant. I didn’t enjoy it. It was just going along. But once it’s done you there’s just tremendous satisfaction, at least for me.
Alastair McDermott 32:31
Yeah, I know that there are there are services out there. I know Steve Gordon has a service and the “Unstoppable” CEO podcast host, Steve Gordon, he has a service to help people write books, you know, where they interview you. And, and they take that and they turn it into a book. So I know that there are you know, there are ways to get it done quicker, you know, with support.
Brendan McAdams 32:51
Alastair McDermott 32:51
I’m in the middle of writing a book at the moment. So I had self published a book, maybe five or six years ago now about WordPress, which is totally not what I’m working on that.
Brendan McAdams 33:01
Alastair McDermott 33:02
But it’s nice to have a book out there. And that certainly helped me to get some web development projects.
Brendan McAdams 33:06
Alastair McDermott 33:07
They wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. But yeah, I recommended it. And also the act of writing helps to formulate your thinking.
Brendan McAdams 33:13
Alastair McDermott 33:13
And I think that’s really important.
Brendan McAdams 33:15
Alastair McDermott 33:15
So yeah. Can I ask you about failure for a minute, because particularly in our culture over here in Ireland, failure is is very much something that people don’t embrace. And it’s kind of frowned upon to talk about I know that in the States, it’s embraced a bit more in in particular, in business culture, is there any failure that you’ve experienced in business that you can tell us about and what you learned from that any kind of obstacles or, or setbacks that you encountered?
Brendan McAdams 33:39
I guess the thing for me, I’m trying, I know I have them. The I get maybe I repress them, I made some, I made some career decisions early on I where I went to work for come I change positions, thinking that I was going to move from from a to a new, better opportunity. And I left behind just a huge job, what turned out to be a huge opportunity. So, so I made some some career decisions that I thought were good for my long term career that were financially expensive, trying to give us a particular sales opportunity. Where I guess for me, I’ve had difficulty, like where I’ve done badly in a sale is when I wing it, I guess if I’ve found that if I go in without some level of preparation, there’s some weird, weird kind of middle ground where I find that if I prepare a certain amount, I do quite well. I think you can overthink things and over plan and I I’m not guilty of that very often, but I have there been instances where I’ve where I wing it and I go in without any without and i don’t know i don’t really do this much anymore. But I would go into a meeting without some background without some understanding of the customer situation just thinking I knew it and that’s never turned out particularly well. So I, I now do there’s a certain certain kind of ritual I go through beforehand, I have a set of questions that I’ve have written out, I do some steps beforehand, I do a little search on anyone that I meet before needing LinkedIn search and Twitter and I see what they write about. I, I make a point of checking out the what’s going on in news feed for the company with the latest things are and where I’ve fallen down in the past with sales calls is what I don’t what I don’t do that kind of basic blocking and tackling, if you will, on the front end.
Alastair McDermott 35:32
Yeah, absolutely. I tend to over prepare up on sometimes I go too deep on that and go down the rabbit hole. So I try not to do that. So we just come up to time. So I just want to say we’re gonna wrap it up really quickly.
Brendan McAdams 35:43
Alastair McDermott 35:43
You mentioned the “War of Art” by Steven pressfield as as a business book, is there any particular fiction book that you like? Or if you don’t read fiction, which is what what do you do for that kind of relaxing, kind of putting your mind kind of away from business house?
Brendan McAdams 35:59
So I haven’t been this is I haven’t been reading a lot of fiction lately. It’s been more I’ve been kind of wrapped up in in nonfiction and work stuff. But I’m a big fan of John Irving books. And you know, so like, world recording carp and Owen, meany, and so forth. And I like them because they have an arc, they have a clear storyline that kind of closes in on itself. He as a writer, the thing I love about his books is when you get to the end, you know, you’re at the end you it’s it’s sort of he ties it up in a kind of a clever, interesting way that that, you know, in a lot of cases you hadn’t expected or does he open a lot of loops that he closes then yeah, yeah.
Alastair McDermott 36:40
Yeah, like that, too.
Brendan McAdams 36:41
So So I will say, though, that I’m not reading a lot of fiction, but I’m in the process of writing a novel. So I do aspire to it right. And to kind of finish a novel and I’ve got no, I’ve got like, a couple 100 pages written so far. So I do have a novel in my future.
Alastair McDermott 36:56
Cool. If you don’t know Richard Newton, I’ve got to introduce you because he’s also a consultant and business book author.
Brendan McAdams 37:04
Alastair McDermott 37:05
And he’s also writing a novel or he’s actually written a novel and thinking by providing a little bit of a difficult introduce you there.
Brendan McAdams 37:10
Oh, by all means, yeah.
Alastair McDermott 37:11
So I really appreciate you coming on kick. Can you tell our listeners where they can find you? And I know you’ve got a podcast and you’ve got, you’ve got the books. Can you just give us quick overview of where to find those?
Brendan McAdams 37:23
Yeah, so the podcast is a fascinating thing. If we have a minute, Louis Nichols started “Sales for Founders”, the podcast and he is now he’s also the co founder of Spark Loop, which is the newsletter reference referral tool. That’s just that he’s, it’s, it’s been a huge success. It’s brilliant. And so he, I’m kind of transitioning in to take over “Sales for Founders”
Alastair McDermott 37:46
Brendan McAdams 37:47
In that podcast is focused on helping founders as you might imagine, sell so I’m doing that and very generous of of Louis and kind of a perfect fit for what I’m doing.
Alastair McDermott 37:57
Brendan McAdams 37:57
So that’s so you can find me and sales for founders podcast and the website and, and then on Twitter, it’s Brendan McAdams is my Twitter account. And, and then my my company website is kinetics, but that’s spelled kiinetics.com. And then BrendanMcadams.com is kind of my link tree. That’ll get you there.
Alastair McDermott 38:18
Excellent. And I will link all of those in the show notes.
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