Sales Skills Will Set You Apart.
Nick Rundlett is a sales consultant and founder of Mastermind.army a mentorship group for sales professionals.
It’s such a natural and organic thing to want to do, to help people in a way that makes you profit and makes them profit. That is what freedom of exchange is. It’s a positive sum game.
This week he joins Career Crashers to talk about his experience breaking into a career in sales and how sales skills can set you apart on the job hunt!
First of all, the average candidate is re-active, not pro-active.
Learn more about Nick’s sales mastermind at mastermind.army and connect with Nick by email at Nick [at] rundlett.com
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Show notes – Sales Skills Will Set You Apart
- How Nick first got bitten by the sales bug selling candy in high school.
- Biggest misconceptions about sales.
- Why working on mental health makes you so much more successful in sales.
- Nick’s sales approach to the job hunt.
- Simple ways to stand out from the pack.
- The art of following up.
- Why the bar is so low.
Connect with Nick
- Connect with Nick on LinkedIN
- Email Nick at Nick [at] rundlett.com
Welcome to Career Crashers, where we tell the stories of those who are not content to wait around following rules and hoping for good things to happen. Great careers are found they’re forged.
It’s time to crash the party.
Super excited to be joined by the one and only Nick Rundlett, who is a sales professional, amazing sales professional high achieving. He’s right now a sales consultant. And he’s been, of course, a quota crushing SDR. He’s been head of sales at toggle, he leads the sales mastermind army, which is also a podcast.
He’s also a Praxis alum. And he helps out a lot. Right now he helps out a lot of up and coming sales pros, as an advisor for Praxis, and really excited to be joined by Nick and glad to be called. Glad to call Nick a friend as well. So welcome to the podcast. Nick.
Thank you so much for having me, Joel, this is gonna be a blast.
Right on. So I’m curious if you could kind of give us the the basic story of breaking into sales how you chose sales? You didn’t you didn’t get a college degree, you dropped out? Whet to Praxis.
Tell us about how you broke in to the sales profession in the beginning? And how you kind of use that portfolio mindset that pitching mindset to to get the ball rolling?
Yeah, yeah, I think really, it truly all began when I got the first little dopamine hit of selling a jolly rancher that I paid three cents for for a quarter. And I just ran the math in my head as a freshman in high school and went, Oh my god, I just made like 700% margin. What? Can I keep doing this?
And then I kept doing it. And it kept working. And I ended up selling like half $1,000 worth of candy in my freshman year. And that kind of like planted the seed of like, oh, there’s this banned thing that you’re not allowed to do called selling people what they want to buy. And I have like a little bit of a contrarian streak. And so I very thoroughly enjoyed doing that.
And I was going down the normal path in life of like, okay, who’s graduating, like high school time to go to college in time to follow in your father’s footsteps, I was studying to become a computer engineer. While I was doing that, I was also running a business buying and selling precious metals. And that was 100 times more fulfilling and interesting.
And I was like profiting from it immediately. And it was just like, tipping point where it kind of clicked like, this isn’t what I want to do, I don’t want to just like help them help the world through solving number problems. I want to help the world through solving people problems. And that’s what sales is. Sales at its core is all about helping people solve problems.
So once that foundation was there, and I made the decision to start running my own business, it like it quickly hit me that like, I don’t know what I don’t know. And I would have like I had all the raw skill and like potential to do that successfully. But I missed a lot of the business acumen I missed a lot of the mindset, I did not have a foundation of mental health.
And so it turned out like for me and my own path, getting an apprenticeship and sales was one of the best things I could possibly have done. It gave me a lot of stability that I needed in my career path. It gave me time to develop the skills and the business acumen that you get when you enter into a sales role, like at a professional capacity.
And yeah, man, it’s just been like all uphill from there. It’s been fantastic.
I love that you mentioned that a little story from freshman year high school, and that that was a sort of a contrarian thing to do. And it really speaks to this misconception that we are essentially taught in our culture that about sales, right? That sales isn’t about helping people. It’s about tricking people, or something like that, or it’s all about, you know, greed and manipulation of sorts. Like break down the the myths about what sales is.
Good god. Yeah, thank you. So like, people don’t understand. And I do genuinely think that at some level, this is systemically hidden from kids because it’s such a natural and organic thing to want to do, like help people in a way that makes you profit and makes them profit. That’s what freedom of exchange is, is a positive sum game.
And so at its core, like sales is helping people solve problems and your ability to solve increasingly complex problems and build trust and rapport and relationship and cultivate relationships with people who trust you. That’s the extent to which you are successful in sales.
It’s not like the Zoot Suit wearing cigarette smoking. I don’t even know what kind of motifs people have in their brains. It’s like, what the car salesman guy is who’s like, Alright, totes, it’s gonna be $350 take it or leave it his stuff is good for one hour only.
And it’s like, that’s not those people can be salespeople. And they can stay at the bottom 5% their entire lives. But if you want to, like actually create financial freedom and independence for yourself through sales, which is possible, it’s about helping people.
By the way, Nick has a side hustle going I think about a new career in voiceovers.
Coming soon, coming soon.
But tell us about the the first, the first SDR role you had and or maybe the apprenticeship and just that learning by doing process and maybe the some of the call reluctance you had with doing lots of cold calls and some of the psychological psychological, you mentioned the mental health as a foundation for success in sales.
And you’re a big advocate for that frame of it. So tell us about what it was like, psychologically, to do cold calling for the first time.
Yeah, well, I mean, it’s interesting, like the mental health side of it is so incredibly important. Like I had a lot of trauma in my childhood that I had to process through for many years, because like many years of trauma stacks up and tends to take a substantial amount of investment, mentally, monetarily therapy, all of these things.
But like, the reason why that’s so important, is because you get to tap into like your true authentic self, as a result of having done that internal work, face, you’re young and shadow, and like, now you have at least it in front of you.
And like that internal, like whatever that trauma, whatever that dysfunction was, it makes you into a superhuman at something. And for me, that was actually like relating with and connecting with people.
And so it’s like, you can transform that darkness into your gold. And then when you do that, you’re a more authentic and confident version of yourself. And that makes you more successful in sales, makes you more successful in everything. But it makes you a lot more successful at sales when people can sense that you’re coming from that genuine place. And no one starts there.
Like it’s a journey. And it’s a hero’s journey. And so like when you embark into into the sales career path, you face immediate objections, immediate rejections, getting told no by people who were more powerful and more wealthy than you. And it can be extremely intimidating.
But the thing is, as you go through that, again, and again, more and more repetitions, like you’re going to a gym, you survive. And like, not only do you survive, but you kind of start to realize like after you’ve been told no 100 times the the incremental difference in pain between one note to the next is like zero, it’s like, same thing every time.
And after a while, it’s just kind of like rolls off of your back. And you’re like, Okay, cool. Like, literally every single time that I’m told no, I can now see an experience that I’m just mathematically one step closer to Yes. And so, like when when you start off in the career, it’s difficult.
But there are some mindset shifts that you can take like that, that make it like a lot easier to handle. And then over time, you become completely immune to the sense of rejection, which is like a superpower that kind of just like persists in your life after that.
Yes, simply building that resilience, you know, the more you do it, then you become accustomed to it. So, but at the beginning, I can imagine it being you know, fairly stressful when you’re trying to hit those quotas, but you’re getting that rejection, but I love what you said about the authentic self.
And, you know, you and I have so much overlap about the psychology stuff and personal development stuff. But um, yeah, it makes a lot of sense that it’s not the norm in our culture, to take, take that approach of being your true self in sales.
And that’s why there’s this misconception where it’s like, there’s this persona of the person who is selling you something and they just have an agenda and they’re not doing they’re not being real, like it’s not like there’s no truth and that’s never happened before. It’s that really the most fruitful sales people take down the persona, that connect to their true self.
They reveal that true self, to the potential potential customer. And that helps that person’s guard come down, right? Because like, Oh, this is a human, and then all of a sudden two humans connecting, and then you can create a win win, right?
MmmHmm. Yeah, that’s exactly how I experienced it, man. It’s crazy.
Beautiful. Okay, so we’ve shattered all the misconceptions about sales, anyone listening who is curious to break in to the field, that is actually a wonderful opportunity to, to connect with people and make a good amount of money too.
But, um, tell us about making a job plan a sales campaign in and of itself, because that’s what we’re teaching at Crash as you send and ship a pitch in an email to a human at a company. And then they may not respond right away. Right? They might be busy. Yeah.
So part of succeeding in the Crash process is sending follow up emails every couple of days until you get that response. So you actually recently use Crash, to to launch a campaign job hunt campaign. And you made this entire spreadsheet that you showed me about how you’re going to find your prospects, different companies and start pitching them and making the entire thing campaign.
So tell us about your approach to the job hunt at large, and then specifically, what it takes to do the follow up portion.
Yeah, so there’s like, there’s like a couple answers here. So I think the the minimum useful advice for someone who’s just trying to get a job is to not fall down the beaten path. Don’t do what every single other candidate is doing to apply to that job. And that’s submitting your resume, sending a generic cover letter, if that. And then just hoping and praying that something happens.
That has a very low success rates, like 0.1%. So you have to send 100 or 1000 applications before you get not a great job. But like, whatever job happened accidentally pick you out of the herd of candidates who are doing the same thing. The the simple thing that you can do to differentiate yourself is like present yourself in an entirely different light and take control and take responsibility for how you present yourself to the hiring manager.
And so for me, what as a salesperson, I think, like, okay, the hiring manager is actually my decision maker, they’re going to make a decision to bring me on to their team. So I want to reach out to that person directly.
I don’t want to have any filters, I don’t want my personal human representation of my value to be a sheet of paper. I probably want it to be like a video. And I probably want to speak directly to that person. And I probably want to do research ahead of time. And reference two or three things that I know about that person and their company.
Like, Hey, man, I saw that you went to University of Pittsburgh, I used to travel there all the time, I absolutely love Pamela’s diner. And I know that you’re hiring salespeople right now. And what am I doing, I’m sending you a video. That’s what I’m gonna do to your prospects, because I love doing this.
And I saw as well that you’ve got great recommendations from people like Steve Gurcharan. And like, holy cow, you look like a pretty awesome leader. So I was curious, if you’d be open to chatting for like 15 minutes, sometime over the next couple of weeks. Here’s a link to my calendly down below. If you’re open to it, let’s meet.
So you do something like that. You’re You’re lightyears ahead of the average candidate. First of all, the average candidate is reactive and not proactive. Second of all, even with being proactive, you’re not just sending, you know, a line of text that says Hi, I’m following up on my application, have you had the chance to review it?
Like, if you’re doing that, no shame to you, you are now in the top 50%. Congratulations, that is good. But if you want entirely better results, you have to do an entirely different strategy. And so sending a video is a great way to do that. It can be a personalized email, though, that just references those things in text. Just do what you can to stand out.
So tell us more about the follow up process. Because oftentimes, what we get what we hear from Crash users is just that seems like it’s annoying if I’m following up that often. How do I how do I do this in a polite way? That’s, that’s gonna get the best results. And then is there a cap on how often you felt follow up? What are some tips and mindset advice on just the art of following up after you send that pitch?
Yeah, there’s a lot here. Okay. So mindset thing. People are busy. And people’s attention is divided amongst their family, their work life, their priorities, their emergencies. You following up is not distracting, it’s not taking their time and energy, it’s giving the gift of connecting, when they otherwise might have missed your last piece of email or correspondence or just not have the time of following up.
So you’re creating an opportunity to connect by following up. You’re taking initiative and you’re taking ownership. And that’s a good thing, not a bad thing. And people never experience it as like, Oh my god, why is this guy following up with me again, this is the fifth email.
It’s like, that’s, that’s just like, unless you’re like, super annoying, and just sending like, any thoughts, any thoughts? Any thought? Like, again, again? Like, like, no one’s gonna experience it like that. So here’s what you do.
The mindset being talked about, let’s talk about practical, like, send something personal that shows that you actually care about the person or the role, a one sentence thing. Like, Hey, I wanted to congratulate you on retaining Angela for an entire year as your marketing manager. Hope to have the opportunity to talk to you about joining your marketing team sometimes, too. Thanks, Mike.
They’ve never seen something like that. That’s how low the bar is. How did I find that other information? I just looked up. Google, LinkedIn, marketing manager, company name, founder saw that she’d been there for a year in one month. That’s it.
So yeah, you just like you use some kind of hook like that there’s 100 different hooks. Another follow up is not even personalized. It’s just like, still incredibly excited to chat with you would love to learn more about the the opportunity. Wow, that’s it, like you just be positive. Like even even just showing excitement, that seems genuine is enough to like build that little bit of social capital. You don’t have to go the extra mile if you don’t want to.
And you keep doing this, then my my last piece of advice would be to be like, do it at least four times. You might go oh my god, four times. It’s so much. No, it’s not. It’s really not like you’ll, if you ever get into sales, you’ll know that like the average sale takes place between like the fifth and the 12th follow up. The 12th.
So you’re not annoying people. I was helping someone get a job once. And she found this trend. Where she said she sent an email after like for follow up, she sent like a fifth follow up, I think and the email was something like, I assume the position is no longer available period. Thank you for your time.
Or just like something like that. And then that email got responded to like 80% of the time and she goes to interviews off of that. So that’s kind of like a psychological reverse in sales.
Another way of sending that kind of email would be to say like, is this opportunity gone? Question Mark send nothing else? No, thanks. No, nothing, not even your name just is this opportunity gone? Question mark. And you’ll be amazed people will respond to that.
So many gold nuggets of wisdom here. I love the flipping of the frame, that the mindset where it’s no, this is an opportunity, this is a good thing. People can connect with you now. And it’s not annoying at all. So you mentioned the bar is low. And I just want to flesh that out a bit.
I you talk about this a lot in in the pitching mindset and whether whether it’s looking for a job or or starting a business or making a lot of money, there’s a lot of the bar is low to do to be successful in this world. And people I think don’t give themselves enough credit for what they could do.
So let’s say that someone’s listening and they actually have no sales experience. They they haven’t even sold, you know the candy when they were in high school. They haven’t sold anything but they want to break in. They have some you know, some some gumption and gumption and initiative and hunger but they don’t have a portfolio they don’t have they don’t have connections maybe they just got laid off from a from a restaurant job and they’re trying to break in fresh cold.
And they don’t really feel confident right now. How like, you’re seeing the bars low. And they might say no, I’m not sure it’s low enough like I don’t have anything I need training is going to this is going to be a big huge process to to undertake like what what encouragement do you have to someone who doesn’t think that they’re good enough to start in sales?
Yeah, well, I mean, first of all, I would count myself among those people. Like before I started, like for sure, like, deep, deep childhood wound in belief that I’m fundamentally unworthy of love and success. And so like, and a lot of the very best salespeople that I’ve ever met in my life, have something like that, if not exactly that.
And what I would say to these people is like you can let that fear control you, or you can try to turn it into a source of motivation.
And the events that happened to us that lead us to have low self esteem, or just like feeling low and crummy about where we are in life, we actually have the ability to make up what they mean, then we actually have the ability to make up how we respond to those events. So if I get laid off, I’m living paycheck to paycheck. And I’m like, Oh, shit.
Something psychologically, that I would do to make the situation bearable, and like feel really approachable is I would break it down into the minimum task. And so what that means is like, Can I write an email to someone? Like, can? Can I apply to the one job?
And then maybe I could get up and do that the next day. And then maybe after doing that for a few days, I could start doing two a day, because at this point, it’s kind of easy, and I kind of know what to do. And maybe you get your first interview from that. And maybe you get your first tracking of success. And it’s like that builds that builds quickly.
And just remember, if you’re trying to break into sales, specifically, someone who’s hiring for an SDR position isn’t looking for you to have 10 years of sales experience and to be a cold call closer.
They’re looking to see if you’ve struggled through adversity and persisted beyond it. Because that’s the hallmark of a successful human. And that’s the hallmark of a successful salesperson. So that would be my advice.
It’s beautiful stuff. You can do it. If you have the perseverance, the persistence, the desire doesn’t matter. What does matter what official job experience you have, you know, start from where you are. And if you have the thirst, you can make it happen.
Start writing emails, start getting on LinkedIn and connecting to sales professionals. Listen to sales mastermind podcast, learn about, there’s so much you can learn through desire. And that’s what I like you just said, that’s what people want hiring managers want for an entry level SDR role. So awesome stuff.
Thanks so much, Nick, Rundlett, I want to give you a chance to talk a little bit about your Sales Mastermind. It’s a podcast, and it’s assembling a group of sales professionals and helping people improve at the craft. So what’s going on?
Yeah, thank you so much for having me, man. It’s been a blast. And, yeah, I’m working on building out mastermind.army. If you go to the website, and what it is, essentially is we’re a mastermind group of top performing sales professionals who gather every single week to help each other solve problems in our pipelines and our personal lives.
And so if you’re not familiar with Masterminds, they’re super awesome. I can give you free resources on how to set one up yourself. If you reach out to me, NickRundlett.com. But in principle, it’s just a whole bunch of smart people getting together who come from different backgrounds.
Someone says, Hey, man, I’m struggling with this. I don’t know. I don’t know how to follow up with this prospect. They’ve gone completely off the radar. What do you do in these kinds of situations? And then Steve says do this. And Tim says do that.
The collective intelligence when you get seven people in a room helping you solve one specific problem? It’s like the equivalent of having, I don’t know Albert Einstei, mentor you about physics.
So it’s a really beautiful and powerful format. We’re a community that’s doing this for top sales professionals. And you can go to www.mastermind.army to learn more.
Perfect, Nick, thanks again. It’s been a blast.
Man, thank you so much.
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