What good is a salesperson with five years' experience if they've never been trained and have a hopscotch career of many short stops at companies that never invested in training their sales teams? Corey tells the old story, "A guy walks past a construction site and sees five people laying brick. And he goes to the first guy and says, "Hey, what are you doing?" He's like, "Building a wall." Goes to the second guy, "What are you doing?" And he's like, "Making 12 bucks an hour." Listen to the rest as Corey Frank and Susan Finch, president of Funnel Media Group and Funnel Radio, go on without Chris Beall this week and talk about the concept behind Branch49, a sales acceleration software and service that uses AI to score leads based on their preferred contact channels, while also dedicating a sales team to perform top-of-funnel and full-stack revenue generation. They discuss the obligation that companies have to ensure sales professionals are trained correctly and with the good of the prospect and customer at the forefront, how to undo bad sales habits, and how to help sales professionals who were never trained prepare to work for honorable companies who value sales skills. This is part one of a two-part interview.
Part two of this interview is here:
Here is the full transcript from this episode:
Susan Finch (01:17):
This week on Market Dominance Guys, I'm joined by Corey Frank. Chris is off busy doing something and I'm sure we will catch up with him later, but Corey and I wanted to dive into the topic of our responsibility to help bring up honorable, terrific, trained, competent, confident, and enjoyable salespeople. How do we do that? You're going to have to listen to this episode for some great suggestions, what you needed to be aware of and how you can start to have a better sales team, not only for now, but for the future. Join us for this episode, Keeping the Weasels out of the Cathedral.
Corey Frank (02:01):
Then the focus of Youngblood Works and Uncommon Pro is we find companies and then we invest or we'll lead the round or we'll do a pile on round on a funding place, or we'll do like sales advisory consulting and what's your product-market fit and stuff. But then it led to the creation of the accelerator. And the accelerator is where we have organizations all across the world, like a hundred plus different mainly in cybersecurity and med-tech, where we do top of the funnel and we'll help them create their top of funnel activities, prove product-market fit. And then we'll also do full-stack. So if they want us to sell their product in their name, because they don't have a sales team, we'll do that. And that's branch 49.
Corey Frank (02:43):
And so branch99.com is really like if we were going out, like with maybe something like this and say, Hey, it's really youngblood Works, but it's Branch 49 is kind of the go-to-market, the B2B kind of element with regards to what we do. It's like a VSA. Remember we had Val on about six months ago. So we do similar, but we focus predominantly on cyber. And then we do all the messaging. So through Oren Klaff, who we've had on before too, my buddy Oren, that's what we do on Uncommon Pro is we craft kind of the face melter messaging screenplays for folks. We have a technical sales division where we take cybersecurity content, educational content, and that's called Tresorit. And so Youngblood Works is the parent. And then we invest and fund all these other different companies. Branch 49 is the one that's forced your main to what we talk about at market dominance, which is trust-based conversations at scale when we do that for companies.
Susan Finch (03:41):
I want to talk, I mean, you gave me the overview of Branch 49, of Youngbloods and things, but I want to talk about the impact that you guys are having starting people from a good starting point with good training, rather than having to correct bad habits that people learned from first jobs where people have no clue how to train somebody, and the strength and the advantage that all those people are going to have, having gone through your programs and how many of them are already on their way to successful careers as they graduate debt-free. There's a point to me, almost a social responsibility and as successful business people, if we want to keep everybody being successful and growing and dealing with successful people, we have to put our time in and our effort in to getting people to that level before they even start down some career path, starting their own businesses, whatever it is.
Susan Finch (04:37):
And so you guys have taken that responsibility and taken that lead. Yeah, you're making money from it and you guys are benefiting and other people are too. That's not the point. It's that long-term investment in these humans that are choosing to be a part of this program. I watched too many people that I run across in B2B, B2C that have had horrible training, no training, partial training, no support. And they have no confidence, they're shwarmy, they're nobody you want you to deal with, let alone share lunch with, dinner, or a long-term relationship, or refer anybody to.
Corey Frank (05:11):
Where do they learn? Is it like they're just a victim of the social more, the Kardashians and the Instagram and the selfie generation? Where do they learn that bad or not optimal sales behavior? Because they don't have enough experience to buy cars or houses or buy software yet. So they learn it from somewhere.
Susan Finch (05:33):
Think about the movie Tin Men.
Corey Frank (05:35):
Susan Finch (05:36):
Okay? That's way before the Kardashians.
Corey Frank (05:38):
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Susan Finch (05:40):
Weasels have been there all along. Snake oil salesmen, it has always been that time. It's a shortcut, it's lazy. It's survivor mode that people get in to. And those are cycles that get repeated in households and by example. That's where they see it first, no matter what the home life is like, whether it's fractured, whether it's all put together, but they watch these examples happening and they continue it. And then yes, it is further emphasized, further supported through these fantasy things that we see on television, on Instagram, on everywhere as if it's reality and the lines are kind of blurred. I hear it from people in my daughter's groups. You would almost think that they thought the reboot of Dynasty was really how it is. People are really like this. No, they are not. I'm telling you, you don't understand this is camp. I said it is not camp. Yeah, it's camp. It's campy.
Corey Frank (06:39):
Reality TV. Right?
Susan Finch (06:41):
But they don't get what campy is. They actually think it's attainable and correct.
Corey Frank (06:47):
And lack of moral compass. I don't know. Maybe we wouldn't have to get rid of that.
Susan Finch (06:51):
Yeah. Right. Yeah. I mean, you and I have talked about that before that all these people, I'm spiritual. I just want to have to go to church. I don't have to do this. They have no communities that they are answering to hold them accountable because that'd be inconvenient and embarrassing and make them change. And mainly that's why people don't do that. And so they use it as their excuse. I hate religion. I hate structured this. I hate structured that. Well, the more we've all fallen away from all that, whatever your faith is, but something that is not you, not the almighty dollar to guide us and for people to call us out as we don't live with all of our extended families like we used to. I'm away from all my cousins. My kids are away from their cousins. They're away from their nieces and nephews and their uncles that would call them on their crud when I'm exhausted.
Susan Finch (07:38):
And remember, I mean, when you grew up, when I grew up, there were people on us. We had so many sets of parents. So many people that could give their opinion could smack us on the back of the head like, what are you doing?
Corey Frank (07:50):
Well, maybe that's interesting than that with the whole Chris likes to really focus on the new virtual landscape of business, right? We're not going back to the office.
Susan Finch (08:01):
No, we're not.
Corey Frank (08:02):
One of the downside pieces of residue is just that in a familial if you're in a small town and you got cousins and uncles, et cetera, you steal a candy bar from a drug store, somebody's going to tell your uncle, he's going to tell your dad. If I'm working from home for you, I'm a sales rep working for my manager. Yeah, we have Zoom calls a couple of times a day, account reviews here and there. But my daily behavior is a spreadsheet. It's not what I'm doing. Maybe how I'm dressing, what time I'm getting up. What I can't observe. Our folks are 20 feet here. Here's [crosstalk 00:08:35] right? And I can see their body language, I can see when they're hunched over. I can see when they're... All those little nonverbal cues that say, I think the lead list sucks. Or I think it's time for jumping jacks or I think it's time for bringing in pizza. So maybe that's one of the downsides of having this kind of truly virtual culture is that level of accountability you're talking about.
Susan Finch (08:57):
So with the extra time that we're all saving from not going into the office from not having nonsense meetings all day long, just to hear somebody else yammer on what percentage of time should we invest? If we can spend three hours watching television that night, take 10% of that time, 18 minutes devoted to community. Whenever your downtime is 10%, I dare you to invest in an accountability group. Whether it's your neighbors, your friends, your peers. I have three people that all own their own businesses within walking distance from my house. We are accountable to each other. We check in, we take walks. We brainstorm in person as we're walking the dogs, as we're blowing off steam, whatever it is. But we do that three times a week.
Corey Frank (09:45):
Susan Finch (09:46):
So right there, and they'll remember and say, well, what happened to that thing you were doing? Well, how come that's not working? Oh my gosh, that's what she said? You might want to consider.
Corey Frank (09:57):
That's powerful. Wow. That's great. You're lucky to have that. You can't hide, right?
Susan Finch (10:02):
I don't want to.
Corey Frank (10:03):
You don't want to.
Susan Finch (10:04):
But there's the difference too, because I can't keep improving or succeeding or whatever it is if I am not willing to change and to look at the ugly parts.
Corey Frank (10:18):
That's so good. So out of principles, right?
Susan Finch (10:59):
Tell me some of the successes. I mean, I know there have to be so many highlights from right there at Branch 49, with everything that you're doing. Can you tell us a couple of what it used to be like, what happened and what it's like today for a few people?
Corey Frank (11:13):
Yeah. To take a step back for a second, the concept came from Chris's inspiration and our riffs over the years, that there needs to be a different training mechanism, boot camp, minor league system for bringing up the next generation of sales folks. And we had talked about that just a few minutes ago, is what are these cultural shackles that limit the folks from wanting to move into sales or doing it the "right way"? And so this concept of this being a finishing school for future CEOs.
Susan Finch (11:52):
Corey Frank (11:53):
As we've heard many times on this show, with Chris and all of our guests is that if you're a CEO and you're not actively selling, there's a challenge there. I think it was Henry Ford who said the definition of a sales manager is the best damn salesperson in the place. And today, as a CEO, you can't just be product-oriented or finance-oriented. You need to be up, front and center, whether it's selling stock in your company or it's helping your folks sell products. And as we've talked many times, it's not just cherry-picking, oh, give me the good leads. It's having, as the CEO, do the cold calling so they see what the quality of the lead lists are, the quality of the tech stack, and everything in the float.
Corey Frank (12:35):
So we set out here at Grand Canyon to create that, and we've had kind of an interesting AB experiment. We've had students and grads from the university so fresh they didn't know anything. And then we had let's call them killers. We had the thousand-yard stare who worked with other technology companies, cybersecurity companies, sold in the past. And they came together. You would think then that this island of Dr. Moreau would happen where you have these two or these Lord of the flies, where you have these two cultures where the vets would kind of teach the younger folks. But what's interesting is what happened is we taught everybody, in the same way, is this is the books you read. This is we use the Sandler and the Oren Klaff Pitch Anything methodology. You're going to journal every day. You're going to dress the part. We're going to teach you public speaking, we're going to teach you how to read a financial statement. We're going to teach breathing exercises. So when you speak, you speak properly. Zoom backgrounds, all that stuff.
Corey Frank (13:36):
And you found that the killers, the ones who had experience, they really globbed onto this at a rate that was equivalent to what the new folks did because, and as you interviewed these folks after months and our performance went up, they realized that no one really taught them that before. When they started at a new organization, it was all about product training and sales training was just a small piece of it and they said, well, you guys figure it out. And-
Susan Finch (14:05):
Here's a list.
Corey Frank (14:06):
Here's a list. And so they had to really unlearn a lot of the basic cliche type of techniques. Well, I just like to wing it. I just like to have my personality shine through in the interview. Right? Susan, well, what's the strongest part of your sales process before they come on? And I'd write it down. Rapport building, relationship building. And of course, they would say, “well, probably my ability to build rapport and relationships”. I showed it to him, and was like, how did I know that? It's because most folks have this mindset to have supplicative behavior that is needy, that I want to be liked. I want to be included. I want to be part of the tribe.
Corey Frank (14:46):
And I think we had Oren on, what about six months ago I think it was, the Oren Klaff Pitch Anything. And he talks about, you need four key elements in every sales. Humor, you need intrigue, you need curiosity, but most importantly, you need tension. And it doesn't mean you're over the top and you're aggressive or you're a jerk. It just means your ability where I'm going to come off as equal status and not supplicative, or hat an hand. And if I come off as equal status or at least professional, knowing my world, you know your world, the success is going to increase. And so that's been one of the things that a lot of folks tend to unlearn. So from a success story perspective, that's really neat to see is that people crave a process, a regimen, a structure, more than anything else.
Susan Finch (15:28):
Well, and they're seeing too that it works. In short order, they're seeing that it works.
Corey Frank (15:34):
Susan Finch (15:34):
And like you said, you're taking people that were tossed into the ring with no training. And most salespeople are not, I mean, even in retail, business to business retail. Doesn't matter. They barely get anything. It is all about the product, the widget that you're selling, the service that you're selling, know it inside and out so you can answer any questions. That's good. That's really good because you don't want to sound like an idiot. Because why are you going to sell something to somebody you don't know anything about?
Corey Frank (16:00):
Right. We looked at birth order a lot too. Certainly, the firstborns are very interesting to train. So I'm sure you've had experience with it. First and onlies. I mean, they're just-
Susan Finch (16:10):
Corey Frank (16:11):
Yeah. Yeah. If it's not in the book if it's not in the training book, then why isn't it in a training book? And it's tougher to call audibles in general, very justice-oriented. So if you have a comp policy, you have a crossover policy with leads. If you have somebody grant a couple of hours of PTO, you better have it equal across the board. Those are firstborns, especially first [crosstalk 00:16:34].
Susan Finch (16:33):
Corey Frank (16:34):
And then the last borns you're going to have the rule-breakers, the comedians, the Reverend folks. And you need a nice amalgam of both firsts and lasts. And the second borns even, they're more of the melancholy, the people Watchers. They get along to get along. The consensus builders between the two. And so obviously it just comes out in the wash that we know who's a first and who's a last and a middle.
Susan Finch (16:58):
Corey Frank (16:59):
But once we do the OMG or the Myers-Briggs and we've used them all here at the university, we can get access to all these tools, people always want the little mental pinprick, blood tests, roar shack of where do I rank?
Susan Finch (17:14):
Where do I fit in? Like you were saying.
Corey Frank (17:16):
Susan Finch (17:17):
What's my place here because I want to make sure I do my place right so I can be successful. And I think that's part of it is they're looking for that answer of, okay, what's my starting point where the expectations of me, what do you know about me? And how can I blow that out of the water?
Corey Frank (17:37):
Yeah, because they're all looking for their why. Even though they think they're looking for a what, because they post on Instagram, this house or this boat, or this stack of money or this trip, they think they're surfing for the what and you and I, of a certain age, of having families, and we see children and we've had a number of team members work with us over the years, you realize that, okay, there's no or little nutritional value in shooting for a what without the why. And so one of the things that Chris has helped us a lot with is helping identify where the why, man searched for me and is on the book lists that these folks have. Any person could do a what if they understand a why.
Corey Frank (18:18):
We tell a story oldie but a goodie I'd give credit if I knew where this came from, but a guy walks past a construction site, and sees five people laying brick, Susan. And he goes to the first guide and says, "Hey, what are you doing?" He's like, "Building a wall." Goes to the second guy, "What are you doing?" And he's like, "Making 12 bucks an hour." Goes to the third guy and says, "What are you doing?" And he's like, "Laying brick" and goes to the fourth guy and says, "What are you doing?" He says, "I'm building a cathedral." Then finally goes to the fifth and says, "What are you doing?" He says, "I'm saving men's souls." Now they're all doing the same thing. They're all laying brick, making 12 bucks an hour, building a wall. But it's the latter two who see building the cathedral and saving men's souls as the ones that probably are paying a little bit more close attention to detail spelling in their notes, pick it up a piece of paper in the corner of the office, refilling the soda machine, if it needs it. Not taking the last bagel in the morning. Those are the folks that really kind of make the culture sing.
Corey Frank (19:24):
And then you find a lot of the folks who weren't taught that way. They have five years’ experience, they say, but they really have like one year five times or six months 20 times. So you'd assume that the veterans would be the leaders, but it's actually the newer folks, the grads, and the current students who this is brand new, who is so enamored with the shiny object of a why finally. After four years of school, and I finally figured out what I want to do versus probably people like you and me, right, who drifted, fell into sales because we're liberal arts folks. And that's just I guess what we do. We have a good personality and it's either drive a cab 10 borrower or jump into sales.
Susan Finch (20:05):
One of my first jobs, my first two jobs, I didn't get myself.
Corey Frank (20:09):
You didn't get yourself?
Susan Finch (20:10):
No, my girlfriend got hired. And then she said, "I need you to come work with me because we need another person. You're the only person I could work with."
Corey Frank (20:18):
So you're drafted.
Susan Finch (20:19):
So I was drafted by two different companies. The first one was a men's clothing store in the mall to sell David James closures, and trying to sell men's casual wear, chinos, suits, you name it. And we killed it. We both quit though because some people like too many inseams measured. Then we moved on and she got a job at a health club and in the call center, oh my gosh, your name was drawn. You just won a two-week free membership. Are you kidding me? This is so great. That was my first telemarketing job, grabbing the names from the fishbowl and calling them up, and getting them excited to come in. She would close them on the tour. So we double-teamed. So those were my first two jobs. And then I went into restaurants and stuff for a while.
Corey Frank (21:05):
So it wasn't necessarily an intentional pathway or traverse up the mountain to say, Hey, this is what I want to accomplish. But isn't that funny though, Susan, that we talk with, and most of the folks in our profession, because there's no formal sale. Ohio University has great sales school and Texas and Baylor University, but Arizona State is getting one but Grand Canyon University where I am. But a lot of universities, don't have a sales school yet. Right?
Susan Finch (21:29):
Corey Frank (21:30):
Part of communication and marketing. So you have folks who kind of fall into it and there's no LSAT or GMAT, or again, roar shack that you need to get into sales or not. It's steam this mirror, you got a good personality. It's like the old animal house. Hey, we need the dos, let's hire this person. And I think that kind of weighs... One of the other things that Oren says is people want what they can't have, people chase what moves away from them. And people only place value on that which is difficult to obtain.
Corey Frank (22:00):
I'm sure you have. I know Chris has, I certainly haven't... early in my career, you were interviewing for a sales position and they're hiring you 15 minutes in to the interview and first you're exuberant and enthused, and this is fantastic. And then you say, wait a minute here.
Susan Finch (22:16):
Corey Frank (22:17):
Too easy. And I think that's part of the downside of a lot of sales organizations. They don't make their process, their neediness shows. And it shows if I'm a recent grad and I graduate and I have a marketing major business, major economics, et cetera. And I get offered three jobs. One is a life insurance company. The other one is enterprise Rent-A-Car or the third one, I don't feel like it really worked for it like I needed to get into a top law school for instance. And I think that when I start day one, that's probably festering a little bit how valuable is this place if they'll hire anybody.
Susan Finch (22:51):
Right. I was telling you earlier that I went to Santa Fe. And I don't know if you know, I owned an art gallery years ago in Laguna Beach. It was contemporary Southwestern. So we visited one of the artists that I used to represent. And I was his top gallery. I was for all of our artists because I can tell a story and I was selling their stories and I only had artists in that I would want to invite into my home. It was all good people.
Susan Finch (23:17):
Yep, good people. And so we decided to splurge and we were going to buy a piece of art from this gentleman, Tom Wheeler, before we came back and my husband Tom was looking at a piece and it wasn't very big and it was kind of cool. And then there was one of those twice the size of itself in the suitcase. And I found myself selling that piece of art to my husband, who used to be my client in the gallery, and an easy mark. And I went right into that mode, telling him a story behind this piece that I've just seen for the first time. And see, this represents our family. And they're four stones in here and the hair up there shows humor and that's us. And they were both dying. They said, you just sold your husband a more expensive piece of art. And it made me laugh because once it's in you the right way.
Corey Frank (24:10):
Sure. Were you taught how to sell? Was there a methodology or who taught you how to kind of sell that proper narrative, that emotional arc that people want to be on a journey versus just winging it?
Susan Finch (24:24):
Well, I can say I've sold boating curves, inflatable boats, windlasses, you name it. Those did not have stories. But when we ended up with this gallery years ago, with my ex, they told stories. And that's what sucked us into wanting to buy that gallery because of the stories of every single piece of art, because they knew every artist. I realize people do not need art, but they need to justify the purchase to their friends because it's extravagant and they want a story to tell, they want to know the artist because the artist is a celebrity and I've watched this happen. And I thought, well, the more stories I can amass and listen and pull out of these artists, I can share them. And those pieces will go home, which they did. So I still do that though. I still tell stories, but that's where I really mastered it.
Corey Frank (25:17):
Well, look at Funnel Media Group, right? I mean, between Chris and all your other guests and all the other podcasts that you have, it's just a collection of storytellers in different industries.
Susan Finch (25:27):
Corey Frank (25:29):
In fact, I don't think of any of the Funnel Media Group's podcast, the dozens and hundreds I've listened, I don't think he ever talks about product. There's no product. It's all about people's stories and experiences and learnings and lessons [inaudible 00:25:43].
Susan Finch (25:43):
Right. And there isn't one person... I've had a few people approach us. I've actually turned down a couple of shows because I did not find them honorable. And I can't get behind and promote somebody that is not honorable or a message that isn't honorable. And that I wouldn't be proud to say, Hey, neighbor, you need them. if I'm having to protect my neighbors from my shows and the hosts and their products, there's a problem.
Corey Frank (26:11):
Yeah. There's certainly and even in hiring too, you see that, as you had said, from which artists you bring out or not, is that's a decency quotient. What's somebody's decency quotient? And is it something that can be taught? Is it something that you experience over time? And then you get burned enough and your spider-sense tingles and says, can sales reps be taught that with prospects?
Susan Finch (26:35):
Yes. They can. And I think part of it is letting go of that desperation feel. Have to get the numbers, have to get the numbers, have to get the numbers. And once you learn that it's going to be okay if that one doesn't work out, because there were four more that are better, let it go. And it gets reinforced to us when we have unscrupulous people that have taught us or that we have worked for, they didn't teach us anything, but they're forcing us, scaring us, manipulating us, badgering us to do whatever it takes to get them their goal. And it crushes our souls. It does. It just chips away, little by little.
Corey Frank (27:17):
Susan Finch (27:18):
And it takes a while for people to recover from that.