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The Sales Podcast

May 19, 2014

In 1994 Mike Searls excitedly started a company with expectations of greatness. He had a professional business plan and grand ideas and was a hard worker.

Within four years he had nearly lost it all. he was out of money and owed 7-figures to dozens of creditors. His credit cards were maxed out, he had cashed in his retirement accounts and had to sell his house. He was faced with law suits, foreclosure and mounting debt..

Three separate attorneys advised him to “shut it down and go get a real job at a local suitcase factory.”

He was driving a smoking Ford Taurus held together with duct tape and cardboard for a window. The owner of the parking lot where his office was located asked him to remove my car because it was an embarrassment.

That’s the day it all changed.

Hear his story today.

Rubber-Meets-The-Road Tip

  • Mike HATED sales when he got started.
  • He was entrepreneurial but didn’t know what to do.
    • Started a toy company 18 years ago from scratch. Built it to $34 million from his garage.
    • He did everything wrong at first.
    • Eventually sold the company, retired, got bored and started Success Training Systems.
    • Work on your business, not in  it.
  • He focuses on the big rocks and delegates the little tasks to his minions. 
    • We all have our challenges.
    • Do things on your own then build systems and delegate as soon as you can.
  • “I’m reactionary. I wait until I have a wall and then I address it...

    I tried front-loading my business…hiring ahead of the curve…getting more space than I needed and thinking I would grow into it. It created a bad situation that almost caused me to lose it all more than once.”

    • There will always be chaos. That’s a sign of efficiency. You need to be running!
    • Business plans are designed for banks and lenders.
    • If you stick to your business plan it means you’re not listening to the marketplace. I like business plans on a napkin.
  • Have a strategy. Create a job description for yourself if you are starting out. List EVERYTHING! Finance. Sales. A/R. Marketing. Legal. Taxes. Etc. Your goal is to delegate off chunks of that. Maybe your first hire is a bookkeeper. Write out their job description and put that list in their lap. Now you have two job descriptions. Want a sales manager. Do the same thing.\
    • When he sold his company, Mike had one sheet of duties and worked about 4 hours per day.

    • Each of his 39 employees has a job description and only 4 of them report to him.
  • Every successful entrepreneur he knows did not intend to be where they are today. 
  • Business is easier to come by today than ever before because nobody is out there hustling. 
  • He takes marketshare almost at will because he follows up and actually meets face-to-face.
    • He refuses to send a quote over the phone. He goes out and meets his clients and prospects.
    • He looks at the lifetime value of a client. 
    • Twice a year Mike flies to San Francisco and then 13 hours to Hong Kong and spends $6,000 on a show room space and a room for $350/night for a 20 minute appt. 
  • Mike is an introvert.
    • He likes to focus on the setup.
    • Help the client get to know you through newsletters and webinars to avoid making a 100% cold call.
    • He’s still nervous working on big deals. But he’s a worker and he does it.
    • Your confidence follows action.
    • He loves it after he does it.
    • Create a “forced contract” with yourself. If he has something difficult to do and he puts it on his calendar he does it. (Back-against-the-wall marketing.) 
    • Set an immovable date and commit to it and miracles happen.
    • Put yourself in the situation and give yourself a chance and good things happen.
  • Eliminate. Automate. Delegate.

Get all of the show notes for every episode of The Sales Podcast with Wes Schaeffer, The Sales Whisperer®.

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