Get BETTER At SELLING! (By Changing HOW You Think)

Matt Sykes is a sales trainer, coach and host of The Salescadence Podcast. He helps ambitious Sales Professionals find the latent potential that’s hidden within their current sales activity and turn it into profit.

In this episode of The Salesman Podcast, Matt explains why what we think leads to our actions and how we can leverage this as a tool to become a higher performing sales professional.

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Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - Matt Sykes
Sales Coach and Trainer

Resources:

Transcript

Will Barron:

Coming up on today’s episode of The Salesman Podcast …

 

Matt Sykes:

We, each of us, have the opportunity, if we want to, to create the emotional experience. We get that luxury and that control based on how we think about things. So ultimately, whilst we’re doing our level best to influence the listener, it’ll be the listener who gets the ultimate control of the experience they get based on how they think about this show and how it’s working for them.

 

Will Barron:

Hello, Sales Nation. I’m Will Barron, host of The Salesman Podcast, the world’s most listened to B2B sales show. If you haven’t already, make sure to click subscribe, and let’s meet today’s guest.

 

Matt Sykes:

Hi, everybody. My name’s Matt Sykes. I’m the author of the book, Sales Glue. I’m the host of the podcast, Sales Cadence, and I run a sales training company. You can find me at www.salescadence.co.uk.

 

Will Barron:

On this episode with the legend that is Matt and I really enjoyed recording this episode, this is one of my favourite topics to discuss and one of the biggest bang for topics I think there is for B2B salespeople. We’re diving into mindset, attitude, essentially how what we think, what it changes in what we feel, and then how it changes with this process of adding a bit on the end, how we perform each day, essentially what we do. So, with that, let’s jump right into the show.

 

The Psychology of Inner Versus Outer Game in B2B Sales · [01:12] 

 

Will Barron:

Is the psychology of the inner game, is that somewhat misunderstood? Is that misinterpreted? Is it not put into practise as much as what it should be versus I feel like we spend a lot of time thinking about the outer game, how to send cold emails, strategy and tactics? Is there a discrepancy between how much time we spend on the outer game typically versus the inner game?

 

Matt Sykes:

There’s probably a discrepancy. Obviously, I can’t speak for everybody, but if I think about my own situation, Will, for sure, certainly in the past, a clear discrepancy, more focused on what was going on out there and probably less going on on what was going on in here. I think we’re all bombarded, aren’t we, with this understanding and awareness that mindset and attitude has got to have some kind of play in the work we do in B2B selling, for sure.

 

“I think if you asked any sales director, “How important is it for the mindset and attitude of your team to be right up there and off the charts?” I think every single one of them would say, “Well, without a shadow of a doubt, Matt, it has to be.” I think that if you then follow that up, Will, with a question, which is, “Okay, what are you doing to train your team on that particular skill then?” I think, at that point, we then start to scratch our heads a little bit.” – Matt Sykes · [02:01] 

 

Matt Sykes:

I think if you asked any sales director, “How important is it for the mindset and attitude of your team to be right up there and off the charts?” I think every single one of them would say, “Well, without a shadow of a doubt, Matt, it has to be.” I think that if you then follow that up, Will, with a question, which is, “Okay, what are you doing to train your team on that particular skill then?” I think, at that point, we then start to scratch our heads a little bit. So, in answer to your question, I think there’s a lot of information out there.

 

Matt Sykes:

But I believe that perhaps what we could do if we had the opportunity, and maybe this is a great opportunity, if we could understand a little bit more about how mindset and attitude can actually be used rather than those sort of … I don’t know what you are like when you see those posts on Instagram about motivating staff, which has all got its place, don’t get me wrong.

 

Matt Sykes:

But how do I take what I see on Instagram, which is effectively a good news story message to me, and turn that into real, quality, revenue-building B2B activity? That’s where I think this inner game of mindset can link very nicely to the outer game of actually what we do.

 

The Difference Between Mindset and Attitude · [03:05]

 

Will Barron:

What is the difference between, and you used those words seemingly specifically matter, what’s the difference, if there’s any, between your mindset and then your attitude?

 

Matt Sykes:

I think the two are linked. I think the words, mindset and attitude, are bandied about all over the place, Will. I think attitude and mindset are linked. The reason I say that is because I genuinely, genuinely believe that the two mean the same thing. Let’s just explore it, if we can, for a second. If we are prepared to accept the fundamental principles of basic psychology … You, sir, are an expert in science. You’ve got another podcast. So I’ve got to be really careful here because I’m not a psychologist. I don’t claim to be one.

 

Matt Sykes:

I wouldn’t want to be one. I’m really comfortable being a sales professional. But if I was to dip into the world of performance psychology, which is an area that I’ve spent probably 10 years studying now, the last five years professionally training that subject matter, I spend my time helping sales professionals in the B2B space perform at their mental best. So I have a real acute understanding of the fundamental principles of psychology. If we have a quick look at that, Will, what do we know from psychology?

 

Matt Sykes:

We know that, ultimately, despite the fact it’s quite a technical subject, what it’s really asking us to explore is how we think about stuff. Now, we think about stuff all the time. In some cases, I’ve read research where we could spend 50, 60, 70,000 thoughts in any one day thinking about stuff. On that point as well, Will, think about the fact that I guess you and I are exactly the same as all of your listeners. At some point in our lifetime, we all had a dream, a nightmare, something like that. 

 

Matt Sykes:

What that creates for us, Will, is the evidence to note this thing called mind is clicking over even when we’re asleep. Sometimes people will refer to that as subconscious thought. But we think about stuff all the time. Now, if what we’re doing is thinking about stuff all of the time, is there an opportunity then for us to start to think in certain ways? If we think in certain ways, our mindset, our attitude towards something, so our attitude towards a buyer, attitude towards sales rejection, our attitude to how many cold calls I’m going to make today, if we are able to shape our thoughts, and I’d like to share with you a way in which you can, in a second, we can probably have two different outcomes.

 

Matt Sykes:

If we think about those activities in one way, we might have a kind of a unhelpful destructive outcome as a result of that. If we decide to focus in a slightly different way, in a more constructive way, then we probably will start to see a different kind of activity or a different kind of behaviour. So I don’t know if that answers the question correctly about mindset and attitude but, for me, they’re linked.

 

Will Barron:

Okay. So we’ve talked about this on the show, [inaudible 00:05:42]. I think he was from Stanford, a Stanford PhD to talk about people’s mindsets on being an optimist and pessimist. It’s relatively well-studied. Optimists will take more risks, will fail more often, but typically end up better off than a pessimist, who will take less risks, will have less downside, but will stay relatively flat across a corporate career, not necessarily sales, but going up the corporate ladder into management, team management, that kind of thing.

 

The Mindsets, Traits, and Attitudes of Top Sales Performers · [06:21] 

 

Will Barron:

So what we’re saying isn’t just kind of words and Instagram quotes and fluff and nonsense like that. This is certain angles of it are relatively well-studied. So, with that said, getting more granular than just being an optimist or a pessimist, because I think you’re going to really struggle to cold call people being a pessimist, right? Assuming that we want to be an optimist, what else or what other traits or attitudes or elements of mindsets do top sales performers have that perhaps average, middle people who want to improve themselves can try and instil into their own game?

 

Matt Sykes:

Well, let me link back to one of your podcasts that I listened to recently where the subject matter on that was very similar to the conversation we’re having right now. But one of the really valuable takeaways that I took from it was the fact that, in this particular case, the nature of the conversation that your guest was having with you is about the fact that behaviour happens before mindset and attitude. Now, I fundamentally agree with that, Will. But I want to explore, if I can, what happens if we put attitude in front of behaviour, which is the point I was trying to allude to a second ago, because if we are willing to accept basic fundamental psychology that we think all the time.

 

“Basic psychology itself tells us that the way that we think is having a big impact on how we feel.” – Matt Sykes · [07:40] 

 

Matt Sykes:

If I was to say to you right now, if you are … Let’s put it as the listener. We’ve got a listener at the moment who’s thinking to themselves, “My God, this is rubbish. What an earth has Will done, inviting this guy onto the show?” Now, what we could describe as this kind of destructive thoughts that that person’s currently having, they’re not happy. Basic psychology itself tells us that the way that we think is having a big impact on how we feel. It’s creating an emotional state.

 

Matt Sykes:

So there’s someone in the car right now, or on the treadmill, and they’re listening to this. They’re thinking to themselves, “What a waste of time. Will’s made a real mistake here. This guy, Matt, doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” If we accept that thoughts create emotional intensity, Will, you tell me the sorts of feelings that that person on that treadmill will be having if they’re having those kind of thoughts.

 

Will Barron:

If they’re having those thoughts, they’re going to be feeling miserable, uptight, kind of just angry. I don’t know.

 

Matt Sykes:

Yeah. They could be pissed off. They could be really, really frustrated by the fact that they’re sort of wasting their time. But let’s flip it. Let’s test it in a different way. If we are accepting the fact that the way that we think creates our emotional intensity, if that person is thinking to themselves something completely different, and I’m going to call these constructive thoughts, and they’re thinking to themselves, “B2B salesman show, awesome. I love it. Everything that Will puts out is great stuff. This guy seems to know what he is talking about. There’s some real value and interest in this for me.”

 

Matt Sykes:

If someone’s thinking like that in a more constructive way, then we’re going to get a completely different set of feelings, aren’t we? They’re going to be thinking to themselves. They’re going to be feeling engaged. They’re going to be feeling potentially inspired. They’re going to be feeling motivated to want to hear more. Okay? Now, here’s the big, important question for your listener.

 

Matt Sykes:

Despite the fact that the words that you and I are sharing together are exactly the same, no different to all of your hundreds of thousands of listeners, do we believe or do we think that every single one of those hundreds of thousands of listeners are going to take away the same message from this session?

 

Will Barron:

No.

 

Matt Sykes:

The question that has to be answered, we know, and the reason we say no, Will, would be what?

 

Will Barron:

Because they have their own world, environment, and things being thrown at them and so they’re only going to be open to hearing certain things.

 

Matt Sykes:

Correct. We’re all completely different, and we all think differently. Despite the fact my wife thinks she thinks for me, she doesn’t. I think for myself. Because we all think for ourselves and we’ll all take away something different from this podcast, who ultimately then do you think is responsible for the experience while they listen to this podcast? You and me and our conversation, or them as the listener?

 

Our Environment Influences How We Feel and What We Can Do About It · [09:59] 

 

Will Barron:

So them, as the listener, but is it … We might go way too deep and you can pull us back out in a second, Matt. But from what I’m getting at here, it’s almost like if the environment and our stimulus and all these things, and we know this as a phenomenon of you’re miserable, you put on some awesome music, you dance around with headphones on, and hopefully no one sees you. And then you get happy. So you can make manipulate your thoughts, feelings, and emotions via things.

 

Will Barron:

Well, is that not just saying then that our voice, the thing that we feel as thoughts and feelings is just a commentary on the physical world around us?

 

“Each of us has the opportunity, if we want to, to create an emotional experience. We get that luxury and that control based on how we think about things. So, ultimately, whilst we’re doing our level best to influence the listener, it’ll be the listener who gets the ultimate control of the experience they get based on how they think about this show and how it’s working for them.” – Matt Sykes · [10:32] 

 

Matt Sykes:

What it’s saying really, Will, is that we, each of us, have the opportunity, if we want to, to create an emotional experience. We get that luxury and that control based on how we think about things. So, ultimately, whilst we’re doing our level best to influence the listener, it’ll be the listener who gets the ultimate control of the experience they get based on how they think about this show and how it’s working for them. That’s a really important point, which we might, if we get a chance, hook back to in a second.

 

“The way that we think creates how we feel. But it’s the way that we feel that impacts what we do.” – Matt Sykes · [10:59] 

 

Matt Sykes:

But if we just carry this very briefly, just carry this sort of circle thing going around, the way that we think creates how we feel. But it’s the way that we feel that impacts what we do. So, again, if I go back to the listeners on the treadmill and they’re frustrated because they’re not getting anything out of the show, the chances are they might even switch off. They might even unsubscribe, God forbid. I’m sure they won’t. But they might decide, “Yeah, the mindset stuff’s not for me.”

 

Matt Sykes:

So their behaviour will be driven by their thought and their feeling. But again, if we flip it over and there’s someone who’s thinking to themself, “This is okay. I’m getting some value out of this. I’m feeling quite motivated to listen more,” totally different set of behaviours. Would you agree?

 

You Are What You Think: How Our Thoughts Influence Our Actions · [11:30]  

 

Will Barron:

Yeah. Is what we’re saying, Matt, just to put this in kind of a straightforward order, what we think leads to how we feel, which then goes straight into how we physically do things?

 

Matt Sykes:

Absolutely right. And then if I link that message, Will, back to the previous show where … And, again, I’m not disagreeing. I’m just bringing a different perspective to the audience, where behaviour drives attitude. What we could agree, actually, it’s the other way around, that our behaviour is driven by how we feel about a situation, and how we feel about our situation’s fundamentally impacted by how we think.

 

Matt Sykes:

Because the challenge sometimes with behaving before realising why I want to behave is pretty catastrophic because think of the B2B masses out there that are told to do some brilliant sales skill. They execute that brilliant sales skill called behaviour. Let’s just say for argument’s sake, they get a no. Unless they’ve got the ability or the persistence to go and try it again and again and again, and that ultimately will come from mindset because rejection’s a cruel thing.

 

Matt Sykes:

We experience a lot more nos in this industry than we get yeses. If you’re not willing to understand that to continue to try again is the right thing to do, to accept that failure is part of the process and all those wonderful buzzwords that we do hear on Instagram or see on Instagram, then potentially people can stop too soon. For me, what creates then, the point was made brilliantly by your previous guest, that behaviour then does drive attitude is true insomuch as, as long as I do the right things, even when it fails, as long as it’s right, I keep doing more of it.

 

Matt Sykes:

What I then start to create for myself is results. Because if you think back to you four, four and a half, five years ago before you started this wonderful podcast, you didn’t have one. Fast forward now four and a half years’ time, you’ve got almost 600 episodes. So actually, what you’re looking at there when you look down that catalogue of seasons is evidence. It’s the evidence that drives you forward.

 

Matt Sykes:

We need these kind of low-hanging fruit around us to say, “Do you know what? I’m doing okay. I’m getting results. I’m picking the phone up, and I’m dialling. I’m getting through to the right person. I’m asking the right questions. I’m doing the right levels of qualification. I’m handling that objection. I’m getting a sale, and then I feel great about that.” So I totally see how behaviour then creates a mindset once you’re running. I think you’ve got to start putting the thought process in front of the behaviour to get the thing running in the first place.

 

The Difference in Mindset Between Average Salespeople and the High-Performing Salespeople · [14:00] 

 

Will Barron:

So if we are going to focus on now what we need to think, I guess two questions. One, what do top sales professionals or high performers, in general, think that non-high performers don’t, which then leads to their feelings, emotions, and then how they take action? So that’s what do high performers think? And then also, do they think in principles or do they think wishy-washy, kind of consciously on each specific decision, or do they have a format that they go to every time?

 

Matt Sykes:

Well, I tried the latter as an experiment, and it didn’t work. So I realised early on in my sales career that there had to be some structure and some process. The business that I run, Sales Cadence, we have similar maybe to others. At a sheer coincidence, I have three fundamental specialisms, mindset, ability, process. The mindset bit we talked about, and it needs to come first for me. The ability is the sales skill. And then the P is the process which, how do I keep that sales skill consistent?

 

Matt Sykes:

So if I was to answer your question about what are some of the skills that ultra high-performing sales professionals have from a mindset perspective, the number one skill, for me, is understanding how you think. Because the challenge that we’ve got, of course, Will, and you’ll know this from your science background, is that we have this inbuilt negativity bias. Thousands and thousands of years ago, we decided we were under attack from the dinosaurs, and we haven’t really released that as human beings.

 

Matt Sykes:

For all the right reasons, we stopped doing stupid stuff because our inbuilt negativity bias says, “Don’t do that stupid thing there.” The problem with that, Will, is that if you aren’t willing to accept that fact and you aren’t prepared to work at that, and this is a muscle like every other muscle in the body. If you’re not willing to try and train that thing, then the challenge then is your default position becomes a negative one.

 

Matt Sykes:

There’s plenty of books out there, like The Chimp Paradox, Steve Peters, where that inner chimp takes control of that situation and goes, “Oh, that was rejection. That was rejection. That buyer said no. You don’t want to be going into any of that again.” So one of the key things, I think, for ultra high-performing sales professionals is accepting that they’ve got a piece of kit up here that can work against them and understanding what they can do to ensure that it works for them.

 

Matt Sykes:

I think the second thing that they do is then they realise themselves, “Well, hang on a second there. If I’ve got one that works like that, there’s just the chance that the person across the table or on the end of the phone has got one of those too.” If I go back to that circle we were creating for ourselves, which is thoughts create emotion or feelings, that can be exactly the same across the table. So I can now start to trigger the buyers’ negativity bias.

 

Matt Sykes:

If you think about the classic questions that you and I are very familiar with, once we’ve gone through those fact-based questions at the start of a sales discussion to make sure they’ve got budget and authority and timeline, very quickly we move into that process of uncovering the problem. Let’s be honest about it. We make it pretty uncomfortable for people. We do that to trigger the negativity bias, but we do that because we want their commitment to make change and move. Because if we can’t make it uncomfortable, there’s just a chance they might decide to default back.

 

Matt Sykes:

So I think the second thing then is recognising that the other person has got the same kind of mindset triggers as we have. I guess the third one, the big one for me is persistence, because here you are 600 episodes in. Something’s happened to your psychology, Will, that’s allowed you tThe Power of Persistence and Its Impact on Sales Success · [17:19]

o say after episode number one, two, and three, “I want to keep going.” I mean I just released a season of one of my podcasts. I look back at my first one or two recordings and I really wooden.

 

Matt Sykes:

But you learn over time because you’re in this new territory, aren’t you? But what you’re doing is you’re uncovering this latent potential, and it’s saying, “Go and have another go then. Try again. See what you think.” I listen to your podcast now. They’re the best out there, and I’m not just saying that because we’re looking at each other now. You learn, don’t you?

 

Will Barron:

You’re making me blush.

 

Matt Sykes:

But you learn, don’t you? You learn to improve. You tweak, and you become better as a result of that mindset skill, which is persistence.

 

Will Barron:

So we know persistence is important in pretty much any area of life and just the ability to, especially if you’re new to sales and you’re cold calling or, for me, I’ve never really had to cold call in the past in different sales roles. When I’m selling the advertising space on the podcast, it’s typically a somewhat warm email because most of the brands I work with at least have heard of the show or they recognise the brand and that side of things.

 

How to Incorporate Persistence Into Your Daily Life · [18:37] 

 

Will Barron:

So even if they tell me to go kick rocks, it’s a polite email that they send because they might want to work with us in the future. The point of that tale was that if I was to start cold calling, I would have to get over this. Essentially, there’s a hump that you’ve got to get over before it gets easier. What can we do to make the psychology of getting over that hump, the psychology of instilling persistence, and how do we make that easier?

 

Will Barron:

Because this is something that I struggle with. The podcast is the only thing I’ve ever done for more than two years. Every sales job I’ve ever had has been two or three years long, and this is the only thing I’ve ever done really for longer than that. So I’m struggling from this myself.

 

Matt Sykes:

Let’s go back to that, that thoughts create emotions thing, Will, for a second, because why won’t someone want to come into work and face a day where they’ve got to make 50 or 100 cold calls? Irrespective if we agree that cold calling is the right thing to do or the wrong thing, let’s use that as the example. There’s a reason why some people will struggle on with cold calling, and probably the main one will be that the behaviour is fundamentally flawed.

 

Matt Sykes:

This is where sales training can help the individual, asking the right questions. First of all, making sure you’re speaking to the right person, doing some social engineering and some information-finding before you pick the phone up so you’ve got something to talk about, all the stuff that all of your guests have shared in the past. So that will really, really help us, but that’s not mindset. But what that does for your mindset, it says, “Okay, I am so prepared now that when I pick this phone up at least, at the very least, I know what I’m talking about. At the very least, I’ve kind of worked out what I think they might say back to me and, at the very least, I’ve got an answer for that.”

 

Matt Sykes:

That can work, but just imagine what you could do if you added to that situation, Will, the fact that you have this massive piece of kit up here that at the moment is being, shall we say, underutilised. If we go back to the circle, the way that we think creates our emotional intensity. So if rejection is an emotion, where does that emotion ultimately come from, the person on the end of the phone or my interpretation, by the way, that I think about what they just said?

 

Will Barron:

It’s your interpretation in that-

 

Matt Sykes:

Absolutely.

 

How the Best Salespeople Handle Rejection · [20:35]

 

Will Barron:

This is brilliant because maybe this is a separator between someone who is good and poor. A good person ignores the potential of rejection, carries on going for another few seconds, and then the call gets to a place where it’s just a normal conversation, right? Whereas, someone who immediately goes, “Oh, I’ve been rejected,” hangs up, and then tries again or maybe doesn’t try again.

 

Matt Sykes:

Yeah. So, ultimately, we could, if I use Uncle G, Grant Cardone’s classic statement, “Rejection’s a myth.” It is a myth because the only way I can feel rejected, if I buy into the fundamental principles of basic psychology that says the way that I feel is driven directly from how I think. Only I think for myself, and I am responsible for how I feel. Therefore, I’m the one that’s responsible for the sales rejection.

 

Matt Sykes:

As long as I bring these two … This is the importance of mindset and attitude coming together.I totally agree with previous guests on the show that if you pluck someone off the street that had a really positive psychology but didn’t know how to sell, there would always be some challenge, for obvious sake. It would take you a number of weeks and months to get them up to a position where they could go and do some work for you. So you do need the two.

 

“You’ve got ultra high performance potential. So recognising that when I go on the call and if I do all the behavioural work and I’ve got myself set up is one thing, but knowing that whatever comes down the end of the phone, I control, I own their reaction, puts you in a completely different state of mind.” – Matt Sykes · [21:45]

 

Matt Sykes:

But when you bring those two together, then you’ve got some … I’ll use your words, Will. Then you’ve got ultra high performance potential. So recognising that when I go on the call and if I do all the behavioural work and I’ve got myself set up is one thing. But knowing that whatever comes down the end of the phone, I control, I own their reaction, puts you in a completely different state of mind. I genuinely, genuinely believe what we start to meander into then are things like emotional intelligence, emotional resilience, wellbeing in the office environment.

 

Matt Sykes:

Imagine if you had an office full of people on the phones all day long who were completely resilient to rejection. What impact could that have on the bottom line performance of that team of people?

 

The Things We Can Do to Positively Influence Our Work Environment and Improve Our Mental Game · [22:42]

 

Will Barron:

Stop on the environment for a second and then I’ve got a slightly on topic, but sidetracked anecdote which I’ll share. Also what I’m personally working on as we record this at the beginning of the year, something I’m working on for this year, I’ll share that in a second. But with regards to environment, what can we do if … I guess, there’s two kind of layers to this, one, if we’re in an office space. There’s a bunch of miserable people around us.

 

Will Barron:

There’s the obvious one of not complaining, not gossiping, avoiding individuals who are pessimist and negative in the office. But is there anything we can do in the office environment to improve our mental game? And then I guess the same question as a follow-up after that of, what can we do if we’re driving around in a car all day and we’re in field sales?

 

Matt Sykes:

I think you touched on a couple of really important points. I think surrounding yourself with the right people is key, without a shadow of a doubt. If you have an opportunity to try and influence that in some way, shape, or form, and I appreciate that that’s not always realistic because if you’re working for a boss then, to some extent, her or his rules apply. But having the opportunity to hang around with the right kind of people helps. 

 

Matt Sykes:

But if I was to give you a practical method that would help improve your emotional resiliency, your mindset, I’ll use the example I used a little while ago. 600 episodes of The Salesman Podcast is evidence of good-quality work. I’ve heard on previous podcasts as a listener, Will, that you do journaling. Yeah?

 

Will Barron:

Yep.

 

Matt Sykes:

You take gratitude as a key point of advantage, and I agree with that. But if I look at journaling, now journaling is really, really important as well, because what journaling allows us to do is to capture stuff. So, a lot of the clients I work with, we will advocate highly the importance of capturing the evidence. Because if you have a great day in the office and then you go home and then you come back to work the following day, yesterday’s day is gone. But yesterday may have included a whole bunch of really good stuff. 

 

Matt Sykes:

So just capturing that evidence, the achievement, and having it in a journal, just imagine if you then spent the next … Let’s say you spent 2019 saying, “All right, I’ll take Matt’s advice. Every day when I finish work, I’ll go home and I’ll stick in that journal just one thing, one sense of achievement, one thing I did really, really well and write it down.” It might be a deal you did. It might have been staying in a very particularly long, drawn-out complex sale. It could have been making 10% more cold calls than you were asked to do.

 

Matt Sykes:

It could be all of these wonderful things that you and I and all of the guys and girls listening do on a daily basis, but kind of take for granted. Capture it would be my advice. Because when you’ve got a year’s worth of 365 brilliant pieces of evidence, not only do you learn back what you’ve learned, you’ve prove to yourself on a daily basis that, actually, I’m achieving. That sense of achievement, and I’ll go back to that previous podcast, that’s where behaviour really leads to improving mindset.

 

Matt Sykes:

If I can see it in the book and I did it and I can remember it, I feel great about that. If I feel great about that, I’ll go and do another one.

 

Will’s Plan and Vision for the Sales School · [25:32] 

 

Will Barron:

It’s funny you should say this because I’m right in the midst of it with our two programmes at the moment. So the sales school’s getting an overhaul. It won’t be done by the time this show comes out, but it’ll be done by Q2, Q3 of this year. One of the things that I’m doing is very literally what you’re describing. There will be two tiers. One tier, you’ll get a beautiful journal, and one of the things in it is, one, the front end of the day is to sort out what your most important task is of the day.

 

Will Barron:

If you could do one thing that would make all the rest of the stuff redundant all day, what’s that one thing, and can you get it done in 24 hours? The end of the journal is, what’s one win? Even if you’ve had the shittiest day of all time, there’s typically something that you’ve … Perhaps you got to leave work early because you’re going to your daughter’s ballet recital or whatever it is. It don’t have to be selling. Did you manage to achieve that?

 

Will Barron:

If you can take a few hours off work to do that, it means you’re somewhat financially secure. There’s all the gratitude that trickles down alongside that. Well, we’re doing that alongside a kind of software which tracks all this. It tracks your, not just necessarily how many calls you make and things like that, which it does touch on, but it also tracks your energy levels of the day and your happiness of the day. What I’m hoping, and this is somewhat of an experiment, and it might end up being complete nonsense and bullshit.

 

Will Barron:

What I’m hoping is that people will see this calendar of, I was low energy this day. I only did 14 calls, and I wasn’t really all that happy. Then the next three or four days, I was super high energy. I was happy. I made more calls. I had more success. On Friday, I didn’t do anything because I’m lazy, and I don’t do nothing on a Friday. When you extrapolate that over one month, two months, you start to go, “Oh, Friday’s 20% of the work week. I could probably earn 20% more if I just put a bit more effort in on a Friday.”

 

Will Barron:

Maybe on a Friday, I’m actually really happy and loads of energy because it’s nearly the weekend and I’m going to do something incredible Saturday morning, but I just slack off and I don’t do the work when that could be my best selling time. So we’re pulling all this together and amalgamating all this together. Hopefully, there’ll be some kind of data that we can publish, depending on how many people are in the sales school this time next year and then the year after.

 

Will Barron:

But I’m hoping that we’ll be able to report somewhat accurately that happy salespeople are more successful salespeople. Happy salespeople have more energy or people who have bigger sales targets perhaps do less phone calls or less emails or whatever it is, pull all these insights out.

 

Matt Sykes:

But you know what, Will? I absolutely 100% agree with you. It sounds like an awesome initiative. I really look forward to seeing that because, for me, when you were talking there, what I took away, there were two things. I think the first thing I would say is stuff happens. Life happens. We’re always going to have these sorts of peaks and troughs and accepting that that is the case and being okay with it is sort of Nirvana for me because I spent too long, wasted too much time, Will, in my past beating myself up when things didn’t go well.

 

Matt Sykes:

I accept the fact now. I try and change and improve. I accept the fact that things aren’t going to go well. So the first thing for me is let’s cut ourselves some slack, and let’s try and be a 70 or an 80% rather than striving for a happy-clappy Instagram nonsense of 100% with my Lamborghini. I’ll get there eventually, but let’s be realistic. But the second thing, I think the most important thing for me over what you just shared there with the audience, was there has to be some science. There has to be some data. 

 

Why Tracking Actions and Processes in Sales and Life is Extremely Important · [31:17] 

 

Matt Sykes:

There has to be a process. Because if I can’t go back and see why I peaked or why I dipped, how the hell can I change it? That’s a really fundamental thing about certainly how I work with my clients and clearly what you’re going to be doing as well is if I can see it, I can understand it. If I can understand it, I can change it if I want to. I think then you give yourself an even greater chance. 

 

Will Barron:

Part of it as well, and I’m sure you’ll be aware of this, whether you know the names of it and how it’s described or not, but the kind of slang for it is the Seinfeld effect. So Seinfeld writes a new joke every single day and has done for decades. He has a big calendar on his wall, and every day he puts a big cross on it. Now, with a decade worth of crosses on calendars, I assume he changes it every year, otherwise he’s going to just have one massive room with it going all the way around.

 

Will Barron:

When you get enough crosses on the wall of daily activity, you don’t want to stop, right? So that’s what we’re trying to develop with the visual element of this as well of, I’ve had a really productive day. I’ve had a really productive day. I’ve had a really productive day. I might slack off today. And then the software, if you do slack off, is going to give you a kick in the ass. It’s going to kind give you a note that’s, “You’re on a 15-day workday streak of really hustling.”

 

Will Barron:

You wanted to take a day off because you had pizza last night and you feel a bit blah. Well, for a day, most people can push themselves through a little bit of that. Or, again, you find out that every time you have pizza, you have three days off of not really doing anything. Turns out you’re allergic to dairy, which was kind of my tale, which I think I’ve told on the podcast before, of I … So pizza’s my favourite food. We literally go to Chicago every couple of years to see family and have pizza. That is the second part of the holiday over there, to go and get some amazing deep pan pizza. 

 

Will Barron:

We go to Rome, Italy as well and get pizza there. My last holiday in Rome, I had pizza every single night. Now with that said, I found myself getting more and more sluggish every time I had a … Obviously, I was eating too much pizza. I wouldn’t just be having one slice. So that’s part of the tale as well. I told my dad this, and he turns around to me. He goes, “Do you know what? That sounds familiar.” I’m like, “What do you mean it sounds familiar.” He’s like, “Well, we couldn’t give you cow’s milk as a child. We had to give you some kind of non-cow milk formula because you had to retch every time we gave you.”

 

Will Barron:

I was like, “Why didn’t you tell me this 31 years ago?” It could have changed my performance this whole time because I would literally have a pizza and then two days later be sluggish. Long story short, you don’t need software to do this. You can do this on a piece of paper and track it yourself. But I feel like tracking things that we’re doing every single day is incredibly important, right?

 

Matt Sykes:

Well, great point. Let’s link back to mindset again because here’s another interesting tip that I think is useful. We all use lists, Will, your last point. We’ve all got to-do lists. Why don’t we start to write a different list? What about a what and why list? So what am I going to do today, and why am I going to do it? Because I don’t know about you, but in my previous corporate life, I did a lot of stuff that I think to myself, “What the fuck was the point of this?” Okay. A lot of it is driven by the man or the lady who’s in charge. But ultimately, I’m doing stuff.

 

Matt Sykes:

You and I now, we work in a world called self-employed. We work for ourselves. I guess we are both ruthless with our time. I no longer do the rubbish. I’ve earned the right to do that because I don’t work for anybody else. I work for myself. But I am hypercritical with how I spend my time. Why on earth wouldn’t anybody be the same as me? So even those people that are in a terrific salary job in the B2B world, who’ve got a tonne of stuff going on, my advice to all those people is to start to measure, not manage, measure your time.

 

Matt Sykes:

Get really, really conscious of the stuff that you do that brings cash. I call that the revenue or the day job, as I sometimes refer to it. If my to-do list has got more than 70 or 80% of pound notes or dollar signs next to it, because that’s the indication for me that that piece of activity is going to lead to generating an invoice or an order, I’m happy. If I run that list and I don’t see enough dollar signs or pound signs, that’s a big warning to me that says, “Matt, you can do this hobby stuff as long as you want, buddy, but you won’t be in business next year.”

 

Matt Sykes:

It’s the same in the B2B environment. So how many of your listeners could really think to themselves, “You know what? Maybe I’ll get a bit more ruthless of my time. Maybe I’ll start to make my list slightly differently. Why am I doing this? What’s in it for me?” Because we are, whether we like it or not, again, back to basic psychology, Will, all self satisfying. Everything that we do, whether we think we aren’t or we are, we do because we want to do it. Otherwise, we wouldn’t do it, would we? Let’s be honest about it.

 

Matt Sykes:

Most people might be listening thinking, “Well, hang on a second, man. I’m not sure I agree with you because I get told to do a lot of stuff.” I agree with the fact that you get told to do your stuff. But, ultimately, the reason why you do it is your choice and not theirs because no one thinks for you. No one makes you go to work. You decide to do it. I think if you can pull that into your kind of psychological armoury or your arsenal, recognise the fact that you’ve got a tonne of accountability, that responsibility is your gift.

 

Matt Sykes:

You decide what you do on a daily basis, not other people. If you’re willing to accept that the job you’re in right now or the customer you’re driving to go and see who might be a bit difficult, if you’re willing to accept it’s your choice to go there, otherwise you wouldn’t go, I think you’d take a completely different person with you. You’d take somebody who’s full of good grace, full of a very constructive psychology. We know what thinking in a certain direction can create, the sorts of emotions that drive constructive, helpful behaviour. It’s that behaviour that gets you the results.

 

Will Barron:

I agree with what you say, and I know anecdotally that when I go to see or when I used to go and see a surgeon who’d be renowned for being a complete pain in the ass, and some of them were and some of them were on their own high horse and everyone soaked up to them all the time. I know it was a totally different dynamic when I was willing to walk into that room, that operating theatre, be semi-scrubbed up, stood there talking to them in my scrubs. I was always willing to just go, “Okay, see you. I’m off from here if you’re going to try and bully me.” I’d see them bullying over reps.

 

The Billion-Dollar Mindset: What Successful Salespeople Do Differently · [34:48] 

 

Will Barron:

It was a level of perhaps of arrogance, especially when I first got into sales that led me to this conclusion, as opposed to being enlightened and understanding any of the psychology behind it. But I was always happy just to walk out the room. I guess it’s a standard. I wasn’t going to let anyone talk down to me when I knew I could just leave. I always had the optimistic mindset that I could just find another customer, doesn’t matter who they are. That may or may not have been the case because, clearly, some of these surgeons were on their high horse because they spent so much money and they knew that they could twist people’s arms to get what they wanted from suppliers and vendors. 

 

Will Barron:

But I was too dumb to realise any of that. Now, that changed the dynamics of the conversation then because it raises me up. So they see me not as a peer perhaps, but they see me as someone who has probably got a tonne of value to offer and so doesn’t have to put up with nonsense, versus someone who doesn’t have a lot to offer or didn’t have a lot of value to give is going to take it all because they’re going to take whatever they can get.

 

Will Barron:

I always found that when sales managers came out with me, they always commented, or sales trainers, whoever it was, they always commented that I had kind of a matey relationship with the surgeons and different people in the organisation here in the NHS in the UK, procurement teams that were renowned for being assholes to other people. I narrow it down to kind of that, just to add an anecdotal spin onto what you were saying there.

 

Matt Sykes:

Yeah, I totally agree with that. I think the wonderful people at Sandler, one of the things that they share is having that mindset to go into a room as if you don’t need the sale. They sometimes refer to it as having a billionaire mindset. If you are in front of that person who’s difficult or giving you a hard time and you had a billion dollars in the bank, would you give a shit? Would you care? I’m kind of okay with that. But what I’m fearful of is making sure that people have the right knowledge to know how to go into that room.

 

Matt Sykes:

The way that you help build on that brilliant mindset that Sandler talk about there is you pull in some of the tricks of the trade, for want of a better expression, which is, okay, I have this thing up here. One of the things I know it does for me is it visualises. I can think about stuff without even thinking about it. You’ll have heard many, many times the difference between the conscious and the subconscious mind. We can drive a car. We can arrive at the destination and forget what the last 25 minutes was all about because I’m thinking about the meeting I’m going to.

 

Matt Sykes:

We drive the car subconsciously on autopilot, but we’re there thinking of something different. We talked earlier about the fact we can have a dream or a nightmare. So we know that we can create these images in our mind. Well, when you go into that room with that billionaire mindset, you create that for yourself because you visualise what’s about to happen in advance. It might sound a bit weird sitting in a car park five minutes before you’re going into a meeting. But as long as you’ve done your prep, Will, as long as you’ve got in front of you all of the right behaviour tricks and tips that you’ve been taught by a good quality sales trainer, you know all the questions.

 

Matt Sykes:

You know what objections might come. You know how to turn those objections around, and you know how to close a sale and even possibly seek for a referral. If you’ve got all that nailed down and you’ve got some great points to talk about to them to understand what their problem is and find a way to bridge your solution to that problem, you’ve got total confidence of where you’re going to go. If all you then do is put yourself in the future for 10 minutes and say, “All right, when I go into that room, this is how it’s going to go. Okay. I am well-prepared. I’m feeling confident about that.”

 

Matt Sykes:

I’ve pretty much worked out, because I’ve met this person before, what their psychology is. I now know the things that they don’t want to hear. I know the things that they do want to hear. I’m going in there with some value because I know they’ve got a problem, and guess what? They know that as well, and they probably need me as much as I need them. A lot of the challenges, I guess, the sales population struggle with sometimes is this importance of parity. Knowing that when I go in that room, Peter Thompson, and if you’d never had him on the podcast, he’s someone that you should go and search out.

 

“Every sales professional wants to be just south of arrogance. You don’t actively go out there to be arrogant. You just drop below it and just create that presence and that aura which says, “I’m here to do a job. I’m a sales professional. I’m here to make my company money, and I’ll make you some money too.” – Matt Sykes · [38:35] 

 

Matt Sykes:

Peter Thompson taught me once, every sales professional wants to be just south of arrogance. You don’t actively go out there to be arrogant. You just drop below it and just create that presence and that aura which says, “I’m here to do a job. I’m a sales professional. I’m here to make my company money, and I’ll make you some money too. Let’s have that conversation.” When you visualise how that meeting’s going to go, and you can clearly do that because we all know how to visualise, you give yourself an even greater chance.

 

Matt Sykes:

Of course, you might also want to visualise, “Well, what happens if it goes wrong? What happens if they do say that? What happens if they say no?” But because you’ve planned and because you’ve visualised what might happen, you create, I think, even more advantage. Because back to basic psychology, Will, if we think about stuff, the classic particular activating system, all that kind of brilliant stuff, if we think about stuff on a regular basis, what we’re actually doing is we’re travelling in the neural pathways of our brain.

 

Matt Sykes:

The more we travel them, the more they get wider. The more they get wider, the easier it is for us to slip into them. It’s no surprise to me that professional sports athletes visualise on a daily basis. They do that to gain sports advantage. Fortunately, now we’re starting to see that 25-year-old skill of performance psychology now creeping its way into the sales world.

 

Will Barron:

I was just going to touch and kind of wrap up your point there on that matter of if this sounds somewhat wishy-washy, yeah, psychology mindset, visualisation especially because that was done to death 10 years ago, 20 years ago in self-help books. You’ve only got to look at Olympic athletes or professional footballers or whatever the sport is or high performer is. I bet if you ask Elon Musk, if you ask any of these high-performing individuals that perhaps are going into sell a business, buy a business, negotiate, whatever it is, they’re playing at a table of perhaps higher stakes than what some of us mere mortals might do or are doing right now.

 

The Power of Creative Visualisation in Sales · [39:48] 

 

Will Barron:

If you’re listening to this show as a B2B sales professional, I guarantee they’re visualising as well, right? I just feel like, from that, we can infer how powerful and useful it is. Clearly, there’s data coming along that supports all this, using functional MRI machines and scanning brains as people are visualising and doing memory recall on physical things, like playing piano. It’s all been tested. But just the fact that someone who is in a high-performance position that perhaps we would like to be in is doing it, that’s a good indication of something that we should be trying to implement into our game, right?

 

Matt Sykes:

Absolutely, 100%. We don’t need to look too far, Will. I mean every one of your hundreds of thousands of subscribers and listeners are visualising in their job, 9:00 to 5:00, five days a week, and I’ll prove it to you. Because if they’re a good-quality sales professional, they’re going out to identify an ideal customer profile that fits and works for them. They’re having a conversation where they’ve identified somebody’s got a problem, and they’re linking their solution to that problem.

 

Matt Sykes:

The key thing that all ultra high-performing sales professions do is they create impact, and they create impact with the classic, what happens if you don’t, question. Now, the only way the person across the table can solve that conundrum or that question is to visualise what might happen if they don’t solve it. The great sales professionals then, after a period of time, will then move them into a very positive mindset, which is, “Okay. I’m not sure I can help you, but let’s just pretend I could.”

 

Matt Sykes:

Let’s just think forward six months’ time. What’s happening in your business as a result of solving this problem? How do they get there? They have to visualise. So I take your point that it’s been done to death, but the great thing about the world of selling is it’s been the same for 100 years. It’ll be the same for the next 100 years. You can bring AI into the conversation all you like. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re a good-quality sales professional, you’re willing to accept the fact you can create advantage and separate yourself from everybody else.

 

Matt Sykes:

That 10% of the nation out there that do listen to your show, the people like you and I that think, “Do you know what? I’ve got a bit of latent potential. I don’t know what it is, but I think I’m capable of more.” They listen to podcasts like this or they read books or they listen to audio. It’s that 10% that ultimately will find the key to unlock how they improve and how they get more successful. So, selling, for me, is going to be the same in the next 100 years.

 

“Selling, for me, is going to be the same in the next 100 years. You’ve got to find somebody with a problem, and you’ve got to help them solve it. The only way you’re going to help them solve it is normally by saying to them, “What happens if you don’t, and what would you do if you did?” – Matt Sykes · [42:41] 

 

Matt Sykes:

You’ve got to find somebody with a problem, and you’ve got to help them solve It. the only way you’re going to help them solve it is normally by saying to them, “What happens if you don’t, and what would you do if you did?”

 

Success Leaves Clues: The Benefits of Modeling Successful Salespeople · [43:06]  

 

Will Barron:

We’re not going to have time to dive into it in huge detail now, but something that I’m focusing on this year, just because I mentioned it earlier on that I was going to derail the show with this. So we’ll wrap up kind of these thoughts, man. You give me your thoughts on whether this is a good strategy or not, something that I’m constantly kind of thinking about. If we take how we think, how we feel, how we do, and then it goes from do to think, being motivated on that front. And then we kind of layer on top of that.

 

Will Barron:

There’s probably a cool diagram we could do this, if you haven’t done it already, with your environment and other factors kind of surrounding it as well, where are your finances and your actual fixed goals, all these different layers. One thing I’m thinking about a lot at the moment is to try and shortcut and hack this process is when I’m 40, I want to be semi-retired. I even want this, the podcast, the sales school just to be kind of a beast, a mammoth project itself with an office. I can visualise.

 

Will Barron:

I think I mentioned this on the show before, but something I’m aiming for within the next couple years is to have a couple of salespeople in an office space with me selling the sales school to sales leaders, and then to document it all, almost like a real-life office TV show. Then these sales reps that will be working for me will also be kind of on-camera personalities as well. So, clearly, there’s multiple elements to hiring these individuals. It will be incredibly difficult. It’ll take some of the pressure off me from doing the content, and it’ll just grow organically from that point.

 

Will Barron:

So with all that said, for me to get to that, there’s clearly a bunch of milestones of revenue for the business to have the sales school at a point where it can be sold on a corporate level rather than just to individuals of the podcast, because they’re perhaps different customers and there’s different branding and persona that needs to go into the product. So maybe it’s another product. So there’s clear milestones that need to go into place for all of this. So I was thinking to myself, “Well, I don’t feel like I’m the person who could do XYZ right now.” I’m nervous of committing to a five-year lease, for example.

 

Will Barron:

I’ve got a bunch of freelancers on board, and it’s an incredible team. We all work remotely. But I’ve not got a salaried employee. So there’s a bunch of different, hard things I’m going to have to do or hard benchmarks or hard things I’ve got to pass. Not that it’s difficult to do hard, as in it’s a fixed thing that I’ve got to get past to get to the next stage. I’ve been pondering over this point of, well, could I shortcut the process by rather than worrying about it and then doing it and using willpower and talking about some of the things that we’ve talked about today of changing my mindset?

 

Will Barron:

Would it not be easier just to work out who the person at 40 is who’s done all this and achieved it and then work on becoming that person and skipping out all these learning points in the meantime, if that makes sense? This is something I’ve been really pondering over. Is that something that’s doable? If you can layer out your career, if you wanted to get to the C-suite, should you start dressing like someone who’s in the C-suite? Should you start reading books that the C-suite reads? Is that a viable way of cutting out a whole bunch of the learning process on the psychology, on the mindset, on the confidence front, Matt?

 

Matt Sykes:

Well, there’s a bundle of questions in there. But you and I and most of the listeners, I’m sure, will have heard the quote that success leaves clues. So one of the smartest things I did in my business world a couple of years ago was go and hire a coach, somebody who was in my industry, so in the sales training or business development industry, someone who was experienced enough to have done exactly what I was trying to do, so that at least I knew I could ask that question. How do I shortcut this?

 

Matt Sykes:

Now, I think we have to be careful. I don’t know because I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve shortcutted to success. Sadly, I make mistakes like everybody else. I’ve learned how to leverage that opportunity that comes with a mistake. But I make mistakes as everybody else does. But I think if we could pull some of those bits together with some quality answers, you can fast track to some extent by asking the advice of somebody who’s been there and done that and say, “What would you do if … How did it work for you?” If you find the right person, I think you give yourself a huge advantage.

 

Matt Sykes:

I also think it’s dangerous to shortcut. I am where I am in life because I have learned the lessons, and I have improved as a result of having the lesson. So I’m a big believer that it’s okay to cock up every now and again. I think you learn a lot more that way. Because if it’s painful, you’ll say I don’t want to do that again. So I think whilst I’m not suggesting that everyone should not shortcut, I think there’s some danger if you do. But, for me, I guess the most practical thing I would say is one of the things I learned a number of years ago and it comes from the world of sort of manufacturing, where I used to sell packaging for a living.

 

Matt Sykes:

I was a sales guy, obviously, but I was walking around the shop floor and they’re all doing these fantastic process things, like root cause analysis and Six Sigma and all that great stuff. But what I learned there is this thing called capability, and there’s a number of steps that you must go through to become capable. If you become capable, then you own that thing that you’re trying to be. So I think it’s very straightforward, Will, to some extent. You ask yourself, why do I want to be that person that I’m describing in 10 years till five years’ time? What’s in it for me?

 

Matt Sykes:

I think if you get the answer to that why I want to, and it’s a positive one and the one that inspires and makes you feel engaged to move forward, you get the right to go to the second question. The second question is, what do I need to do? And then it’s a very simple, generic design. Here’s what I want to do. Here’s what I want it to look like. If you’re still feeling confident and you’re onboard, you go to the third thing. Okay, it’s more granular. What have I got to do? Because if you’re the same as me, you’ll get really pissed off with these number of people keep telling me, “What you’ve got to do, what you’ve got to do.”

 

Matt Sykes:

Okay. Tell me how to do it. So in a funny kind of way, the how is basically saying, here are the three or four steps that I must do in order to get that business. I’ve got to go and hire those two people. I’ve got to create that environment where we can film on a daily basis. The fourth one then ultimately is, what’s going on in my business once I’ve achieved it? Because again, it’s really important for us to see these key performance indicators, the clues that say I’m doing well because we’ll see plenty of clues that say I’m not doing well. They’re sometimes called nos.

 

Matt Sykes:

So that would be the fourth thing. And then the fifth thing is, do I need to involve with anybody else, or who else needs to be involved? So I think there’s a number of things that we can do. I mention that to you because it’s really important for me and the 35% of what I teach in my sales training, Will, is mindset-based. But I recognise the fact there will be some people who think it’s just hogwash and kumbaya. So I have to make sure that when I present that information to a client, they can see the logic.

 

Matt Sykes:

Those five steps of capability allows you to see the logic that says, “If I know what my why is, and I’ve got these other four steps and I write them all down, what I’ve created for myself is a blueprint that gives me the chance of becoming successful.”

 

Will Barron:

I think that is similar to what I was trying to describe, but a much better way and articulate way of describing it that I’ll be stealing. I think what I was trying to ask-

 

Matt Sykes:

All yours.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah.

 

Matt Sykes:

I seem to remember I might have stolen it from somebody else in the past. If I have, I apologise. But you come in contact with so much stuff, don’t you? But it’s logic when you think of it. We need some help. write it down. Write it down.

 

Will Barron:

Because what I was trying to ask and you summed it up. We’ll wrap up with this. Matt, I was trying to ask, well, rather than most people go, “I want this,” and then they go, “Well, how do I get it?” Whereas, I’ve been having this thought process, and I’ve been reading things and kind of getting mentoring and different things with different people of, well, rather than saying, “I want this,” it’s, “Well, if you become the person who can earn that easily, then you’ll just get it.”

 

Will Barron:

If I want a Nissan GT-R and I’m the person, I’ve got the skillset, I’ve got the capabilities to do all these three, four, five things that leads to being the person who owns a GT-R, then you’ll have the cashflow to buy one, if that makes sense. It’s not a shortcut in doing less things and failing less often. It’s probably the opposite. It’s probably failing faster and moving forward because you’ve got an end goal to go to rather than more of a windy road. At least you’re heading in north, even if the road is windy versus kind of going back on yourself.

 

Why Visualising the Future Version of Yourself is the the First Step Towards Achieving Your Goals · [51:04] 

 

Will Barron:

I think that was a really interesting way of summing it up of if you want to be, say, I’m 32, if I want to be 40 and I need to suss out the capabilities that 40-year-old Will has that enables him to do everything that he wants to do. And then obviously this is all, as you kind of put it, it’s all over the sun in that scenario of you visualising it is the why behind it all.

 

Matt Sykes:

It’s no different, Will, as sort of a parting shot for me. It’s no different to all of the great behavioural sales skills and, in my case, the ability skills that I provide clients and the other sales trainers provide their clients is it’s what are the steps that I must take to become prolific at my sales job? All I would suggest to you is I think you can improve those if you’re willing to accept that you’ve got this thing up here which, at the moment, in most cases, perhaps we’re not utilising to the best of our advantage.

 

“I genuinely believe that everybody’s got latent potential. Now whether you want to uncover it or not is irrelevant. The point I’m saying is I believe everybody could do more if they want to.” – Matt Sykes · [52:19] 

 

Matt Sykes:

If we’re not careful, to some extent, it can go to default. Default tends to be to keep me safe. Keep me safe stops me from doing stupid things, which is great, but it also stops me from going a little bit out of the comfort zone. It stops me from trying stuff. I genuinely, genuinely believe, and you and I are living proof, that everybody’s got latent potential. Now whether you want to uncover it or not is irrelevant. The point I’m saying is I believe everybody could do more if they want to.

 

Matt Sykes:

Our job as sales leaders and the people that look after the wonderful salespeople that listen to this podcast is to give people the opportunity where they can discover this latent potential they’ve got and give them the chance to go and do something with it. Because whether you start a podcast or you write a book or you go and smash your targets, you could smash your targets even further if you’re given the chance. I just know that I prove it to myself every single day. If I use this a little bit more and I put it together with the process and the skillset that I’ve learned for myself, I think I’m a better salesperson.

 

Will Barron:

Love it. I love it. Well, I’d love to have you come back on in the future, Matt, because I feel that this conversation here of I find I hold myself back and do stupid stuff as well as I do the good stuff, and so I end up in equilibrium. So even though I’m not necessarily just sat on my ass doing nothing, I do stuff to self-sabotage myself and I go up and down. So I’m sure-

 

Matt Sykes:

We’re all self-sabotaging, for sure. Yeah?

 

Will Barron:

Yeah.

 

Matt Sykes:

Again, if there’s a chance to come back, we should talk about things like self-belief. How do we improve it? How do we increase it? Things like accountability, it’s a massive problem for me as a trainer. How do I keep my client accountable so that they do what I share with them? Because part of the problem is you share knowledge and then you’re kind of leaving it up to the client to make sure they input it. If you can create personal accountability, just imagine where you could go with that.

 

Matt’s Advise to His Younger Self on How to Become Better at Selling · [54:00]

 

Will Barron:

Yeah. This is something that I struggle with. We’ll have you back on. I’ve really enjoyed the conversation, Matt. I’ve got one final question I ask everyone that comes on the show. And that is, if you could go back in time and speak to your younger self, what would be the one piece of advice you’d give him to help him become better at selling?

 

Matt Sykes:

The one piece of advice will be simply to be more ruthless with your time. They say the average age of the European adult male and female combined is just over 80 years. That’s 80 laps of the sun. I don’t want to bring a downer to the end of the show because I’ve really loved my time on the podcast, Will. I’m really grateful you got me involved. But I’m 50 years old, so I’ve already had my 50 laps. I’ve got 30 left. If you think about it, time is the one thing that we’ve all got exactly the same amount of, yet we all decide to spend it in slightly different ways.

 

“Start getting really ruthless with your time. The way to do that is to measure your time and spend it on stuff that’s good for you, whether that’s financial, whether that’s emotional, whether it’s time with other people. As long as it’s something that comes back to you, that’s where you should spend your time, rather than just wishing it away.” – Matt Sykes · [54:47] 

 

Matt Sykes:

So my advice to a younger person, myself, would be start getting really ruthless with your time. The way to do that is to measure your time, spend it on stuff that’s good for you, whether that’s financial, whether that’s emotional, whether it’s time with other people. As long as it’s something that comes back to you, that’s where you should spend your time, rather than just wishing it away.

 

Will Barron:

Well, look, two things because it’s not really a downer. One, you don’t look 50. So you’re doing something right on that front. Number two, you’re a dude. I’m a dude. I can’t speak for the women in the audience, but most dudes are complete idiots until they’re 25, 30 anyway. Clearly, we’re going to live to more than 80, unless we get run over by a bus, as medicine and all of technology side of it kind of progresses over our lifetimes. We should easily live to 100-odd. But everything that you’ve experienced so far minus the … I don’t know.

 

Will Barron:

I’m speaking for myself here as well as every other bloke listening to this who’s over the age of 25. If you get rid of that zero to 25 time, well, you’ve only had one career. You’ve got time for a whole nother career before you putt your clubs, that should be empowering. if you’re 50, you’ve got another 30 years of potentially solid work in you to do something incredible. I just wanted to kind of double down on that because that’s something I think about. This is why I love business and sales more so than sports or anything like that, because they’re all fleeting. They’re all athletic.

 

Will Barron:

Maybe the Liverpool Football Club will have bionic fellows running round at some point and that’ll change the game and people will be 50 and still running around and playing for the team. But until that point happens, business is the only sport, sales is the only sport, where you can go until you’re 80. In fact, if anyone is over the age, listening to this now, you’re in a B2B sales role and you’re over the age of 75, email me because I want to speak to you.

 

Parting Thoughts · [56:38]

 

Will Barron:

With that, Matt, because I appreciate we’ve gone over time here and I’m conscious of your diary and mine as well, mate. Tell us what we can find out more about you and tell us a little bit about the book as well.

 

Matt Sykes:

Yeah, so the book is called Sales Glue. It’s a book which is 50% is performance psychology-based. So everything that we’ve shared with the listener on the show, you’re going to find in this book. The other 50% is good, old-fashioned quality sales skill. There’s a lot of stuff in there from some of the really, really good-quality sales trainers out there, a bit like Jeffrey Gitomer, who you had on your show the other week. So if you’ve been in sales for five years, this book’s going to work for you.

 

Matt Sykes:

It’s going to show you how you can link mindset and skill together. So that would be the first thing. You can go to Amazon. It’s on Audible. So if you drive around for a living, like most of you guys I’m sure do and girls do, then go and get the Audible version. If you haven’t got Audible, then the good news is you can start a free account and get the book for nothing. My training company’s called Sales Cadence, www.salescadence.co.uk/. I’m going to say forward slash because I’d like to put a little exercise on for the listener.

 

Matt Sykes:

So if they go there, forward slash the salesman podcast, what I’ll leave on there is what I call sales audit. I believe there are 15 things that the modern-day sales professional should be very, very good at. It’ll explain when you get the exercise. But if you download the exercise, it allows you to score yourself where you are right now, and a little bit like we talked about a few minutes ago, Will, you can start to design what your future would look like. So I’ll leave that exercise for them over there. They can go and grab that.

 

Will Barron:

Perfect. And I will link to this episode over at salesman.org as well, in the show notes, everything that we talked about in this episode, rather. With that, Matt, I really enjoyed chatting with you personally, in general, but this topic fascinates me. I feel like I suss out one part of it and then there’s 15 layers deeper to go down. So we’ll have you back on in the future to give a kind of part two to this episode. With that, I want to thank you for joining us on The Salesman Podcast.

 

Matt Sykes:

Thank you, Will. It’s been an absolute pleasure.

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