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Underrated Sales Success Habits You Need To Develop

Noel Wax is a former CBS Sports executive turned entrepreneur. He is also the President and co-founder of GroundSwell Group.

In this episode of the Salesman Podcast, Noel goes through some of the most useful but underrated sales success habits.

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Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - Noel Wax
CEO of GroundSwell Group

Resources:

Transcript

Will Barron:

Coming up on today’s episode of the Salesman Podcast.

 

Noel Wax:

My number one success habit is what I call owning your morning, writing the playbook. And I’m going to talk about it from a business perspective, Will, because I think there’s a lot of books and stories and podcasts and things out there about how important it is for you to do things in the morning. Make your bed, meditate, all that stuff. From a business perspective, once you get all that out of the way, own the first, and I’ll just put a number. Own the first two hours of your business day.

 

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 with that, let’s meet today’s guest.

 

Noel Wax:

Hi everyone. I am Noel Wax. I am the CEO and co-founder of a company called GroundSwell Group. We operate in the world of socially responsible marketing, both as an agency and a platform. Incredibly fun, exciting work that we’re doing, trying to change the world. You can find me all over social, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook. You can and find us at groundswellgroup.com

 

Will Barron:

On this episode of the show with the legend, is now we’re diving into the most important sales success habits. We’re diving into some that are particularly counterintuitive, some that incredibly underrated and some that will just be so foundational that if you’re not doing them, will have a dramatic impact on, not just should sales career, but your life in general moving forward.

 

The Most Important Sales Success Habit · [01:34] 

 

Will Barron:

And so with all that said, with that bit of hype right there, let’s jump right in. What is the most important success habits that you see in engineering yourself and you see in other successful people as well.

 

Noel Wax:

I so badly wanted to give you two answers, Will, but I am going to honour the question and give just one. And it is a really, really important one. And I’m grateful for you asking the question, because it reminds me how important this is. My number one success habit is what I call owning your morning. Writing the playbook.

 

“Own your morning. There are a lot of books and stories and podcasts and things out there about how important it is for you to do things in the morning. Make your bed, meditate, all that stuff. From a business perspective, once you get all that out of the way, own the first, and I’ll just put a number, own the first two hours of your business day, whether that’s [8:30] to [10:30].” – Noel Wax · [02:07] 

 

Noel Wax:

And I’m going to talk about it from a business perspective, Will, because I think there’s a lot of books and stories and podcasts and things out there about how important it is for you to do things in the morning. Make your bed meditate, all that stuff.

 

Noel Wax:

From a business perspective, once you get all that out of the way, own the first, and I’ll just put a number, own the first two hours of your business day, whether that’s [8:30] to [10:30]. We are all exposed to so many distractions and we are so reactive to things. And a business partner, a colleague, a friend sends an email or a text and all of a sudden you’re often in a new direction.

 

“Control the first part of your day. It’s the best way to be proactive about things. You get to set the priorities. You get to determine what are the most important things for you to work on.” – Noel Wax · [02:52] 

 

Noel Wax:

My background is in sports, sports marketing and sports media. I think of it like the first 20 plays of a coach’s playbook. It does not matter what the competition is doing. It does not matter what comes into your inbox. Control the first part of your day. It’s the best way to be proactive about things. You get to set the priorities. You get to determine what are the most important things for you to work on.

 

Noel Wax:

And then the rest of the day, you can figure out, you can be reactive, there’s ways to carve out your time. But that way, you are able to focus in on the stuff that’s most important to you and to your business, decide what those things are and stay locked into that until you’re done. Make that appointment with yourself and figure out what that is. It is essential to success.

 

Will Barron:

I’m going to ask you in a second. Well, I’m going to ask you some advice on a product that we are in the mix of launching, because it falls into this category. And I want to see if there’s anything we’ve missed, anything you think we should add.

 

How to Identify the Most Important Thing of Your Day · [03:32] 

 

Will Barron:

But before I kind of put words into your mouth with that, how do we know what the most important thing of the day is? When do we plan it? Is this planned the weekend beforehand? Is this the night before? And do we use a planner? Do we put this in our calendar? How do we force this upon ourselves?

 

Will Barron:

Because as you rightly alluded to here, the sales manager starts ringing, the customer starts ringing, there’s fires that starts. Kind of appearing all over the place at [9:00] AM. How do we keep in control of all of this?

 

“If you don’t plan it, someone else will. I don’t care when you plan it, just plan it.” – Noel Wax · [04:09] 

 

Noel Wax:

Yeah. So I have to be respectful of my position versus many that might be listening to this. You mentioned sales manager. Look, there’s other people that are always clamouring for our time and other things that are scheduled. If you don’t plan it, someone else will. So I almost answer that, say, “I don’t care when you plan it, just plan it.” So if it’s the day before, if it’s the morning of, if you get up early in the morning at [6:30] and say, “Let me take a half hour to map out my day. Where is that two hour block?”

 

Noel Wax:

You might have a sales meeting in the morning, every morning at [8:30] or someone that expects that time, it might be a little hard to get up at [6:30] and start your day because that other thing is happening. So while I say control the first two hours of block of time, it might be a [10:30] start. But for me, best case scenario was the night before, before I go to bed. It helps me to sleep easier to know that my next day is planned.

 

Noel Wax:

I also, as the CEO and co-founder of the company, I don’t have people telling me where I should go and when I should do things, or meeting I should begin. I’m able to do it. But if I think back to my days of sales management or account executive work, it’s communication. So if you have a set meeting once a week on Thursdays at [8:30] with your sales team and your sales manager, okay.

 

Noel Wax:

But the rest of those days, it’s okay to communicate with your sales manager and say, “This first block of time is set for me to make sure I’m coordinating the best day. Maybe it’s when I’m making my cold calls. Maybe it’s when I’m doing my outreach.” Whatever it is you feel is important.

 

Noel Wax:

So best case scenario, night before. It’s okay the day of, but even if you just block out that two hour window of time and say, “Okay, what do I need to do in this time now that I’m in it to make sure that I have the most productive day focused on the things that are going to directly result in success for me?” Because as you’re building those things day after day, and it’s an appointment with yourself, you’re building the foundation for successful habits.

 

Noel’s Framework for Identifying and Prioritising the Most Important Task of the Day · [05:42] 

 

Will Barron:

Do you have a framework of what that most important task looks like? So for example, I like to look at it or think of it as, [inaudible [00:05:52] I guess there’s two elements of this. If I did this one thing today, did nothing else, I’d be happy. That’s one way of framing it.

 

Will Barron:

And the other way is what’s this one thing I can do that makes all the rest of the stuff obsolete? So what’s that one call I could make that closes today’s worth of business so I don’t have to call, call 50 random people later on? So that’s how I think about it. But do you have a framework note of how you arrange, sets or prioritise your most important task on the daily front?

 

Noel Wax:

Yeah. I’m a list keeper. So I will look at that, and some of those are easy, quick check off things and other things a little bit deeper that that block of time can also be considered deep work. But there should be, and there’s a book out there called The One Thing That I Love.

 

Noel Wax:

And it’s really focused in and locking in on what is that one thing that is ultimately more important that if anything else comes along, this is your priority and you are able to respectfully let other people know that, this is what I’m focused on during this time. So for me specifically around my work, it is around, revenue for our business is the most important thing to allow us runway, allow the freedom to do what we want to do to deliver successful results for our clients and partners.

 

Noel Wax:

So what for me it’s constantly going back to, is what I’m working on, helping me to develop these relationships that ultimately drive revenue for our business. And there’s a backend to that too, but that is our important block of time. And for, I think many of the people listening to this, it is how are you most successfully driving revenue?

 

Noel Wax:

And that could be a combination of those things. Maybe it’s making a whole bunch of cold calls to set up the next week. Maybe it’s focusing on your key relationships and moving those relationships forward.

 

Noel Wax:

I talk a lot whenever I’m talking about this, about the value proposition, because a lot of times we worry in our business, we say, “Well, I’m bringing value to match some else’s business by offering them our services.” May or may not be true. Are you offering real value to your relationships or is every time you’re communicating with somebody, you’re asking them to close the dealer for a piece of business?

 

Noel Wax:

So to be determined for the individuals on inside of that revenue area, what is the priority and what’s the locking? But it’s usually a combination of many of those things. And maybe over the course of a week, if you have five of those blocks of time, you could have four or five different things to focus on because that also changes it up for you and keeps it fresh and exciting.

 

Will Talks About His Plans for the Sales School and Asks Noel to Try and Differentiate Between The Most Important Task of the Day and the Bold Action of the Day · [08:08]

 

Will Barron:

So let me pitch you this. And I want to commit this from the angle of, legitimately tell me if you think it’s an auto load of nonsense. If you think it’s real, share it. Because I don’t want this to be kind of a pitch for a product in the middle of the episode. The new version of the sales school, the audience can find it where they know they can find it, because they probably had a 15 advert either side of this content, which dive into all that. It comes with a quarterly planner.

 

Will Barron:

So in the planet, it has essentially a list of to-dos down one side and then it’s a Gantt chart. So you can only fill in the specific times. You can’t double down on times on prospecting or whatever it is, so that forces people to visualise their time. But the thing that I want to ask you about is, we have a most important task each day and we have a bold action each day. They may be the same thing. They may be different things. And essentially, the graph, the chart is call it in.

 

Will Barron:

So you can only get it done between [9:00] and [12:00] each morning to visually encourage people to kind of eat the frog, as Brian Tracy would say, and get the hard things done first. Now, I’m constantly going back and forth between having a most important task, having a bold task, having one and the same.

 

Will Barron:

But I think that there’s some potentially value in having the two for sales people in that there is the most important task might be your accounting is, or your expense report is six months overdue, like it was for me and my sales role, every kind of quarter. And your sales manager’s on your back. If you don’t get done, you’re going to get sacked.

 

Will Barron:

The bold action though, I feel like is what we should be focused on as salespeople. That is something that is difficult to do. That’s a unfortunate conversation. That’s a customer complaints. That’s these things we put up and procrastinate that over time become bigger and deeper problems. Whereas if we just deal with it and don’t procrastinate on it, the problems get solved.

 

Will Barron:

So with all that said, Noel, is there anything you would change about the structure of how we are suggesting that members of the sales school plan their mornings? Is there anything you’d add to it? Is there anything you would remove? What are your feelings on that?

 

Noel Wax:

Yeah. I think that’s a great perspective, Will. And I don’t want to add, just to add and say, I think on its own sounds like it’s a very productive and healthy way to approach that. I would only say, outcomes both good and bad in how that potentially ties into whatever that thing, the bold statement or the bold to do on that list is, is to really connect.

 

Noel Wax:

For me at this point in my career, it’s a psychological connection with an outcome. If I don’t do, what potentially could happen? And this works from the individual in sales performer at the entry level on up to the top executive and working on multimillion dollar partnership deals. And the positive outcome. When I do this, this is ultimately what could happen, and that’s a goal. Whatever we are driven or motivated by, and that’s expense report is a great example. I put those off for so long at some points they would even say, “At this point, we’re not reimbursing you for that.”

 

Noel Wax:

So that was obviously a negative outcome of not happening. But also look, it’s my money. I already spent it. I just need to get this thing done. And how much time is it going to take? And let me just block everything out and do it. So the positive and negative outcomes as you attach it to that task, I think can be very effective. It allows us to connect with the end result that we want to achieve or will not happen if we don’t do it.

 

Will Barron:

Got it. That makes total sense. I never really thought about it like that before. But rather than just making a statement of, and I was fair that it was expenses a mileage. So the expenses, the company would go, “Tough shit. You’re not getting that cash back anymore.” And it wouldn’t be that much. A couple hundred quid or whatever it is. But the mileage is needed for tax purposes because we had company cars.

 

Will Barron:

So they legitimately needed that. Otherwise, they were leaving themselves open to all kinds of things. So they would absolutely hound the heck out of us for that. But stating it how you described, then this is really useful of, if I don’t do this today in this time slot and go in the extra step further”, rather than, “Oh, I’m probably going to do this at some point.” But saying the negative side of things that would immediately, if I saw that on a piece of paper, because I forget stuff.

 

Will Barron:

If I write something down and I don’t catch it two hours later, I’ve totally forgotten. It’s gone out my brain. Never mind if I’ve slept on it. No. If I sleep on anything, mate, it goes in one ear and out the other. So I think that would be a really useful way to kind of document things. Well, I appreciate that, mate. And I’ll contemplate how we can put that into the system.

 

Noel Wax:

Absolutely.

 

How to Master Success Habits · [12:24] 

 

Will Barron:

Okay. So back to the premise of the show. So before we get into further success habits, why do they need to be success habits as opposed to success things or success kind of monthly occasions?

 

Noel Wax:

It’s a muscle. And often it’s hard to do like going to the gym or any of the things that we know are really good for ourselves, but it feels so much better or easier to sit in front of the TV and eat your popcorn and have a real … And that can be a good experience too.

 

“If we ultimately connect ourselves to the results we want to achieve, then the habits that we create around those will ultimately be part of that successful or positive experience that we’re having.” – Noel Wax · [12:56] 

 

Noel Wax:

So I think creating the muscle or habit. Because if we ultimately connect ourselves to the results we want to achieve, then the habits that we create around those will ultimately be part of that successful or positive experience that we’re having. And they’re difficult. We all have these things. I think it’s sometimes tough for us to own our deficiencies or our vulnerabilities. These are the things that we’re not comfortable doing.

 

Noel Wax:

But once you realise that every single person goes through these same sets of criterias and decision making, it’s a lot easier. I heard something recently described as the escape of television. And I never thought of it in that way, but I would think was like, “You know what? I need a 30 minute relaxation moment where I can just dumb it down and not think about anything.” But I found myself 30 led to an hour, led to two hours. And it just became an escape from the responsibility. So creating the muscle or the habit of things, ultimately feeds it.

 

Noel Wax:

Now, you can also learn that these things may or may not be for you. I got a little bit over the top and some of the habits I was creating and what my morning looked like in the routine, that it started to feel robotic. And I don’t like robotic. I like habits that are good and positive, but allow some flexibility inside of that to still be human, to still have a smile on your face and not everything is, “Oh, my next thing it’s a minute, [8:32] in the morning is this.”

 

“A way to control your day, control your outcomes and control your success is based on the habits you create.” – Noel Wax · [14:23] 

 

Noel Wax:

So each of us will have to evaluate it in a way that works for us. But if you don’t get started or you don’t create the habits, you tend to operate, or I do at least in a much more reactive environment. Again, it’s a way to control your day, control your outcomes and control your success. Based on the habits you create, you can say, “I want to have a smoothie every morning. I want to work out. I want to make my bed.” But then you find that one of those things doesn’t work for you.

 

Noel Wax:

It takes too much time to do something. So there’s tinkering that happens all the time until you find the groove that really works for you. But when you are in that groove and it becomes habitual, you find the ultimate success and outcomes that you desire and that you want to achieve as a result of the things you’ve put into it.

 

Underrated Success Habits That Should Be Part of Your Day · [14:51] 

 

Will Barron:

So the answer to this might be a daily green smoothie, or it might be making your bed or something simple. But what’s a underrated success habits that we should be very seriously considering implementing into our day that affects everything else?

 

Noel Wax:

To try to bring value, it’s a really hard thing to do. But in this day and age, for a minute we talked about this last time, Will, I’m not super high on the spray and pre concept or model. As someone recently said, a mile wide and inch deep, that really resonated with me. It’s not the way that I run my business or my key relationships. I always look at that and say, it’s the, I’d even call the 95/5 rule.

 

Noel Wax:

We hear a lot the 80/20 rule. But who are the key people in my life and in my business that I want to impact or alter? Again, the outcome is there. I’ll give you a real example. I have a dear friend of mine that I grew up with, and we’ve known each other since we were seven years old. And he is now a chief marketing officer at a very prominent health company out here in Los Angeles. And we are friends, but disconnected more recently. So the relationship was there. I went immediately in for the sale of, “Hey, you’re doing this, I’m doing this. Let’s get together and talk business.”

 

Noel Wax:

And it couldn’t have been more of a turnoff. I almost felt like I was getting a little psychotic. I’m like, “Dude, what are you doing? Why aren’t you responding to me? We’ve been friends for so long.” And I had to pull myself back from that immediately. I just thought all the way I wasn’t bringing value, wasn’t sincere, and the relationship needed some tending to, over the last 10 years of not of us not being super close.

 

Noel Wax:

So that’s just an example of value. Had I gone in and said, “Let’s reconnect. It would be great to see you. I’d love to catch up on what you’ve got going on. I’d love to fill you in on what I have doing. Let’s get our wives together. Let’s have a cup of coffee.” Just something a little less aggressive in your face. So I liken that also to the world of social media. We all are inundated with inbound stuff. You hear on LinkedIn all the time. You accept someone’s invitation, the next one is, “Hey, here’s the service or product that I’ve got. Click here, sign up for a meeting with me.”

 

Noel Wax:

I think there are steps that are being skipped. And I think it works for many, the spray and pray model. “Let’s get thousands of messages out there, and if 3, 4, 500 people respond, we’ve got a great business.” My business doesn’t run that way. So value, value, value. I have to stop myself before I make a call or stop myself before I reach out to somebody and say, “Where am I in this process? Have I brought enough value?”

 

“Be thoughtful about bringing value. It’s hard to do, but don’t always ask for the deal in sale, and maybe don’t put your business first to say, “My value to you is what my company has to offer that will ultimately help you.” – Noel Wax · [17:29] 

 

Noel Wax:

Maybe it’s offering something to somebody. “Hey, I notice you support this course. I do too. I’d love to make a contribution or find a way to help.” Anything other than asking for the deal, at least in the initial couple of processes. And over time, that’ll happen. So be thoughtful about bringing value. It’s hard to do, but don’t always ask for the deal in sale, and maybe don’t put your business first to say, “My value to you is what my company has to offer that will ultimately help you.”

 

Noel Wax:

So it’s a delicate area, but ultimately it is about these relationships and how you develop deeper relationships with people. And then you have your pipeline of how you funnel people through initial calls to more meaningful relationships. So ultimately relationships and partnerships.

 

Self-awareness Is the Secret Weapon for Habit Change · [18:08] 

 

Will Barron:

So I love this. It all seems to be linked and tied with self-awareness. And we’ve covered self awareness on the show a million times. So I don’t want to dive too deep into it. I’m sure I’ve done it to death to be, to be frank. But with that said, I’ve never come at it with this angle of, is there anything that we can do to habitualize self-awareness because I find I need self awareness when I’ve just been unselfaware and done something stupid.

 

Will Barron:

And then I have a realisation of, “Oh, I should have done things differently.” Or in your example, “I should have stopped for a minute and thought about the relationship or the timeline or whatever it is. And perhaps I would’ve had a different kind of first few steps moving forward.” Is there any way to make that a habit to, or any way to instil that into us as a habit so that we can focus on it without consciously having to have it brought up to us?”

 

Noel Wax:

Yeah, the two words that come to mind, one we control is preparation. That is the one part of the process that does not entail other people often. And it’s our own preparation for whatever that next thing is going to happen, whether it’s a conversation, a meeting, a dialogue, how much education we have about the person we’re talking to. That makes it feel like the next piece is there can be some empathy there.

 

Noel Wax:

We’re talking about our own self-awareness, but can we, as best we can, put ourselves in someone else’s situation with a knowledge set that we’ve got to understand empathy about, “What ultimately could serve this person really well in my capacity, if I can put myself in their shoes and understand the direction that I would like this to go, or what might be meaningful to them?”

 

Noel Wax:

Those two things working side by side or in collaboration with each other can be incredibly powerful tools and incredibly useful. I’m sure you’ve talked on your show about, I think the book is The Power Of Why. What we’re motivated by, what we’re stimulated by. What’s meaningful to us? But those two things can work really well because I find the more prepared I am for a conversation. And sometimes it doesn’t take a lot. One of my styles is if I’m about to have a call with somebody, it’s a quick look at their LinkedIn profile, some stuff about their business.

 

Noel Wax:

So I can have a couple little tidbits, because I don’t know exactly where the conversation goes or will go, but that’s more than most people do. “Oh, I noticed that you went to school here or I saw this.” It’s a point of commonality between people that opens up the dialogue, which is where the empathy can come in, “Oh, that’s really interesting that you did that.”

 

Noel Wax:

So starting off taking a deep breath, starting off a little more slowly in the beginning, trying to really get to know in the short time you have with someone while being meaningful. So like we did, Will, before we went live on air, we chatted for a few minutes. We asked some questions. You asked some questions, what’s been going on? Gives us a chance to connect at a deeper level. Makes me more open to a conversation, which is where you’re going to get incredible information to ultimately serve that partner or client.

 

Will Barron:

For sure. I make a purpose, and I do it super manipulatively to dive into the guest of business and background and stuff. And I always do that because when I get interviewed on podcasts, which is somewhat regular at the moment. And the guest, whether it nerves on their part or whatever, there’s a lack of structure or whatever it is. And they just jump into the interview. It’s always a bit weird.

 

The Benefits of Going Into a Sales Conversation Knowing What You Want to Achieve · [21:25] 

 

Will Barron:

So just for the audience to kind of, what was the saying, pull back the curtain or break down the fourth wall, or whatever the saying is, I was trying to have that 10, five minutes with the guest, just to what we’ve talked. We talked about your success basically.

 

Will Barron:

And I was asking a few questions from the team that you are building, and I’m building a similar thing. Perhaps a little bit behind what you are now. And it does make a difference. Doesn’t it? I feel like it does make a difference to how … you said, what I hope to achieve of, it makes you slightly more open to a deeper conversation.

 

Noel Wax:

Yeah. And I think it’s also, well, it’s deconstructing that outcome that we talked a little bit about. So I ultimately know what I want to achieve, whether I do or don’t will involve someone else in the conversation. So there’s portions of that, that I have no control over. But I want this outcome. But to arrive at that, here are the things that need to happen along the way.

 

Noel Wax:

So like you did before our conversation, which I’m sure you do with everybody. We used to do something where my old sales manager would call. You have your briefcase, you’re walking into a meeting, you have all the stuff you want to talk about in your briefcase. Physically and literally take the briefcase, put it down so you know, “I’ve got a bunch of stuff in here that I definitely want to talk to you about. But before we do, tell me about what’s going on.” It’s just an actual manifestation of where you want that conversation ago. It’s really funny.

 

Noel Wax:

And I’ve heard you say the word shit a couple of times, so I’ll do it. But we had hired a guy one time, where it was so funny, because that exact example I gave you, he would go to his, we would call his invisible bag of bullshit, next to the chair that he would sit. And it became joke for all of us like, “What is he pulling out of that? I don’t believe him. He’s not authentic. He’s not truthful.”

 

Noel Wax:

And it sort of made that metaphor of your briefcase a little silly for me. So we call it the bag of bullshit after that. But it is something where for each of us to really manifest again, the deconstruction of that outcome that we want, but it’s also the way that we would want to be talked to. I want someone to ask me. I want someone to know about me. I want to feel comfortable and safe in my conversation. And the more we can be vulnerable, the more we can be open, the better that we can serve each other in a business and professional setting.

 

Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone is the Most Mundane Habit to Get Your Energy Going in the Right Direction · [23:14]

 

Will Barron:

This is the weird question to ask, but I think it could lead to a good outcome of, what is the most mundane success habit that we should be trying to implement to our lives? Something that is so just fundamental and boring, that the audience will have to kind of match stick their eyes open for two minutes if you go through it, but it is kind of fundamental and important?

 

Noel Wax:

That’s so cool. It sounds like one of those interview questions where it’s like, “I can’t think of. I don’t want to do a negative answer to that. So how do I make myself look really good with a negative angle?” So I just think of it as getting ourselves out of our comfort zone. There’s some excitement around it, so it’s not the most mundane thing. But challenge ourselves.

 

Noel Wax:

I love in the morning, if I’m walking to work or walking into an office, we have a WeWork office space now, which is so cool, is just, if someone’s not in the middle of something, I just say hello. And it’s a success habit that gets me moving along. It also strangely, Will, it makes me realise how little it takes to be. It’s going to sound terrible, but better than many people. Because most people don’t do that.

 

Noel Wax:

And most people don’t respond well to it. A lot of people light up, which gets me excited, but I think about the people that just walk by someone and won’t even make eye contact. I’m like, “Oh, you know what? I feel better because I’m not that.” And I could catch them in a bad mood. I could catch them not interested in talking. They may think I’m a crazy person, but it helps me.

 

Noel Wax:

And it is a mundane thing and a very simple thing to do to get your juices and get your energy going in the right direction. Is just get yourself out of that box. Out of that comfort zone. Say hello to somebody as you pass by. Greet somebody in the morning. Wave to somebody in the car. Get those good habits going. And it actually is easy to do. But by getting ourselves into those positions and into those situations, some amazing things do open up. So I’d call that sort of a mundane, but really important part of the process of success.

 

Will Barron:

I’ve got a dark angle, slightly more dark angle on this of, in the hospitals that I used to work in, in medical device sales, regularly, I’d see the competition because maybe gynaecology, urology and cardio surgery used our equipment. Whoever used, the competitors. So they’d be around and they’d be helping out. And I would always make an effort, a huge effort to go and shake their hand, say hello to them, have a conversation.

 

Will Barron:

And two things would happen. One, they would always, for whatever reason, maybe I look gentle and nice. So people spill the beans a little bit more than what they should. I don’t think I’m an incredible influencer or manipulator or anything like that. They’d always tell me what they’re up to. And I’d immediately then go and try and take that budget for myself.

 

Will Barron:

They would always open up just because I would be so open and happy and kind of the opposite of what they expect when I bump into them. So one, they would always do that. And then two, I would always, well, not always, nine times out of 10 go, “I’m going to crush this dude.” Again, not in a superiority, whatever, I’m better than them as an individual or my product’s better them or anything like that. I’d just go, “This person’s just human. I can see the flaws in them.” They’re probably thinking the same. They probably look at me thinking, “Look at that lanky idiot over there.”

 

Will Barron:

I nearly used harsher language there to describe myself, but I held back. They’re probably thinking the same thing. So maybe there’s not a competitive advantage if you’re both kind of getting that boost. But nine times out of 10, I’d go, “Do you know what? I’m going to crush this person. I’m going to put in more work, then I’m going to do whatever it is.”

 

Noel Explains Why Talking to the Competition Can Give you the Competitive Advantage you Need · [26:50]   

 

Will Barron:

And the reason I made this point is I feel like we sometimes forget that nine times out of 10 in sales, it’s a zero sum game. If the customer’s going to buy, they’re only going to buy one product. So if I know my competitors and I’ve spoke to them and I feel more confidence having done so, of course it’s going to set us up at an advantage in any kind of negotiation, or if there’s a series of presentations or anything like that, right?

 

Noel Wax:

I would absolutely agree with that. And I think it does. If we feel like it gives us that competitive advantage, we are all driven, even though, in this world that we’re speaking in your podcast, it’s sales based and revenue based, but we still have completely unique and different styles to arrive at the outcome. They want different motivations to do that.

 

Noel Wax:

So yes, for me, I don’t know what that person’s thinking, but I do know what I am. And I do know that when I feel better about myself or I’m walking in with a level of confidence, or I’ve opened a dialogue with everybody, it’s really fun and to be around that. And then when it does end up coming back to you in a way, where maybe sometimes people would mention it to you, “Hey, Will. That was really cool when you came in.

 

Noel Wax:

Eight of the nine people that come in here, don’t say hello, or don’t open the dialogue or don’t bring across song.” When they come they say, “Hello, that was really cool. You made our day.” And when you get that feedback, it sort of stamps the reward on it. You don’t need that necessarily. I don’t need that necessarily, but every once in a while, you do get that if you’re consistent with your approach to that kind of a conversation.

 

Will Barron:

For sure. And I feel this scale’s better on the end of sales, where perhaps you’re going into large accounts and you’re trying to take them away from your competitors. That gives me motivation knowing the person, Jerry, John, whoever it is I’m competing against. This is what you kind of alluded to at the top of the show, which I don’t think is sustainable, which is your end of sales, where you sat there making 500 cold calls a day, or spamming people on LinkedIn, you don’t really know who you’re competing with because, well, you’re just competing with yourself of how many people you can barely touch in the marketplace.

 

Noel Wax:

Absolutely.

 

Salespeople Need to Practise Self Care or Risk Burnout · [28:45] 

 

Will Barron:

Good. I’ve got one final question on this. And then the final question. Again, a bit of a weird one to ask, but I’m trying to kind of uncover some insightful habits as opposed to the obvious ones here. But is there anything counterintuitive that we should be doing each day that we consciously choose not to, that we consciously avoid that would be useful for us, even if we don’t realise it’s going to be useful for us?

 

Noel Wax:

Well, you’re getting deep on me. Counterintuitive. Take the time to care for yourself outside of the grind of the business and the hustle. I’m a little bit more advanced in my life, and certainly I’m going to be 50 soon. In my 20s and 30s, I would’ve never thought to consider this. But I think the things that we can do outside of the, quote unquote, grinder hustle, are sometimes counterintuitive.

 

“To me, it’s not about who is working harder than somebody else or who’s making more of those calls. A more meaningful part to that is what gives us the energy and strength to continue in the times that feel a little more difficult. It’s easy when the phone feels like it’s as light as a feather than it is when it’s 10-pound weight.” – Noel Wax · [29:40] 

 

Noel Wax:

To me, it’s not about who is working harder than somebody else, and who’s making more of those calls. It’s a more meaningful part to that. What gives us the energy and strength to continue in the times that feel a little more difficult. It’s easy when the phone feels like it’s as light as a feather, than it is when it’s 10 pound weight. So are you getting your workouts in? Is your mind square and straight? Are you taking the time to do that?

 

Noel Wax:

Yes, it’s at the expense of some of the other business things that you might be doing, but equally, if not more important to keep your physical and mental wellbeing in shape. And we talked about the muscle of habit. That is so important, because if you’re not getting enough sleep and you’re overdoing it on caffeine, and you’re not getting a workout here and there to take care of you, those are all things that feed the confidence machine and the muscle that you are or that you can become. So it does feel like that.

 

Noel Wax:

Maybe you don’t stay at the office until [10:00] o’clock making more cold calls and let your boss know there are three hours behind everybody else and you got more stuff done. If that’s your motivation, that’s okay, but do take the time for the other stuff. I actually love shutting down. I love it nowadays. And I don’t have to make apologies to anybody. If you reach me at [4:00] o’clock on a Sunday afternoon, you may not hear back from me until [8:30] or [9:00] o’clock on Monday. That is my time.

 

Noel Wax:

And yes, of course, if it’s something that’s critical or important, I might pay attention to it, but putting my phone down for periods of time and really enjoying that time, it’s really hard to do these days to say, I look at my phone as much as anybody, but I also want to be present in the other places.

 

Noel Wax:

So it’s a little bit more counterintuitive than it feels right now to say, “I’m turning it off or I’m putting it down. I’m putting it away and I’m going to talk to you, my family, my wife, my mother, whoever I’m talking to, that you get my undivided attention.” I think that’s really important for our overall wellbeing.

 

Will Barron:

So I’m super focused on my sleep at the moment. I use a Lumie alarm clock. I get up at [6:00] AM, regardless. But this alarm clock gradually brightens up the room and that makes me less groggy, essentially pulls me out of my, if I’m in a state of deep sleep or REM sleep or whatever, pulls me out of it. And I feel better for that. I also track my sleep. The amount of hours, amount of time spent in bed through, there’s numerous apps to do it but I use Oura Ring and I also use Beddit, which I think Apple bought recently.

 

Will Barron:

So that may or may not exist as this show goes live. And it’s interesting because I found that even though this is so sad to say this, I go to bed about half nine, and I’ll read a book for half an hour or so, and then I’ll start to drift off. I found that I wasn’t getting as much sleep as what I thought I was, because that should be a solid eight hours from kind of, if I got my maths right there, from [10:00] till [6:00].

 

Will Barron:

I found out I’m only getting seven and a half, seven hours because my girlfriend comes to bed a bit later than me. So she wakes me up every night. And it wasn’t enough that I was wide awake and couldn’t get back to sleep. But when I looked at the data, I was physically awake in the different ways that I was tracking it. So that was an eye opener for me. And it hasn’t really changed because I can’t convince her to come to bed earlier. So I would say-

 

Noel Wax:

How do you resolve that extra hour that’s missing?

 

Will Barron:

I haven’t, but the point of the tail is that I’ve now got data that shows that it’s not me getting a gut feeling in the morning, whether I’m better or worse. Even when I’m training ju-jitsu, when we train a real hard session, I feel better having a nine hours of sleep rather than eight. And the next day, I’m more productive. I do more than one hours worth of extra work, if that makes sense.

 

Will Barron:

So it’s an investment into the next day, as opposed to just a lose-lose scenario. So I’ve got data on it, even though kind of nothing has really changed because my miss just won’t going to bed early. She likes to let her hair down, I guess, when I go to sleep. She’s more of introverted. So she gets an hour to herself to watch TV or read, and not have me pestering her.

 

Noel Talks About His Sleep and Fitness Habits · [33:38] 

 

Will Barron:

So she’s good to just listen to the show because I’m slugging her off all the time on air. But with that, Noel, is there anything, and final thing on this mate. Is there anything with regards to taking care of yourself or anything that we’ve talked about, I guess, that you track, that you want data on because you may think that you’re doing well, but until you look at the numbers, you’re not actually all that sure?

 

Noel Wax:

It’s unofficial, Will. But sleep and fitness are two things that I do unofficially manage. I don’t feel like I need as much sleep as most people do. I have a similar situation at home where it’s, my partner is up later than I am and I like to be in bed early and get my sleep. I’ve sort of stopped worrying about it because I try to be productive.

 

Noel Wax:

But also, the upshot of all this is sort of knowing ourselves and where our most efficient strike zones are, to your question and about the analytics. But the fitness part of it, I do. I know that I am a better performer. I know that I am more aware. I know that I’m more attentive. I know that I’m more authentic, and all the positive words that come along with that. When I’m getting my four workouts a week and I will oftentimes have something on my calendar say, “Okay, I am not doing this enough right now. I will not be as effective or productive if I don’t take the time right now to do this.”

 

“There is always an appropriate time to do something that you really need to do. And it does not matter.” – Noel Wax · [34:55] 

 

Noel Wax:

The question is always, when is the time? Because I’ve sort of unwound this corporate mentality that I had about when things were appropriate to do. And I’m finally at a place where I say, there is always an appropriate time to do something that you really need to do. And it does not matter. Case in point, my sister’s 50th birthday this weekend in Los Angeles, my mother said to me, “Noel, you cannot wear a tie to this event.” So guess what I did, I wore a tie to the event.

 

Noel Wax:

I don’t like people to tell me what is appropriate, not appropriate for me to do. I know what works best for me. There’s obviously occasions for it to be good and bad. But that workout thing is really important. So I know that I’m much more productive as a result of the fitness, and it’s something that I usually will take off in exchange for something else.

 

Will Barron:

Got it. And as a side note for this, I totally agree, I’m not as nicer a person if I don’t go to ju-jitsu or I’m training for a half marathon again at the moment. If I don’t put in those hours, literally hours grinding, I’ve just got too much energy. And I turn into a really … Some people might think I’m annoying already on the show. They’re probably not regular listeners, but I get really annoying. I irritate people with the level of energy that I have if I don’t get rid of it somehow.

 

Will Talks About How His Fitness Affects His Productivity and Irritability · [35:56] 

 

Noel Wax:

So do you have analytics around your fitness that you found to be productive as a result of your output directly related to that?

 

Will Barron:

And then this is probably a conversation to have over because half the audience might switch off at this point. I know and I track my calories in and calories expended during exercises, no one can measure that very well. There’s no apps or tools or technology to do that, for numerous reasons. But I know that if I eat my kind of 2,800 calories or so that I need each day to maintain my weight, and then I train ju-jitsu really hard.

 

Will Barron:

If I don’t have more calories on top of that, I become more irritable and more irritable to other people. So I measure the length of time of exercise with running. It gives me all the other data as well with my watches on top of that. But I’m more interested in a rough idea of how much I’ve expended, and then I need to match that up with the calories I’ve had during the day. Otherwise, things just go to pot.

 

Will Barron:

Similarly, if I have way more calories, if we go out for pizza and some beers or whatever it is, I don’t necessarily get down and groggy the next day. I’ve just got a load of energy that I need to burn off again. So in regards to measuring things, I don’t get too deep into the analytics.

 

Will Barron:

I sometimes work out of a heart rate strap, but that’s more for the athletic performance side of things as opposed to anything else. But I do measure calories in and then calories expended, and that kind of balances me out. But I realise this sounds slightly psychopathic as I’m describing on the show [crosstalk [00:37:25] for anyone who is training for something that’s different.

 

“If you’re doing things that are good for your body and mind, your output and energy levels will be commensurate with that.” – Noel Wax · [37:28] 

 

Noel Wax:

If you’re doing things that are good for your body and mind, your output and energy levels will be commensurate with that. So let’s all do good things for our bodies [inaudible [00:37:34].

 

Noel’s Advise to His Younger Self on How to Become Better at Selling · [37:35] 

 

Will Barron:

Good. Well with that, Noel, I’ve got one final question, mate. So I’m going to ask everyone that comes on the show, we’re rapport with this. 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?

 

Noel Wax:

Wonderful final question, Will. Be vulnerable. Put yourself out there and don’t worry as much about what other people think of you as feeling and finding your most authentic self. It’s where you’ll operate in the most extraordinary success and efficiency vortex when you are true and honest with yourself. It took me so long to figure that out because I had to keep thinking I needed to have a mask on or something other.

 

Noel Wax:

I separated my work and my business, my friends from my business associates. Well first, the more I got to know my real self and then the more I allowed people to get to know the more real me to our point about when you asked earlier, how are things going? We’re doing really well with business. And I think it’s because people want to work with the real me. And these relationships I’ve forged over the years.

 

Noel Wax:

And yes, the business is good and what we’re offering is good, but that would be the thing, to have done it sooner. And it takes a while sometimes. You’re trying to be something for many years that you may or may not be or may or may not ultimately ever be, but all we can really be is our truest self. And that’s how serve our community, ourselves and our business partners the best.

 

Socially Responsible Marketing · [38:58]

 

Will Barron:

Will, tell us a little bit more about the business, where we can find out more about you as well, because it is fascinating. Would you consider a completely unique twist on the idea of marketing and agencies, because I’ve never seen anyone come up with anything quite like it.

 

Noel Wax:

Yeah. It is so unique, Will. Thanks for asking. We’re doing really well because ultimately we are serving our communities. We’re serving the nonprofit space. We’re finding money and exposure and support for them. We’re doing it through brands. So we call it socially responsible marketing. And all that really means is both sides win. The businesses that are supporting the communities win because the communities and the nonprofits are giving them real marketing value back in exchange for their support and contribution. It has historically been a one way street.

 

Noel Wax:

The other thing is, it’s not a one to one connection. We’re not saying to somebody, “Hey, you want to work with the biggest veterans organisation, go to Wounded Warrior. You want breast cancer, it’s this.” We work with small to mid-size organisations that are willing to work really hard for the contributions that they give.

 

Noel Wax:

So that model didn’t exist. We introduced some technology into. It allows us to scale, utilising artificial intelligence. It’s really, really powerful. But yes, the doing good part of it feels really good, and running a business in that way makes us excited about the growth that we’ve had.

 

Parting Thoughts · [40:39] 

 

Will Barron:

Cool, man. So tell us where we can find it and where we can find more about you.

 

Noel Wax:

Yes. Please check us out. We are Groundswellgroup.com. Our site is as modern and current as it possibly can be with all of our case studies and successes that we’ve had, the work that we’re doing. You can find us on all the social platforms, GroundSwell Group at LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook. Please check that out.

 

Noel Wax:

And also you’re welcome to reach out to me if you’ve heard anything here in my conversation with Will. I’m on LinkedIn, Noel Wax. And I respond to everything. Always willing to give tips and pointers to anybody trying to make their way in the world of sales and revenue and partnerships and success.

 

Will Barron:

Good stuff. Well, our link to all that in the show note to this episode over it, salesman.org. And with that, Noel, I’ll thank you for your time. Your insights, I always appreciate them. And for joining us on the Salesman podcast.

 

Noel Wax:

I love hanging out with you, Will. You ask some very, very thoughtful questions. And it’s a pleasure to be on your show. Thank you.

 

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