Donald Kelly: Expanding Sales with The Sales Evangelist
Keep sales simple and master the fundamentals!
Donald Kelly is the Founder of The Sales Evangelist.
He evangelizes effective ways salespeople and entrepreneurs can find more qualified prospects, close more deals and make more money. He does this through motivating sales training, online courses, one-on-one coaching, workshops, seminars and dynamic keynote presentations.
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Welcome to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, founder and CEO of UpMyInfluence.com. We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. stick around to the end of the show, where I'll reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go. Right with us right now we've got Donald Kelly, Donald, you are the founder, the CEO, the creator, the mind behind The Sales Evangelist. And so you've been podcasting. How long have you been podcasting? So on the
13th, the 31st officially, it'll be six years.
That's incredible. Yeah, that's that's blowup porches one of the the the original pod fathers of podcasting
podcasting that long some of these legendary folks
what made you started like what what was going on in business that you're like I'm gonna start a podcast specially that early?
Yeah it was a it was a hobby and it was right place right time. So we all know you know Jared easily friend of ours, Jared was doing. We're talking about business idea startup. And then he mentioned this concept of, you know, we should consider podcasting. And then he came to social media and up social media at that time was like, New Media Expo. And then he got introduced to cliff and all of these folks and then came back and said, bro, I'm starting a podcast, he started one and invited me on it. And I started getting intrigued because I saw folks like Pat Flynn and some of these individuals that were in the, you know, online space and how they were doing stuff. And I was like, that is cool. And we recognize that there was not a lot of people doing sales, and I wanted to get that sales experience and also the Sales knowledge learned from some of these experts. So then we said, Dude, you should start one. And that's what I created The Sales Evangelist. So when somebody
subscribes to The Sales Evangelist and again, whatever platform you're listening to this podcast on, go search right now Sales Evangelist, and you'll find Donald, but when someone listens to your show, what can they expect?
The biggest thing that can expect if you're in sales, though, you're going to get actionable strategies. And one thing I try to do to differentiate ourselves than any one of the other shows is that we believe in the concept of entertaining and then educating, though I bring an energy and bring the excitement. So if you're driving and I want you to be bored, I want you to be able to have a fun, exciting experience. But also you're going to get strategies and actionable stuff that you can apply for selling. So if you've been selling for two days, or you've been selling for 20 years, the things are still relevant to everyone. Although we cater a lot to new and struggling sellers, the content or who come a lot to our podcast, the content is relevant. I've folks and clients who've been selling for longer than I've been alive. They still yet come back and back, come back each time because the guests brings those things that are relevant and new information for selling in the sales arena. You and I were talking before it's evolving like every single day especially with technology. So we try to bring on those experts who are the top in the industry and folks who can bring stuff that are cutting edge.
And and Donald when What else do you do besides obviously the podcast is a great huge net to me. You've built up a pretty sizable audience, you have a great community, by the way. But tell me about the services that you provide now because and and your background. Start with that and then how that's kind of morphed into the professional services that you offer.
So as a kid growing up in Jamaica, we had we have family had family shops and things like that. Actually just finished the first round of my book. Sell it like a mango How you can stand out in a crowded market space as a new seller. And so many people that in Jamaica, you're selling your that's you can just think about the idea, I'm going to get my education and then you'll get a nice job, you have to go somewhere else like Canada or the US or UK to find those jobs. So people find ways to hustle. And it's just been a part of my nature, I didn't see that selling is just like being a businessman. And then in college people were like, you have this outgoing personality and all of that stuff. So they encouraged me to check out sales and I did business to consumer selling on one of products, 45 minutes, and did pretty well with you know, being able to close and set appointments. So I fell in love with this concept. Then when I did be to be professional selling post-college. That's when I got kicked in the face and realized this was a different game and I needed to get help. So I got training and then we saw hockey stick in my performance and that led to me interacting with Jared and Jared was like you should start sharing this stuff and Wallah. But now we What that led to and first started, I remember the first individual was Jose Diaz he reached out to me and said, guy my network could I do some coaching for him and I was like what? So he saw my content and that led to another gal named destiny and she came on board I remember those first couple clients and Katie and you know, just people who started reaching out about one on one coaching, then it led to group programs that are led to speaking and then led to workshops and consulting. So our main bread and butter right now our biggest thing is consulting where we work with small organization mid sized organizations and we help go inside help them develop their sales process and grow and train their team. In addition to we started picking up some larger clients recently which is fascinating.
I that that's kind of a larger clients, you have a little bit more budget goals.
So they're, they're looking for us to come in and do workshop and we started building out a Storytelling Workshop, which we know that is essential in the sales process. And then we We still have our one on one coaching, which is now I've limited that because unless people are pay the right fee, we're not going to we that's how we do it, because it's one on one. And then we focused on our group online programs, because now with our audience continuing to grow, to serve them with, we created the online programs. So it's a one too many. And then obviously, the podcast gets sponsors as well. So those are our revenue streams at this point.
So talk to me, Donald about your observations of some of the biggest challenges that that I'd say a growth stage startup. So, you know, the founders started something they're doing well, you know, maybe kind of just, you know, they've done some freelancing sales and they're looking at expanding what they're doing. What are some of the challenges that you see with someone in that at that stage of business encountering most often
so the there are several things that will We're talking about let's just give an example. Let's say that Mary is that fine Mary, and we'll call her Mary. Mary has a company where she is making right now, she did a lot of the work a little bit over half a million dollars a year. And you know, maybe she pushed it. And she's, you know, once he wants to get to that $2 million level, the problem that Mary has is that Mary's doing all of the selling herself, and it's the one off selling, and it's the time for dollars type of stuff, if she's selling a service. So what Mary's trying to do now she wants to grow the business and she's tried before with other sales people she brought in her cousin, then that didn't work out. And then she brought in a neighbor's nephew because he was outgoing and graduating college. So she brought him in. But the problem was he didn't have much success. So she got frustrated with this and said, I wasted a lot of money trying to hire people. Let me go ahead and do commission and she tried to commission full commission and that didn't work at all. So now Mary's complex perplexed as far as how can you grow her business with an outbound strategy, the problem That Mary has is that Mary knows what to do instinctively. It's you have something that's called a founders, like a founders passion or the founders magic, Josh, you could sell your stuff without even thinking I could wake up at three o'clock in the morning. And you could talk to somebody who doesn't speak English, but you probably could sell them, because you just have they'll feel that founders passion, individual sales reps working in a company don't have that. And it's hard for you to get that. So usually Mary and these, these startup business owners or small business owners have a difficult time wondering why these people are not selling and the issue is we're trying to take, you're trying to get them to instinctively do something that you naturally can instinctively do and it's an impossible so you have to give them a process. And Mary doesn't have time to sit down and create those processes. So that's one of the biggest problems that they have right away is that they don't have a repeatable process for an individual to follow to sell. I was talking to a gal yesterday, same exact situation. I don't make this stuff up. She's coming into her online program. She's working for a small business in the city. Yo, he has, he's been doing all the selling. Now she's in a position where she's wanting to, you know, do more of the sales and help them out. But she has to learn all this stuff from the ground up and to recreate it. So that's one of the biggest challenge. And then number two is the top the time sales. Usually small business owners don't necessarily recognize that ramp time. So you might say I want to get that money, I want to get to $2 million. But you got to realize that if I bring somebody on, they're going to be at least 30 depending on your sales process. If it's three months, you have three months to sell something. And then you need to add 90 days typically to that. So you're looking at about six months before this joker is going to actually start producing so can you carry that person for six months or be patient enough to start seeing that return and sometimes we don't have that that's a huge issue for small business owners, because they don't have enough bandwidth. So then they find that they are going to fire it, fire that person and try to go and find somebody else but what you're doing, you're spending even more money because you're firing and hiring, firing and hiring. It's just a process that keep going. And it's frustrating for them. It's frustrating. So you have to have the process, you have to have the ramp time, you have to make sure you're patient. But if you're doing all of these things, it's just like water of growing a seed. If you water it, and you do those elements, it's going to grow. But if you try to, you know, miracle, grow the sucker and don't do it properly, you might kill the plot, and lost the whole thing. And then you say, gardening sucks. It doesn't work. Well. People been doing it for thousands of years. Clearly it works. You're just not following a process, right? So those are some of the things not having a process, not having a proper ramp time, not giving the people the proper tools that they need to do to succeed. And those are some of the things I see you especially with small business founders.
I feel like Donald, you've been spying on how we've been doing things over and that's been our story. And I think that that's just that's such a common experience. And so we've done we've honest, we've brought in several different people. Very good, nice people, but it just hasn't worked out yet. We've, you know, brought in outside sales agency and and that didn't work again very nice people, but man, it did not work. And so what's the solution then like, what is the goal here? Like how do we, how can we streamline this process? How can we set ourselves up for the greatest chance of success? Because again, and I'll just, you know, little history, like, sales has been the one thing that I have as the CEO, I've not really let go of and when I've tried to let go of it, it's really not worked out very, very well. Now, I should tell you, that thanks to my relationship with you, Donald, we have some really good in house people that have just kind of naturally evolved into doing a lot and you know, some of it was just like, you know, stayed, start taking some of the sales support type stuff, and then, you know, kind of working our CRM and Then they start doing a little bit more communication. And then, you know, they're so we kind of like they've kind of naturally evolved into this position again, thanks to a lot of the things that they've learned from you. But yeah, I guess, you know, aside from our learning from our own experience, and again, it's been very expensive to make the mistakes that we have. But But how do we, I mean, give me some general strategies that business owners can use to to make this transition so that they don't have to be the be all end all when it comes to sales for their own organization.
So here's a one question when you usually hire those people usually have probably because you don't want to overextend yourself. So you probably hire one at a time, correct? Yep.
Absolutely. And so what and this is something that's common. So the first thing that you must have, you must have the process down, must take what you have, because what we think is that if I bring the person in house we can build a process together but think about it from my standpoint it empathy as a sales rep think I'm, I'm a like your client at this point. What do I want the most I need money I need to succeed. I don't want to come in and try to build stuff because I don't know it myself and if I'm waiting on you to build the you know to build up something, then it puts me back it lowers my confidence and then it lowers gets me frustrated because you're a friend and you're helping me and I'm helping you but if I don't have the if I don't have that process I just feel like you're going to get you know displeased eventually and naturally does does happen. So you must have the process in place you must have a tried and proven process in place. A sales playbook is what we call it or having a you know, the step by step that they need to follow. You must have a random schedule. So let's say ramp schedule. We know that by six months we're going to see get start getting some money back from Donald from the investment in them. Can I float Donald for six months at paying, you know, if it's a base salary is something like 3000 dollars $4,000 per month? Can I pay that for six months? Understanding that I'm going to see my return at that point? Yeah. So those are some things that you need to one consider that the first thing you must have in place before you can get started have a commission structure that's going to be lucrative and attractive. And then also one thing that founders often forget, they might think I'm a small company that must have a culture create a culture, what's that culture? Like? Is this going to be Fridays dress down Friday? Is this going to be you know, hit your target, and we're going to go out and party or we're going to, you know, if our team hits goals, this is what's going to happen, you must have that in place. Now, here's another difficult part I founders have to is that they hire like you shared, and I've done it, we hire one at a time. Right? It's challenging to hire one at a time, what you must do is hire in classes. Right? So let's say for instance, if I'm going to bring on a sales rep, I want to bring on two sales reps, because I'm doubling my effort doubling my opportunity, and here's why they feed off of each other when you have two people Working together, and you have a team, they feed off of each other they they might come together and say, well, Josh is, you know, you share tips and insights. So Josh and I are both on the same team. It also gives me that camaraderie. And it also gives me a way that I can get some it gets something that you might be doing this work and and vice versa. And it also brings a little level of, of competitiveness, and then the likelihood of you losing both of them at the same time also increases. So if one person does bail, or something happens, you still have somebody else that's there. But that's one of the other strategies but the Tyron in the classes is a much better way of going and exploring them both together. So now, you have them probably gave them processes. You gave them everything they need to do you have an amazing culture, you have goals, people leave companies, Josh not because of the money they leave because they don't see an opportunity for growth. They leave because they don't see it. They don't the company culture or because sometimes a company leadership, right. So you give them this opportunity and also give them a future, sell them something in the future. So bringing me on as a BTR, siddhanam, on bringing you on as a BDR. In 18 months, I want to look at seeing if we can get you to start closing some of those deals that I'm closing right now, I want to get out of that role. And then at that point, I want to bring on two more BD ours and I need you guys to become those those leaders like the, you know, the team leaders and the account executives. And so we want to gradually progress that but if you give me a progression chart, or some kind of something, you're selling me a vision. I'm working on an episode right now. And we started a new series on our podcast is called we're doing the best sellers in history. So if the historical figures going live on Christmas Day, of course, it's going to be Jesus. And one of the things that we're looking at is that Jesus sold a vision to people from where they are now, or where they're going to be or could be in the future. And it's the same thing with any client. It's the same thing with any team members. So you give them this path and give them a proven path because now you're showing them how to congratulate get there and you give them opportunity to succeed from day one with your process. Then they're going to come on I'm my literally my brothers on board working with us right now. And I went by the office and he got several emails reply the fact this morning you should see the the how excited he was and we did bring on to at the same time because we reckon I know this this stuff so and we see the camaraderie that's going on in our, in the bullpen as we're making eat sending emails, and you know, you know, communicating, there's this level of excitement, but he knows where he can go and things that can happen. We sold him on the future, and it's real. And then also we gave him the process, but he's just I wish I took a picture of it just but it was just so darn excited that he got wise from the process. He see that as works. So that's my that's some of the thoughts that I would give if you're a small business owner, again, going through with that question, you're saying what should we do to get started? Yeah, that's what I would do. And I've recommended every time I
I think another thing to Donald that would be extremely helpful is what if business owner goes Listen, I don't know what goes into a sales Follow up system like, I don't know what I don't know, like, all I know is like, I'd love people to buy my products or services. But like, I mean, other than, you know, convincing them in a conversation that they need to do this. I think one of the challenges may be, you know, they might not understand how follow up cadence, or lead gen works. And so then they're kind of stuck with the position, well, do I hire someone to do that work for us? Or, you know, because there's, there's more than one role here that needs to be fulfilled. And so, um, so I'd like, if you could kind of talk about, at what point should we bring different people and I know, it could be different for everybody. But I think that if you say, listen, we don't have anything developed. And I want one guru to come in and do everything and sell and build the systems and build a follow up like and just tell me everything to do. That's probably going to be a little expensive, right?
It could be, there's a you can you can do some of those things on your own, or you can hire it out. So for me, what I've done is let's let's back up, I know that I, I am not the best at website development. When I first started my business, when it was ground up, I started created, I've created my very first website myself. But then quickly, I realized that I can't do that. That's not my forte. So then I hired somebody to build our website. It wasn't like someone expensive. But in my mind, I was thinking, Oh, that's, it's a couple grand, you know, it's like a, you know, a little bit over a grand, I think it was like 1200 bucks. It was a friend of ours. So I was like, oh, man, but I paid it. And that person then created a website for us. Fast forward, and I think it was like 500 something there. They're really nice. Then it went to we needed a better website. And then we, you know, tried to do some of the work myself and I just realized again, it's still not going to work. So then I realized I needed a firm. And then I had to put about, you know, several thousand dollars into really getting a nice web.
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