While most business owners attribute their success to different factors, many credit a huge part of their success to one thing—new level sales skills. In line with this, we interviewed someone who knows sales like the back of his hand, Ali Mirza. Ali is the CRO of Crisp Video Group and the President of Rose Garden Consulting, LLC. At Rose Garden Consulting, they help businesses develop, document, and implement a powerful sales process and strategy that’s sure to scale and achieve revenue goals. If you want to create a robust sales team but don’t know how, listening to this episode is a huge step in the right direction. Ali not only tackled the basics of finding and hiring great salespeople, he also shared a couple of tools that can help you in your search. So many gold nuggets in today’s episode so don’t miss it!
Why New Level Sales Skills are So Important in Wholesaling with Ali Mirza
I’m excited about this guest I have. I’m going to sum up this entire talk and this episode in this quote that I remember hearing, “There are two problems in business, sales and everything else.” We know that to be true. The thing in our business that will cause us to bang our head against the wall more than anything is sales, particularly getting our sales team to produce.
We are going to break this apart now with someone important to me, my guest, Ali. It’s an interesting story about how we met. A mutual friend introduced us and said, “You’ve got to meet this guy named Ali Mirza with Rose Garden Consulting. He is going to come in and change the way you are running your sales operations.”
I get these introductions all the time. I called Ali. He had flown down on a plane. We brought him in to consult our team. We started at 9:00 in the morning, something like that. We went all the way until 6:30 at night and revamped our entire sales process. If we are talking about sales, I have not come across anyone that knows more about sales. What Ali and Rose Garden Consulting do full-time is consult small to big to large companies on how to better their sales press. Ali, welcome.
Thank you. I appreciate you having me.
I’m ready to hash this out and more importantly, start pulling those nuggets out of your head so that the audience can take away and run with some practical items. If you are reading, you are either a solo entrepreneur or solo investor, and you have not built a sales team yet. This is important because you got to start building a framework in your head. If you hire someone or you are more seasoned, and you are like, “I’m fully engaged leaning in on this because I need some guidance on how to get more out of my sales team.” Ali, let’s hop in and go straight to the meat. Here is my first question. How do we find and hire great salespeople? That is where it starts. We know that hiring and getting the right one is an important part of this equation. How do we do that practically?
There are two parts to that question. There is the finding and there is the hiring. When we dive a little bit deeper, there are two parts to the finding. It is where do you physically find this human from a physical standpoint, but how do you root out the people that say they are good versus the people that are actually good? That is a whole rabbit hole that we can go down.
The one thing I will say is in my opinion, I do not like that “experienced salesperson” that is going to come in with that Rolodex and on day one, walk in and bring you all your riches. That person does not exist. What you are looking for is a unicorn. We all know unicorns do not exist. When you start looking for that, you miss the little things that are in front of you.
In my opinion, when someone tells me they’ve got ten years of experience, I look at that more often than not as ten years of bad behavior and bad habits rather than ten years of experience. There are a lot of people that are bad at their job that has been doing it for a long time. The time doing something does not equate to being proficient in it.
Doing something doesn’t equate to being proficient in it.
That is the one misnomer that I would love to clear up in the grand scheme of things. What I’m ultimately looking for depends on the market, physical location and type of organization, whether it is all remote or all people coming into an office. Where you’re going to look for this person physically does depend so I’m not going to go down that road.
What does this person look like? From that standpoint, I can answer because this is relatively universal. I’m looking for three things or three intangibles. This person needs to be creative. Good salespeople think quickly on their feet. You are always thrown something that requires you to call it an audible. Nothing ever goes perfectly according to the script. I’m looking for someone creative that can think quickly on their feet.
The second thing I’m looking for is somebody that is competitive. I have never seen a salesperson that does not get pissed off when someone beats them. I want that competitive spirit and that vibe. The one thing I will clarify there is that a lot of people want ex-college athletes. I played ball in college a long time ago. I’m an old man now. When I was playing ball growing up, life was different from the kids growing up.
These kids are growing up now playing AAU ball, whether they are playing AAU basketball or football, whatever it is they play, they are babied so much. They do not know what real work is. Be careful if you are going to be hiring a fresh college star now because they got everything handed to them through Instagram and all this stuff. They have been floated up and their tires had been pumped.
When I was doing it, I still had to go work a part-time job at a 7-Eleven, I worked at a call center, and all that other stuff. I had to go play ball at school in college after that. You learn a level of grit. A lot of us old guys that are hiring these young sales guys now think that the grit that we came up with is the same grit that they have. They do not. I’m telling you, these are a bunch of prima-donnas that are coming up now. Make sure you test that grit. You want somebody that came from a little bit of a challenging upbringing. That grit is very important. That is what is going to determine a competitive vibe. That does not mean that they grew up poor.
I’ve known a lot of rich people that have had a challenging lifestyle. I have known a lot of poor people that are complacent but also flipped as well. I have known a lot of people that grew up without money that have now understood the value of hard work and understand that they do not want to go back, and vice versa. People that grew up with money do not care. They do not understand what a hard day’s work is. Do not let that be the guiding factor.
The third thing that I’m looking for is somebody that is coachable. Few people believe that they can’t learn anything. Almost everyone will tell you they are coachable, but look for signs to see if they are coachable or not. If they are telling you that they are coachable, make them do something regardless of how well they do it.
One of the things that I was doing during our interviews is I give the script to the person. I say, “Read the script and sell it to me.” I do not care how well they do it. There is always something you can correct. I will look for something that they did wrong. If they start telling me, “I was going to do this,” they start making excuses. What I want is somebody that is going to be like, “Noted.” I want someone to shut up, listen and be like, “Okay,” and ask questions about how they can get better. That is the only way you can tell whether someone is coachable or not.
If they start making excuses like, “I was going to do that. I thought to do that, but I did it because of this reason.” I do not have time for that. I do not need to convince you that you need to listen to me. Those are the three things that I’m looking for from that standpoint and the intangibles. We can get into the tangible actual qualitative measures that I’m looking for when I’m hiring a salesperson if you want, but from a high level, that is what I’m looking for.
What I hear are the three C’s. They are Creative and Competitive. Another word for that to nail it down is grit. Lastly, they are Coachable. Let me ask you this. How do you sift that out in an interview? Do you do that face to face? Do you assess them? You gave a practical for being coachable. Coach them and see if they get defensive or not. The creative and the competitive, how do you find that out? In interviews, people tend to put their best foot forward. We know in resumes, that’s as close to perfection as any human can get.
It was in the book, Topgrading, where it says that resumes are a chronological list of all the things you have done. It does not explain anything and with all the bad parts omitted. As far as competition goes, you give them an example and ask them how they would react because most people are not anticipating that question. They are going to typically say the first thing that comes up. That is the most accurate response you are going to get from them.
I give them an example, and this would have to be specific to your situation. If you are hiring a salesperson that has some sales experience, try to tailor it a little bit to that so that they are going to tap their brain into what is happening. You are going to get more of an honest answer. “You are the top salesperson for three years running and then someone else comes up to you. They get a better list than you do of people to call or some better leads for their family knows somebody.” Make sure you give them that excuse. If you do not, you are going to get a politically washed answer. “They have a better list or whatever it is. All of a sudden, they are catching up to you and they want to shadow your calls. In shadowing your calls, they correct something that you are doing that was incorrect. How do you respond to that?”
These are some that I have used in the past. What you have done at this point is you have built up this backstory of what somebody else is doing. You are seeding it with the fact that it is undeserved and they’re nipping at your heels. You are about to lose your top spot, and now they are correcting you. You are going to get this person’s true competitive juices coming out. What we do not want is a negative environment where this person wants to now cut that person down. What you want is true competitive. True competitors do not believe that they have competition. They want to dominate and are only focused on themselves. They want to get better.
The nugget that this person should have picked up on if they are a true competitor is, “I’m going to figure out how can I get better based on that thing. What did they correct? What was I doing wrong?” If they are focused on that and none of the other garbage, that is a true competitor. It goes back to that picture of Michael Phelps. I forget who it was. Maybe it was Ryan Lochte or whoever it was. Michael Phelps is focused on hitting that final stride, and that other guy is looking at Michael Phelps. Winners focus on winning, losers focus on the winners.
Based on what their response is, that is how you are going to figure out if a person is a true competitor or somebody that gets jealous. We do not have time for that. If I got two salespeople fighting and cutting each other down, I’m the one that loses. That is it. You got to figure that out before you hire these people. You want to hire true competitors that want themselves to be better. Only then that everybody wins.
What I hear you are doing to test their creativity, competitive nature, and coachability is you are generating scenarios within the interview process to pull out those philosophies. Based on their response to these scenarios, that lets you know philosophically where they stand and if it is in alignment. Let me jump to the next question. Why is it that salespeople do not produce? When we get people, we think we got a ringer and a top salesperson, but they do not produce. Why?
Winners focus on winning. Losers focus on the winners based on their response.
We can break it down a couple of different ways, but how do we even know that this person was a top producer or should be good? I can go down that road. Let’s assume we know that this person should be good. Everything is relative. One thing I will say is even the best people on the planet, when they get bored, is not good.
The king of the jungle, a lion. If you put a lion in a zoo and you castrated him, that lion is no longer a lion. That lion is no more than one step above a large house cat. It is what it becomes. Everything is relative. That is why that competitive spirit and that breed are important. Make sure you’ve got nothing but the right type of people in your environment or your office. It is like the old saying, “Never argue with stupid people. They are going to bring you down to their level and beat you up with experience.”
If you let complacent or lazy people come into your environment and you do not weed that out quick, it will make everybody else lazier and worse, versus if you fill it with a bunch of great competitive people that want to achieve and growth-mindset people. If I’m having a bad day, I have no choice but to get out of it. I have no choice but to rise above and live it because everyone else is hyped and everyone else is doing that. I always look back at culture. What is the culture that we have? Is it a growth mindset? Is it an aggressive and relentless culture? If we do, everyone is going to do well.
This is why I’m a big fan of the Kolbe Assessment. I can figure out whether this person has technically been a good performer or not based on certain factors there. If you are basing the fact that this person should have been a ringer based on their last company, that is a bad metric. You do not know what they were doing for marketing. You do not know what it was that they were selling in the market.
There are many other factors at play. We can’t just pluck a “top performer,” put them in your spot, and assume that he or she is going to achieve at the same rate. Most people tell me, “I brought in a ringer.” How did you validate that? Because they said that they were? There are a million things that go in there, but 9 times out of 10, if all else is equal and that person is a ringer, every time we point a finger, there are three pointing back at us. I guarantee you it is the culture that you have created that has ruined it.
It is holding them back. It comes back to the leadership to create the right type of sales culture. Kolbe is a great tool to assess incoming candidates on the sell-side. I want to ask one question going down this road before we flip to the positive. You have a salesperson, you are coaching them and trying to get them to come up. It is the old saying, “You can’t save a plant by over-watering it.” How do you know when to let a salesperson go?
I can’t want it more for you than you want it for yourself. It is as simple as that. I will share something here. I got a salesperson now that I’m wrestling with this the same way. I believe I treat them too good. I got seven that I’m managing now. One of them won’t listen to me. I keep telling him, “Do this.” I like him as a person. We had a huge month but the month before that, he did not even pay for himself.
I took away his chair. I’m like, “You are not sitting anymore.” I see him sitting in the conference room. I lost my mind. I told him, “Go home for the day. Come back tomorrow when you are ready to be an adult.” He was not allowed to sit for the entire month until he hit his quota. This is me dragging somebody. Do as I say, not as I do. This is not what you should be doing. I’m telling you what I’m doing because clearly, I want it more than he wants it.
Once you get to that point, it is gut-check time and you’ve got to let them go. If he did not hit the quota, he was gone. It was that clear. He ended up overshooting his quota by about $130,000. I let him stay. For perspective, that is about 20% above his quota, plus or minus. He overshot his quota. I’m going to let him stay but I sat down with him because he hit it on the revenue side, but he did not hit a couple of other metrics that he was supposed to hit.
I said, “You did not hit these other ones.” He’s a closer for me. I had this conversation with them and set the expectation. I only gave him the choice of he’s getting demoted. He comes to me and says, “Instead of demoting me, I will give my commission back.” He gives his commission back. I’m like, “All right.” He is being a man. That showed me he wanted it.
A couple of other things ended up happening. He is still around here and whatnot, but you have to show me that you wanted it. He was willing to put $8,000 to give it back to me. That shows me that he wanted it. I don’t know if that answered your question. I know I started rambling because I started thinking about this fellow.
I’m tracking with you on what you are doing and how you are processing that entire equation. What I hear you saying is you are putting in more effort. You are having more desire to see that salesperson succeed than they are doing it themselves. If I could sum that up, as the owner and sales manager, you began to take more initiative on behalf of that salesperson than they are taking it for themselves. It’s the way that I hear you saying it.
I want to flip this. We have talked about the reverse side of this. You said something important. You said that a lot of times, it comes down to the culture. You can have the right salesperson but the wrong culture. Can you give us some practicals on how to get the best out of our salespeople? How to create the environment or the incentives? What do salespeople need from us to flourish as leaders?
I will break it down into one word. That word is hype. All of that leads up to one word, hype. The culture will be determined based on the leader. You can put in whatever culture it is that you want but if the leader does not embody that, it does not matter. My entire job here is to hype everyone up. I am one big hype man. That is all I am. I get everyone excited. Every single morning, you will see me stand up. I come in there. I yell at them and do all of that stuff with a baseball bat. It is all about making sure they are focused on the task at hand and constantly pushing. I do not preach anything that I do not do.
If you do not have a visual, he is holding a bag.
My bag was almost empty, but this was a bag full of cash that I got back there. I got to pay them. That is why they are here. We got shirts that say, “Dark to dark crew,” because they show up when it is dark. They leave when it is dark. This whole thing is geared around getting them hyped and excited, and getting them to a point where they are constantly doing that.
Having the right person and the correct reinforcement is a recipe for success.
I’m walking around with stacks of cash and throwing it at them because it is all about getting them excited. $50 is not a lot of money. When I tell you, “I’m going to give you $50,” you’re like, “I will do it or not.” When I throw $100 at you, you are a little bit excited. When everyone else sees it, it is about that. It is all about how can you create hype. It is when I’m yelling at you and when I’m getting you excited with that much more focused. That is how you are going to create a culture where people want to come in.
No one is going to do anything for $50. Believe me, but people will do something if you get the hype around it. All you need to be doing and be focused on is, “How do I get my team hyped up? How do I get them excited? How do I have them focused on what they do?” We track every single number.
I’m a very libertarian person. I’m not going to tell you anything you do not want to do, but understand there are consequences. For us, you have a certain call count every single day. If you do not hit your call count, that is fine, but you have a forced remote day the next day. Meaning, do not show your face in the office tomorrow.
I’m not going to yell at you. I will yell at you about other things, but I’m not going to yell at you about that, but I do not want to see your face. The number you commit to, you hit it. We set up rules. The rules are what the rules are. Now we can all have fun. That creates a level of accountability and a level of a culture where it is like, “Do your job. I’m not here to babysit you.”
I hear two things there as you are processing through this. As the leader, you see it as your responsibility to infuse the energy and unify this team. You will utilize whatever tactics, whether it is throwing bands of money at them or walking around with a baseball bat. You understand that it is your responsibility to bring the energy every day.
The flip side of what I have seen you do on that as well is you have no problem bringing in the accountability that they need. That means I’m going to take your chair or you are not coming into the office tomorrow because I do not want to see your face. Here is what I understand about salespeople and we will start to wind this up, if you are dealing with a driving personality, highly competitive and highly creative, you might be thinking of your administrative staff, that does not work. With this particular brain wiring of a salesperson, you would agree that these tactics are what they need here. Let’s say it this way. You are speaking their love language.
I 100% agree with everything you said. I do not get paid by them. I have nothing and I’m not even certified, but this is why I’m such a big proponent of a Kolbe Assessment and PRINT Assessment. Kolbe is how you do things. PRINT is why you do things. When you understand which Kolbe and which PRINT numbers and reports line up well with salespeople, you put them in that role, and now you motivate them this way. This is how you have a high charging sales organization. To put an accounting type of personality in there and do this type of reinforcement is not going to work. It is a countdown to when they quit.
On the flip side, there is nothing you could do for that accounting personality to get them going. Make sure you have the right person, as well as the correct reinforcement. That is a recipe for success. If either one of them is off, the whole thing falls off. If you’ve got the right personality and the wrong reinforcement, or the right reinforcement and the wrong personality, it will not work. Both have to be correct.
To clarify that, you said Kolbe and then you said PRINT.
That is why you do what you do.
That is another assessment that you ask people to do. I want to tie that back in. Not only are you interviewing them right and creating scenarios to draw out their creativity, their competitiveness, and their ability to be coachable, you are also utilizing those two assessments to understand the way that they are wired from a brain standpoint to reinforce what you are seeing in the interview as well. I know you have been a big value to our organization. If someone is going, “I need to bring in what Ali has.” How do people get ahold of you?
Ali, I appreciate your time. You know this because you came in and coached us. Lead generation is important. You’ve got to feed your salespeople. As you broke apart our business, you saw how valuable radio was to the salespeople and our organization. You are nodding your head going, “I remember that being down in Tulum.”
This is something that we are helping people set up. If you are reading and you want to learn more about sales, go to Ali. If you are interested in learning more about radio, Ali helped us to utilize that as well to continue to give more of ourselves to people, go to WholesalingInc.com/REIRadio. Ali, thanks for your time. Thanks for the candid conversation.
- Rose Garden Consulting
- Kolbe Assessment
- PRINT Assessment
- Be sure to join the Wholesaling Inc Facebook group
About Chris Arnold
Chris Arnold is a 15 year Real Estate veteran who has closed over 2500 single family real estate transactions in the DFW metroplex. Chris is the founder of multiple companies that are managed by a US virtual team, which allows Chris to run his organizations while living in Tulum, Mexico full time.
His passion for leaders has led to the creation of Multipliers brotherhood which serves the top 5% of real estate entrepreneurs out of the US. Most recently Chris has launched his REI Radio coaching program.
This program is designed to teach real estate investors the marketing stream that everyone knows about but NO ONE is doing!