Struggling to get your sales team to close deals? Today Chris Arnold is chatting with expert sales consultant, Ali Mirza, on how to hire the right salespeople, how to properly train them, and how to get them producing at the highest level quickly!
- Mirza gives his process for hiring salespeople
- How to get rid of the lazy people that aren’t performing
- The impact that hype culture has on your sales
To learn how radio can help you in real estate, visit https://www.wholesalinginc.com/reiradio/.
Sales Secrets For Real Estate Wholesalers Ft. Ali Mirza
I’m excited about this guest I have. I’m going to sum this entire talk and episode up in this quote. I remember hearing it, “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 with someone that is important to me because of my guest, Ali. Interesting story how we met. A mutual friend introduced us and said, “You got to meet this guy named Ali Mirza with Rose Garden Consulting. He is going to come in and change the way you’re running your sales operations.”
I get these introductions all the time. I call Ali. He had flown down on a plane. We brought him in to consult our team and we started at 9:00 in the morning, something like that and went all the way until 6:30 at night and revamped our entire sales process. If we’re talking about sales, I have not come across anyone that knows more about sales. This is what Ali does full-time. This is what Rose Garden Consulting does full-time. It consults small to big to large companies on how to better their selves for us. Ali, welcome.
Thank you. I appreciate you having me.
I’m ready to hash this out. 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’re reading, you are either a solo entrepreneur, solo investor, and you haven’t built a sales team yet, but this is important because you’ve got to start building a framework in your head or you’ve hired someone or you’re more seasoned and you’re 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. Let’s go straight to the meat. Here’s my first question. How do we find and hire great salespeople? That’s where it starts because 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 of that question. There’s the finding, then there’s the hiring. If we dive a little bit deeper, there are two parts to the finding. It’s where you physically find this human in a physical standpoint but then, how do you root out the people that say that they’re good versus the people that are actually good? That’s a whole rabbit hole that we can go down. The one thing I will say, in my opinion, I do not like that “experienced salesperson” that’s going to come in with that Rolodex and that’s going to walk in one day and bring you all your riches.
That person does not exist. What you’re looking for is a unicorn. We all know unicorns don’t 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 to which I always get the response. “How can someone do something and be poor for ten years?” I’m like, “Yes, you can. You very much can.”
There are a lot of people that are very bad at their jobs that have been doing it for a long time. Doing something doesn’t equate to being proficient in it. That’s the one misnomer that I’d love to clear up in the grand scheme of things. Ultimately, what I’m looking for, and depending on the market, literally the physical location, the type of organization around whether it’s all remote or all people coming into an office. Where you’re going to look for this person physically depends. I’m not going to go down that road, but what does this person look like?
Unicorns don’t exist. When you start looking for that, you miss the little things in front of you.
From that standpoint, that I can answer. This is relatively universal. Ultimately, I’m looking for three intangibles. This person needs to be creative. Good salespeople think quick on their feet. You’re always thrown something that requires you to call an audible. Nothing ever goes perfect and according to script. I’m looking for someone that’s creative that can think quick on their feet. The second thing I’m looking for is somebody that’s competitive.
I’ve never seen a salesperson that doesn’t get pissed off when someone beats them. I want that competitive spirit. I want that bot. 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 but when I was playing ball growing up, life was different than the kids growing up now. These kids are growing up now playing basketball, but whether they’re playing basketball, football, whatever it is they are playing, they are babied so much. They don’t know what real work is.
Be very careful if you’re going to be hiring a college star now because they’ve got everything handed to them, everything through Instagram and all this other stuff. They’ve been floated up and their tires have 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 the school and 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 don’t.
I’m telling you, these are a bunch of prima donnas that are coming off now. Make sure you test that grit. You want somebody that came from, in my opinion, a little bit of a challenged operating. That grit is very important. That’s what’s going to determine competitive mind. That doesn’t mean that they grew up poor. I know a lot of rich people that have had a challenging lifestyle. I’ve known a lot of poor people that are complacent but then also flipped as well.
I’ve known a lot of people that grew up without money that have now understood the value of hard work and that they don’t want to go back and vice versa, people that grew up with money don’t care. They don’t understand what a hard day at work is. Don’t let that be the guiding factor. Ultimately, the third thing that I’m looking for is somebody that’s 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’re coachable or not.
If they’re telling you that they’re coachable, make them do something. One of the things that I was doing in our interviews, a golden nugget here for you, I’d give the script to the person and say, “Read the script and sell it to me.” I don’t care how well they do it. I will always look because there’s 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’s going to be like, “Noted.”
I want someone to shut up, listen and be like, “Okay,” then ask questions on how they can get better. That’s the only way you can tell whether someone’s coachable or not. If they start making excuses, “I was going to do that. I thought to do that but then I did it because of this reason.” I don’t have time for that. I don’t need to convince you that you need to listen to me. Those are the three things that I’m looking for from that standpoint, from the intangibles. We can get into the actual if you want into the tangible actual qualitative measures that I’m looking for when I’m hiring a salesperson. From a high level, that’s what I’m looking for from a gut check.
What I hear are the three C’s. They’re Creative and Competitive, another word for that to nail it down. I like that word. Lastly, they’re 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? Again, you gave a practical for being coachable. Coach them and see if they get defensive or not. The Creative, 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.
I think it was in the book, Topgrading. All it says is it’s a chronological list of all the things you’ve done. It doesn’t explain anything, and it’s with all the bad parts. As far as competition goes, you give them an example and you ask them how they would react, because most people are not anticipating that question. They’re going to typically say whatever the first thing that comes to them. That’s the most accurate response you’re going to get from them. I’d give them an example. Again, this would have to be specific to your situation but you’re the top salesperson for three years running this, that and the other.
In fact, if you’re hiring a salesperson that has some sales experience, try to tailor it a little bit to that so that then they’re going to tap their brain into what’s happening and you’re going to get more of an honest answer. You’re going, “You’re the top salesperson for three years running, this, that, the third. Someone else comes up too. They get a better list than you do of people to call or whatever. They get us some better leads or their family knows somebody.” You laced that. Make sure you give them that excuse. If you don’t, you’re going to get politically washed answer. “They have a better list than you. They have this. They have that,” whatever it is. All of a sudden, they’re catching up to you and they want to shadow your calls.
In shadowing your calls, they correct something that you’re doing that was incorrect to say that. How do you respond to that? What you’ve done here, and this is something that I’ve used in the past, what you’ve done at this point is you’ve built up this backstory of what somebody else is doing. You’re seeding it with the fact that it’s undeserved and they are nipping at your heels. You’re about to lose your top spot. Now, they’re correcting you.
You’re going to get this person’s true competitive juices coming out. Remember, what we don’t want is a negative environment where this person wants to now cut that person down. True competitors don’t believe that they have competition. True competitors want to dominate. They’re only focused on themselves. They want to get better. The nugget that this person should have if they’re a true competitor and should have picked up on is, “I’m going to figure out how I can get better based off that thing. What did they correct? Why was I doing wrong?”
If they’re focused on that and none of the other garbage, that’s a true competitor. It goes back to that Michael Phelps and 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’s how you’re going to figure out whether that person is a true competitor or somebody that gets jealous. We don’t have time for that. If I’ve got two salespeople fighting, cutting each other down, I’m the one that loses. That’s it. You’ve got to figure that out before you hire these people. You want to hire true competitors that want themselves to be better. Only then, everybody wins.
It’s well said. I love that picture that you give of Phelps. What I hear you doing to test the creativity, their competitive nature and their coachability, you’re 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’s in alignment. Let me jump to the next question. Why is it that salespeople do not produce? When we get people, we get into that situation. We think we got a ringer and a top sales person. They don’t produce. Why?
The three intangibles when hiring a salesperson: creative, competitive, and coachable.
We can break it down a couple of different ways. How do we even know that this person was a top producer or should be? I can go down that road. Let’s assume we know that those parts should be good. Everything is relative. The one thing I will say is even the best people on the planet, when they get bored, it is not good. The king of the jungle, a lion. You put a lion in a zoo and you feed them. The lion is no longer a lion. The lion is no more than one step above a large house cat, is what it becomes. Everything is relative. That’s why that competitive spirit and that breed is so important. Making sure you got nothing but the right type of people in your environment, in your office.
It’s like the old saying, “Never argue with stupid people. They’re 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 don’t weed that out quick, it will make everybody else lazier and worse. Versus, on the flip side, you fill it with a bunch of great competitive fighters and people that want to achieve, growth mindset people. You fill it with that.
If I’m having a bad day, I have no choice but to get out of it, rise above, and live it because if everyone else is hyped, 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 relentless culture? If we do, the weak will weed themselves out real quick and everyone’s going to do well. From a tangible standpoint, this is why I’m a big fan of the Kolbe assessment. I can figure out whether this person technically is a good performer or not based on certain factors in there.
If you’re basing the fact that this person should have been a ringer based on their last company, that is a bad metrics. You don’t know what they were doing for marketing. You don’t know what it was that they were selling in the market. There are many other factors at play. You can’t get pluck a “top performer,” put them into your spot and assume that he or she is going to achieve at the same rate. Frankly, most people that tell me, “I brought in a ringer.” How did you validate that, because they said that they weren’t? There are a million things that go in there but 9 times out of 10, if all else equal and that person is a ringer, every time we point a finger, there are three pointing back at us. I guarantee you, it’s the culture that you’ve created.
It’s holding them back. It comes back on the leadership to create that right type of sales culture. If you caught that Kolbe, it’s 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 sales person. You’re coaching them. You’re trying to get them to come up. It’s 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’s as simple as that. I’ll share something here. I’ve got a salesperson now that I’m wrestling with this the same way. I believe I treat them too good. They got it made here. I’ve got seven that I’m managing now. One of them won’t listen to me. I keep telling him through this. I like him as a person. He had a huge month but the month before that, he did not even pay for himself. I’m like, “You’re not sitting anymore.” I literally took away the chair.
You physically took away his chair.
He was not allowed to sit at all from his desk. I see him in a conference room sitting. I lost my mind. I told him to pack his things, “Go home for the day. Come back tomorrow when you’re ready to be an adult.” He was not allowed to sit for the entire month until he hit his quota. This is me dragging. 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’s gut-check time and you’ve got to let them go.
If he didn’t hit quota, he was gone. It was that clear. He ended up overshooting his quota by about $130,000, so I let him stay. In perspective, that’s about, I’d say 20% above his quota plus or minus. He overshot his quota. I’m going to let him stay but I sat down with them because he hit it on the revenue side but he didn’t hit a couple other metrics that he was supposed to hit because I tracked. I showed him everything.
I said, “You didn’t hit these other ones. These are closer for me. You’ve got two choices.” I already had this conversation with them and set the expectation. I said, “You’ve got two choices.” I wouldn’t give him the choice. He’s getting demoted. He comes to me and says, “Instead of demoting me, I’ll get my money back. I’ll get my commission back.” He keeps his base. He’ll get his commission back. I’m like, “He’s being a man.” That, to me, showed me he wants it. A couple of other things ended up happening. He’s still around here and whatnot. You have to show me that you want it. He was willing to put $8,000, give it back to me. I’m like, “That shows me that he wants it.”
What I hear you saying, bottom line, if I could summarize it, is when all of a sudden, you’re putting in more effort, you’re having more desire to see that salesperson succeed than they’re doing it themselves. If I could sum that up, all of a sudden you, as the owner, sales manager, began to take more initiative on behalf of that salesperson than they’re taking for themselves. It’s the way that I hear you saying it.
I want to flip this. We’ve 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 a right salesperson, wrong culture. Can you give us some practical on how to get the best out of our salespeople? How to create, call it what you want, the environment or the incentives? What do sales people need from us in order to flourish as leaders?
I’ll break it down into one word, and that word is hype. All of that leads up to one word, hype. The culture will be determined based off of the leader. You can put in whatever culture does 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’s all I am. I get everyone excited. Every single morning, we do a daily stand up. I come in there and yell at them. I do all of that stuff. I walk around here with a baseball bat. It’s all about making sure they’re focused about the task at hand and constantly pushing. That’s what that does. I’ll even give you another example. I don’t preach anything that I don’t do.
If you’re reading and you don’t have a visual, he’s holding up a bag.
The culture is determined based on the leader. You can put in whatever culture you want, but if the leader does not embody that, it does not matter.
My bag is almost empty but this was a bag full of cash.
Yes. I’ve got to pay them. That’s the way. We’ve got shirts that say, “Dark to dark crew,” because they show up when it’s dark and they leave when it’s dark. This whole thing is geared around getting them hyped, excited, and getting them to a point where they are constantly doing that. I’m walking around with stacks of cash. There’s not a lot of money. These are just $1 but stacks of cash, walking around, throwing at them because it’s all about getting them excited. $50 is not a lot of money but when I tell you, “I’m going to give you $50,” you’re like, “I’ll do it or not.” When I show $100 at you, that gets you a little bit excited. When everyone else sees it, it’s about that.
It’s all about how can you create hype. When I’m yelling at you and getting you excited, you’re that much more focused. That’s how you’re going to create a culture where people want to come in. No one’s 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 don’t wanted to but I understand there’s consequences. For us, you have a certain call account every single day. If you don’t hit your call count, that’s fine. You have a forced remote day next day. Meaning, don’t show your face in the office tomorrow. I’m not going to yell at you. I’ll yell at you about other things but I’m not going to yell at you about that, but I don’t want to see your face. The number you commit to, you hit it. We set up rules. The rules are what the rules are and now, we can all have fun. That creates a level of accountability and a culture where it’s, do your job. I’m not here to babysit you.
I hear two things there as you’re processing through this. As the leader, you see it as your responsibility to infuse the energy and to unify this team. You will utilize whatever tactics, whether it’s throwing bands of money at them, walking around with a baseball bat but you understand it’s my responsibility to bring the energy every day. The flip side of what I seen you do on that as well is you have no problem also bringing in the accountability that they need as well.
If that means I’m going to take your chair and you’re not coming in the office because I don’t want to see your face. Here’s what I understand about salespeople. We’ll start to wind this up. That is if you’re dealing with a driving personality, highly competitive, highly creative, you might be reading or thinking of your administrative staff, that doesn’t work. With this particular brain wiring of a salesperson, you would agree that these tactics are what they need. Let’s say it this way, you’re speaking their love language.
I 100% agree with everything you said. This is why I’m a big fan of it, and I don’t get paid by them. I’m not even certified. This is why I’m such a big proponent of a Kolbe assessment and a Print assessment. Kolbe is how you do things. Print is why you do things. When you understand which Kolbes and which Print numbers and reports line up well with salespeople, you put them in that role, then now you motivate them this way.
This is how you have a high charging sales organization, but to put an accounting type of personality in there then do this type of reinforcement, it is not going to work. It’s a countdown to when they quit. On the flip side, there’s 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’s the recipe for success. If either one of them are off, the whole thing falls off. You can have the right personality, the wrong reinforcement, or the right reinforcement and the wrong personality and it will not work. Both have to be correct.
To clarify that, you said Kolbe then you said Print?
Print, that’s why you do what you do.
That’s another assessment that you have people take. I want to tie that back in. Not only are you interviewing them and creating scenarios to draw out their creativity, competitiveness and their ability to be coachable, you’re utilizing also those two assessments to understand the way that they are wired literally from a brain standpoint to reinforce what you’re seeing in the interview as well. I love it. I know you’ve been a big value to our organization. If someone’s reading and going, “I need to bring in what Ali has,” how do people get ahold of you?
Ali, I appreciate your time. Ali, this is because you came in and coached us, lead generation is important. You’ve got to feed salespeople. As you broke apart our business and you saw how valuable radio was to the salespeople and our organization as well. You’re nodding your head going, “Yes, I remember that being down in Tulum.” This is something that we’re helping people set up. If you’re tuning in, again, if you want to learn more about sales, go to Ali. If you’re interested in learning more about radio and how Ali helped us to utilize that as well to continue to get more of our salespeople, go to WholesalingInc.com/reiradio. Ali, thanks for your time. Thanks for the candid conversation. I’ll talk to you later.
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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!