Podcast

Continually Evolving – Mark Musselman

Coaching is a calling that Mark Musselman has honed and perfected over the past 20 years. His years of experience as CEO running 2 rapidly growing $30+M companies has led him to start his own consulting company so he can coach others to success.

In this episode, Mark explains the coaching styles and techniques that build trust and loyalty between leadership and their salespeople; which leads to continuous improvement, that allows for people to evolve and grow.

Tune into this week’s episode to learn about coaching your sales team to success!

Watch or listen to this episode:

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Transcript:

Fri, 3/19 12:55PM • 1:01:42 

SUMMARY KEYWORDS 
people, sales, leader, conversation, salespeople, called, created, working, gallo, thinking, handed, crm, organization, obsolescence, opportunity, number, leadership, year, trust, talk 

SPEAKERS 
Mark Musselman, Christopher Smith 

Intro 
Welcome to the Sales Lead Dog Podcast hosted by CRM technology and sales process expert Christopher Smith, talking with sales leaders that have separated themselves from the rest of the pack. Listen to find out how the best of the best achieve success with their team and CRM technology. And remember, unless you are the lead dog, the view never changes. 

Christopher Smith   
Welcome to Sales Lead Dog. Today we have joining us Mark Musselman of MX5 Consulting. Mark, welcome to Sales Lead Dog. 

Mark Musselman   
Yeah, thanks for having me Chris, I’m really looking forward to the conversation. 

Christopher Smith   
This is a guy I’ve been trying to get on the show for a long time, so I’m happy we finally got you here so welcome to Sales Lead Dog. Mark, tell us a bit about what you’re doing today and your company. 

Mark Musselman   
Yeah thanks Chris. So, about 11 years ago after I came through a family ownership experience for about 20 some years, I started my own coaching and consulting business. So what I do basically now is I harvested all the experiences I had as a sales leader organization leader, and I take those skills and I basically am working primarily one to one, mostly with folks like you that are entrepreneurs or they’re people who have a senior leadership responsibility. So a lot of coaching one to one, it can be with high performing salespeople or sales people who were underperforming who know they have the potential. And then, you know, there’s general consulting and business advice that occurs inside that space as well. So I love working at the level of individual, so one to one, teams, you know, it could be a leadership team, or organizations as a whole. So I’ve been doing that now for about 11 years and I’ve really really enjoyed it.  

Christopher Smith   
That’s awesome. Mark, share with me how you got your start in sales. 

Mark Musselman   
Yeah that’s a great question. So I, you know, thought about this question. It really began probably when I was about 12 years old. Truth be told, I was in a neighborhood in Littleton, Colorado, and noticed that there were a lot of lawns that needed mowing, and I had a great lawn mower in the garage so I went, put the flyer together, back in those days we didn’t have, you know, the kind of tools we have today. And then I went out and I basically marketed myself to a neighborhood at that early age and developed over time, with a partner of mine, a guy named Mark Bukovina, and we ended up, mowing the, probably the most number of lawns in, say, the, I live in this place called Aberdeen Village, in the entire village. And so, you know, started there and then we would come back and we promote that around snow shoveling in the wintertime, all the things that young, you know, entrepreneurial-oriented kids would do. And, you know, so I use that as a point of reference, my formal career in sales began when I got hired out of college. I went to CU in Boulder, and I got hired to work for Ernest and Julio Gallo. So, you know, they’re one of the, yeah they’re one of the kind of giants in, you know, consumer product sales, and that’s really where I learned the science of sales. 

Christopher Smith   
Right, right. Are there any particular memories from that, like any crazy stories or anything you have from that, that time? 

Mark Musselman   
Well, back in those times, You know, I’d say the thing that I realized about sales and it’s probably true across whatever is you have to love what you do. Right, and I remember being in a circumstance, about near the second, end of the second year of my time with Gallo, and I found myself in a moment when all my values as a human being were colliding with what I was doing in a moment, I was in a liquor store in Golden, Colorado, a place called Foss Drug, and it was, I’m a big family guy come from a big family, and I remember sitting there and being involved in handing out tots, champagne, which is like that Andre champagne, they had two people come in, and it was this moment I use the story all the time when I talk to people in sales, about really making sure that who you are and the values that you adhere to align with the company or the organization and what you’re going to be doing, because if they don’t, what happens is is what happened to me that night. It was basically the eve of Thanksgiving, and I found myself holding a tray and handing it out, you could do that in those days. And this massive confrontation happened inside me. I walked over to the counter, and I handed, the guy’s name was Lee, I handed a tray of champagne glasses and said, “Lee. Thank you. I think this may very well be the very last, you know, sample of champagne I ever pass out.” I went back home, celebrated Thanksgiving, went back in the next day and handed in my notice. And that was the first place to me is it’s not, it’s not that funny, but it’s just like it was so memorable. 

Christopher Smith   
Oh yeah. 

Mark Musselman   
I know so many people and I work with lots of people who operate outside their value structure and they live in dissonance, right, and, and, you know, and no wonder they’re not happy and you know they’re not producing and all those things that sales people are kind of designed by nature to do. 

Christopher Smith   
Right. You know it’s funny, as an entrepreneur, we talk about our core values of our companies all the time. And for me it made me start thinking about what are my core values, you know, and that and I thought about it, generally, but I never actually sat down and created a list, because I do think we do have to have that very or just awareness of what are those lines, where are our lines that define who we are as humans. 

Mark Musselman   
Right. Well, I guess, just to kind of segue off of that a little bit, I just had a conversation with a coaching client yesterday, he’s an H, an IBM executive, And he’s been sort of, let’s just say, gruntled, he’s not disgruntled but he’s gruntled, right, so he’s not all the way there, but he’s thinking about where else you could go. And I said well, you know, if, let’s imagine for a second you put yourself on match.com, right, and so match.com has this algorithm that says, you’re going to go through filters, and, you know, age, you know, whatever the circumstances are, and I said, let’s do the same thing with like where you are in your career. And so I think in some ways values formulate the foundation for that filter. And so he was initially thinking about the possibility of moving out of Denver, and then we came through, like what do you value? Well I value family. Well where’s your family? The family is here, it’s like okay so we eliminated moving out of Denver, and then we just went one value after another. And what, what happened for him is he came to this place of just absolute clarity. And from that, there’s so much a human being can do. And so he found himself empowered, where at the start of the conversation, he was feeling disempowered, and I mean like broken almost right, so that was really and I think you just you sharing that about what you do with those values. You and I both would know, and I think this is a critical thing for salespeople to do, like, who are you, what do you stand for, what matters, and then are you doing the things that align with those values? 

Christopher Smith   
Yep. I think that’s really really important. As sales leaders, you know number one responsibility is that that revenue number, you know, are we hitting our numbers. That is where most of the focus is. In your opinion, what should sales leaders be focusing on? 

Mark Musselman   
That’s a great question. I mean, we could probably spend the duration of this conversation just on that one question, and I you know I don’t say this, by any means, as if I have anything called truth. It’s just a reflection of my experience, and you know I think from a leadership perspective, there is this awareness that when I’m working with you, you know you are a whole person, right. And you you may have the most phenomenal skill set as a salesperson, but there could be something, you know, amiss or broken in another part of your life. You know, it could be your, you know, you’re out of shape, you’re obese, you know, you have a relationship with your spouse or your partner that’s kind of under duress and, you know, this sense of being lost and adrift. So, I think, from a leadership perspective, approaching the person who’s on your team as a whole entity, you know Stephen Covey, I think, really did a great job, I used to talk about it around body, mind, heart, and spirit. Right, so it’s just looking at you as a sort of this four quadrant. And I have a model that’s like physical, financial, relational, spiritual and intellectual, and then trying to really understand the person as a whole person, because if I’m coming at you and the, the symptom is no sales or underperforming sales and I’m approaching it, and I’m not on the thing that is really the cause of that, I could spend a half a year, a year, and in some sales organizations as you well know where the sales, you know, process couldn’t run a half a year or a year. You know you can spend an entire year on the wrong thing.  

Christopher Smith   
Yep.  

Mark Musselman   
So, I always like to begin, you know there’s a question that I begin every single conversation with, which is, you know, if I was working with you one on one on sales like, “What’s the most important conversation you and I need to be having right now?”  

Christopher Smith   
Right.  

Mark Musselman   
And then, you know, instead of me landing something in your world that may not even resonate for you. My goal is a leader, a sales leader, or any other leader is to listen to that and then you say, “Hey, you know, tell me more about that.”  

Christopher Smith   
Right. 

Mark Musselman   
You know, “Why is that something that you’re, that you want to talk about?” and you know, that requires trust, it requires openness and, you know, so those things. 

Christopher Smith   
So we’re I think conditioned, and I don’t want to make a generalization, not everybody’s this way, but I think most of us especially when we’re in sales, we want to have a sense of bravado and that you know we’ve got it all together. How do you get past that suit of armor to really create that trust and openness to where people are in a comfortable place to where they can open up? 

Mark Musselman   
I love that question. I think it begins with the leader demonstrating and having a willingness to be open and vulnerable, him or herself to start. You know, so one of the things that I like to do and you already touched on it here is use stories, you know. My, my, you know 30-some year career is filled, it’s riddled with, you know, brokenness and, you know, lack of results and, and I like to connect and say you know, there was a time when I or I’ve worked with other people who have, and then, you know, or discuss a story and then I might even say you know, “Chris what did you hear in that story? or, “Chris, why why do you think I would tell you that story?”  

Christopher Smith   
Right. 

Mark Musselman   
And then let you follow up well you might tell me that story because, and this is great so go on, what else you know, keep going. So I, you know I love to use story or metaphors or, you know, analogies to create an opening to a conversation, and you and I both are probably deeply rooted and this is why I will give my acknowledgement to Ernest and Julio for training me on is this whole world of effective open-ended questions, right. I’m thinking Gallo, that you didn’t even do you never stepped out of their building to be in front of a customer ever until you had mastered the art of effective questions, and effective questions simply are questions that have, you know, no possibility of yes or no answer.  

Christopher Smith   
Right.  

Mark Musselman   
And so, they create conversation, and then what I know about most people is they like to talk. 

Christopher Smith   
We all have a story. 

Mark Musselman   
100, yeah absolutely, so that I don’t know if that answered your question, but that’s how I would get somebody beyond the armor, you know, by showing them and I don’t need to have it, and sometimes, you know, hierarchically if I’m, you know, in a leadership role, and I’m working, you know, just tell them, like, “Listen, this is not, there’s no perfect, this is messy. I had to learn this way, here’s some mistakes I’ve made, you know, let’s talk about how this could relate to where you are.” You know, and the idea is to, there’s a great phrase which is falling forward, right, failing forward, that whole thing, and that’s, that’s the framework that I like to operate on. 

Christopher Smith   
Yep, I’m a big believer in using failure as a learning tool. What are your thoughts around that or how do you leverage, you know, those, I don’t like the word failure but it’s, you know, not everything is a win, sometimes you lose. How do you structure that as a learning opportunity as a coach. 

Mark Musselman   
Yeah, I think, you know, this is like the core, really of the conversation that I tend to be in with whatever client I’m with, whether it’s a sales leader or an organization leader, is this awareness that the the value of any experience, and you don’t like the word failure. I don’t either. I like the word learning opportunity to phrase I mean opportunity right like so. Let’s slow down and take a look at what just occurred. And then, let’s examine it, for what we can use as a means to continue to grow and evolve. I’m an enormous, so I was part of a manufacturing organization for 20-some years, we were sort of Lean Six Sigma, you know, Dr. Deming, you know, black-belt environment and this idea of continuous improvement. So the one thing that I have found is if I use the language of continuous improvement with anybody, it invites them into this conversation that doesn’t talk about right and wrong, it’s just about continuously evolving.  

Christopher Smith   
Yeah.  

Mark Musselman   
In order to evolve, we have to have had an experience from which we can evolve. And so yeah, not everything works out right, I mean, you and I’ve had probably countless moments that created an opportunity to grow and learn. Yeah, I think that the single biggest oversight is when people don’t slow down to debrief. And they just run from one experience to the next. And if you’re not careful, if I’m not careful, I can accumulate all of that, you know, stuff. And then I can start to get in my head, and then I can start creating stories about all the stuff that I’ve accumulated in my head and next thing I know, it doesn’t matter how skilled I am, there’s no possible way I’m going to be effective, because I’m in my own head, I may be defeated before the game starts.  

Christopher Smith   
Right, right.  

Mark Musselman   
So, yeah. 

Christopher Smith   
As a sales leader, what’s the maximum amount of time I want to go before I sit down and do those retrospectives with my team? 

Mark Musselman   
Yes, you know, again, so I was, I’ll use a couple different examples. When I first was working at Gallo. We actually met every single day.  

Christopher Smith   
Wow.  

Mark Musselman   
Every day, we had a team of about seven people with a sales leader, and we would group and gather and we’d debrief what happened the day before, and this is back in the 80s, late 80s. So, I mean, it was just a thing that we did, and it must have worked, because they were an incredibly successful business right, and are still today. But that’s, that’s one level of frequency. And then the crazy part in that environment, because they didn’t have CRM systems back then, right, it was all hand cheated tallies. Right, so we had to kind of, physically gather together to identify what worked, what didn’t work, and what course corrections we needed to make for the next day as we went back out in the field, so we would meet every day. And you know I’ve gone at that interval. And then, other places where I’ve been, it’s been like once a week, the sales team sort of slows down, talks, jumps up to that sort of 15, 30,000 foot level, and just takes a different perspective. And then there’s other organizations that I’ve been involved in, where they might do that once a year as a team.  

Christopher Smith   
Yeah. 

Mark Musselman   
You know, and I think those are more than independent, you know, manufacturers representatives that are located, you know, desperately across the country. So I think you know, you know, obviously with what we’re doing right now which is on Zoom, it opens up so many channels. I believe that, let me put it this way. There’s, there’s a quote from, oh what’s the name of the guy from UCLA who used to coach basketball?  

Christopher Smith   
John Wooden.  

Mark Musselman   
So John Wooden has a quote that not every conversation is a good conversation, but no conversation is almost always bad.  

 Christopher Smith   
Right.  

Mark Musselman   
And what he was saying with that is you know, everything has the potential to be worked through in conversation, where if we stay outside of conversation, then things can get you, which they do, made up and misinterpreted. So, you know I think optimally, if you have the ability depending on the size of the team, once a week is a great cadence, once a month is, you know better than once a quarter, once a quarter. So, you know, it depends on your bandwidth but I love more frequency, because it keeps people more aligned. And one thing I have learned about everything else in sales is that if you have an underperforming salesperson, the last thing that person wants to do is be involved in a conversation that has them talking about their under performance. 

Christopher Smith   
Right. 

Mark Musselman   
So if you give time, they’ll take as much time as you will give them to avoid the conversation.  

Christopher Smith   
Right.  

Mark Musselman   
The benefit of a frequency in conversation that’s grounded in sort of the what, so what’s going on, is you’re actually helping them.  

Christopher Smith   
Right. 

Mark Musselman   
There’s, it’s actually very very nurturing in the sense that you don’t give them a very long time to ruminate in and sort of marinate in the discomfort of being off target because you’re gonna have a conversation that, and then it’s about how do we draw other people in and having people say, “Hey I need help. I’ve done everything I can to hit my numbers, no matter what I do, it’s not working. And I would love to help with the team.” 

Christopher Smith   
Yep.  

Mark Musselman   
And that’s when really powerful results show up. And you know that’s the kind of culture in a sales team I like to, you know, sort of foster. 

Christopher Smith   
Right, right. You know in in the tech world where I live, you we do daily scrums, daily standards, whatever you want to call it. One of the trends that I see commonly is you will have people that will not really divulge what’s going on, you know, though they’ll just skim the surface in their, their updates. As a sales leader if I’m, if I’m doing, whether it’s a daily or weekly meeting, how do I address that you know and set the example that hey, no I want more, I want deeper? How do I look for that and stay on point myself to make sure that people are really delivering value in these meetings? 

Mark Musselman   
right, like, you know, I think what you’ve touched upon is this notion that in order for any team to work effectively, it has to have a platform and a foundation of trust. So people withhold when they don’t trust in the condition of the team. With more trust comes more transparency, right. And so, you know, I look at that, you know sometimes leaders look at the, the team members as if it’s their problem. Right, but they’re the ones withholding or you know, you know, but it’s really a leadership issue. It’s something that I would be looking at in that case saying, what is it that I’m doing, not doing, saying, not saying that’s prohibiting or interfering with the condition called trust. Cause what I know is if you have created the environment that’s filled and you know, sort of emanates, people will share. And there’s this thing that I use all the time called call a thing a thing, you know, and then in the what so of, you know certain, so when you have like a your stand up scrum meeting and people are withholding and I’m not by any means suggesting there’s not a condition and culture of trust there, but you know people are reticent, they don’t want to get in trouble.  

Christopher Smith   
Right. 

Mark Musselman   
So people are working to gain approval, avoid disapproval, and avoid getting in trouble almost universally.  

Christopher Smith   
Yep.  

Mark Musselman   
And so, you as a, you know, organizational leader or a sales leader, embodies the entity that can a) demonstrate disapproval and get somebody in trouble. So you really have to do a consistent and remarkable job at I think setting that, that tone. 

Christopher Smith   
Right, right. I remember reading about, and I forget the gentleman’s name, but he, he came in as CEO from Boeing into I think it was either GM or Ford, and it was Ford, and they were telling a story about, and you know he had weekly status meetings with all the top people that were over all the different product lines, and they had these thick binders to track all the issues associated with their product lines. And when he started the meetings, they use color coding, you know where, you know it’s green, yellow, red. Everything was all green, maybe a little bit of yellow, but like no red. And so he picked up on that pretty quick. And then, he, he realized like, he called it out and said, “You know, I’m not buying this, there’s no way at an organization this size there’s no red.”  

Mark Musselman   
Right. 

Christopher Smith   
“What’s really going on?” And when he opened up and created that level of trust so people know hey look, if I come here to report a problem, I’m not going to get my head chewed off, like within two weeks, all the binders were just red. 

Mark Musselman   
I love it. 

Christopher Smith   
Yeah, so now they could really start fixing stuff and making things better, you know. It, so it really is I, I’ve always remembered that story that I’m like if I’m ever in that situation, it is about creating that trust so people are like hey, I’m willing to bring my problem to you and ask for help. 

Mark Musselman   
Yeah, and I can tell you from the transition I made in 2009 into this coaching, consulting, facilitation work as the kind of primary basis of my career now, I run into all kinds of circumstances where I’ll show up in a room with a leadership team. And like you can hear a pin drop.  

Christopher Smith   
Right.  

Mark Musselman   
And what that is an indication of like nobody here trusts the leader, right, because there’s no conversation taking place, and everybody’s sitting on their hands and they’re biting their lips and they’re hoping and praying that I don’t call on them.  

Christopher Smith   
Right.  

Mark Musselman   
And if they do, they probably got an answer that will fit the moment, it’ll get them through and by, but there’s no, there’s no real ability to work on anything that’s meaningful.  

Christopher Smith   
Right, right, yeah. Sales leaders, or any leader, you’re failing if people are not bringing you problems. It means just what you said, they’re, they’re scared, you know. There’s all kinds, behind your door, it’s probably total chaos. You have no idea. But you’re thinking, hey, everything’s great, we’re killing it. 

Mark Musselman   
Right, and there’s this, you know this, there’s this delicate balance between the creating a culture that promotes openness, and then sort of allowing people to have problems also work on them, empower them to come forward with solutions. I see leaders also who become the, they actually create a dependency. Yes, and that’s another, you know, on the other side of pendulum. 

Christopher Smith   
I’ve done that. 

Mark Musselman   
They got a line of people out there door, and no one can do anything without them, and that’s, that’s the other side of the equation. 

Christopher Smith   
Oh yeah, I did that when I was a young manager and I just thought like man I’m such a great leader, I’m solving all their problems, bla bla bla. And then one day, it dawned on me, I have created a giant bottleneck in the organization. Yeah, I’m not really helping anybody. I’ve just created a bottleneck. 

Mark Musselman   
Yeah, and you know, one of the things I mentioned before, in that whole manufacturing, I look at all this stuff through the Theory of Constraints, right, just because that’s my my orientation when it comes to manufacturing, and you know if you think about that what you just named, you become a massive constraint to the organization. And I see this happen all the time where a sales leader who you know has to insert themselves or assert themselves in every circumstance so nobody on the team feels like they can do anything without his or her approval, right, or organizational CEOs etc. who have to sign off on everything and be involved everything, it like grinds everything to a halt.  

Christopher Smith   
Yeah.  

Mark Musselman   
So yeah, I think it’s, there’s an awareness on both sides of that pendulum right, for sure.  

Christopher Smith   
Yeah, yeah I created, I learned a long time ago that I want to hear about every problem. But when you bring me a problem, I also want to hear your solution.  

Mark Musselman   
Yeah. 

Christopher Smith   
And let’s talk about it, we’ll figure it out. Yeah, no, that’s awesome. Let’s transition a little bit to talk about one of my favorite topics, CRM.  

Mark Musselman   
Yeah.  

Christopher Smith   
When it comes to CRM, do you love it, or do you hate it? 

Mark Musselman   
Well, I’d say it’s, it’s essential, right. I mean information as a variable in playing the game of business is absolutely essential. And I remember, you know, my dad was a mechanical process engineer, and he did some amazing work in the center of his career, but he used to always talk about this idea of garbage in, garbage out right. So, you know, the, the thing that I would say of all the sort of variables of a CRM, it’s the sales front end of the pipeline right and then you and I, people don’t want to look bad, they tend to, salespeople are very optimistic. They tend to greatly, mostly over-exaggerate the possibility of an opportunity, because you know they’re trying to gain favor and look good and hit numbers and all that stuff. So I think this idea of CRM in every way that it can be conceived and, and experienced is essential. It’s as essential as product.  

Christopher Smith   
Yeah. 

Mark Musselman   
You cannot today really function effectively I don’t believe without a strong, reliable CRM platform. And I think the conversation we’ve been having up to this point in time really is this how do leaders create a condition, so that when somebody who’s interacting with the CRM feels comfortable putting, you know, information in there that’s, that’s legitimate.  

Christopher Smith   
Yep.  

Mark Musselman   
Because as you and I both know, when putting in grossly exaggerated numbers in, there’s no system that can function effectively with that, so. 

Christopher Smith   
Right. 

Mark Musselman   
I mentioned to you in, you know, the conversation before we jumped on the call, it for the last you know 10 years, I’ve been involved heavily with a real estate company. And you know, they’re like every other, they have a really fantastic CRM platform. And, you know, if you ask realtors who may be probably some of the most optimistic people, you know what they think they’re going to produce over the course of the year, you know, you hear people say 20 million. And you know you’ll be about halfway through the year and they’re like, 6 million, I say, “Okay, you know, do you want to adjust anything?” “No, no, no.” You know it’s like, that that’s the, that’s the challenge I think with sales leadership I have. 

Christopher Smith   
Right. And that, perfect segue into my next question. As a sales leader, how do I create an environment of accountability when it comes to CRM? 

Mark Musselman   
Yeah, I think, first of all, he, there has to be a way that as a leader I can communicate the essential nature of the information that’s being input, and how it plays all the way through to every other functional area of the business. I think oftentimes leaders, you know, who are in a sales leadership role, do not make that connection, and so people, you know salespeople think it’s like, you know, they’re forcing me to do this, you know, this is busy work, it’s whatever it is. But really, as you and I both know, in every functional area of the business, it depends on what’s going in the front end of that system. So, having the opportunity to slow down and really, I like to take the entire process, and then walk the sales people through, you know, this is where we are actively engaged, but let’s talk about from here all the way to here. And if you don’t make that connection, it’s like anything, context is everything. And I think a lot of sales leaders fail miserably in giving that full context, so then it’s just like well why do I do that, well you do that because everything and everyone else in the entire organization is depending on you doing that. 

Christopher Smith   
That’s right. And you stated a perfectly, like a very practical example is hey, I’m an operations, I’m looking at your pipeline to figure out who I need to hire, what I need to purchase. I need to prepare, you know, so that when that deal gets closed, we’re ready to implement or service or provide whatever it is we’re selling. And if that is just pure BS, 

Mark Musselman   
Yeah. 

Christopher Smith   
everyone downstream is making bad decisions based off that information. 

Mark Musselman   
Absolutely, and I think about it from a manufacturing perspective as well, like when you go to, you know state lead times and you’re looking at raw material procurement all that kind of, everything is driven off of that information. And so I think, I think that’s the piece that most salespeople, a) let’s call thing a thing, right.  

Christopher Smith   
Yep.  

Mark Musselman   
Most salespeople have a resistance to anything that requires them to put accountability in a system, right. So, and and I think that’s, you know, they don’t like typically and these are generalizations, I want to say that, because it’s certainly not the case everywhere, but most salespeople, if you think about their profile, you know they’re they’re doing what you and I are doing right now. It’s in the relationship and then I’ve got to switch my left brain to my right brain, the right brain the left brain, I gotta go interfere and then they just mostly have a block on that.  

Christopher Smith   
Yep. 

Mark Musselman   
And they’re overly optimistic people, which you want. Yep, because that’s a really great trait to have when you’re out working with people and trying to enroll people into your product or service, but when you hit that interface, it causes it, you need to have a shift and say okay, let’s really think about this.  

Christopher Smith   
Oh yeah.  

Mark Musselman   
So I’m in a process right now helping a client of mine raise funds. They’re trying to raise for like an initial launch, it’s a startup. And I’m in this leadership role helping them, and they’ve got these numbers in here, I’m thinking you guys are, you’re not gonna ever get off the launch pad because you’re all lying to yourselves, so let’s just stop and literally have a realistic conversation about do you really think you can get, you know, $50,000 from, you know, person X, yes or no. And if you were going to put some kind of probability on it, what would that be. And all of a sudden it went from like $20 million down to like a million. You know, in a conversation it was asking them to be completely honest and recognize the what so in that moment, and it was hugely, hugely informative. Because then it was like they were about ready to go out and lease, you know, some buildings and hire some people and pay them and they have no money. You can’t do that! 

Christopher Smith   
Right, that’s a perfect example, perfect example of what we’re talking about. I remember I worked with one client where they had a pipeline, it was the same thing, it was like a crazy number, you know 10s of millions of dollars. But then when I started looking at the pipeline, there was stuff in there that were years old.  

Mark Musselman   
Yeah, yeah. 

Christopher Smith   
And it’s like, and I started asking like, “Why, why are these deals in here?” And they’re like, “Oh we, you know, we’re still talking to them, we still think there’s potential there.” And I’m like, okay, great. There’s another way we can deal with that, we can, but it shouldn’t be in the pipeline. Pipeline is stuff we’re working you know that has a real chance of closing sometime in the near future. All this other stuff, we’ll carve it out, we’ll, we’ll, it’ll still be in the system, you’ll still have visibility. So, and I, and what I had the moment it’s like for a lot of people, it’s fear or like a security blanket or something you know, and you have to break them through that. 

Mark Musselman   
Completely agree with you. And I and I will tell you this, I mean I’ll use that real estate experience in the last 10 years as a fantastic example, you’ll have a realtor who will go to a grocery store meet somebody in line, you know exchange some kind of, and they think that’s a lead. It’s like, you know, and then they’ll put that lead in their system as if it’s real and it’s just not. Right. And, but the more leads they think they have, the more opportunity, and it’s really not about more, it’s about qualified. 

Christopher Smith   
Exactly, exactly. That is a tough concept for a lot of companies, where everything is like oh, that’s in our pipeline, and they’re skipping over this big step called qualification. 

Mark Musselman   
Yeah, totally. Yeah, and so that’s, I think the one thing that as a quote that I love that my dad would say all the time which is garbage in, garbage out. 

Christopher Smith   
Right. 

Mark Musselman   
And in sales leadership, I think one of the things that is an inherent responsibility is to validate the accuracy, to the best of your ability, everything that goes in the system. And you know as, and it’s no more evident than in a manufacturing organization in particular because there’s, I mean in some cases you’re buying raw materials months in advance.  

Christopher Smith   
Yes.  

Mark Musselman   
And you don’t get to send those raw materials back. Right, and obsolescence is the last thing any manufacturer wants. You and I’ve talked about obsolescence once before, right. 

Christopher Smith   
It’ll kill you.  

Mark Musselman   
Kill you. 

Christopher Smith   
And it, and yeah there’s so much complexity when you start bringing supply chain in and all that, so much complexity around that. 

Mark Musselman   
If I can touch on one last thing, it’s like, I’ve never met a salesperson really who didn’t like a brand new product. And this is another piece of like how, you know, from an ownership perspective, I don’t know what kind of products you’re specifically bringing to the market. But one of the other things that I’ve learned over time is that we used to go to our salespeople and say, “What do you think?” and, “Oh, we love it.” You know it’s like, and, and that’s a filter right but then you also have to run it through a couple other filters, because if you just listen to that filter, you can also be greatly misguided, because their enthusiasm for pretty much anything new that can help them differentiate themselves, it’s like. So there’s a couple things on the front end, and you know you learn that the hard way. You know, when you have either a warehouse or you know whatever, whatever you want your obsolescence is like, oh, wow, okay. There’s where we made that mistake. 

Christopher Smith   
That’s right. That’s right. Mark, it has been great listening to you, you have terrific insight, I really appreciate you coming on Sales Lead Dog. If people want to reach out and connect with you, what’s the best way for them to make that happen? 

Mark Musselman   
Yeah, great question, and just to, you know, say the same, I really enjoyed the conversation and I love what you’ve created here. I mean, what an amazing creation in and of itself, so thank you for creating the opportunity and inviting me on. So two ways, probably the most effective way would be either by email which is [email protected] Or you can find me on LinkedIn, I’m a very activ, almost daily content poster, and it’s really just thought leadership that I’ve got, you know, going up on that. Those are probably the two easiest and then if anybody wanted to contact me by phone, it’s the easiest number in the world, 720-800-1111.  

Christopher Smith   
Oh that is easy. 

Mark Musselman   
That is easy, I almost feel like I won the lottery on that phone number. 

Christopher Smith   
Yeah. Mark, thanks again for coming on Sales Lead Dog. 

Mark Musselman   
Yeah thanks, Chris.  

Outro 
As we end this discussion on Sales Lead Dog, be sure to subscribe to catch all our episodes on social media. Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. Watch the videos on YouTube, and you can also find our episodes on our website at Empellorcrm.com/salesleaddog. Sales Lead Dog is supported by Empellor CRM, delivering objectively better CRM for business guaranteed. 

Quotes

  • So the one thing that I have found is if I use the language of continuous improvement with anybody, it invites them into this conversation that doesn’t talk about right and wrong, it’s just about continuously evolving.” (25:56-26:09)
  • “In order for any team to work effectively, it has to have a platform and a foundation of trust. So people withhold when they don’t trust in the condition of the team, with more trust comes more transparency.” (31:43-32:05)
  • “I run into all kinds of circumstances where I’ll show up in a room with a leadership team. And like you can hear a pin drop. Right. And what that is an indication of like nobody here trusts the leader, right, because there’s no conversation taking place, and everybody’s sitting on their hands and they’re biting their lips and they’re hoping and praying that I don’t call on them.” (35:16-35:40)

 

Links

Mark Musselman: LinkedIn
MX5 Consulting: Website

Empellor CRM LinkedIn
Empellor CRM Website