Digital Disruption In Sales Is Here To Stay With Jeffrey Hayzlett
The business arena certainly changed significantly because of the pandemic, and technology played a huge role in helping everyone cope with the limitations and pivot successfully. Despite the hopes to return to our usual routines, digital disruption might stay with us for good and even evolve constantly for the better. Jeffrey Hayzlett agrees with this prediction, seeing first-hand how the virtual scene seamlessly integrated into almost every daily activity that we do. Chad Burmeister sits down with the CEO of C-Suite Network to discuss what he thinks lies in the future of selling, his advice on dealing with the substantial digital changes that may yet come, and why virtual experience will never beat its tangible counterpart.
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Digital Disruption In Sales Is Here To Stay With Jeffrey Hayzlett
I have the Chairman and CEO of C-Suite Network. He's also the host of C-Suite Radio and C-Suite TV. He's a Hall of Fame speaker, a best-selling author, and he’s one of those leaders that truly care. You can find that by going to his LinkedIn profile. He received 47 recommendations. He's given 87, so it’s twice as many as he'd received. That's the kind of a leader Jeff Hayzlett is.
Jeffrey, welcome to the show. Thanks for being here.
Thank you. I didn't even know I gave that many or I had that many. I should check that more often. I'll give anybody a recommendation at once. I can't get to them all. That's my biggest problem. It’s you want to do everything but you can't do it.
One of the folks, Ellen Hamilton, gave you one from 2013. It's always fun to hear these sometimes. It rings true for my feeling of working with you as well. She says, “I've known Jeffrey for many years. Jeffrey is an innovative thought leader that is a master at creating and seizing an opportunity. His transparent style makes them easy to work with, plus as a bonus, he's fun to work with.”
I haven't seen Ellen for a long time. She's a great franchise exec. I first met her when I was a lobbyist in the State Capitol and she worked for the state government. I can't remember which group she worked with, but she was a high-profile person then.
Leaders do not know they are leaders. They just do it.
I'm going to an event and it's got 16 to 18 different CEOs that are wanting to understand how do I grow my business as a founder and CEO of a company. A lot of these are going to be motivational speakers who've been highly disrupted by the world we're living in. I want to get some advice because obviously, you've helped hundreds and thousands of people in this area. Before we get there, I want to ask you a few questions about how you got to be who you are. Let's go back to college.
I went to Augustana College but they call it university now. They got high and mighty. They got highfalutin after I left.
You studied Government and International Affairs. Was that your original plan?
I worked in government. I worked in the House of Representatives and the US Senate. I was a lobbyist for several years. Politics was my calling. Back then, my junior year in high school going into my senior year, I ran for lieutenant governor of the State of South Dakota. I was very active in politics, so that was going to be my thing. I worked for Tom Daschle, the Senate Majority Leader, and Senator George McGovern. I worked for a lot of different people over the years.
You may get tapped on the shoulder someday from everything going on these days.
I wouldn't mind being an ambassador. That'd be fun so it would be great.
We met an ambassador here. My folks owned some property in Castle Rock. The Stapleton family was looking to buy some property and expand their empire down South. He was a former ambassador.
They've done a lot for the state, the former airport and everything else. They’re good people.
Thinking of these other 16 to 18 CEOs, when did you know that you were a leader?
I don't think leaders know their leaders. They just do it. That's my gut. A lot of people are very reflective on things like what did you want to do? I wasn't reflective. I went dead and it always works out. I don't spend a lot of time thinking about stuff like that. Even my size, I'm a big guy, but it wasn't until in my late adulthood. I looked at a picture of me next to somebody. I went, “That guy is big.” That was me. That was back when I was playing rugby many years ago. I looked at a picture of me and a rugby team and I went, “God, he's big.” I look at it, that's me. Leaders are the same way. You just know you do it, you do it. That's it.
If you're a good seller, then you can be a good manager.
I would say the same thing. I've heard a lot of people say over the years, “A lot of bad sales organizations promote the best seller into a leader. The traits of a leader are different than that of a great seller.” Why does it happen again and again? You have to lead from the front. If you're a good seller then you can be a good manager. You have to have the traits and the desire to be a leader. They can't come to you and go, “You're a great seller. Let's make you a manager.”
It doesn't always work that way. My father was in the military, so we lived everywhere. I lived all over the country. I have people who will live in one place all their life. They'll hear that I moved and moved. They’ll go, “That's weird.” I go, “What do you mean? Staying in one place all your life and never going anywhere. That's weird.” I'm just joking with him. I’m going, “Our experience are our experiences.” Getting back to being a leader, it's what you do. If you're used to it, you don't think of it like that. You think everybody else should be the same way until you start having a sense of awareness in terms of there are other ways of doing it.
Not everybody can be extroverted, run into the fire, or business first responder. You start to realize some of those things. It's hard for people like myself or others who are extroverted. I don't know if I'm naturally extroverted because I was shy when I was a kid. There are lots of different things but it's hard for me to say, “Why don't you do this? How come you don't speak up?” Even when you're in all these Zoom calls with your team or your staff and there are these quiet people, what are you going to do to bring them out to say things? What I find it hard to do is the realization I have to do that and remember to do those things because I go and then look around and say, “Are you coming?”
Even in my own family, my son is an engineer. He went to the Colorado School of Mines. He thinks very methodically. He gets frustrated if it's like, “We're going to go up to the mountains and go skiing.” “Which mountain? Are we going to go to that breakfast place or the other one? Dad, you got to be more specific.” You have to realize that. My daughter is a social justice warrior. She wants to change the world for good. I appreciate all the different perspectives. As a good leader, I've always looked at it as a team of Mighty Ducks.
The bad news bears. We have to have all kinds. Although I'm that kind of person about schedules and details, I don't like things that aren't exact. That's from my dad's military background and the things we used to do. My mom was that way too.
Knowing that the world has changed, we've hit this inflection point. I attended a conference from TOPO, the tracks, top of funnel, demand generation. They said there are three things that Fortune 1000s and all companies are now looking at. They need to be flexible, agile and have more speed than they've ever had. Instead of looking five years out, they're looking 60 to 90 days out because there's that much uncertainty in the world. With that in mind, what are your thoughts on the future of selling? Your team sells. How has it changed?
COVID is a big piece of that but it's accelerated the digital transformation of every company there is. It's making us rethink every model. I've said during this pandemic that days have become weeks, weeks have become months, months have become years and years are now decades for us in terms of business. You have to move with great speed. That's the biggest piece you have to think about. What do I think it's doing for sales is the need for good discipline in terms of we do this, we do this. The automation drips, the consideration pieces, they're all the things that you would do in marketing has to get faster about that. I used to be able to nurture somebody over a few months.
That's a lot shorter time period of when they make the decision. Once you lose them, you're losing them because you don't have the physical events. You don't have the things that you would normally rely on to pop up on the radar. All you have is either this digital screen, an email box, or a text box to be able to reach them. You're disciplined to get to the core message and continually move that process along quickly. You blow it, you miss the appointment, you missed the meeting, you don't give them convenience factors, things like your debt, and that's the biggest change that I would see.
Your point about video and the digital screen like this, we've uncovered a partner that does vineyard videos at scale on behalf of exact. They do it where they can say, “How many do you want to send 100 a day, 1,000 a day?” They can do however many you want because it's part human, part automation. Imagine, they showed us a demo and they said, “Here's somebody who bought a pair of jeans.” The woman comes out two minutes after the purchase, “Jeff, good jeans that you bought here. I thought you might like this necklace that goes along with it.” There's an upsell but it's all automated. The personal touch and video interaction are important these days.
We're using tools like Vidyard. I’ve known the founders of that company for quite a while. I worked with them early on when they got started and they've done a great job. Good young men out of Canada that have made a difference in their company. There are other tools like BombBomb and others that you can use for that automation. It's about consideration of that decision. When do you do that? What's the timing? You have to mix it up a little bit.
Overcome the small voices in your head that limit you and have the confidence to fight for the right reasons.
I met Mike Litt up in Canada on a ski trip in February 2020. It was the last big outing where people get together in a big room and ski on the same mountain. My parents re-posted a picture from a cruise ship we did in 2019. I was like, “Remember the good old days.” I'm going to that motivational seminar. I got an email from a guy named Rich Littman. He's a good coach. He's well-known in the world. He coaches a lot of high-end people. The message was, “Stop trying to get rid of imposter syndrome, get good at it.” Think about, as a leader, you've led Eastman Kodak and the companies you lead now. Have you ever had that? I certainly have.
What do you mean? In terms of, “I don't think I'm worthy of this or I don't think I fit in.”
How did I get here?
We do that every day. We do that as a kid, student, athlete, husband, wife or parent. I'm setting meetings where I'm running billion-dollar budgets and I'm going like, “Somebody should fix this,” and then I'm realizing it's me. I’m like, “Somebody should be in charge,” and then I'm looking around, so that's me. We're always like that. If there's no pain, there's no gain. If you're not stretching it, pushing it, that's our job. We should be chief tension officers. With tension, you're going to point a lot of bad notes.
If you're going to be a maestro, you're going to play lots of bad notes. You don't instantly snap your fingers and become the expert in all-knowing, you've got to go through all that stuff. It isn't about to fail fast. It's about wind fast. Are you an imposter? Yes. You're an imposter until you get good at it and then you're an expert. You don't become an expert until you start it. I’m not saying fake it until you make it good. I'm not into that. You want to be there. You want to try, but are we qualified? Do we know? Do we have all the answers? No.
The key though is to overcome the little voices in your head and have the confidence that you're there for the right reasons. If you're there for the right reasons based on values and conditions of satisfaction of where do you want to go, you're the person. That's the way you should look at it. There are times that I'm sitting here thinking I know the answers to what tomorrow's going to bring. It never going to happen. If I knew that, I'd be a lot richer and I wouldn't be working as hard.
There are campaigns that we take on at ScaleX that sometimes I look back and I say, “I should have known better. Why did I take that case?” That was stupid but hindsight is 20/20.
You don't know that until then. You don't know that the stove is hot until you touch it. The key is not to touch it twice.
What helped me is we did a campaign for Bella+Canvas. They converted their production line over to masks from apparel at the very beginning of COVID. Through ScaleX, one person sold $10 million in masks. I was like, “Great, we're good with masks. Let's go.” I have another company come inbound and said, “We can help you with this.” We got 28 meetings for the second company with the same people and same pitch but they closed $0 in sales. What that made me realize is a lot of it is product-market fit. It's who's the salesperson on the side of the phone and there's more outside of my control. It helped me realize like, the better thing for me to do as a leader is, “I don't want to sell you $100,000 plan to get you $3 million in sales. That's a big risk. Let's start with $1,500 plan.” Whatever the level of risk that a customer is willing to take.
“Let's go to that level and not go to too big of a level,” because you never know what's going to work for you or what's not. Thinking about these leaders. Again, if you're in front of a room of 16 to 18 people and I’ve been in the room with you when you were in front of 500 and 100 people. I've heard you give the message but if you were to give it into 2 or 3 tips, or strategies for one of these motivational speakers especially in the environment we're in now? Besides joining C-Suite, what is the number one thing they should do? What else would you recommend?
Having others support and cheer you up is critical in anyone's success.
I was with a group of million-dollar speakers talking about what the industry looks like and how much it's changed. I wrote a note to my team about that experience. One of the speakers said, “I can't wait to get on the stage again.” I said, “I can't wait to never walk on another one the rest of my life.” They all looked at me and said, “What are you talking about, Jeff? We speak.” I said, “You're talking about speaking in a certain model. I'm talking about changing the model where, in my height of being a multi-million-dollar speaker, I was doing 161, maybe 165 a year.” That's a good schedule if you think about that in terms of physical speeches. That's millions of dollars, but I'm going to do over 300 events in 2021.
I'm going to speak over 300 times. Now the model has changed, but it's also gotten better. I'm going to increase my volume, I'm not traveling, I stay at my home or my office, I don't have to go anywhere, I get to have dinner with my wife every night, I have wine, scotch, relax, enjoy myself, and I'm doing more than I've ever done in my life. You have to have the mindset of not thinking it's going to be this way. Think about what it is we do that. Speaking is a tool. The education, motivation, inspiration and opportunity to help people monetize, that's what we do. How will we deliver it whether we speak on a stage, online, for free, or for fee? Those are the semantics of what we do. Go back to the core of what you do, realize this is what you do and how are you going to go get it done. That's the way you want to start to think of it.
My son shared a perspective because he's got two classes in person. It's a hybrid model. He's got four that are virtual. I said, “Brandon, how's it going for you?” He said, “Dad, honestly, the two in person are not the two I would have chosen to be in person because I would have chosen my harder math classes. I don't know why college isn't 100% virtual. There's no benefit to me, as the student, to be on campus.” That's the view from the other side, the person in the audience, who prefers to get data through an online communication format versus sitting in a lecture hall. That's important to share with the motivational speakers.
For the information, I 100% agree. For the total experience and the other benefits that you get from the networking and the other things. You and I both know that when we went to college, the friends that we made in college, and then went on to other successful things, that's an unbelievable network. I will tell you the value of going to this college or this university and making those friends and getting to know those people will pay off for you in dividends. I will tell you that most of that interaction by being more human and coming into contact will be better than just the screen.
The screen is the next level, but you got to have that component of the networking, of get-to-know each other, the experience to be able to share, to learn, to cheer, to care for each other is very critical for your success. We could have met online and yet that does have it, but meeting in person, sharing a beer, scotch, experience, and some poignant stories, which I know that you and I have shared, you can't replicate that by reading a book or watching a video. I agree with your son in terms of that experience but it's the other tangible things that we sometimes forget. We don't know until we know. That's the uniqueness of it.
I went to a conference in Utah. It was called Brilliant Minds Group. It's 70 people that are in Utah and it was interactive. You mix the cards, you meet with one group, then you go to the next table and meet with another group. It was fabulous. I got to know at least five people that I'll do business with. That doesn't happen in the 500-person video events or at least I haven't seen it. It's happened a little bit.
At our C-Suite Network Events, we break people into groups and that helps create a deal. We've been experiment with non-groups and with groups. We get more feedback that they liked the groups a lot better. We’re breaking up of that. When we don't do it, then we tend to see people drop off or zone out. We don't want people to zone out.
Jeff, it's been great having you on the show. I appreciate your leadership at C-Suite. It's been fabulous to be part of everything from the radio show, book review, Hero Club and everything I participate in. Everybody, Jeffrey Hayzlett, the Chairman and CEO of C-Suite Network. We're honored to have him here. I'm happy to be part of C-Suite. I will catch you on the next one. Thank you, Jeffrey.
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About Jeffrey Hayzlett
Jeffrey Hayzlett is a primetime television host of C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett and Executive Perspectives on C-Suite TV, and business podcast host of All Business with Jeffrey Hayzlett on C-Suite Radio.
He is a global business celebrity, speaker, best-selling author, and Chairman of C-Suite Network, home of the world’s most trusted network of C-Suite leaders. Hayzlett is a well-traveled public speaker, former Fortune 100 CMO, and author of three best-selling business books: The Hero Factor, Think Big, Act Bigger: The Rewards of Being Relentless, Running the Gauntlet and The Mirror Test.
Hayzlett is one of the most compelling figures in business today and an inductee into the NSA’s Speaker Hall of Fame.
As a leading business expert, Hayzlett is frequently cited in Forbes, SUCCESS, Mashable, Marketing Week and Chief Executive, among many others. He shares his executive insight and commentary on television networks like Bloomberg, MSNBC, Fox Business, and C-Suite TV. Hayzlett is a former Bloomberg contributing editor and primetime host, and has appeared as a guest celebrity judge on NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice with Donald Trump for three seasons.
He is a turnaround architect of the highest order, a maverick marketer and c-suite executive who delivers scalable campaigns, embraces traditional modes of customer engagement, and possesses a remarkable cachet of mentorship, corporate governance, and brand building.