Transcript:                    Thanks Allen, this is David Brower with your 20-Minute Podcast. Our special guest today is Ben Brown from South Carolina. Let’s say it’s right. The name of the town in South Carolina is …

Ben Brown:                  St. George.

David Brower:              I love it. We were just talking before the show started about St. George, Utah, and St. George, South Carolina. Obviously, those on the East came before the West. So really great to have you here, sir. I hope you’re doing well.

Ben Brown:                  Everything is great. It’s summer time. Everybody’s enjoying leisure and heat.

David Brower:              Absolutely right. Ben Brown is a father of two young children, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management. He has over 23 years of experience in the sales field for multiple positions, from sales rep to sales management. He’s a best-selling author. The book, Master the Art of Closing the Sale, The Game-Changing 10-Step Sales Process for Getting More Clients and Referrals. And of course, a popular sales blog now at

So, how did you get into sales first and foremost, Ben?

Ben Brown:                  Well, it’s like anything else, it’s not a traditional … because it’s not a major in college, it’s one of those things that you actually fall into. Like people have these [inaudible 00:01:36]. But I fell into it from the gym business where I was doing personal training. Then got into it and realized that I kind of had the knack, where people say there’s a knack for sales, which is an outgoing personality, but then learning that it took skills and a lot of practice with that personality, and I got into it. I also realized that you make, you can control your income, which fluctuates, it’s just like acting. But if you’re good at it, you can fluctuate your income and you can make more than anybody else. So those people that have that outwardly personality, it can grab that and be able to express it more, because that’s your job really. It is.

David Brower:              Absolutely.

Ben Brown:                  But you can make more-

David Brower:              The personality opens the door, right? Then you have to have the skillsets to be able to continue.

Ben Brown:                  Stay in the door. So I could take somebody that’s introverted and make them a better salesperson than somebody that’s extroverted.

David Brower:              Okay.

Ben Brown:                  Because it basically, it’s just like, I tell people, “Sales is … ” So even though you have the personality and you might have the mantra for it, it doesn’t mean you’re going to be successful, because it’s really about maintaining a constant level of improvement. So every day you walk in to do sales, you have to realize that you’re either getting better or worse every day. It’s a moving scale. So it’s a skill. So you have to work at it.

So say, for example, somebody who’s outgoing that has this great personality, attracts everybody, he’s in sales. Sales always fluctuate. So those people don’t pay attention to the small things, the numbers.

David Brower:              Right.

Ben Brown:                  They just think they’re great. What happens when a trend comes in or something changes or they took a step out that they didn’t even know about, because they’re not following a step, they’re just being personality-wise. But suddenly over a period of time, they got too arrogant and something changed in their pitch. But they’re not able to pinpoint it, ’cause they didn’t pay attention to it. So their sales starts dropping and then, of course, your attitude drops. Then your enthusiasm drops and then your confidence drops. Then over a period of time, it starts coming down, and you don’t know what’s happening.

David Brower:              Yeah, especially if you’ve been very successful-

Ben Brown:                  Oh yeah.

David Brower:              … that the ego does get in the way, and you don’t know what you don’t know until you’ve hit bottom or come darn close to it.

Ben Brown:                  Yes. So you have to understand what’s happening in their little [inaudible 00:04:04], because it does fluctuate, so cost and sales. So yeah, I’ve had successful people that have been in sales tremendously and then they just stop doing what they was doing to get successful. But they didn’t know what it was. They didn’t put a process together, right?

David Brower:              I found something interesting, and this was many years ago. I was in radio for a very long time and trained salespeople for a while. One of the things I always found was when a new salesperson starts, even though they don’t know what they don’t know, they’re very successful right out of the gate, because they’re hungry, they got the enthusiasm, they got the personality. Then if they take the time to be patient and learn and grow, man, they can be very successful. But to come out of the gate the way they do sometimes, have you run into that?

Ben Brown:                  Yeah, success could be a bad [inaudible 00:04:52] for them, because it is … A small story, I worked in sales where I was commissioned only for three years, three years, where I wrote my check every week. Then got into another position where they actually gave me a salary. So the guy said, “We’re going to start you off at $35,000.” I said, “35,000 leads?” ‘Cause we fought for leads. He said, “No, we’re going to start you off at $35,000 K.” I’m like, “You’re going to pay me to actually just walk in the building?” He was like, “Yeah.” I’m like, “Oh, this is great. I’ve been doing the wrong thing.” Meanwhile, I’m making $1,000, $1,500 a week.” More than most people in the State of Florida. So I was making a lot, but I had to work for it every day.

So there is a point when I … I’ve been in positions where I hired for a company, which is one of my specialties. I can hire for sales, because if you don’t sales, how are you going to hire a salesperson?

David Brower:              Right.

Ben Brown:                  So they bring me on to hire people. I come into that situation, I said, “Well, what did you start paying them?” He said, “Well we started them off at 50.” I’m like, “You don’t start a salesperson at 50, and then tell him he can’t get a sale for two months because, man, if I had that … all I know is all I’m going to do is sit on my butt for two weeks,” because it’s an action skill.

David Brower:              Correct, yeah.

Ben Brown:                  You can’t give a salesperson too much in the beginning because their ability to go out and seed is why they’re there. That’s what makes them special. So if you give a salesperson too much money, it will kill them. It will kill them.

David Brower:              And your turnover will be crazy, right?

Ben Brown:                  Yeah, yeah. The difference is having that balancing act between salary, of making sure that they’re there and understanding the company, that they don’t want to go anywhere else, and giving them the ability to work and what that really is. Because the first thing a salesperson comes, when he comes to a position is, “How much am I going to make, and how much time it’s going to take me get it?”

David Brower:              Right.

Ben Brown:                  They do it just like anybody in entertainment, it’s a gig to them.

David Brower:              Yeah, that’s right.

Ben Brown:                  ‘Cause, “Oh, you’re going to give me medical benefits?” “No.” “Okay, so you’re going to give me a base plus commission. All right, I know I can sell. I could sell anything. What is it worth my time doing it for you?” Right, that’s it.

David Brower:              Right. Yeah, there’s got to be a relationship from the get-go so everybody’s on the same page, right?

Ben Brown:                  Yeah, or he’s leaving or you got to fire him. The worst thing that I do at most companies or the most timely thing is that rotation of hiring and firing.

David Brower:              Yeah.

Ben Brown:                  It just kills you because … One of the companies I did for recently, they hired me to bring it in, X amount of dollars, and it took me 60 days to bring in five people. We interviewed 180. Not one interview … well, 180 resumes. We did a three-tier interview process, where I did the first … no it was a four-tier. I did the first three, then I brought them to the owners to filter them all out. We got all the way down from 168 down to five, and we hired two.

David Brower:              Wow.

Ben Brown:                  I had the resumes, which was about 200. Out of 200, I personally interviewed maybe 120 for 30 to 45 minutes and then went through a second stage and another stage and another stage and another stage. It takes time, and that took a lot to get those two people. So imagine trying to get 10.

David Brower:              Well exactly, and the other thing I like about that a lot, is they had the confidence and the ability to bring you in, you know, somebody that knows what they’re doing, able to screen and hire salespeople. Because oftentimes, at least in my experience, managers and owners they want to work and need to be working on their business. Yeah, they want to have salespeople to help them grow, but why not bring somebody in that knows what the heck they’re talking about to be able to maximize the opportunity to get great salespeople and reduce those turnover costs?

Ben Brown:                  The first thing I tell the owner is, I say, “Any salesperson, the first thing they needed to know how to do is what? Sell themselves.”

David Brower:              Right.

Ben Brown:                  Right? So when you’re on the interview, any salesperson of any caliber should be able to sell themselves. You got to be able to see through that, because I don’t want to waste my time with this person.

David Brower:              Absolutely.

Ben Brown:                  So that’s what a high turnover … He’s like, “Well, I interviewed people.” And I said, “Do you know sales?” They go, “No.” I said, “So, how are you going to hire somebody for sales if you don’t know sales?”

David Brower:              Exactly, exactly.

Ben Brown:                  So that person that you’re talking to across the desk is in sales, the first thing he knows how to do is actually sell himself, right?

David Brower:              Yeah.

Ben Brown:                  So, that’s where your turnover comes in. I get the epiphany for a lot guys are like, “I can’t believe that. I had all these people.” And I’m like, “If you don’t know how to sell, you don’t know what you’re looking for. So you’re hiring somebody based upon what they’re telling you, which they’re selling you, which most times, sometime is not true.”

David Brower:              Yeah, absolutely right, absolutely right.

Ben Brown:                  “Your turnover is based on somebody, because you started out at $50,000 base in Florida, which is tremendous, which mean I could just live on the base.”

David Brower:              Right.

Ben Brown:                  I don’t have to work, you know? In Florida, cost of living is cheap. $50,000 base is … I could live on that.

David Brower:              I could live on that.

Ben Brown:                  Yeah, I need to go crazy. I say, “You gave them … ” Well, I’ll give you an example. One of my guys I worked for, he brought them in. He gave them $50,000 base and he told them … ’cause there’s one of the toughest sales, which is advertisement. He gave them $50,000 and he told the guy that, “I don’t expect you to get any sales for at least six months.”

David Brower:              Oh my gosh.

Ben Brown:                  I said, “Well, you did [crosstalk 00:10:46]

David Brower:              Are you kidding me right now? You just shot yourself in the foot, dude. Wow.

Ben Brown:                  I’m telling you. The stories that I get, it’s like The Profit. Do you watch The Profit on TV? People call me, and then I analyze their company. I don’t do The Profit deal. I just do the sales end.

David Brower:              Right.

Ben Brown:                  Where is the money coming in? Who you talking to? And I can analyze a company based on … I don’t even have to be there, I just understand the system. And normally,  I can find cracks where they’re losing money right away, which is cool. Then I come in and analyze them, “Like you did what?” And he was like, “Yeah.” I was like, “Do you understand what you just did?” I said, “You told me I’m coming in and I’m paying you $60,000 … $50,000, $60,000 to sit for six months. I don’t expect any type of return on my investment for six months.” [crosstalk 00:11:34]

David Brower:              Yeah, just write me a check for $300,000, and I’ll see you in six months.

Ben Brown:                  And I said, “What happened?” He said, “He sat down and he just meandered around.” I said, “Yeah, because you gave him those expectations.”

David Brower:              Yep.

Ben Brown:                  “You told him six months, so you are contractually obligated to hold him. So, $50,000, $60,000 … say $60,000 I’m guaranteed $30,000 without and any recourse.” And at the end of six months, I said, “What happened?” He said, “I finally fired him, I couldn’t fire him [inaudible 00:12:03].” I’m like, “Yeah, because you set those expectations.”

David Brower:              Exactly. Oh my gosh.

Ben Brown:                  And the salesperson, “I’m on vacation ’til my next gig. All I got to do is sit here for the next six months, collect $30,000, then I’m moving on and don’t have to do anything.”

David Brower:              Yeah, I can spend my six months looking for another gig that’s just as easy as this one. Oh, that’s pathetic. I mean, it’s true, but it’s pathetic. Gee whiz, oh my goodness.

So how do businesses find you? How do they go, “Hey, we need Ben Brown, and we need him now.”

Ben Brown:                  It’s amazing that I’m not good at marketing. I’m good at doing what I do and marketing sucks.

David Brower:              Yeah.

Ben Brown:                  It’s just a different thing. I’m sales. So I do LinkedIn. A lot of people find me through different things. I’m in the Tampa Bay area. So a lot of companies when they find me, they don’t understand the aspect of sales. So I really … a lot of things I do is, I started changing my mantra towards people on the entry level of sales, instead of people that thought they knew it all. Because it’s a process. It’s very simple, it’s just a process. If you can understand the process and practice, which I tell people is the most key component is practicing what you … because I think it’s theory.

David Brower:              Absolutely.

Ben Brown:                  I can read the bible, but if I don’t understand the bible, I can’t preach it.

David Brower:              Right.

Ben Brown:                  So in sales, the 10-step process I do is based on, you don’t have to do all 10 steps. Some businesses are different, but I’m just basically just trying to tell you that, you know, if you understand the 10 steps, you could move on and actually be very successful. Because one of the things, which is most important in this interview that I’ll cover, is that somebody come to me and say, “Well, we sell this.” Right?

David Brower:              Right.

Ben Brown:                  And I said, “Okay, okay.” “And we do this, this technical … It does this, this, this, and this.” And I go, “Great.” And I go, “And … ” And they’re like, “I don’t know if you can help us.” And I’m like, I said, “Do you understand that sales is sales? It doesn’t matter what it is.”

David Brower:              Right.

Ben Brown:                  I said, “I really don’t care what you’re selling. I really don’t care. I care about the process.”

David Brower:              Yep.

Ben Brown:                  So once you start getting in the weeds, especially guys that are technical, means they talk too much.

David Brower:              For sure.

Ben Brown:                  They talk too much, they get too much into details, and I’m like, I say, “You give a one sheet description of the product for what it does, the benefits that it does, the technical aspects of it, the cost of it, and the breakdown of it, and you give me a list, and I guarantee you within six hours I’ll have a sale.” “Well, I don’t know about that, because it’s a tertiary process.” I’ll say, “I understand, it’s a long process,” and things like that. But I used to do it all time. I worked for a company, based on the movie Boiler Room … I could write a script on that, because that’s what we did. In a room of 125 people, jamming out 150 calls of cold calling per day. Well, we’ll announce $1,500 in return, and they’ll come out on Monday with a new product. And they’ll say, “Here’s a new product. Here’s what it does.” You know, like a new stock, right?

David Brower:              Right, right. Yeah.

Ben Brown:                  “Here’s a new product. Here’s what it does?” Have we seen it? No. Have we touched it? No. Have we tasted it? No, nothing. I had a one-page sheet on it, and they’ll pull out some leads and say, “Get on the phone.” I guarantee you, within two hours, sales start getting put on the board.

David Brower:              Yeah, ’cause they had a process.

Ben Brown:                  They had a process.

David Brower:              Yep.

Ben Brown:                  We could have changed over from software and said, “We shut down software, the market, we got bought out. We’re doing refrigerators.” And I’d be like, “Okay, what’s the commission?” “Oh, you go to 30% instead of 20%.” “Okay, you got us some leads?” “Yeah, here’s the leads.” I’ll be on the phone. In 30 minutes, “Miss Johnson, when was the last time you ever thought about buying some new refrigerators?”

David Brower:              I love it, man.

Ben Brown:                  Right?

David Brower:              Oh my gosh, oh my gosh. That’s so much fun. I love those stories. Wow.

Ben Brown:                  So I tell people-

David Brower:              Unbelievable.

Ben Brown:                  … “Sales is a communication. It’s a different language, but the same language.”

David Brower:              Yeah.

Ben Brown:                  It’s all you’re doing. You’re having a conversation. That’s why people say … the negative connotation with sales. “I don’t want to sound too salesy.” I say, “There’s no such thing.”

David Brower:              No.

Ben Brown:                  I say, “Sales is all around us.” I say, “Do you have children?” “Yeah.” “They’re selling you all the day.”

David Brower:              All day long.

Ben Brown:                  “They’re closing you. They’re not giving you a sales pitch, but they’re closing you.”

David Brower:              Yeah.

Ben Brown:                  And one of my top four salespeople, the top-end one that I … I know we don’t have a lot of time, but my fourth salesperson is a homeless person, one of the best salespeople in the United States, and I’ll give you one, is the homeless person. Why? Because they know the market. If they have any consciousness, they can go to any corner in that area, they know the track if it’s going up there. They can go out there, and normally a homeless person can generate between $300 and $800 a day.

David Brower:              Yeah.

Ben Brown:                  So I take that as the same caveat when I’m working with a businessperson that’s not doing outgoing, which I call proactive sales instead of reactive.

David Brower:              Yeah.

Ben Brown:                  Reactive means, you get stuck just coming in. You got eight emails, you got phone … I’m talking about out now, proactive. And I said, “How much you making as an entrepreneur today?” I’m only making 50. I say, “You know a homeless person can make $800 a day?” And I say, “Well you see them out there and you feel sorry for them.” I said, “Now, what are they selling? First of all, what bills do a homeless person have? They have no bills. Do you have a bank account? You have an accountant, you probably have a CRM cost, you have website cost, you have phone bill, you got cell phone, you got office cost, you got cars, you got gas, you got all of this stuff, and you’re not making $800 a day. But a homeless person can go out there and make $800 a day if he’s hustling, right?”

David Brower:              Right.

Ben Brown:                  And I say, “Here’s number two. What is a homeless person selling you?”

David Brower:              And what do they say?

Ben Brown:                  “Uhhhh.”

David Brower:              Exactly.

Ben Brown:                  “Uhhhh.” “What are they selling you?” And I go, “What are they selling?”

David Brower:              They had something on the cardboard that caught my attention, and it was kind of emotional, and I felt sorry for them.

Ben Brown:                  Yeah, “It makes me feel good.”

David Brower:              Right, right.

Ben Brown:                  I say, “Okay, makes you feel good, but if you hold out your hand, what did you get from them when they sell you? When you give them money, what did you get? You get nothing.”

David Brower:              Nothing.

Ben Brown:                  And I go to them and you want to listen to this very close. And I said, “There’s a person out there that’s making $300 a day, $800 a day out there hustling making that and selling absolutely, positively nothing. You have a company, have a infrastructure, and you can’t match that?”

David Brower:              Wow, I bet their jaw just drops.

Ben Brown:                  And that’s when they get, “Okay, I got it.” Number four on that, for mine out of their four fields is that homeless person, the reason why they’re successful at sales is ’cause there’s characteristics of what you make you successful as a salesperson. And a child’s number one, ’cause they [inaudible 00:18:53] the close. But for a homeless person, the reason they’re successful is ’cause they’re focused. They’re not focused on anything else but the next dollar.

David Brower:              Yep.

Ben Brown:                  So as business people, you’re focused on accounting, marketing, or we’re going to do this tweet, Twitter, Facebook, all this other stuff. Meanwhile, that homeless person is only focused on sales.

David Brower:              Yep.

Ben Brown:                  So when are you just going to focus on sales?

David Brower:              Absolutely. Wow.

Ben Brown:                  That’s why a homeless person is kicking your butt, with no product, maybe a cell phone, no website, and making more money, tax-free, than you per day.

David Brower:              And your feel good lasts ’til you turn the corner.

That’s part one of our interview with Ben Brown.

Allan Blackwell:            Your 20 Minute Podcast with David Brower has been brought to you by Audible. You can listen to any of David’s podcasts anywhere podcasts can be found, including iHeartRadio, the Spotify mobile app, and at Until next time, thanks for listening.