Hello, my friends, and welcome back to the Shut the Hell Up and Sell podcast. I am your host, Ronnell Richards, the author of Shut the Hell Up and Sell. Um, today I am joined by one of my good friends calling in from Chicago, although she's calling in from Chicago today. Um, she is all over the world. Every time I talk to her, she's someplace else. She's, and, and I'm always jealous. I'm always jealous. But you know what? She's out there making sure that we keep moving this profession of sales forward and evangelizing. And she's train, she's training and impacting people all over the globe. Um, with that said, I am super excited to have this conversation today with my good friend Leslie Bennett. What's going on, Leslie?
You know, I'm just so happy to be here. Um, I just appreciate every opportunity to collab with you, so thanks for having me.
Well, the, the Honor is absolutely mine. You're such a joy. But more importantly, you drop wisdom every time. Like, I love having you back on my, my, my platforms because like, you're just a, you're like a home run hitter, man. You hop up and it's like home run. It's like old school berry bonds every time you step without the PDs. But home <laugh>.
Well, when, when it comes to folks like you and me and we compare expertise with a mindset that gatekeeping is bullshit.
Speaker 3 (01:32):
It's just, it, it becomes easy to to, you know, share that knowledge that's going to help other folks shut the hell up and sell to, to, you know, unleash and achieve their potential.
Yep. Yep. So, hey, um, real quick, as we get this thing started, um, you know, clearly you're, you're the founder of Sales Team Builder, but if you could just tell folks what it is that you do, how you're helping the world, how you're impacting the world. Yeah, I
Appreciate it. Uh, so like, super, super big picture. My vision is to help transform sales into a more inclusive and more respected profession. Mm-hmm. So that is my, like, you know, big lifelong goal. That's the legacy I want to leap. How do I do that on a day-to-day basis, uh, is through sales team Builder, which is this incredible opportunity to work with individual sales teams and help them create a culture that acknowledges that most of the sales scripts training frameworks that we have were historically created by white men in an environment where white men sold to white men.
And that we're past that. And that there is time and space. It's time and there's space for, for new voices and different lived experiences to kind of pepper in new, exciting email copy and scripts and frameworks and ways of approaching our customers that really put them at the center instead of sailors at the center. So, yes, it's fun. Like, it's, it's fun work. Um, as I think most people would, would guess. Um, you get some pushback still, but sales is in the bi in the middle of this amazing transformation. And like, I'm here for it.
Me too. Me too. I love the work that you're doing. Um, I love following you on social. You're always dropping gems. And, you know, you, you mentioned that just, which is something that we don't think about a lot. That the, the copy that sellers are using that the playbooks, the s scripts that they're using is it's old and it's, and they are largely focused on one small, I won't say small, but one segment and that segment that that decision maker, it's just, it's evolved. And especially if you look at through the pandemic, right? Like through the pandemic, like, it's almost like we've put gasoline on this a bit in terms of increasing our, our, our ability to, to, I would not say increasing, just leaning into our ability to, to communicate in a do business with people all over the globe in, in a really diverse audience. So the work that you're doing is super important. So that's where you are at today. But I wanna take you back. I wanna know what your first sales job was. What's the first job that you had the first time you got, you got paid some money to sell something?
Ooh, the first time I got paid money to sell something. I don't, I don't even know <laugh>. I like, I genuinely don't. No, I mean, I guess I, like, I worked in, in like food service when I was in high school. Yeah. And so technically I was like, have the soup
So like the soup, how about the sandwich? Yeah. And then
Let's, so, you know, so maybe, maybe that. I was like one of those people in, in college. I spent six years in college cause I paid for it myself. And college is expensive. Um, and so I always had like two or three jobs and they were always those sort of like customer service upselling kind of of gigs. But I didn't get my first like traditional like net new logo, sales job, um, probably until my last year of college. And it was bringing together a consortium of Montana businesses who were too small to win these big contracts on their own Uhhuh <affirmative>. But if we got them together and they, you know, you know, put all their complimentary areas of, of expertise into a pool, we could bid on World Bank gigs. Mm. Um, and so somebody paid me to do that, and I thought, I have a knack for this. This is fun. And here we are 15 years later,
<laugh>. Nice. So how did you, do you do well?
I did. Yeah, we did really well. We set up the entire program. I, gosh, I think it ended up being like 20, 22 businesses by the time I left. Um, and then they, they'd been on in one World Bank, um, gigs after, you know, after I, I departed and moved to Chicago.
Wow. So, wow. Yeah. That's what's up.
Pretty exciting. Yeah. Hopefully bringing some good, bringing some money back into my home state of Montana too.
So, you know, Leslie, the reason I always ask that question is I just want people to, I, I want 'em to lean into the love, right? Like, people, like you and I were so passionate about sales, so, so passionate about this profession because we know the good that we do in this world. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so I feel like it's important for us to, to not only evangelize, but let's own those numbers. Let's let people, let's have pride for that, for that number. Let's have pride of yours 15 years, getting 15 plus years, and let's have pride for what it is that we do. Because there's so much out there that kind of pushes against that, right? That all those bullshit narratives that are in movies and, and social and everything that, that kind of get people fired up that romanticizes and, and, and, and doesn't really give people an accurate perception.
I don't romanticizing, actually, that's actually a maybe the best way to put it. More times than not, we're not put in the right light, right? Like the light that you or I know that real successful sellers should be in. So like, I always wanna know, what did you start? What's your story? Like, let's own that. Let's share that with other people so that they can be inspired. Um, part of the journey to successful sales, as you know, or being a successful seller, there's a lot of mentorship and coaching, right? Mm-hmm. Because, you know, you went to University of Montana. That's right. Which, what that's get. Yeah.
And you know what, when you went, you probably didn't get a degree in sales or if there was a degree in sales, the things that you learned from there and with your sales degree weren't necessarily the things that you needed to know once you got into the, on the sales floor, on the sales world. And so there was someone that was maybe a peer or a, a manager or a leader colleague, someone that put their arm around you and said, Hey, listen, Leslie, this is how you do it. Or this is what we do. And that's how we learned. I call that person the unsung hero. So I, at this point, I want to ask you to shout out one of those unsung heroes from your career. Somebody to put their arm around you and said, Hey, listen, this is how you do it, and they made an impact. Let's let 'em know.
Okay. You know, I, I might go like slightly different direction. I'm gonna respect the question, but go a slightly
Different, it's your show,
<laugh>. Well, the reason Ron Ellen, and I think, uh, maybe you certainly people listening will, will find this relatable. Um, is that often in early career, it can be really difficult to find those types of mentors. It can be difficult to have those unsung heroes in your life. And I think that's especially true if you're like a quote unquote other, a woman, a person of color in an industry that doesn't look like you. Uh, so I really struggled, like, full disclosure, this is something I really, really struggled with for probably the first eight years of my career. I wanted a mentor. I couldn't find one. I had this very black and white idea of what a mentor needed to be in this like, kind of formalized, rigid way. Cause that's what I'd been told in college. A mentorship was. Um, and the moment that I, and I listened to it on a podcast, I wish I, who knows it probably like Radiolab or something, listen to somebody describe some of their mentorships on podcasts.
And some of them were very informal. Some of them were project-based, some of them were people that weren't necessarily older or wiser than them, but had something to teach and to share. So I am going to shout out a, a new mentor, a new friend, um, a woman called Megan misk. I don't know if folks are, are maybe familiar with her. Um, she is in sales enablement, sort of sales, like we're, she's not a net new logo person. We don't do the same job. She's younger than me. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, she has been this person that has so validated, um, I think some of my like emotional and mental frameworks that need to be broken. And she's been a person that has said, yeah, that's worth breaking. Let's break that so that we can rebuild it and make sure that it serves the version of you that you wanna carry forward. And that has been extraordinarily powerful. So like, broke the frame of what a, a mentor needs to be. And as a result, have had the opportunity to build this incredible relationship with my unsung hero, Megan.
Wow. Well, I love that. And thank you for taking kind of a different, I don't, taking a turn given a, a kind of a spin on that. So shout out to Megan and I can identify with that Leslie, much like you. Uh, yeah. I can't, there wasn't necessarily people in my career that just put their arm around me often and say, look, some young guy, this is how you're gonna do it. In fact, in building businesses and entrepreneurship, that didn't exist at all. Fortunately, early on in my career, I had a few people that took interest in me, but, and, and were able to, to, to gimme some guidance. And I'm appreciative of that. But the point that I, I'm kind of, I think what I'm taking from what you said is that, you know, that sort sorts of lessons and coaching and mentorship can kind of be all around us, and they may not look like what you expect them to look like.
Yes. Right. Like that, that wise, you know, gray-haired person that puts their, their arm around you. Um, you just have to kind of take advantage of what you can find and what you can see. I, I'd give some pe people advice as well. Like, you know, part of the reason why you and I are connected today is because of our activity and our vulnerability and putting ourselves out there on social. Like, that has been a game changer for me, right? Like yeah. Being able to build that group of, of mentors, some of them peers, some of them more experienced, but just that small group of people. Like, okay, I vibe with like you. And, um, and so, you know, that's something I would, I would advice I'd give to people. Have, have you found, found that since you kind of put yourself out there more on social and started building your brand, that it, it helped you in that way as well?
Oh, big time. Ronnell, big time. Um, now I have this insane network of folks with just tremendous expertise across a, a, a pretty cool, like, swath of areas, right? Yeah. Um, so I, I feel like my network is bigger and more diverse in terms of expertise and lived experience and narratives. And I just have free range to tap into this external perspective. Like, it is insane. And at the same time on my creator journey, I have had the privilege of sort of reclaiming my own narrative mm-hmm. <affirmative> and taking back some of that control, which has been not only powerful, but has helped me connect with people like you who also are out there being vulnerable. And I know that's kind of a buzzword right now, but like, but, but really like saying hard things. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and being okay with the fact that that maybe means will never be like the mainstream, the, you know, the million person creators. Yeah. Um, being okay with the fact that that means we'll probably attack track some trolls, um, but also seeing the result that we then have this like, genuine community that's been created in a virtual world. It's pretty cool stuff.
That's pretty cool. That's called leadership. That's what leaders do, right? That's what you're not being, putting yourself out there and not being afraid to take, you know, the negative, the good and the bad, whatever. You know, like I knew many years ago, um, that I wanted to be a leader. What, what let me know that I wanted to be a leader. This was way before the, the, the days of social media, um, back when I was a teenager, was that I wasn't afraid of the negative. I wasn't afraid of the negative repercussions of my decisions. You know, I wanted to make the decisions and whatever came with it, I was gonna be okay with that. And that's what I'm seeing with what social has allowed us to do as leaders is to that same thing that was in me way back then. Now I can show that to the world. Just like you're showing it to the world and it's attracting other leaders. It's real recognized real, right? Yeah. Cause we have that, that that same d n a,
Although I'm still looking at ball of anxiety at all times, so like, don't get it twisted people. I'm not out there like tippy typey send, I'm like, oh, wonder what's gonna happen here? Should I, should I dial that post back a bit? Was that two, you know, too assertive? Um, and then you just kind of have to press, send and hope for the best, but little ball of anxiety still. So if that's how you're feeling, don't let it stop you. <laugh>.
Well, that's when you know you've got a good one. That's when you know you're doing something that matters. Right? When you have that anxiety, when you push before you push it, you're like, oh God, this feel, oh, I don't know. Yeah. That's the best stuff. That's the most honest stuff, right? Yeah. That's the real, and that's what's gonna impact
If you feel that like nervousness and anxiety, it's because you care. Like you're doing something you deeply care about and you're nervous and anxious because it matters.
I agree. Love it. Okay. It is storytelling time. All right. So I'm gonna need you to grab a, you're in Chicago, it's cold. Go grab a blanket, get your teddy bear, whatever. It's time for you to tell <laugh> some cocoa. All right. So, you know, at this point in the podcast, I, I'd like to ask you to share a story. Um, something from your career could be good, bad, whatever, but tell me about something that happened to you that helped you to formulate your philosophy on either sales or or business today.
Hmm. Yeah, you know, I, I actually recently shared this story in, in a small group setting. So it's, it's pretty fresh in my mind. I, I cried when I shared it that time. I will not do that again. No promises. Um, but like, very, very high level, not getting into the, the nitty gritty details. Um, there has been this, this point sort of like two forks in the road in my career. And, um, at both forks, I had this real sense of like, not being good enough, not being enough. Um, and the first time it happened to me when I was job searching, I, I sort of chalked it up to, you know, I'm just kind of newer in my career. I don't have, as, you know, the big logos on my resume, you know, whatever, I'm gonna move on. And then 2, 20, 20, what year are we in? 2020
More <laugh>. We're in time. Is it? Well, we're, we're officially 23, but like, we're in whatever year you guys are watching this
Time is a concept come along for the ride. Um, but, you know, so then I, uh, continued to grow my career, grow my set of experiences, my depth of expertise. And in 2021, I knew I wanted to leave my current job. I was applying for new jobs, and I was getting a lot of the same reactions that I'd gotten, you know, eight years before when I'd made my first like, big career jump. And it was this kind of slap in the face, Ronald that it, that like, sexism and discrimination is still so freaking real. And you know, I think sometimes when I look at my LinkedIn newsfeed, I can trick myself into believing that it's not and believ in that we're all equal and there aren't subconscious or conscious biases. Um, and it was like truly this moment of realizing that it doesn't matter how many dashboards I show, like how many testimonials from past sales reps I have, how many awards I have that I've, I've won, that my team has won.
Like, for some people I will just never be enough because I don't look like what they want me to look like, and I don't talk or act how they want me to talk. Uh, and it was, it was a gut punch. I did, there was like one particular interview where I got off of, and I left my office and I went and just sat on the floor in the living room and looked at my husband and was like, I'm not even, do I, do I even wanna keep working in this space? Like, it, it's so clear that these people don't want me. Like, do I, why am I working so hard to stay in this space and make this space better when it's so evident that like, I'm not wanted here? Uh, and it took me a couple of weeks to kind of bounce back from that gut check, but what it solidified was my calling that like, that's the exact reason I need to be here.
That's the exact reason I need to take up more space and not just take up space for me, but take up space in an effort to make more space for others. Um, and very closely tied to that was a decision to not continue to job search, to turn down this 460 k job offer. I got that still blows my mind, would've been a truly life-changing amount of money. Um, and instead of taking all of that money, um, to quit my job and bet on myself because I, you know, I really, I, I realized that I needed to stop expecting others to see the potential in me that I knew was there and to like just go all in, um, on myself and my, my own business. So not an easy, like, it was not an easy journey. It was not an easy path to, to walk. There were definitely some really tough moments of imposter syndrome, of doubt, of really like questioning my entire career trajectory and career choice. Um, but the end of the journey was to really solidify my calling of that, you know, how we started the episode that, like, that vision, that legacy I wanna leave of creating a more inclusive, respected progression for everybody that, um, comes along with me and comes after me.
Wow. So you took that negative and you use that to reinforce your calling. You did and have leaned into that in your business to make, to make impact. I love that. Um, so what, how has that, how, how has that like, impacted you, um, today? Like, did it just make you like, go like gangbusters in that direction of, of, of, of, you know, working towards the vision? Or how, how did it impact you on a deeper level?
Ooh. I think in a, a couple of ways. You know, we were talking about content and one of the outcomes has been like an, an assuredness in my content. But like, I am not here to just go with the status quo. Like, part of my calling is to break the status quo, is to use my voice. It's like I'm pretty safe, right? Like I'm a middle class white woman, 15 years of experience, like a pretty good now. Like I'm, I'm in a pretty safe, privileged position, so I am now responsible. I feel responsible and I feel called to use my voice, um, for those people who maybe aren't in that, that type of position who don't have that same level of privilege. So I think that has been one area where I would say I have gone more gangbusters where I'm like, let's do this.
Um, but interestingly, on the other side, with my business, it has been much more intentionality and giving myself permission to, even as I'm building this business, like say no to clients that I don't think get sales in a way that they like respect that sales is a profession, not just a job, but it's a craft. Not just like people spamming and, and bots. Um, and to say no to people who aren't committed to inclusion on their sales teams. Um, so I have like very pointedly decided to keep my business smaller, to stay a solopreneur for the foreseeable future so that I can be more intentional versus like, scaling and having that pressure to take on revenue wherever I find it.
Okay. I love it. Thank you for sharing What a, what a great story. And I love that your passion is fueling your business now. Right? And you know, I think that what we learn where those of us have been in entrepreneurship for a long time is that when you can lean into your passion, you'll feel more fulfilled at the end of the day, you know, all right. It is time to get tactical, just like we teach in the book. Um, you know, we like, like to tell stories to help people better connect with philosophy. But at the end of the day, I don't believe that sales is difficult. Yes, it can be difficult. We make it more difficult. I believe that it's, it's really what it takes to be successful is really an understanding of fundamentals and, and simple execution and, and just a real pragmatic way about going about business. But I also believe that there's a lot of theoretical stuff out there. Like we talk about things like, you know, social selling, whatever other buzzwords. And people don't really know what that means. Theoretically. They know that what that means, but they don't know how to actually do that theoretical thing. So at this point in the podcast, I wanna ask you for either some advice or a tactic, something that is specific and you know, measurable that someone can take away from this episode and apply in their, their business today to start to see some success.
Ooh, that's a good one. Cause I love, I love a good actionable call, call to action. Um, you know, I was originally gonna go with something around email. Cause I love, I love cold email. And I think that's something that people like so over complicate when really the best messages are short, simple, straightforward, value-based. But you brought up social selling and I have seen so many folks, um, with, you know, kind of resolutions as we went into q4 as we're, as we're starting 20, 23 or whatever year we <laugh> we want this to be, um, that they want to have more of a presence, um, and create those kinds of connections and communities on LinkedIn or other platforms that, that we were sharing have brought so much value to us. And, you know, I was, was chatting with, um, a, a woman that I mentor earlier this week, and she was like, it's just, it's so overwhelming. Like, I don't have the time to research and it's, it's gonna take me two hour. And was, she was really getting in her own way, it was probably the, the simplest way to, to boil it down. Um, so here's a call to action to folks that want to create more of a presence on LinkedIn. Block one hour out of your calendar once a week and find 10 posts to leave meaningful comments on. Hmm,
Super easy, super actionable. When I say meaningful, I mean a full and complete sentence at the very least. Not just a couple of emojis or like A L F G or like a, you know, something like that. A meaningful post, something that adds value, uh, shares a perspective, maybe starts a conversation. So block one hour outta your calendar, go like, soon as you close this podcast, go to your calendar, figure out what hour's gonna work for you, block it, and then 10 engagements, uh, a week. And you'll be surprised the impact that makes in a very short time.
Do you have any on those 10 posts that they're focusing on? Like what should, should, should, what kind of work should they focus on? Or any specific person? Or like who should they, let's drill down on that a little bit
More. Yeah, yeah. Because it is going to depend on what you're doing, like what, what you want to get out of it. Um, if you were doing it strictly to build a pipeline, if you're doing it strictly with your prospects, uh, in mind, then I highly recommend that you find posts that your prospects, um, are writing. A really easy way to do that is to use the ring the bell feature and pick a small list. This has to be a very small list. Let's call it like 20 maximum, 30 key accounts that you want to penetrate by the end of the year. Ring the bell of the dec the ultimate decision maker for each of those accounts. They're gonna be on your newsfeed, you're gonna see them. That makes it really easy to find posts that you're like, oh, I have something to say there, or a question to ask.
Um, I think what is maybe easier and more fun and sort of attracts your prospects anyway because you are having dialogues is to pick 10 posts that you give a shit about. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, like any 10 posts, 10 posts that you read and you think that's compelling, that's interesting. Or maybe I disagree with that and have a question or wanna pose a a different narrative or, or, you know, a counter-argument. Um, so I just, I really encourage folks to, as they get started, not over orchestrate it. Like, just get started and instead of worrying about perfection, worry about showing up consistently and with meaningful comments, comments that add value.
Love it. Here's what I like about that first, um, anything you can put on the calendar, <laugh>, something that, that, that we'll get can and we'll get done. Right? So one hour 10 posts and meaningful comments, not just like, that was nice. Oh, nice. Good. Nice post, but meaningful. Um, and, and what I also like about that is the intentionality behind, um, and I think why it takes is you could literally like 10 posts, you could do that in 10 minutes if you wanted to, if you're not intentional, not focused on like, you know, really, um, commenting or finding posts or content from people that you really value. And I know that you as a content creator and myself as a content creator, we have this intense just appreciation for the value of anyone's attention, right? And I think that something that people need to pick up from your advice too is the value of their attention, right?
Take it seriously. Here's a couple reasons why. One, when you start posting or start not posting, when you start making comments, algorithms are kicking in. Like they're watching and they're saying, okay, like, oh, this person, you like Leslie's content. Okay, cool, alright, maybe we'll bring in some more Leslie's stuff. Or bring in somebody you like, Leslie, when you write some BS comment on some trash. Well, it does the same thing, you know, and it does the same thing. Well, not in reverse, but it's the same thing with that trash, right? It's like now you're gonna start seeing more trash mm-hmm. <affirmative> from, you know, superficial trash content per, uh, creators. So, you know, being intentional is a great way to, one, make sure that, you know, you're, you're appreciating the impact of your comment, but two, building your business. Think about that folks. Like, that's one of the things we've done with business in bourbon is build our network very intentionally.
And so you do that by who you connect with, who you send connection requests to, who you comment on, those sorts of things because you'll get the, those algorithms working in your favor. So, like Leslie said, if it's like, Hey, you want to grow your prospects, okay, cool, well then make sure you're commenting on people that are ideal prospects with meaningful comments like Leslie's saying. And guess what happens? Magically more people like those people will be exposed to the comments that you make and your profile. Um, I love that advice. Um, anything else that you want to add to that?
You know, I think maybe just a, a general call to action, um, that I would beg people to think about is to be careful about the type of content and the type of voices that they amplify. <laugh>, that could be a whole nother podcast. We don't need to go down the rabbit hole. Um, or,
Or private conversation <laugh>, right,
Right. <laugh>. It's just, it's something that I think about a lot. Um, yeah. And I want more people to just be aware that that is something that has an impact, not just on their own newsfeed, but really on the lives of our entire ecosystem.
Love it. And I appreciate that. Um, to the audience and personally,
All right. Um, all right, Leslie, thank you. This has been awesome. It's always great to chat with you. Um, again, fire wisdom, great story. How can people connect with you? How, what's the best way to, to reach out to you?
Absolutely. Find me on LinkedIn. Just my name, Leslie Vinet, um, or find me on TikTok at Sales Tips Talk.
Yep. And she's killing it on that. I'm trying to learn from you. You're doing a great job on that. You know, on TikTok,
I'm doing my l although I got named a LinkedIn Top Voice this year.
Nice. Congratulations. I'm a LinkedIn bottom voice. I don't know what that means, but that's what I got that I'm just gonna
<laugh>. I was like, wait, what? Who do I need to fight? <laugh>?
Well, we gotta ma now, now, once you're at the top, you gotta maintain it. So what's gonna happen now? Now you gotta you gotta keep the title.
I do. I have to.
Or should I, I dunno.
Celebrate. I'm gonna revel in this moment of 15 years of hard work and two years of daily content creation, but I got this recognition and if I get it again, sweet, if I don't, it's still worth it.
Yep. Well, congratulations on that. Thank you. Um, you're absolutely deserving. And folks, make sure that you're following Leslie and, um, hey, listen, if you've not got your copy of the book, go to the website, shut the hell up and sell.com. Get your copy of the book, make sure you check out all episodes of our podcast. Um, you can, everything shut the hell up and Sell is accessible through the website, the website. So go there, make sure you're checking in. Make sure you're following Leslie, listening to all of our podcast episodes and taking this great advice that you're getting from some, some industry leaders. So again, guys, as we always say, if you don't remember anything else, at the very least, sh say less, sell more. Thanks for listening. See you guys next time.
Hey guys, it's Ronnell and I just wanted to thank you for listening to this episode of the Shut the Hell Up and Sell podcast. If you liked it, please rate us five stars on whichever podcasting platform you're listening to this one. And while you're at it, punch that subscribe button. That way you get notified every time we drop a brand new episode. Hey, I'd also appreciate it if you went to our website, shut the hell up and sell.com and became a member. It's absolutely free. And you'll have the opportunity to listen to previous episodes of our podcast, check out some of our free courses, get a copy of the book, and we'll send you sales tips and motivational nuggets from time to time. Lastly, if you'd like to book me for either appearances or speaking engagements, just send an email to my team at team at shut the hell up and sell.com.