Understanding the Mindset of Sales - Ken Lundin

mindsel sales May 06, 2021
Mark Struczewski, Ken Lundin

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Ken Lundin owns a sales consultancy for B2B companies that are breaking the traditionally ineffective sales consulting model. He is a fitness junkie who wants to see the sunset from every continent.

Mark Struczewski
We're going to talk about sales and growing business and the entrepreneur. But before we get started, why don't you tell us a little bit about what you do?

Ken Lundin
We'll make it short and easy, because not many people tuned into your podcast to hear about what I do. So, from that perspective, we have a sales consulting agency, and we're essentially breaking that old sales training and consulting model that just quite frankly, doesn't work and isn't in the best interest of entrepreneurs and business owners. You know, it's more one-sided. So we have a team that does the what, the why, and the how, stands beside you and gets dirty. So we have a fantastic team, and we help b2b businesses.

Mark Struczewski
Love it. And to this day, I still think the best salespeople in the world are kids. When they want that candy or that toy, they throw everything at it. Temper tantrums, whining, falling on the floor. You remember those days, don't you?

Ken Lundin
Oh, I remember them well. I'm going to be 50 this year, but my girlfriend, her youngest is six; my kids are out of the house. He's six and teaches me something that I had forgotten about sales every single day. And I think probably the key thing he teaches us is that persistence pays more often than you think it will.

Mark Struczewski
I can vouch for that. I remember, I used to be in the store with my parents and I would see candy or a toy or something I wanted. And I would give everything I could to make that sale. And unfortunately for me, my parents were very resilient to my temper tantrums and my sales pitches; they said no means no. And so I did not win that game too often.

Ken Lundin
Yeah, I don't know that he wins that often. But let's just say that he has a short term memory. And so he does better than most of the entrepreneurs I know, because he doesn't remember the last no.

Mark Struczewski
Let's talk about that. Because I'm a fan of the National Football League. And quarterbacks have to have a really short memory. So if they throw an interception, or if they throw a ball too long, they can't dwell on it. They can't say, oh man; that's why they do the post game analysis the next day, to look at the tape. But when they do that bad play, well, they get another play, and they have to have a short memory. And you're saying entrepreneurs should have the same short memory?

Ken Lundin
Yes, I think that's totally true. I think that's the fundamental problem. There's so much negativity today associated with failing. And so everything is seen as a failure, instead of as part of the day, Take another sports analogy.You're a baseball Hall of Famer, if you don't get on base 65% of the time, right? You hit 350. You're a Hall of Famer, and you're fantastic. And I think there's a lot to be said for it. And in business, we have this unique ability actually to try something. And then if it's not going our way, we can make a small pivot or a move and not be stubborn about it. So instead of getting three strikes, we're given 10, 12, or 20, just depending on how you want to slice up your life.

Mark Struczewski
And entrepreneurs, the way I look at entrepreneurs, we're like a little rowboat, or a tugboat. We're not a titanic, the major corporations, you know, Apple, Google, Microsoft, they're this ginormous Titanic. And when they want to make a change, it's a little bit more difficult and time consuming to change the direction of the ship. When you're an entrepreneur, you can just change directions and like you say, pivot imme diately.

Ken Lundin
I think it's true. And I think it's an underrated skill set. You know, especially when you talk about entrepreneurs, one of the things they talk about when they start talking about companies that get funded, the VC funds or private equity, they talk a lot about the technical versus the non-technical founder. In general terms, a technical founder, someone who just believes; they know the product and service, and get just so invested in the product or service. And it's funny, because we may feel like a rowboat or a tugboat, but at the end of the day, when you get on the water, you always feel like you're going faster than you are, it's like the water are getting on a motorcycle or something along those lines. And so we have to understand that we're not going at breakneck speeds, and we can absolutely slow down and start to make changes that might be effective for us. And quite frankly, you know, I know it as an entrepreneur. Yeah, we everybody out there probably feels that responsibility to grow a company for their employees. You know, these are the people that took a chance on them when they were one person. It was their first hire. It was their second hire, it was their fifth hire. And these are the people who could have gone and taken a big job or gone somewhere else. And so most of the people we work with, I know, they feel that emotional pull to do it. But yeah, I think you're right. It's it's, we can be quicker than we give ourselves credit for. But we need to put a little extra forethought into it, because change for the sake of change is also something that's incredibly disruptive to teams.

Mark Struczewski
I agree with that. And I also think that some companies are trying to grow too fast. I have talked to several people, where they hung out their shingle, and then they're trying to hire all these assistants and VAs and get all these business services. And I say, hold on a second, you have no income; you need to have some expense in the beginning. But I think you need to be really careful. And so many people are looking at the big successful companies, and they look at all the things they have, but you don't have their kind of income at this point. And I would tell most entrepreneurs to slow down, take your time and get it right, rather than stumbling and bumbling. Do you agree with that?

Ken Lundin
I would say that I agree with that, but I think we can be more specific about it. As long as you have time in the day, you should be doing the menial tasks. But the moment that your time in the day could be spent in something that is truly more productive, and most of the time for a small company, that means selling deals, something that's really going to actually be additive and add traction, well, then you can start to outsource some. So as an example, we have a company we've grown with four consultants. We have a gentleman launching Brazil, and I'm still doing a lot of the stuff that I just have to grind through. We're hopeful that as we continue to add on more business, that I'll move some of that off my plate. I'm not going to outsource something for two weeks. It has to be part of a strategic play, that's going to make sure that I'm doing things that add more value to the company. But I certainly think that some do try to go fast. Why do you think everyone's in such a darn hurry?

Mark Struczewski
Well, for what I see is they don't want to go through the steps to achieve their end goal. They look at people who are uber-successful today, forgetting that they were not created yesterday, okay, like take Facebook, or Instagram or Gary Vaynerchuk. They've been working on a process for years. And when you hang out your shingle, you're like, Wow, look at Gary Vaynerchuk, look at Grant Cardone, look at Tony Robbins, but they didn't start where they are now. And I think people lose sight of that. Because we live in a social media world. And we see everybody's glamorous pictures on social, but you're seeing where they are today. Very few people share where they came from, and most importantly, how long it took them to get where they are today.

Ken Lundin
Yeah, they're an overnight success in 10 years, right. So I think that's true. I think in this day and age, like the Social Media Day of social media, it's instant gratification. And it's always been a part of the human condition. But holy cow, now, you know, if I can't, you know, you have it done today, then why should I do it? And I think you bring up an interesting point. Because the fundamental gap between where they're at, entrepreneurs today, and the success that they would like to achieve in the next year, five years, 10 years, is that they're thinking oh, I know where I want to go. But they're failing to piece together the 100 little steps that are required one after another to make that successful. You know, we were talking with a company, a potential client of ours last week. And they were saying, so tell me, where do we get an exit, you know, and I and I said, whoa, they're there to try to talk exit price two and a half years from now. They wanted to sell the company. And I said, okay, I get it, we can talk about what could be. But, there are 250 other things that have to happen in a specific order systematically to have that happen. And so I think the other thing a lot of entrepreneurs have to figure out is this, and I'd be interested in your input on this, Mark. You know there's such a negative connotation around the idea of a lifestyle business. People think they have to be the biggest and the best, you know, and but there's the 95 or 90% of all businesses in the world are those lifestyle businesses and they can provide a very, very good income for somebody to be comfortable. And so I'm wondering if you see it, as I see it. I think sometimes you have to decide, are you trying to be a billion-dollar company, a $10 million company, a $5 million company? Why? Or is it cool that you're just making an awesome living? And you have time to spend with your family? And you can take vacations, and you don't have the additional stress. And so I think there's this negative connotation with lifestyle businesses, and what is your experience around that?

Mark Struczewski
Well, you just said my favorite word. I love the word why. Because so many people are in a hurry, rush, rush, rush, rush. And I'm thinking, why do you want to do this? And I love how Gary Vaynerchuk puts it. He says, I know people who make $40,000 a year, who are happy. Now know people who make $40 million a year and they're miserable. And I think because we only get one life, you need to be happy. And if money makes you happy? Well, Mazel Tov. I like spending time with my wife spending time with my dog. I like reading. And so for me, it's not about chasing the money. Now, don't get me wrong, you need money to pay the mortgage and feed the family and keep the lights on. But I think you have to have a bigger purpose. I don't think money should be your biggest purpose. Because you'll never have enough, you'll make a million, then you'll need 10 and then 100. And you make a billion. You get to a point where it's not enough. And so I think people need to camp out on the word why. And maybe get a notebook and a pen and go someplace quiet and think okay, what is my why? Why am I doing what I'm doing? Whether it's business or service doesn't matter. But really diving deep into your why can bring clarity. Spend the time to consider the why. People say well, I'm kind of good at XYZ. So I'm going to launch a business and hire all these people. And then I'm going to have Lear jets. Why are you doing it? Do you agree?

Ken Lundin
Yes, I think that it's interesting. I think we talked about the world's oldest training model. So tell everybody something that's true, been around forever, but it's not mine. Right? So there's, they say, we're gonna train somebody, like teach them to do a new skill set, you tell them the why, why it's important, what it is, how to do it, and then what to do now. And so I think what's really funny is that we e find a way not to do those four things in our own life. And so we may say, I know what to do, but I don't know why I'm doing it. Or I know why to do it. But I don't know how to do it. And unfortunately, because we can't discern between the different necessary skill sets in each of those buckets, we don't know where to turn for help. But yeah, I certainly think the why is the thing that matters, you know, for me, we're trying to grow our company pretty aggressively, not because money has nothing to do with it. Yes, I want to make a great living. Yes, I want to pay for my children's college. They won't yet let me come to a public school and tell them how to sell more. So I can't do a trade. You know, that's one of those things. But I think at the end of the day, you know, we're growing it because of our desire to serve more people. And because the growth itself and providing opportunities for my staff, is the thing that makes me happy. That is the thing that drives our happiness.

Mark Struczewski
Yes, I think the listener needs to think about when they wake up, how are they feeling? Now I wake up every day, like a little boy on Christmas morning, I'm excited for every day. Who am I going to meet? What am I going to experience? What am I going to learn? If you wake up thinking, ah, just another day, you may need to investigate because you may make good money, you may get great perks, like vacation and a corner office. But if you wake up and you're miserable, I think you need to start there. It goes back to what we talked about, being a why, you know, I think you need to be happy. And I think happiness is not talked a lot about in entrepreneurial circles. Everybody's just thinking money, money money, client, client, client. And I'm asking, is that what makes you happy? And because it sounds kind of woo-woo people don't like to talk about that.

Ken Lundin
Yeah, it's the grind. And I think it's the Monday morning test, to be specific. Yeah, come through a weekend traditionally for most, for most people taking that Saturday, Sunday off. And then coming back to Monday morning. Do you wake up Monday morning and think, man, I wish I had another weekend day? If you're not excited to go do the thing you do to serve the people you serve, figure it out. Because at the end of the day, we only have one life. And that's just kind of the thing that we go through, we go to the owner and talk to him and say, here's the deal. Yes, we're going to help you professionally, yes, we're going to help your company. But we have to figure out how you are going to be happy because we can grow your company to x. And that's not going to matter if you're still not feeling comfortable, happy, excited about the journey. So I agree with you. We have to get into the why, you have to look at happiness; those are all things we've made it a priority to talk about how hard we work, and how miserable we are. And that's no good.

Mark Struczewski
You know, what's interesting is I titled this something along the lines of sales. People are probably listening, thinking okay, where are Ken's sales tips? But I think we have to get the mindset right, we have to get the why right first, because you can give me your top 50 tips., but if people are not happy, if they're not going to understand their why, I would argue that those tips that you can give us don't really make a difference. Do you agree or disagree?

Ken Lundin
I think it's more about the mindset part. But how do you put yourself in a mindset to actually change behavior? Because the truth is, if you're listening to this, because you saw a title that said sale something or another, right, then you're wanting to change the current state. But here's the truth, you cannot do that unless you change the mindset. We'll talk to companies, and they don't like this. So I just don't do this often, but they don't like it. So we'll talk to companies and we'll ask, hey, so how's this year going versus your sales goals?

We ask, how much do you plan to grow this year? They say 50% for example. We'll ask how much did you grow last year? They'll say 10%. We ask, how are you doing versus the 50% goal this year? They'll say, well, we're behind it. We ask, what changes did you make this year so that you could grow 50% instead of 10%? Crickets. It's as if we think because we put it on our spreadsheets, that it is doable. So yes, you're right, the mindset change leads to behavior change, because behavior change is what leadership, winning, the path to a life that is more fulfilling than you're currently in, is about your ability to manifest your own behavior changes as well as behavior changes on your team.

Mark Struczewski
That is gold right there, listener; behavior change. So if you made, say, $50,000, last year, you're a small entrepreneur, and you want to make $100,000 this year, and you want to double your income? Well, what Ken just said is, what are you doing differently? If you're doing the same things you did in 2020 in 2021, the odds are, you're probably closer to the $50k than $100k. So I want to make sure the listener doesn't miss that. Because you can't get different. You can't get a better income and better clients if you're going to do the same process day in and day out. So you have to have a behavior change. And I think that is very, very powerful.

Ken Lundin
A lot of people say, oh, yes, I want to change. I want to be the best. Okay, great, everybody says they want to change, but if you ask how many people are actually willing to change, all the hands go in their pockets. But the other way you can measure that as an entrepreneur is do you spend more time in a reactive frame of mind or proactive? Do you spend more time creating change as opposed to responding to change? It's a pretty good litmus test for figuring out where am I really, and what I need to do.

Mark Struczewski
What's interesting is when you said everybody says they want more money, they want more sales, more clients. I've never met one person who says, I'm good. In fact, I want fewer clients. I want to make less money. I want to be less busy. No one says that. Everyone wants more. But nobody is proactively changing what they do.

I say, I never talk about math on the show, but 2x2 equals four. You have to change your behavior because it doesn't matter how many times I do 2x2, it always equals four. I could use a pencil, pen, blue ink, it doesn't matter. It's still the same. I haven't changed anything. I just changed the paint. Some people think, well, I changed the font on my website, or I changed my headshot, or I changed my logo. That's not what you're talking about, Ken, that's not the behavior you're talking about. That's cosmetic. And I think a lot of people get caught up in that they change their header on Twitter, or Facebook or LinkedIn, that's cosmetic. What are you going to do to make more money and get more clients and make a bigger difference this year? Because I'm really going back to what you said. It's all about the behavior change. And I don't think people are talking enough about that.

Ken Lundin
It's interesting, too, because sometimes it's just how you feel about yourself, because the truth is, in 100% of the companies that we've been in, we've been able to get them to increase the price. There's not a single industry right now that says, You know what? We're not under competitive market pressures.? We don't see any pricing compression, we don't see competitors trying to discount. Everybody believes they're under pricing pressure. That's largely your own mindset because you aren't asking how you can add more value for your customer. First, change the way you think about your product or service. If you're solving the most valuable problem for your prospects, increase your price. It all goes to the bottom line, it all ends up being net income. The nice thing about this is, I'm going to help as many people as I can, solve their biggest problem that I'm uniquely qualified to solve. Guess what? You get paid more for that. So everybody says, oh, I want more clients to get more revenue, they think, we're getting more clients, which creates more revenue. And that's the only path. It's not the only path; create more value, get paid better for what you do, have happier customers, and have fewer customers.

Mark Struczewski
That's important; it is another track and I tell you, I got caught in that. I have a program called the digital productivity coaching program. And I overcomplicated it, which is going against what I teach. I teach to keep it simple. So clients got in there, they loved it. But then I started adding all these things in the periphery. But the problem is, is that's not what they wanted. It's what I thought they wanted, it's what I thought they needed. They never asked for it. When I started getting rid of all this complexity, then it started taking off because the core thing is what they wanted, the core thing is what they needed. And I unnecessarily made it complex. They're like, I don't understand what are you doing with all this stuff. And so it hurt my brand. Because I was doing what I thought they needed. And you made a good point. What they needed was x, I was giving them x and y, and they got confused. So that's a real-life lesson for the listener.

Ken Lundin
That's awesome. We have a program called the market acceleration program, which is powered by a venture capital company that we have a partnership with called growth x. And so what you're talking about is essentially a piece of what we call the sales alpha roadmap where people unintentionally give the customer what they think they want, instead of what the customer explicitly told us they want. And that product-market fit, that ability to say, I'm solving this problem that's super important to you, is the path to higher sales, better margins, less buyer friction, and the ability to actually grow your business at whatever rate you want. Because let's think about it this way. Why do you want to earn more money? I can tell you the number one reason that I want to make a decent income. I just want options. And by making a good living, I have options with what I can do; if I want to sell my company or take a week off, or whatever it is. And so by doing what you just did, going back and saying, okay, let me ask my customers what it is they really want. Holy cow, two things happened, you give them what they really want. So they're a happy customer and they're willing to pay more, which, you know, we don't have to talk numbers. But the real second component of that is, guess what you just did for yourself, you decreased all those operating costs that it took to create the products in a vacuum without feedback from your market. So that's fantastic stuff. That's a great real-life exam.

Mark Struczewski
That is gold, I tell you, what you said about making a lot of money to give you more options. I am a bullet journaler. That is going into my bullet journal, because that is gold, getting options. When you have a lot of money, you have options. So a lot of people operate like this, you're at the airport, and for whatever reason, you missed your flight. If you don't have any money, what do you do? Now you're thinking, how will I get the family back home? But if you earn a lot of money, it's no big deal; you just buy another plane ticket. That's a real-life example. If you don't have the money, you can't buy a new plane ticket. If you have the money. It's easy, you just buy an airplane ticket, you don't have to worry about it. We could talk about a lot of examples like that. But I love how you said it. When you make a lot of money. It gives you options. When you don't make a lot of money, you have to take what's given to you.

Ken Lundin
Most people listening to your podcast probably didn't go into business to make a ton of money. They went into business because they didn't like their boss and they think, I can do this better than that person. But that's where you have to make those decisions. There's a systematic way to grow your company. When you do that, it's predictable, and it's scalable. But if you try to hop through the systematic components of it, you'll struggle and then the money won't come as easily, the success you feel because most of us do it for more of an emotional reason, like we really we made an impact. That won't come as easily when you're really trying to skip over things and go too quick. All I'm asking you to do is take 12 months instead of four to secure your future.

Mark Struczewski
Wow. Well, you've given us a lot to think about, a lot of insights. I want to thank you for being on the show. Where can we go to find out more about you and what you're doing in the world?

Ken Lundin
They are perfect. You can actually find me at kenlundin.com, and we're very active on LinkedIn. So please feel free to look me up on LinkedIn as well. And let me know that you heard Mark's podcast. If you do that we actually have a thing we do when people come to us through great venues like this. We will give you a 30-minute sales strategy call just to hear what's going on in your world and to see whether or not we might be able to add a little bit of value to you.

His website

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