Episode 2 - High Stakes Sales with Doug Mitchell

Settle in and prepare to be regaled by the awesome Doug Mitchell, who takes us on a rollercoaster ride through the peaks and valleys of professional sales. From his modest beginnings hawking knives to building a sales empire, Doug's stories are bound to captivate and enlighten. We talk shop about the evolution from sales maverick to strategic leader, and the critical need for systems that work as hard as you do. Doug even lets us peek behind the curtain at a close call with a mob-connected loan, proving that the world of sales is not for the faint of heart.

red and white sale LED sign

As we swap tales from the trenches, I'm reminded that the power of a well-placed pause and an open ear can turn a pitch into a partnership. We dissect the nitty-gritty of deal-making, tackling the allure of overconfidence and the art of active listening. Doug and I agree that sales is a craft honed by experience and sharpened by diversity; we encourage newcomers to cast a wide net with multiple prospecting strategies. Tune in for an episode brimming with sage advice, strategies for success, and the kind of stories that only come from a lifetime of saying, 'Yes, and...' to the unpredictable world of sales.

Key Moments:

  • -The importance of building processes and systems early on.
  • -A crazy mob-related story!
  • -What is active listening?
  • -The necessity of having multiple sales strategies to increase growth.

What's up, everybody? Welcome back to Call the Damn Leads, the show by sales professionals for sales professionals, bringing you all the craziest sales stories I can find. I'm your host, Drewy Wilson. I'm excited to be here with you. After two decades in sales, this is by far the most significant industry on the planet because of the fantastic stories we get to learn and the fact that we get to write our paychecks and build a life that we get to control.

I'm bringing you some of the greatest stories, tactics, and everything you need to succeed on your sales journey. Today's guest is a personal friend of mine, someone who has equal 20-plus years in the sales industry and someone who I've genuinely got to see build, lose, and rebuild, and really experience what it means to go through this process of being a sales professional through being a business owner. And I know he's got some wild-ass stories. So I'd like to welcome my friend Mr. Doug Mitchell. What's up, brother?

Thank you for having me brother. I couldn't be more excited about being on this podcast, man. This is, uh, this is your element, dude. This is everything you're about, so I'm excited to see this flourish. I appreciate that, man, and I know we've got a long history, and we've shared many wild, amazing stories together, and one thing I'm excited to hear more about is some of those stories from you. But I want to get started, man. How did you get into sales, and what do you sell now?


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Sales Prospecting Techniques Highlighted in Entrepreneur's Journey from Cutco to Multi-Million Dollar Door-to-Door Sales

Man, so my first experience in sales was with Cutco knives. I did a stint with Vector Marketing for six months. That's where I learned many of the foundational stuff I did in sales. But when I started to get heavy into it, I worked for another entrepreneur. He had several different businesses; one was a door-to-door sales company for AT&T. It was crazy that these guys were knocking on doors, making $1,000 a week. That was a lot back then. I was making 30 grand a year as a marketing manager.

And so I was intrigued by it, so much so that I asked him if I could step in and manage it when one of his managers left. And so I stepped in, started working it, got the business back to black, eventually owner-financed it from him, and grew it into a multi-million dollar door-to-door sales company. My experience is different than most. You know, I started at the top, being a manager. I sold for 90 days, and then after that, it was just about building systems and processes and scaling a very, very simple business selling cable door-to-door.

That's awesome, man. One thing I know about you is that you genuinely embody sales and processes and all things like nerdery when it comes to sales, which is one thing I love about you because I'm also very high on the nerdery scale. And I've seen you, and we've talked extensively about that. But I want to go back to being like the old-school man. I want to share this whole podcast show, which is about finding crazy-ass sales stories. So I need to know, man, in your two-plus decades of sales, you got a crazy call, the damn lead tale you can share with us?

Absolutely, brother. I got one for you, and it involves the mob, so you'll like it. It was my sixth week in business. I had owner-financed that door-to-door sales company I was telling you about and realized there was no need for more paycheck stories. So, I needed to catch up. Back then, AT&T paid—it was like a net 45 or something like that—so I had to pay my guys weekly, and I had to wait six weeks to get paid for AT&T.


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How Creative Sales Prospecting Techniques Led to Borrowing from the Mob to Pay My Team


So, what happened is sales went through the roof, and so I wasn't getting paid enough compared to what we were selling, so I had to pay my guys, and I ran out of money. I was six grand short, right? And so I'm being very transparent, I tell my sales manager, hey, I've got to go find this money, right? I'm calling every family member. The guy that owner-financed it to me, he's like, no, you're on your own. It's too bad I won't finance that, even though it was guaranteed money from AT&T.

This is on installs. But they pay a net of 45. Anyways, my manager's like, hey, I know a guy. If you borrow $1,000 from him today, you only have to pay him back 1,200 in two weeks. If you've got some experience with the street hustle, you know exactly what this is. You know what I'm saying. It's 20 points, correct, and so I didn't know I did not know. And so he gives me an address, and he says hey, this is the s going to write your name down in a book, and you're going to sign it.

So I went, and I wrote my name down in the book. I write it for six grand. I don't know what this guy was thinking. He saw my bank account and what was going on there, but he was an older gentleman who looked utterly harmless. And so we're talking the following week. I already paid him back. I gave him his 20 points on top of that. And I'm talking to the sales manager, and he's like, hey, how did everything go? Did you get the money you needed? Our paychecks are coming through, so I'm guessing you did. I said yeah, absolutely. I did. The guy was great. It cost me 20%, which sucked, but we got everybody paid on time, which was super important to me.

And so I'm talking to him, and he's like, oh yeah, apparently he is affiliated with the mob, so I found out at that moment that I had borrowed money from the mob to pay my salespeople. So when I say I've done everything possible to get my guys paid on time, I've even borrowed money from the mob and risked my own life and limbs to make that happen. So that's my crazy sales story, crazy entrepreneur story doing whatever it takes to get our guys paid sometimes 20 freaking points, man.

That is, I mean, it's like, going to the cash or check places these days, man. I'll never forget my mom used to go to those places, and they would bonk her right over the head. It's like, you're going to get 500, and you're going to pay us 750, and that doesn't make sense. What do you mean? But hey, man, when you're in a position like that, you must do what you must, right? And that's one of the things I really love about you, Doug, and that is your willingness as a leader to step in and do whatever it takes for your team to make sure they get paid.

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Sales Prospecting Techniques and Leadership Insights

And anyone listening to this in sales has been in a position where they've been out there crushing it, and then their paycheck wasn't what it was supposed to be, or it got delayed because of this or whatever happened. And you know, I've experienced it myself. Thankfully, most of the guys I've worked for when it happened were good at it, and they're like, hey man, I will make it right. What do we get to do, um, like yourself? But then I've heard horror stories of people who have, and I'm not going to mention any specific industries, but it has to do with the sun.

And those poor guys, like they do the whole ass thing, and they're not getting paid six months nine months a year out, and so hey man, I know this is stuff that genuinely happens in the world of sales. Um, but you as a leader stepping up to do that for your guys, man, not only is that a crazy ass story to learn that, like, oh, I could have been really messed up. But to know that you're on a team like that, right, having someone that you know would go and borrow money from the mob to make sure you get your paycheck, that's something to look for if you're in sales, and you're trying to find the right company or the right fit.

Who are the people behind the scenes? Who's really going to bat for you? What kind of leaders do you know? Do they jump in the trenches with you and make sales? Doug, that's again one of the things I love about you, man. You're literally willing to do that. I've seen it. We've gone out and done the Apex Evolution together, gotten dirty, and gotten into it. And I would say that's one of your skills and one of your unique, but I don't think that's really it, man, and one of the things I always like to ask on this show because we work and we deal with so many sales professionals everyone has their own little strategy.

What would you say is your secret weapon when it comes to salesman? You know, and it's going to be the cliche one, it really is it. I can shut up. It really is like I can shut up and listen and let them tell me how to sell them because if you let them tell their stories, if you let them say their experiences with whatever product you're trying to sell them or about their business, you know if you're doing B2B or something like that if you let them get out a few stories and actually like vent a little bit like their wives won't let them or their husbands won't let them.

And don't try to solve all their problems at that moment if you take the time to let that happen. There's going to be a few nuggets in there there's going to be a few nuggets in there that when you do finally give them the presentation, it's a home run, you know, and that's the way I wouldn't say I like overcoming objections. I wouldn't say I like rebuttal. I wouldn't say I like having to do a rehash or anything; I like closing. It's a yes or a no, right, and if it's a yes, great. If it's a no, it usually has to do with I don't have the money right now, you know what.

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Sales Prospecting Techniques and Effective Listening

I'm saying, and then we can work on payments or whatever we got to do there, but if I've done my job correctly by the time we get to the close, I've handled all the objections. I've overcome whatever blockers they have that would have stopped them from doing business with me today, and so again, in my mind, the secret weapon is listening about 60%. You know your intro and your close is about 10%, and your presentation is about 30%. If you can do that, you'll always be in good shape. If not, you'll have given them a good experience even if they can't afford the product.

Man, I absolutely love that. One of the biggest things that I WR recognize in younger, newer sales reps is that when they come in, they're a little nervous and go through things slowly. They're like, I want, I want to make sure I get everything, and then they get a couple of deals under their belt. They start feeling confident, skipping steps, and just going right to the close, right to the close, and it's like, well, what I gave you a hundred leads? What happened. It's like, a man, they don't know this whatever it's like, well, hold on, you do the whole thing, though?

For example, when you were following ev, every step, we saw that you had closed 25 of those hun statistically red. This last month, you only closed five of those hundreds, so I do not believe you've gotten worse in your ability. The question is where did we skip the steps? The steps are always what really get us to that end result, and it's the questions that we ask it's the rapport that we build, and, more importantly, it's us shutting up and letting the client tell us what we need to hear so that we can genuinely help them solve their problem.

And again, Doug, you're an expert at this, man. We've worked together for five years now, and I know you have this uncanny ability to sit down, listen to what people are saying, where they're coming from, and point them in the right direction. So she is a story about a time when you were like really going through that and, you were like, man, this is like I'm doing everything that I know, but it seems like this isn't going to happen, but you still seemed like you turned it around. Tell me a story about a deal you thought was totally lost, and then you managed to pull it out.

Man, that would be one of my first consulting gigs that I put together. I didn't even know what my offer was at the time. The guy just knew he wanted to work with me, but I didn't know how or what capacity, you know what I'm saying, and I also wasn't sure how to price it. I had talked to a few people in Apex and in the other groups that I was in about what was reasonable and everything, but when it comes to selling your time, that isn't easy to price. Some of the most excellent salespeople are some of the most. There's no better way to say it than humility.


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Sales Prospecting Techniques and Challenges in Practice

Some of the most excellent salespeople are humble because they follow the process. They trust the process more than they trust themselves. You know what I'm saying like you were saying. When they hit all those points in the process, they make money and follow the formula repeatedly. And so you know, in structuring this yo, I put together a 25k consulting package. This is the first time I was pitching it and going through it and everything, and, um, it was a home services company, and they had an in-home team, right.

They didn't do the door, too. They got their leads for marketing, and then they scheduled in-home appointments, so he wanted to get his close rate from 22% to what I told him would be a lot more. It would be doable, which is over 30%. There were some accent issues where I couldn't understand them half the time, you know what I'm saying, and so right away we weren't able to build that rapport, you know what I mean, and that's incredibly important. Still, I couldn't understand it half the time, so I'm getting responses to my questions and trying to build a report and everything. I do not understand the reactions, so you can imagine how difficult that was.

Then I went into the qualify, and luckily, his COO came into the conversation and walked me through some of the things I needed to hear. Still, his COO was very standoffish and much like I was encroaching on his territory a little bit, which was the furthest thing from the truth. I knew they needed my service because they didn't. They still needed to write out a comp plan. They didn't have a, you know, a script or any of that stuff. There needed to be a structure to it as one-to-one training for 12 salespeople in the company.

They were doing one-to-one training with every hire, and you know, it was like, hey, come with me; I'll show you how to do this. It's some of the most challenging training to stay consistent and build a program correctly. So it was very much like I was getting the brick wall and everything, and uh, by the time I got I came to the presentation, I was like there's I'm just going to do this quick and dirty because I already know I was already doubting myself I guess I already knew that this wasn't going to happen they didn't have the budget the COO wasn't filling it. So I did. I literally spoke for 5 minutes about my process.

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Sales Prospecting Techniques: Navigating Cultural Differences in Negotiation

You know, I walked him through the audit. This is the program we're going to build. Here are some programs I've built before and what they look like, and then basically I, went through the cloth right, and of course, at the close he, he did, you know hey I'm going to talk to my wife she's my real she's the actual CEO right and then and then my COO and then we're going to get back to you and so here I am thinking oh they're going to get back to me whatever the case. I wasn't trying to hard close them, you know. What would be the objection now if you talk to your wife and your COO?

You know what I'm saying, so I was trying to draw it out. I would have usually done that, but by this point, the body language, the tone, and everything was off, so maybe 30 minutes later, he called me back and said we were in. And so what I found out after working with that client for a while is he was originally from Trinidad, so they have a different culture. You know what I'm saying? It's like Japanese culture. They're not. They don't have a whole lot of emotion. You see, they're not big on anything but the business when they're in a sales conversation like that, so it was very similar, and so, uh, what I didn't realize was it was just like a cultural difference. I was expecting them to, like, you know, be having a good time like we are right now on this podcast and be doing all these things, but that culture difference is what made me believe that hey, this isn't going well, and they're not about this and then 30 minutes later he calls me he's like I'm all in.

What I also want to point out is that I had been building my machine for probably at least a year at that point, and I hadn't been selling consulting at all. So what he told me was that I've been following you for several months already and seeing your content and everything, and that's why I reached out, but he didn't tell me that until after he engaged services with me. Man, there's a lot to unpack from that story.

First and foremost, that cultural difference in negotiation that's so powerful, and it's not really something that you can train on until you're at like a very high level of sales because you don't know until you really start understanding like tonality and body language and specific and that that next level of cultural understanding. Like, I remember working, um, in the tobacco industry, and during the Christmas holidays, we'd always get a lot of Asian people in. They would be just tough negotiators, and it was just like I never understood until I realized that was just part of their culture, right? That's just how they operate.


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Sales Prospecting Techniques and Building Trust

And it sounds like you had this same kind of thinking experience. Hey, man, I'm fun and exciting, and this is how I roll. They weren't like that, and you were like, Man, this is like I screwed this deal up only to find out they're getting ready to wire you 25g; like what the hell of a story, man, those are some of my favorites. I started the show, too, because so many of us in sales have that experience. We go through these situations where it's like there's no way that anyone else has had to deal with this crazy, and for the most time, you're right; no one has had that specific situation, but we've all had some crazy similar experiences.

And so, man, it's so cool to hear how you overcame that in your own life and situation and also knowing that part you mentioned about building the machine right, getting that no like and trust fact, having created enough content and goodwill in the marketplace to have the ability to walk in and say cool 5 minutes I'm going to do this this this. This here's what you can expect here's what's going to happen as 25gs what you want to do and they're like I'm going to make you know the same objection that everyone is I got to talk to my partners right because that's yeah the world we're in.

Uh, and I get it. Respected. I'm married. I speak to my partner when we make business decisions, too, but usually, it's before the conversation. Anyhow, building the machine, creating that no like and trust, having that authority, there's so much to that that we'll have to unpack in another episode because I want to be able to expand on that.

And I know for sure those aren't the only two good stories you have, Doug, so we're definitely going to have you in for part two. With that said, it sounds good, brother. You're a busy dude. I'm incredibly grateful you took some time to be with us today. I know you're building great sales teams and helping people get dialed in on these sales and follow-up processes.

But before we get out of here, I always like to ask, man, I've got new followers and new listeners all the time. Shout out to you guys that are sharing the show, putting it out there, and tagging us at Call the damn Leads, like we really appreciate that. But let's say someone finds the show; they're just getting into the sales industry. What is one piece of advice you'd give them so that they can go on and be super successful here?

So, being the tactical dude I am, whoever the company you're selling for will probably have some suitable system or structure in place? But at minimum, you should be able to create at least three prospecting strategies. Whether it's social media, cold calls, old leads, or something like that, that company has, or they have warm leads coming in, whatever the case is, you should have at least three prospecting strategies.


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Sales Prospecting Techniques: Diversifying Your Approach

Right. Whether it's social media, cold calls, old leads, or something like that that the company has, or maybe they have warm leads coming in, whatever the case is, you should have at least three prospecting strategies. These are three different ways that I'm going to bring leads into the company or sell new customers.

And the reason for that is because it gets boring if all you're doing is telemarketing; that will get boring. If all you do is knock on doors, that will get boring. So you want to be able to switch up your strategy whenever you need to to make it more interesting, right? And then you're going to recognize, okay, I get higher quality leads from social media because they know, like, and trust me versus these warm leads coming in that are from, you know, an ad or something like that. They're motivated, but they're also shopping two or three other companies, you know, and so you start recognizing lead generation.

If you can understand the marketing aspect of sales at an entry-level level, you will be an asset to whatever company you go into. If you can start bringing in your own leads, they should pay you a higher commission on that. So, recognize that if it's a self-sourced lead, it should be paying you at least the marketing cost of acquisition of the leads that they're giving you. And so you should be making extra money on those.

But if you can start learning marketing with the sales knowledge you're taking in and everything, you will be a machine. You can go into any company, generate leads, and close deals. You know what I'm saying? I would really look at your prospecting strategies. At the end of the day, all those prospecting strategies are a different form of marketing.

You know, in our case, it was the door, too. You know, so our marketing cost was zero. Our marketing cost was our time, right? But we still had a commission that we paid out for that. That was the acquisition cost from marketing, too, right?

And so I dial in those three prospecting strategies. Make sure you don't just have one; that you do have all three. You know, it's like, if you were going to the lake and fishing, you don't want to show up with one lure. You want to take a couple because you never know when one might get lost or get stuck or, you know, hell, you could have a rainy day, and you don't want to be out there knocking on doors in the rain.


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Sales Prospecting Techniques with Doug "TX Biz Dad”

So you're on there creating content, writing posts, connecting with people on social media. There are a million ways to make a million dollars if you can devise three different strategies to go out there and meet people. As Doug said, you're well on your way to making that first seven figures.

And so, man, that's fantastic advice. I know, again, there's so much more that I will pull out of you in future episodes because you're such a bright, tactical dude, and you're also excellent and have incredible stories. And that's the whole point of this show: to come on, share some stories, talk tactics, and make sure that anyone who's in the sales industry has what they need to be successful.

Doug, for those who've been listening to that, like your style and what you have going on, what's the best way for them to come and find you, see some of your training content, and all that good stuff? Yeah, I got a bunch of free resources on salesprogrambuilder.com. So you can check me out there. Everywhere I'm on social media, I get chickens. I play rugby, always showing off the family and then giving away sales knowledge and everything. So, TX Biz Dad is on all my social media handles. It doesn't matter if it's TikTok, Instagram, or Facebook; it's TX Biz Dad.

Doug, I want to express my gratitude for your presence here, support of the show, the brand, the movement, and most importantly, for taking the time to contribute to this community. Your insights are invaluable and will help us all elevate our game.

If you're here listening to this, your support is invaluable. Subscribe, share this with your friends, post it on social media, and tag @calltheedamleads. Your feedback is crucial in shaping the content we create. If you have an amazing sales story—and let's be honest, we all do—I want to hear it and share it. Head over to callthedamnleads.com, the SLP podcast, and share your story. Let's see how incredible it is and bring you on the show.

In the meantime, follow Doug, make sure you share this with a friend, and go out there and call them damn leads. We'll see you next time.

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Connect with Doug

Doug is a business consultant with 14 years of experience building sales teams for fortune 500 clients in addition to hosting the Building Great Sales Teams Podcast. Let's get building!

https://salesprogrambuilder.com/

Social Media: @txbizdad

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Your Host, Drewbie Wilson:

With over $15 million in online sales, Drewbie's vast experience spans multiple industries. His journey from a 300-pound weight loss to becoming a sales powerhouse has shaped his perspective on life and success.

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