My 9 Hour Sales Diet

This week I had a conference to attend in Champaign, IL.  The thing about Champaign is it’s not a particularly convenient place to get to, especially from Columbus.  The options are a flight to either Chicago or Indy and then about a 2.5 hr drive.  Or, what I chose to do, a 4.5 hr each way road trip.  But what to listen to….

Based on my recent listening, Apple Music recommended the bonus disk to In Rainbows from Radiohead, The National Jazz Museum in Harlem: Savory Collection or 12 Nights of Christmas by R. Kelly.

I decided on a podcast, but which one?  The past couple of weeks I have been switching back and forth between reading The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need by Anthony Iannarino and The Sales Development Playbook by Trish Bertuzzi and devouring sales podcasts, tweets and LinkedIn articles.  I chose to go on a diet.

Have you ever felt like this?

A buddy of mine turned me on to the Joe Rogan Experience.  Yes, THAT Joe Rogan.  Fear Factor, UFC, Joe Rogan.  What I didn’t realize is he’s also a really smart dude.  And a funny comic.  His new Netflix special, while hilarious, is not for the faint of heart, or those that are sensitive to language.  I, personally, could give a shit….

I’ve listened to some lengthy podcasts, but nothing compared to what Rogan does.  Most episodes are at least 2.5 hours.  One, I listened to was almost 4 hours long.  The guy has stamina for sure.  Passion.  So I listened to Joe Rogan and his guests for all 9 hours of my car ride.  He wasn’t talking about prospecting, lead generation, selling or marketing.  He was talking about comedy, politics (comedy), life, fighting, drugs, sex.  It was crude.  It was vulgar.  To some, it would be offensive.  To me, it was awesome.  It was what I needed.

A day later, I am still thinking about some of the things he talked about, things I can relate to.

100% of kids right now are creative.  They like to color, play with clay, paint, answer fake telephones.  The other day, my 3 year old was putting together a 24 piece puzzle.  He got stumped and said, “Oh no, I’m stuck.  Maybe a Mouskatool can help?”  If you have toddlers, you probably know what I am talking about.  But somewhere along the way; between this age and adulthood, many of us, stop being as creative.  It seems sometimes that creativity isn’t rewarded the way it is when we are kids, especially in a corporate setting.  People are rewarded to keep their head down, do what they are told, do their job. This goes against everything we are.  Across nearly 7 million years, the human brain has tripled in size.  Most of that growth happened in the past 2 million years.  Do you think we crawled out of the primordial soup and tripled our brain size so we can sit in cubicles for 50 years?  It’s terrifying to Joe.  While a sweeping generalization, Rogan sees the majority of professionals as khaki’d, tasseled loafer robots.

I’m seeing a shift though.  The CEO where I work, ENFOS, has said many times that what makes us (ENFOS) different, is that we aren’t afraid to fail.  That’s sort of the mantra in Silicon Valley.  You’re really not cool if you aren’t failing (but hopefully learning from it).

I am also seeing in the companies that I work with.  200 year old chemical firms being run like startups.  One of my customers, a multi-billion dollar paper company, has in the conference room a set of guiding principles.  It is the responsibility of every employee to seek creative solutions to problems.  To manage the business like it’s their business.  That mentality created the opportunity for me to work with them.

Are you seeing the effects that creativity can have on your business?

A little over a year ago, I started writing.  I’ve got some LinkedIn articles, guest posts on other blogs, this blog.  I’ve helped developed content for my company.  I’ve done things that have bombed.  I’ve done things that have done well.  It’s been extremely rewarding.  I’m creating again.  I still wear khakis and sport coats (no tassle loafers though) but I am creating and putting it out in the universe.  Guess what?  I am enjoying myself more, and I’m helping more people.  I’m seeing the same from others in the field.  I name a couple above.  Two of my mentors, Rick Roberge and Carole Mahoney-creators.  People that I’ve met online, Mark LaCour, Jordan Barta, Randy Friedlander, Larry Levine, Henry Johnson, Pete Caputa-creators.  Here are some things to think about if you are struggling with creating your own content.  Joe Rogan might approve of my paraphrasing?

  1. You can connect with people.  You have so much more in common with people than you realize.  Gravity, the Human Condition, the fact that we all have bodies that are breaking down over time, the fact that we will all bury a mother and father.
  2. Make it a habit.  Doesn’t matter if it’s once a day, week, month…just write.  Hustle.
  3. Write about what you know or find interesting.  Chances are you have a perspective that someone is looking for or find something interesting that someone else finds interesting.  An audience of one can turn into an audience of 1 million.  There are still people that believe that Earth is flat.  You can find people that will listen to what you say.
  4. Don’t overthink it.  A blog post or whitepaper or webinar that is done is always better than one in the draft folder.
  5. Give to give not to get.  If you are frustrated because you wrote one blog post and your inbox didn’t flood with leads, or you didn’t get invited to give a TED talk, you might want to adjust your expectations.  People need to hear from you many times to really hear your true voice and decide if you are worth listening to.  But people will listen.
  6. Don’t take yourself too seriously.  None of us are getting out of here alive.  (I think Christopher Walken said that.)
  7. Anyone can create content.  You don’t need to be a sales coach or a PHD or a comic.  People that you don’t even know yet, want you to do it.

This wasn’t meant to be a plug for his podcast, but after spending 9 hours with Joe Rogan and his guests, I feel anew.  Like I gained some perspective that I needed, like I have more focus.  Like I need to create more.