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Quotable Podcast Episode #65: “To Supercharge Sales Productivity, Unleash Peer to Peer” with Elay Cohen

Hosts: Kevin Micalizzi, Tim Clarke
Having a culture of coaching is important, but it’s only the beginning. Join Elay Cohen, CEO and Co-Founder of SalesHood, as he shows you how to supercharge your sales team from the bottom up. You’ll learn to tap into the power of peers to influence each other, and find best practices that everyone can use. You can build positive peer pressure with the right programs, technology, and CRM integration to help all your reps raise their productivity at scale.

If I can just get one sentence from listening to a three-minute video, that’s money for me.”

Elay Cohen | CEO and Co-Founder of SalesHood

Episode Transcript

Kevin Micalizzi: Welcome to the Quotable Podcast. Today we’re going to be talking about sales enablement and technology, and what we’re doing, what we’re not doing, what’s working, and definitely what’s not or where the gaps are. And we have Elay Cohen with us, Co-Founder of Saleshood, and author of Saleshood. Elay, welcome to the studio.

Elay Cohen: Great to be here.

Micalizzi: So let’s jump into it. Would you share a little bit about yourself for the listeners?

Cohen: Well, first of all, thanks for having me. It’s great to be here. I live in San Francisco.

I’m from Toronto originally. I moved out to the Bay Area about 20 years ago. I’m a product manager person with a deep background in sales. My dad had a retail furniture store, and my journey got me to Salesforce. I joined Salesforce in 2005. It was an amazing time. I was [before] employee number 1,000. During that time I really helped the organization accelerate its own internal productivity. We created a new group called the Sales Productivity Group.

I was Senior Vice President of Sales Productivity from about the 500 million run rate, until about the 3 billion run rate. That really was a catalyst for me to springboard into my current venture, Saleshood, and, ultimately, to bring sales and [unintelligible] excellence to the planet, to every company, just like I did at Salesforce and just like I’ve been doing for years prior. That’s a little bit about me.

Micalizzi: Excellent. I’m super-excited. We have Tim Clarke back to help us.

Tim Clarke: Returning to the show.

Micalizzi: You bet. It’s been too long since your last episode. Tim is a Senior Director of Product Marketing here at Salesforce. So, Elay, let’s jump right into it. What are we doing with technology right now to better enable sales? And what should we be doing that we’re not?

Cohen: Since we’re sitting here and we’re at the Salesforce Tower, let’s talk about how organizations are getting their teams up to speed and what does that really mean.

Micalizzi: Right.

Cohen: The ultimate goal of organizations today, CEOs, chief revenue officers, is to help more of their salespeople crush their quota faster. Right?

Micalizzi: Right.

Cohen: We want to increase attainment. There are some innovative ways to do it with technology. There’s a lot of video role play out there. There’s a lot of social learning, a lot of peer coaching. But let’s just go old school for a second. I’m going to tell you a quick story.

Micalizzi: Okay.

Cohen: I remember back in 2007, I got called into Marc Benioff’s office. He had me there with the team and he said, “Here is the new first call presentation.”

He went through it slide-by-slide in Marc’s way. It was fabulous. We said, “Great — what next?” He said, “I need to have every single customer-facing employee on the planet on message.”

Micalizzi: Wow.

Cohen: That turned into a journey we would repeat every quarter for six or seven years. So when you asked me the question, how are leading organizations really innovating in the realm of enablement, of achieving the revenue goals, it starts with top level —

the CEO leading the charge and saying, “This message is important. It’s important that we drive consistency of the message across the entire organization.” That brand is so critical. I like to start the conversation with what leaders inside of organizations [are doing] — how are they making [the message] a priority today? And then how do you execute it? The execution we’ll dive into. It’s an awesome story and it’s fact. God, over the years, probably 10,000 customer-facing employees were certified and trained.

But we had to do it all face to face.

Micalizzi: Right.

Cohen: We’d sit there face to face and check boxes and score them and it doesn’t scale. It’s not effective. It’s not efficient. For me, that was really the impetus to start exploring social learning, video, and mobile. To me, the most innovative companies are the ones that are really embracing this next generation of enablement, and doing it in a modern way.

Clarke: Elay, I started my Salesforce journey in 2012. And I certainly remember seeing your face in all the different videos and [going through the] certifications.

Everything you just described there I can completely relate to. When I started my sales career, I guess in 2007, the biggest thing I found back then is: Sales can be quite lonely sometimes. I was working with a number of really experienced, tenured salespeople, and I wanted to learn from them, but it didn’t really work in terms of shadowing them in their meetings. I think one of the things that stood out to me from your description there is, truly learning from other people’s pitches and best practices.

So I wonder if you could just expand a little bit there. How are you really helping salespeople come together to learn from each other, and most importantly, remain on brand?

Cohen: Yeah. That’s a great question. So the idea of salespeople learning from the best, that’s clearly the quotable mantra; learn from the best. And I remember a time, I think it was late 2012, where the budgets ran out and we couldn’t fly around the world to certify everyone face-to-face.

Micalizzi: Right.

Cohen: So we had to be creative. And what did we do? We had salespeople certify each other. And what that looked like was a stack of forms that showed up in my office because I was, ultimately, accountable to Marc. I was accountable to make sure that we had 100% certification compliance across the global organization. So there I am, I’m reading through these stacks of certification scorecards. And what I realized was, when a salesperson is sitting with a peer, and when they’re listening to each other, they’re listening to certify them, but they’re more so listening to learn things.

Because, Tim, if you’re presenting — and you do a great job, you’re a great storyteller — I learn from you and I learn your storytelling. That’s what I saw in all of those forms that were filled out. The comments were rich. They were deep. It demonstrated that salespeople do want to hear each other. They do want to learn from each other. They’re tired of being flown to Vegas and having a one-too-many approach to training and onboarding, and all that stuff. It was inspiration for me when I read those forms and I saw, “Wow. They really do want to learn from each other.”

Then fast-forward a few years. What we’re doing now is, we’re doing it at scale using tech. But I’ll share with you one more quick story. A couple of months after I left, I decided to look for some inspiration around what I would do next. Saleshood was born from this inspiration and I wrote a book. But the inspiration came from this kernel. I started reading all the thank you notes and all the thank you emails from sales managers and salespeople and CSMs from around the world, customer success managers from around the world from Salesforce.

Micalizzi: Right.

Cohen: And the theme that emerged was, “You helped us connect with the stories. You helped us connect with the best plays.” You — not me, personally — collectively, the team that I represented. “You helped us learn from the best.” And that was inspirational. The connectedness of a sales organization, the connectedness of a sales culture, the connectedness of, ultimately, the sales industry is what I’m on a mission to do right now.

Micalizzi: It almost sounds like you’re taking the stand-and-deliver mindset, but really going beyond that. It’s not just, “I’ve learned the pitch and I can get up and I can whiteboard it.” You’re talking about imparting, I would almost say, cultural knowledge — stories and histories around what people are selling and how they’re selling it. How do you bring those two together?

Cohen: That’s a good, astute observation. Let me share with you some data, which is fascinating.

Micalizzi: Okay.

Cohen: When you take an organization and you have everybody get certified, if you do it one to one, and a manager has to certify their teams, and they’re checking a box, that’s all you’re doing, checking a box. But the thing that you’re losing is the peer-to-peer [interaction].

Micalizzi: Okay.

Cohen: The social learning. And when you roll out a stand-and-deliver, you use technology to augment it, and you create an open, transparent culture. What you end up creating is a conversation, a space where salespeople will learn from each other. And the data is this.

When you decide to do a stand-and-deliver, which is, I think, one of the quintessential enablement strategies in organizations now because, ultimately, you want to protect your brand, get people on message, accelerate deals, improve time to ramp — all that goodness will happen. But when you do it, when it’s short and sweet, five minutes or less, your salespeople will practice five times. I’ve seen this across millions and millions of video-watching minutes in the last five years. Not only will they practice five times, after they practice five times, they instantly are hooked because they realize they’re better for it.

They’re watching themselves. They’re doing better. Then they go into the system and they look for their managers. Then they go watch 10. And, oh, they’ll actually not watch 10, they will review 10 and they will watch 20. So think about these ratios. Practice five times, review 10, watch 20. Correlate that data against attainment, against pipeline, it’s almost a direct connection. It’s like hitting the gym. If you’re going to wake up in the morning, you guys understand the gym metaphor.

Micalizzi: Right.

Cohen: You wake up in the morning and you do your sit-ups, you do your push-ups, you train, and you’ve got a trainer with you, and you’re in the class — SoulCycle, I think you were speaking about the other day. SoulCycle, right?

Clarke: It was, yeah. I interviewed the chief marketing officer at SoulCycle X. Yeah.

Cohen: But that’s it. If you apply that same energy and discipline and rigor to your trade, to what you say, how you say it, whether it’s a pitch, an objection, storytelling, demo, whatever it is, magic will happen.

And that magic will be higher attainment. Is that answering your question?

Micalizzi: It does. It’s such a different world from [where] we sit down for six hours in a conference room in a hotel and listen to the executive leadership share their vision of it. You get that ongoing reinforcement.

Cohen: That’s true.

Micalizzi: It’s almost, I want to say, addictive. It’s like with any social medial, once you start watching the videos, you’re, like, “Oh.” You’re hooked.

Cohen: I get a lot of emails and tweets, and I get a lot of people telling me, “I spent two or three hours last night just watching all of this,” so your notion of addiction and hooked — because, normally, sitting in a conference room or in Vegas for five or six days, the only thing you remember — it’s kind of a joke — you remember your hangover. Right? But the retention of that knowledge, after a week it’s pretty much 95% gone.

Micalizzi: Right.

Cohen: So by building the discipline in a culture where storytelling is at the center of it, standing and delivers at the center of it, you’ve created transparency where people can score and review each other in a constructive, positive way. It needs to be structured. You do that, and then organizationally you’re going to see magic happen. Just like the early years. We did it with brute force. We overinvested in enablement. Marc was smart. Marc and Frank, the folks that ran the organization — Frank van Veenendaal — we knew we needed to grow fast, we needed to compete with Oracle, and we needed to compete with all of these other organizations.

The way to do it was — let’s get everybody on message quickly.

Micalizzi: Right.

Clarke: [At] a lot of sales organizations I spoke to, sales enablement just isn’t sexy.

Cohen: It’s not.

Clarke: It’s put in the background. So maybe they’re not prioritizing in terms of — with distribution, with sales — getting them out of their field, or having budget applied to it. I’m intrigued.

When you are speaking and your teams are speaking to your customers and to your prospects, for any of our listeners that, perhaps, have that challenge — that sales enablement isn’t a priority — who have you seen are the key stakeholders in organizations that can really change that? Are you going to the CEO, the head of sales? Where do you focus?

Cohen: You’ve inspired me. I’m writing my second book and I’ve got, Enablement … blank — is the title. Enablement is sexy — feels like, perhaps, a title. We’ll see where that goes.

Clarke: I should copyright it now.

Cohen: I was fortunate to have lived through the hyper-growth years at Salesforce, to be given the budgets to be able to truly roll out innovative, sexy enablement programs and to get recognized for those accomplishments.

Micalizzi: Right.

Cohen: I think, in general, the enablement industry, the enablement discipline, and the professionals are slowly becoming the center of knowledge sharing, the center of cultural transformations.

Your question on who we want to tap into — when I speak to organizations, one of my first questions is, how high of a priority is this enablement initiative right now in the organization? What would your CEO say about this? It’s important to make sure that we’ve got that alignment, because if you really want to make a transformation — the beauty is you want it to be truly grassroots. You want people to feel peer-to-peer social. But it needs to be tied to the top initiative.

That’s the magic. When we did this at Salesforce, Marc had priorities. We would roll it out and everybody loved it because they knew it was connected and we made it fun and engaging. That’s the secret. Enablement could live in HR, but then that chief people officer needs to be front and center, and enablement needs to be on their V2MOM, number one. It needs to be up there. And CROs, as well.

Sometimes enablement priority will live within the chief sales officer, or in some innovative organizations with marketing itself, the chief marketing officer. But the ultimate is CEO. If it’s a CEO and number one priority, which it truly is, what CEO doesn’t want to grow the business faster? What CEO doesn’t want to increase attainment? What CEO isn’t, number one, worried about revenue growth and the speed with which that’s happening?

Micalizzi: One of the things we talk about a lot is what gets measured, what gets done. And it seems to me that sales enablement is a more difficult prospect to measure. Because you can’t necessarily go, “Okay, after the training, how well did the AEs or the reps do?” based on that training. What are you encouraging organizations to measure around their sales enablement to really drive the right thinking, the right behavior, and making it part of the culture?

Cohen: There are quite a few things that are measurable today. If I look at content consumption, you roll out content, and I want to know what content has been consumed. I want to know if it’s tied to specific deals and opportunities, so you can start correlating content to actual pipeline and deals. There is a direct connection that that is very interesting to marketing. If I’m a new hire, if I just started at the company, we can know with technology today within a week of that person starting how they’re doing on their journey.

What you’re doing is you’re looking at video-watching time, you’re looking at activities, you’re looking at coaching and providing frontline managers with very prescriptive coaching recommendations. Again, that’s measurable. A lot of the companies we work with, within two to three weeks of an employee’s journey, know if the person is going to make it or not. They can take action accordingly at that time. Then the third is, since a lot of what people are doing today is recorded and is captured, transcription is a beautiful thing.

So now you can start monitoring a salesperson’s execution across the sales process and simply. If I’m a forward-thinking, innovative, enablement-minded frontline manager of EP Sales, do you know what I’m doing every week? This week I want everyone on my team to upload one negotiation conversation, or everyone to upload one stage-one pitch. You can start sequencing out the conversations. What technology allows you to do today is video files, but that’s data.

Micalizzi: Right.

Cohen: So now what I can see is, I can look at my team, how they’re doing a demo, how they’re doing a proposal, how they’re doing a mutual plan, how they’re doing pricing negotiations. I can cross-reference each person and what they’re saying. And I can look at a sentiment analysis, I can look at a visual map of the words that are spoken, and I can cross-reference that against my goals and expectations [that I set]. We’re not that far away.

Micalizzi: Right.

Cohen: There’s a lot of goodness happening today. And that’s where the enablement industry is going: data-driven, frontline manager-centric, coaching, recommendations just in time. It’s pretty cool.

Clarke: I think it’s always interesting with the transcription. I just upgraded to iOS 11, so the most recent one. Now I look at my visual voicemail on my iPhone and I don’t have to listen to voicemail. It’s all transcribed for me. I guess where I’m pivoting here is everyone has a different learning style. Some people like to be in the classroom. Some people like to read. Some people like to listen with this podcast.

That’s why with [unintelligible] brand we were so focused on, obviously, quality of content, but making sure it could be consumed in different ways. For me, personally, it’s video. I need that visual and that audio. I know we talked about the [salesmen] podcast and [unintelligible] this great audio podcast, but I don’t listen to it. I watch the YouTube videos. So I want to combine that and revisit it into one of your earlier points about how you learn from your peers.

When I made that transition from sales into product marketing, I thought, “Oh, this is going to be great. I’m going to be able to go out and tell everyone how to pitch,” and so on. But I very rapidly learned that people didn’t want to hear from me because I’m in marketing. Salespeople really want to learn from their peers. Is that something you’ve really seen with the organizations you’ve worked with, as well?

Cohen: Oh, for sure. There are a number of companies that Saleshood is working with that are in the Salesforce ecosystem. Financialforce is a great one. DocuSign is another great one.

When you take a conversation and that conversation is mapped to a sales process, and that conversation is short enough that it’s not the 45-minutes pitch, it’s a 60-second elevator pitch, a two-minute objection one-objection two, a two-minute customer story, a-five minute solution or review, a seven-minute demonstration, if they’re short and they’re bite-sized and they’re mapped to the sales process, the data proves that salespeople will invest the time to watch everybody on their team.

Because it doesn’t matter if it’s a top performer. Even if there is someone that isn’t doing so well, there are still things to learn. And even if it’s just one sentence, it’s the way that Tim explains a certain value-based ROI. If I can just get one sentence from listening to a three-minute video, that’s money for me. And that’s it, right? You learn from the best, but you also learn from the not-so-best ones, also. And the data shows both.

When I look at a leader board of videos that are uploaded by sales professionals — I mean,the collective unit of the sales world — I’m going to go look at the top ones, but I’m also going to look at the bottom one just to see, why is this person not doing so well? What are some of the peer feedback? And that’s enlightening, as well.

Clarke: You mentioned videos uploaded by salespeople. Traditionally, a lot of the enablement I’ve seen, it’s very high-end, studio filming, branding.

But it sounds like you’re talking about literally a salesperson with their mobile phone recording. It sounds extremely accessible.

Micalizzi: Almost bottom-up, right?

Cohen: Bottom-up, right.

Micalizzi: Versus top-down.

Cohen: So remember your question, the CEO or the chief revenue officer? They need to be aligned with enablement as a top priority. At the same time, we need to have them do their recordings in a modern enablement fashion. They need to do their recordings in the same kind of accessibility. They need to be sitting at home.

They need to be not dressed up in a suit and a tie. Because if they’ve reduced the barrier and they tell their teams, “Hey, listen. I’m just sitting here right now in my backyard and I’m going to record my two-minute pitch. Just don’t think too much about it,” it’s better to do more practice and more of it, because you’ll get there. We work closely with Apttus. And the CRO from Apttus, Kamal, what he says is, “Once we got over the fact that these videos don’t need to be perfect, it transformed our culture.”

Micalizzi: Wow.

Cohen: And it takes a couple times. I wouldn’t roll out one of Marc Benioff’s 50-slide deck pitches as a first-go with an organization. That’s a lesson I learned over the years. I would break it down. Let’s just have everybody share 30 seconds or less what your company does and what you stand for. Keep it fun, keep it easy. Go ahead.

Micalizzi: I was going to ask, it almost sounds like this is kind of a combination between learning the pitch and the next generation of the ride-along.

It’s kind of the way I’m thinking about it. Because it’s not just, “Okay, am I hitting the top four points that are relevant to our pitch?” but it’s also, “How am I doing it? What story am I wrapping around it?” Similar to what you’d get if you did a ride-along with a more experienced rep when you joined.

Cohen: For sure. Listen. What’s happening in the world now is we’re jam-packing our schedules.

We are end-to-end, meeting-to-meeting-to-meeting-to-meeting. Managers are overworked, not enough time in the day, and they’re not doing the coaching the way that we like, the way that we were coached. I still remember being coached in my early days. Here’s another metaphor: windshield time. You would drive three hours to go visit a company in their office at the plant, and you’d have a meeting. And you had three hours of prep time leading up to it, and you had a three-hour drive back to wherever you were going.

That’s gone. We’ve lost the windshield time today in society. But what technology can let us start doing is reintroduce it in a more innovative way. We’re already recording the calls. We are, right?

Micalizzi: Right.

Cohen: Now the calls are transcribed. Let’s just go one step further and start providing our managers, our teams with self-assessments. “Here is what you said.” “Here are some of the points you missed.” It’s not about inspections, it’s about getting better.

Micalizzi: Right.

Cohen: So, yeah, I think it’s great — he ride-along concept. If you think of enablement, here’s a little bit of my bias.

When organizations and frontline managers and VPs of sales look at enablement as something that is separate from how they run their business, then they’re missing an opportunity to really multiply and accelerate their business. It needs to be part of it, right? Managers are already having team meetings. Reps are already having calls. So just add a layer of coaching around that so it just fits in with the workflow of the day, and then you’re going to see greatness happen.

Micalizzi: Excellent.

Clarke: What we recently found from our [state of] sales research is that two-thirds of salespeople’s time is not spent with customers, it’s spent internally. And I want to make sure that this message is coming through loud and clear on the podcast. It sounds like it’s not about setting up [unintelligible] sessions and taking reps out of the field. If they’ve already got two-thirds of their time that’s spent internally-focused, and then you’re taking them out of the field, you’re just adding to that. And here it sounds like, without going into product, that there is a new way of enabling your sales reps.

Cohen: Yeah, you’ve got it. We don’t want to disrupt the workflow, so let’s piggyback on what’s already happening. Our salespeople are professional. They’re meeting customers. Let’s just provide them just-in-time content. Let’s provide them with just-in-time coaching. Let’s create a space where teams can come together and brainstorm deal strategies. And it’s all there, but it’s just not happening in a structured way.

I think that’s what the future of enablement is: It’s automated enablement, just in time, just in time to my team, just in time to my person, and knowing that we don’t have the luxury of time, where we can fly people around. We also know that doesn’t work, and people just don’t learn that way. One last Marc story. Marc used to say, “We’re flying people to Vegas, but that’s not training. That’s about energizing the troops. That’s about awareness. Your job is train them. You’ve got 12 months to train the teams. You’ve got to let me have those two days because I’ve got to motivate them, energize them, and get them really pumped up.”

A lot of organizations today are trying to use those two or three days of their kickoffs, their [QVR]s, their midyear kickoffs — and they think that is the training, but it’s not, so don’t think you’ve checked your box. That’s the difference between organizations that are truly embracing enablement as a go-to-market strategy versus ones that are just checking a box.

Micalizzi: I love what you were saying earlier, not just about creating that space and not interrupting the flow, but also keeping them as smaller, more management chunks of video or whatever it is you’re presenting, so that you’re not going for the 40-minute, full first-call deck. You’re really going for a discrete unit that somebody can absorb quickly. So I’m in elevator, I’m waiting for a taxi. I can actually listen to maybe a couple of my peers going through, let’s say, the objection one, or something along those lines.

I love that. You’re really trying to boil it down, as well, so that it’s more consumable.

Cohen: There are multiple layers of enablement. If we look at the enablement industry and the enablement profession, I think absolutely everybody thinks, “We’ve got to train the reps.” But that’s one piece of the puzzle. We need to coach the managers. [If it falls] down that the manager isn’t reinforcing, take a step back. We need to retrain and reprogram the marketing organization to rethink their content assumptions.

So there needs to be a complete end-to-end, go-to-market enablement function that is really going to help an organization to achieve their goals. In the business world, we need to be mindful about enabling our salespeople, enabling our managers, and we need to enable organizations to drive the right cultural transformations, but we can’t lose track of the importance of enabling the rest of the organization. And that’s such a big part of it. I’m spending so much time with marketing just the bite-sized content.

Don’t just create the 50 slides and think people are happy. No, no, no. Let’s chop it up; bite-sized videos, little chapters, small, little snippets, let’s tag it appropriately. Don’t just give it to them all at once. If I’m talking to a specific company and a specific industry and a specific segment, how cool would it be if I got a two-minute video of a story of another salesperson who closed a piece of business? That’s transcribed right there and I’m reading it as I’m on my way to the meeting.

Clarke: Final question from me. You talked a lot about the behavioral changes, but I’ve also heard a lot of focus and innovation on the technology. And one of the earlier points you made around Kevin’s question on metrics, tying it back to opportunities, without going too much into product — I know recently Saleshood has just come out with this great AppExchange offering. So keeping it generic, for any organizations with a CRM solution, how important is it to have whatever enablement technology integrated with their CRM?

Cohen: Listen. The enablement function is all about adding gasoline on CRM. We’re running our businesses. We’re keeping track of our customers. We’re running our pipelines. We’re doing our forecasting. So why not drive more eyeballs? Why drive more action? Why not drive more accuracy of the information? So by connecting enablement activity, enablement activity is training, enablement activity is knowledge checks, the video roleplays, as well as the actual content itself.

So, yeah, we’re really proud of what we released recently. Every enablement and every CMO’s dream is serve up content exactly when and where salespeople need it. That’s what we just released. Good question.

Clarke: It’s a question that I hear so many times in terms of: What’s the value that your CRM brings for you? I think putting that enablement with your CRM is just providing more and more intelligence and value to sales professionals.

Cohen: The connection between the enablement activity — whatever that activity is — coaching activity, onboarding activity, certification activity, the knowledge checks, the video consumption, whatever it is that is important to your business — connecting that with the CRM data, with the attainment data, with pipeline-generated, with the deals that are [won], opportunities that are closed — that is the ultimate here. Because we want to know what’s working.

We don’t want to create a world where we’re just doing a lot of enablement and it’s busy work. It needs to be the right enablement. And so that’s why data-driven mindset, data-driven culture, that’s why doing enablement in a structured way starts letting us connect those dots. I want to know, are these videos working or not? Is the content that I’m creating as the chief marketing officer getting used? Is it getting consumed? Is it driving pipeline? My belief is everybody inside organizations, ultimately, everybody wants to do good work.

They’re lacking the answers around the impact that the work they’re doing and all the content they’re creating is having on the bottom line. That’s what we started doing now by automating enablement and syncing it up with CRM. It’s the Holy Grail here.

Clarke: Kevin, our air miles are going down.

Micalizzi: Sadly, mine have never been that high.

Cohen: Wait until virtual reality comes out.

Micalizzi: Right. Never leave your living room, right?

Cohen: Yes.

Micalizzi: Before we wrap up, let me ask you the lightning-round question.

If you could take all your knowledge and experience you have now, go back to the beginning of your sales career and tell yourself one thing, what would you tell yourself?

Cohen: That’s a great question. Go back to the very beginning. Be a sponge.

Micalizzi: Okay.

Cohen: Be a sponge. People around you have more experience than you. Get over the ego and know there is a lot you don’t know. Just listen and learn, take the feedback, and that’s it.

Micalizzi: Great advice.

Cohen: Take the feedback. Be a sponge. I’ve got memories of my early years, my father teaching me how to sell furniture, the first time I sold first-aid supplies. I cherish those moments because I learned so much about the foundations of selling. I hope people appreciate those early first jobs. They mean a lot and they set the foundation for who you’re going to be.

Micalizzi: Right.

Clarke: I think the ego thing that you mentioned is an important one. I was watching a Gary Vaynerchuk video the other day. The tagline there was “Winners are going to win.” The key focus was, it’s very easy to be resentful of someone, like another salesperson being more successful than you, but that’s just a moment in time. There’s a reason they’ve been more successful. I love the fact that you mentioned the ego, because I think it’s just important to recognize that if someone is being successful, learn from that success.

Cohen: Yeah.

Clarke: And if you’re being successful, share it. Don’t keep it to yourself.

Cohen: Yeah.

Micalizzi: Totally a learning opportunity.

Cohen: It’s true.

Micalizzi: Awesome. Great advice. Wonderful to have you in the studio. Thank you, Elay.

Cohen: Thank you so much. It’s great to be here.

Micalizzi: And, Tim, thanks for coming back.

Clarke: Of course. Happy to be here, as well.




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