The theme of today’s episode can be summed up in four words: push beyond your limits. Max Altschuler has done exactly that with every aspect of his life, from starting his company Sales Hacker to selling it just a few years later.
I could give you a rundown on Max’s accolades: 3-Time Book Author, international speaker, successful CEO but you can take one look at his LinkedIn profile to know he means business.
I was excited to dig into Max’s insights and learn tangible techniques we can use to take our careers (and life!) to the next level.
What I love about the entrepreneurial spirit is it is so irrepressible. People seem to be born with a creative knack for building businesses (note: I was not one of those said people which is why I consistently label myself an accidental entrepreneur!).
Max’s entrepreneurial story has now become his mission—a natural extension of who he is as a person. He’s all about taking something, looking at it in a new way and making it better. While most entrepreneurial kids sold candy Max went one step further by selling off his Halloween candy only to take his profits and ‘invest’ in better candy.
How could you be mad at that kind of ingenuity? (Hint: You can’t!)
I truly believe that in business and in life, we’re ALL selling something. Whether it’s your product or your dating profile, we’re all putting ourselves out there in some way saying ‘pick me!’. Being able to sell yourself well is absolutely everything.
Why not take a sales mindset to every aspect of your life? Max’s easy hack to implement this is to practice your ability to talk to strangers. In a safe way of course, we can’t have you going home with a total stranger!
Challenge: Next time you’re standing in line somewhere look up at the people around you. Ask the person serving you or checking you out in line how their day is going. The key is to be the FIRST person to engage. While it’s a small challenge it goes a LONG way to building your confidence and sales muscles.
Since Max has started, scaled and sold a company I was eager to hear his thoughts on the best way to deal with investors. His viewpoint confirmed something I already believed: ‘The pitch deck is only as good as the relationship you have with the person.’
And it makes sense, right? For example, I’m more likely to take a restaurant recommendation from a friend than if I simply read about it in the newspaper. Their joy and insistence would move me. Taking that example to business, I’m more likely to favor a new product idea from someone I know well than a complete stranger.
If you need to pitch a new idea, concept or product think of creative ways to schedule a face-to-face (or Zoom) meeting. This way you can personally talk through the presentation and answer any of their queries, navigate potential roadblocks and get feedback in real-time.
(I told you those conversations with strangers were going to come in handy!)
If you’ve ever watched Mad Men, you can envision the ‘good ol’ days’ of sales. Groups of men wheeling and dealing while golfing. Later they would continue their business-based banter over steaks and scotch. Let me be the first to tell you that these days are long gone.
Today technology, speed and efficiency reign supreme. No more long rounds of golf required to close a deal, sell in a pitch or present an idea! What used to take golf outings can now be done with a few clicks, a webcam and time set aside for a virtual meeting. I’ve even heard of ideas being presented to clients via text message! Staying up to date on the various new ways of communicating is important not only for your own personal growth, but to stay connected with the future of CEOs. The CEO’s of the future are digitally native leaders who will be utilizing and meeting on new tech platforms to review and approve ideas.
Quick Hit: You need to meet new leaders where they’re at. If their version of the ‘golf course’ is a group text chain, then start to get familiar with that mode of communication!
If you take the quote ‘You’re the CEO of you’ to heart, then you’ve got to make sure YOU (the company) is doing well. And I mean well in all facets of your life: health, family and business. They all need to be running at their best.
Getting the best out of yourself is important no matter what your role is. Specifically for sales professionals, Max sees many fall short when it comes to asking the best questions and digging in to make sure you’re getting the best answers. For instance, if you’re working for a company that has a bonus structure based on commission, you need to take the initiative and ask, ask, ask in order to get the most of the work you do so you achieve everything you want. Don’t wait for someone in HR to break it down for you. Roll up your sleeves, understand the structure and ask as many questions as necessary to get the best answers.
Being smart? Amazing. Being professional? Fantastic. However, I never want to pretend that luck doesn’t play a HUGE part in my business success and I was happy that Max agreed.
But in order to be lucky, you’ve got to be open to it! For Max this approach is almost a way of life for him.
His big takeaway: ‘When you put yourself out there, you open up the surface area for luck to find you’.
This was a cool term that I’ve never heard before but it’s brilliant. Max keeps something he calls an ‘IMF’ list—or, ‘Impossible Mission Force’ or, ‘Impressive Mother F***er’ list.
Essentially, it’s a list of people he’s worked with in the past that excelled at their jobs and exceeded all expectations. He keeps the list up to date and filled with people he would absolutely hire again if given the chance.
I simply loved this concept and I’m absolutely stealing it from him!
It’s no secret that SEO can make or break your business when it comes to website traffic and leads. If you don’t know anything about SEO you have two choices: find someone who does or learn it yourself.
Max’s best tips: figure out what keywords you want your business to be known for and then work backwards to build content around those pillars.
Building out strong pillars in your designated subject areas put you on the right track to building an amazing SEO strategy.
While you can spend time learning SEO on your own—your time is better spent scaling your business!
The best outcomes happen when you hire the best person for the job. But if you’re a one man show learning channels like Udemy or LinkedIn Learning can give you the key basics!
What’s something you started using lately that you love? NuCalm. It’s pricey but it helps put you in a state of zen by using a disc that attaches to pressure points on your arm while you listen to a specific music track and meditate at the same time.
What is the one thing you need more of in your right now? Time. But that’s probably everybody’s answer. I’d love more time to fit in anything that isn’t work or baby related (Max has a 13-month old baby. Major time commitment there!).
What is your secret to dividing time between work and family? The secret is burnout! Ha. There’s no secret, it’s not easy.
What is the best gift you’ve given yourself this year? I took a 2 and half month road trip recently. We saw the timing was right with everybody being remote and our baby was young enough to do well in the car. We saw Glacier National Park, Zion National Park, and Park City. It was such a gift.
HOMEWORK: What is one thing that we should all try this week? Have an attitude of gratitude. Wake up every morning and before you get out of bed, (or touch your phone!) name at least 10 things you’re grateful for. No matter what happens the rest of that day, you have those 10 things to start your morning with.
Gemma Leigh Roberts, Founder of The Resilience Edge is sitting down with us to discuss how to weather the storm of change, unpredictability and the future.
A psychologist by trade Gemma now leads clients, companies and students in workshops and her LinkedIn Learning Courses by teaching them how to strengthen their emotional intelligence and mental strength.
Something that I thought we ALL could use a bit more of as we close out 2020. If you’re interested in tips and tricks to build your resilience tune in – and bring a friend! The more the merrier – RSVP