Mike Castiglione brings 14+ years of real world coaching, professional training, and leadership development. Mike believes that leadership is a choice and not just a rank granted by progressing through your career. True professional leadership comes from taking ownership in self-development by becoming a lifetime learner to continuously hone one’s craft.
Mike owns a Sandler Training Center in Los Angeles, where he coaches and trains sales professionals, business owners and professions through the attitudes, behaviors, and techniques that drive sales. Prior to owning a Sandler Training Center, he was a professor and director at Loyola Marymount University, where he focused on leadership development. Mike is a passionate leader that is dedicated to collaborating with professionals to build systemic and sustainable culture for business growth .
Umar Hameed 0:04
Are you ready to become awesomer? Hello everyone! My name is Umar Hameed, I’m your host on the No Limits Selling Podcast where industry leaders share their tips, strategies and advice on how you can become better, stronger, faster. Just before we get started, I’ve got a question for you, do you have a negative voice inside your head? We all do, right? I’m gonna help you remove that voice and under 30 days guaranteed, not only remove it, but transform it. So instead of the voice that sabotages you, there’s one that propels you to much higher levels of performance and success. There’s a link in the show notes, click on it to find out more. All right! Let’s get started.
Hey, everyone, today I have Mike Castiglione. Here with me today. He’s an expert in sales. And we’re going to talk all kinds of interesting stuff to help you grow your sales career get more revenue. Michael, welcome to the program.
Michael Castiglione 0:57
Umar, happy to be here. Thanks for having me.
Umar Hameed 0:59
Brilliant. So a lot of people struggle with getting conversations with the right people. They’re like, Umar, once I get there, I’m brilliant. I’m not sure if they are or not. But that’s their illusion. But let’s help them get in front of the right person, especially in this virtual world, where I think it’s opened up some amazing opportunities for connection. And it’s shut some of the doors. But it’s messed with the psyche of a lot of salespeople. So let’s help them do better.
Michael Castiglione 1:30
Absolutely. Again, a lot of people come to me and they say, I hate sales, I’m bad at it. It’s not that it’s the psyche. So it’s the mindset of Oh, I have to be a salesperson. And that’s that perceived notion of that discouraged professional, where they’re aggressive or sneaky or sleazy. And no one wants to be seen like that. So we’re gonna jump into a couple of different ideas around your psyche, around some behaviors that you can do just to be yourself, right, you have a passion in your product or service, and you want to grow it. But sometimes you have limited beliefs. And then we’ll talk maybe a technique or two that might be able to be able to implement it. As soon as you’re done listening to this podcast,
Umar Hameed 2:08
Or during so many moons ago. many moons ago, I used to run the family business was a video store, where you would rent video cassettes and you had to pay $100 membership to join. And the guy that sold me Hitachi equipment, he was their sales manager. And he would come in and what was interesting was he was also a part time appliance salesperson at a local store. And he turned out to be the number one sales guy for Hitachi, and the number one sales guy, even though he worked part time to the appliance store. And the reason I mentioned it, he was the nicest human being you ever met. Before that I thought I was gonna like maybe 18 or 19. salespeople are pushy, they’re sleazy, and this guy was amazing and generous and connected. And all of a sudden, I went Hmm, you can be the number one sales guy and be kind of a introvert and laid back and just share information and get stuff done.
Michael Castiglione 3:03
Oh, absolutely. And I think it all starts with your mindset. Is do you believe that you’re bothering someone? Or do you believe that you’re helping someone? Those are two different things. I’m dealing with a lot in this virtual world where some people have gone through a lot of trials and tribulations over these last 12 months, they don’t want to bother anyone.
Umar Hameed 3:21
So let me ask you this question.
Michael Castiglione 3:23
So I always had.
Umar Hameed 3:25
So let me ask a question. So you probably have a lot of people coming in. And when you talk to them, like you know, when you provide the solution, are you really helping? And they’re like, Oh, absolutely, absolutely, I’m helping and they’re so thankful. But yet they still get this notion, even though they know they’re going to help, they still have this mindset that I’m bothering so the I’m bothering is based in bullshit. But yet it’s real to them. So, so walk me through that.
Michael Castiglione 3:53
So it’s a limited belief Umar, it’s the idea of they’ve received calls, they’ve had pushy sales professionals in front of them, and they don’t want to mirror that image. So they fear that that’s what they’re doing versus is being candid, always giving the person in front of them the ability to say I’m not interested. So going in with a good technique, and not being but just being like you mentioned the person in the video store, you know, come, you know, precise, you know, the relatable person that’s key. So going in making sure that, you know, typical technique is, hey, we might not be a good fit. At the end of this conversation. Are you comfortable telling me that? That little piece right there lowers the effective filter? It’s no longer I’m trying to sell you? It’s I’m trying to listen to you. Do you have a challenge or something that I can solve? If I do, maybe we could do business the other keyword maybe we don’t even know yet. If you don’t? Well, we can shake hands, part friends, or we get to help each other in a professional way. Because it’s not about trying to hate the terminology. sell ice tests the most, as I think.
Umar Hameed 5:02
And they probably need it because you know, who wants to put snow in their drinks? They need a frickin ice machine. So, agreed. And I think very much. How do you get people telling them that and actually getting them to feel comfortable doing it are two different things. So walk me through a specific client, you can use their first name, you know, when Judy came in, this is what she was doing. And this is what we did over X amount of time to get her to be able to execute in that way.
Michael Castiglione 5:28
Sure. So also, Jane, for the fun part of it is came in first conversation with me as Mike, I don’t want to be a saleswoman. I hate that idea. Over the course of several months, you know, I do training every single week for an hour and a half, is we started first and foremost, with the mindset. You’re not bothering anyone, you’re helping them that right there triggered that Oh, all right. Well, I never thought about it that way. And then over the next couple weeks, we started to feather in, well, how do you reach out in a professional manner? So how do you do a pattern interrupt when you are reached? Again? Are you reaching out cold? Are you reaching out war, and two completely different conversations there, but the same recipe? So you start with some type of pattern interrupt I catch it a bad time? You don’t say that I catch it a good time? Or, Hey, it’s Mike Stickley on with Sandler Training and go into a sales pitch because the effective filter now goes up.
Umar Hameed 6:18
Michael Castiglione 6:20
So you start with a little pattern interrupt. She started doing that catch it a bad time having these genuine two to three minute conversations. And it’s the trickle over time, she realized that, you know, it wasn’t as aggressive as she thought it was.
Umar Hameed 6:36
Right. So let’s break down what you just said. So let’s say we use that phrase, am I am I interrupting you? What was the exact phrase?
Michael Castiglione 6:45
It catch it a bad time? We weren’t,
Umar Hameed 6:47
It catch it a bad time?, hold on for a minute. So if you said that, and the person says, Yes, you did, then what?
Michael Castiglione 6:53
Is there a better time to connect? You know, then you can have a conversation? Most people so Umar, the idea behind it is the psychology of humans. Were pre programmed to say no. So that catch it a good time I met my brother, you know, so that kind of shuts down the conversation? Did I catch it a bad time? No. 99% of people say no. So now you’re into a conversation. So
Umar Hameed 7:19
Michael Castiglione 7:19
that’s the psychology of being different pattern interrupt.
Umar Hameed 7:23
I like you know, even if they say that, not now the conversation around when is good. And then they’re obviously going to ask, what’s this about Mike? And then you get to give them a little bit of taste what it’s about.
Michael Castiglione 7:38
Not yet. So first, you ask for permission. When’s the last time a sales professional, I asked permission from you on a call.
Umar Hameed 7:45
Michael Castiglione 7:45
Umar, can I take 20 seconds? Well tell you why I called you can decide if we keep talking. It’s not an I’m going to steamroll the next 90 seconds, telling you all these things that we do, and the person isn’t listening, they’re thinking of a way they don’t want to be rude. They don’t want to hang up. So it’s first and foremost a pattern interrupt, then permission. Can I take 20 seconds?
Umar Hameed 7:46
Michael Castiglione 7:48
Tell you while I called? You can decide if we should keep talking. Most people that say, Yeah, go ahead. Now, now you’re into a conversation, you take 20 seconds, you talked about who you work with, not what you do. So you talk about frustrations, emotional triggers, that you consult. So in my world, it would be those who are frustrated with not getting in front of enough new qualified prospects. I don’t say well, we do as ongoing reinforced training that can have ROI of 10x. Over No, no one wants to be sold. They want to see if they resonate with someone in people. So you
Umar Hameed 8:46
That makes sense.
Michael Castiglione 8:45
Talk about, Yeah, you talk about who you work with. And then if they say no, none of those resonate with me. So you have a call to action at the end, when you’re done with your 20 seconds. Did any of those resonate with you? And if they say no, not at all, you can have a quick well, seems like you’re doing perfect, you have any challenges, and then they’re not a good prospect. And here’s one more little tidbit is when you’re done with that. Most people aren’t going to need your service. Everyone knows 200 people on their phone knows by heart. You know Umar, anyone now that you know a little bit more of what we do? Is there anyone in your world that might make sense to connect me with?
Umar Hameed 9:29
Alright, so let’s pause there just for a second. That’s absolutely brilliant. And how many people go, you know, I do like what percentage of people kind of go? Yeah, I think I know someone.
Michael Castiglione 9:44
In the cold world where I’m outreaching cold.
Umar Hameed 9:47
Michael Castiglione 9:47
Maybe three out of, maybe three out of 100 but I make a lot of calls.
Umar Hameed 9:52
But he says three more than you would have got.
Michael Castiglione 9:54
Single. Exactly 52 weeks in a year. That’s 152 yeses. So over the course of a year, that’s a lot of.
Umar Hameed 10:03
I can actually see that conversation is like, you know, hey, Michael, my name is Umar, I was talking to John, and he wanted to hang up on me. But when he figured out what I was doing, he thought, you know, we should talk because he can help you. And it was just warm up that call so much.
Michael Castiglione 10:19
And that’s what business is all about. It’s about relationships, it’s not transactional, you’re not trying to, you know, it’s not the used car sales professional trying to just make a quick decision. It’s relational. It’s Congress, people do business with people they like, and people they trust. So it starts to exactly what you just said, warm up that conversation, and then it just continues to further on in the future, they may not need you. But then you finish the conversation, hey, anyone in your world value a conversation with me. And as you continue to grow, that you do the behaviors every single day, week, month, over the course of the year, you’re extremely successful. And that’s what people forget, focused on sales, not on the behaviors.
Umar Hameed 11:00
So let’s talk about that. But you coach a lot of people, and one of the things that’s really difficult to do is to get people to consistently, passionately do a particular activity over time. So it just becomes a pattern on what they do. And going from, Oh, that sounds like a good idea. And doing it for like, a week to actually doing it to how do you get people think of someone specific, that you nurtured into really adopting one of those behaviors and sales, and what the results were.
Michael Castiglione 11:36
So again, to go back to my example, with Jane is the same ideas, we started with the psychology, we started then also with behaviors. So it’s just a matter of, it’s not about did you achieve it, you know, it’s like, you know, get wrapped on the knuckles, it’s not punitive like that, you set a goal. And you track every single day, we create what’s called a cookbook.
Umar Hameed 11:58
Michael Castiglione 11:59
Little document that you track every single day, reflect once a week. So as you look at back at the week, life happens, right? A customer calls, he took up half your day, you didn’t get everything done. But the next day, you had a couple extra hours. So you, you were able to get close to your goals. So it’s all about the duration over time, the behaviors over time.
Umar Hameed 12:20
Michael Castiglione 12:21
So you track every day, reflect once a week, and analyze once a month. So at the end of the month, what did it result in? Did you get conversations that were meaningful? That’s my major metrics. It’s not about sales, sales will come. But did I have enough meaningful conversations to reach my goals? And then as you go month to month, you don’t all of a sudden, drastically pivot. You say, Alright, these behaviors are working. Let me keep doing them. These aren’t, why not? Because let’s be honest Umar, everything does work. You just have to figure out how. And if you know, you’re spending way too much time doing like emails, or, you know, what I find is a lot of people do productive procrastination.
Umar Hameed 13:02
Michael Castiglione 13:03
They’re on LinkedIn, but they’re just doing research, you shouldn’t do much more than 30 to 60 seconds research on a cold outreach, you know, you should know who they are, what industry they’re in, and maybe the size of the organization. Other than that, you’re just spending way too much time doing productive procrastination.
Umar Hameed 13:20
And the other two things I’d add to it is LinkedIn always lets you know if you’re connected to anybody that they are, that always helps say, Hey, you know, Michael, as well, they’re like, Oh, yeah, I hate that guy, or whatever. And, too, if there’s any form of connection, so if they went to Purdue, and your nephew went to Purdue, even though it’s not you, that’s enough to make a connection. And you don’t need to spend, you know, 23 minutes researching, just do a quick scan down, where they went to school, where they worked, and a couple of extra things. And one of those nuggets can help you connect, because I’ve been on calls where it’s like, oh, you worked for Hewlett Packard, I did some consulting for them, then all of a sudden, the whole tone of the conversation changed to warm is like, really? Where did you work? And then before you know it, we’re best buddies, and we’re moving forward.
Michael Castiglione 14:12
You’ve warmed it up. And now you can have a genuine conversation, because that’s what it’s about anyways, it’s about trying to understand who they are, you can start asking some good questions, the effective filters a lot lower, and then you can start to qualify, does it make sense to even move forward or not? Right? The idea of most of these calls is not to get a sale, to get a conversation. And then once you just be yourself, you know, going back to that sales professional at the video store, they were just themselves, they were calm, they were cool. They weren’t pushy and aggressive. So it’s about getting to that point. And that’s what a lot of new businesses and businesses who struggle with sales, is they, they’re very desperate. They’re only prospecting when they need business.
Umar Hameed 14:54
I’m not sure if you’ve heard this expression before I heard it for the first time about two months ago, somebody had mentioned quota breath. That when you’re desperate customers, it’s like, wait a minute, no, no back away, buddy, you got quota breath.
Michael Castiglione 15:07
It’s 100% true, because people, it’s the ebbs and flows of sales. So when you know there is a downturn, people are now aggressive, I need to pay the bills, I need to pay, you know, the everything that’s coming up. So now they’re much more aggressive is not a good tactic, you know, consistency over, you know, desperation is a terrible odor. And people smell it a mile away, and then that’s where you’re selling them. But I can save you I can do this, I can do all Why aren’t you working? No one wants to be sold. It’s human psychology. You try and push and you try and sell people sell push right back to you. And they’re like, Nope, not interested. So that’s why you do the behaviors over time, that even when you are flush with business, if you still do those behaviors, that’s where you can be that calm, cool, collected person that yourself, because you don’t need it. And that’s huge.
Umar Hameed 16:03
So let me ask you a question. Because this happens for a lot of salespeople, at the beginning of the month, they hit the numbers. And then consciously or unconsciously, they take their foot off the gas, and sales managers are pulling their hair out, I see it’s already happened to you. And they’re trying to figure out how on earth do we get these people to continue, because there is going to be a time where there’s going to be famine, and if you’ve got those behaviors are continually prospecting, then it’s no biggie, because a you’re not gonna have A famine and B, you’re doing it anyway, good times, bad times, it’s just a part of who you are.
Michael Castiglione 16:41
So the person who kind of stops after the first couple of weeks, we call them in at least or so there’s winners, there’s at least there’s and then there’s non winners. That’s the PC version. And, you know, winners, they’re going to continue to plow through their goals. So once they get on, they’re going to try and get to the next level, at least as a non winners. As soon as they reach their goal, they’re going to put it in cruise control. That’s where the behaviors come in, first and foremost, calling it out, right? Because in the old world, if you’re putting your your metrics on the sales, well, that person gets an Attaboy. Well, Attaboy, Pat, pat you on the back and keep on, you know, like, enjoy the next couple of weeks. But if you put the focus on the behaviors, it’s like you did the great behaviors and keep doing them. So as the month goes on, you can increase that quota, and then look on the other side of the spectrum. It’s not a discipline, when you don’t get your sales, it’s are you doing your behaviors? What’s going on? Let’s talk through some of the challenges, you know, are you getting those conversations in? If you’re not? What are the obstacles? If you are, and you’re still not getting the quota? Well, why not? Are they not the right people? So do we need to kind of re analyze where you’re fishing, to have better conversations with better prospects.
Umar Hameed 17:54
I was talking with a friend of mine who runs this company. And they had this new software that came in that record sales conversations. And it also records the per sales rep with the webcam during the call. And they had a revolt in the organization like How dare you Big Brother, what are you doing, because they screwed up on the description of what they were trying to achieve. Then they finally said, okay, we screwed this up, this is what we want you to do is run on record all these calls. And you Mr. salesperson, at the end of the week, I want you to come to your manager and come with two calls in mind. One is going to be one where things went really, really well. And we’ll listen to their call. And we’ll give you some feedback and maybe capture some best practices that other people are not doing. And the call that went sideways. Instead of you coming a week later, I was on the call, I went sideways. What happened, I think this happened, you and your manager, listen to that call. And then you tweak what needs tweaking to do better. And everyone’s paychecks went up. Because on the calls that went sideways, their manager could figure out what went wrong and help them and the nice thing was the salesperson got to pick their two calls, a winner call and a struggling call. And it became something that bonded the team together. So don’t see your sales manager as the enemy and see them as you know, your best coach and sales managers. Don’t be a dick. It’s not your job to like rub people’s nose in it. It’s like how do I get the best performance out of Jane is what we’re looking for.
Michael Castiglione 19:30
Umar, some some managers, they’re just following a script, they’re following a procedure and a rule that they didn’t know how to lead. So the idea of being big brother and especially for those sales professionals who have scripts to read, and it is the worst thing you can do. Robots. We’re humans, we want to talk to people. So when you analyze a call based on did they stick to the script? There’s so many things that can go wrong there versus, you know, what are some of the word choices that you’re using? Are you listening? Are you asking hood questions? Are you moving them through your conversation and not talking at them? So those are the things where people learn. And I’ll even add for those sales managers are out there listening is do you roleplay? It’s one thing to talk about what they did. But you just like athletes, do we practice before game time? Are you using sales calls as practice? So you should be role playing with your team. So if you do a Monday morning huddle, or a Friday afternoon debrief, you know, to put in two to three minimum roleplays of the situations you’re hearing in the field. Let’s talk about now what’s actually, you know, Jane, and, Joe, let’s get you obviously, through zoom right now, and put you on the spotlight, and we’ll let you to practice put you into breakout rooms, if you have a large team of you know, why.
Umar Hameed 20:47
Michael Castiglione 20:48
Let them practice. Because when you get in front of your prospects and or clients, that’s not when you should be trying new stuff to retrain. And in the in the practice, which is your sales models and your team meetings.
Umar Hameed 20:59
Absolutely. And when you get the practice done, right, and you’re really, really rock solid, comfortable, things can go sideways, that were not expected. And you don’t lose your cool, because you’re grounded in what the material is. And it’s like, oh, well, yeah, sure, let’s go there. And
Michael Castiglione 21:16
Umar, it’s not a matter of if, but when things go sideways.
Umar Hameed 21:19
Michael Castiglione 21:20
We can never script to a prospect and say, Hey, just read off this, and then eventually give me your credit card. That’s silly. Like, we have no idea what they’re gonna say, you know, and one of the some of the biggest ones I’ve ever received is, oh, that person has passed away who you’re talking about, or this person? And it’s like, Whoa, what do you say to that? You know, let me go on with no employer empathy, you listen, you have a currency, you see if it’s even right them this conversation right now, because of what just happened. But if you plow through, and you don’t listen, and you know, you’re just a robot.
Umar Hameed 21:54
So I want to tell you about this girl that I hate. So I placed squash, and I’m pretty mediocre at it. But as joys and it’s fun to have a great workout. And this young girl is gonna be like 14, and I see her in the squash court, and she’s just hitting from one side of the wall to the other, just practicing and practicing and practicing. And she’s gonna be world class someday. And that does not come from doing this for like me just having fun. And goofing off now. And then. So this is somebody dedicated, no matter what your craft is, you got to put in the work. Because one of the quotes I like is, you know, success is a matter of luck, ask any loser. And the other side of that coin is, you know, when you work hard, you create luck, you create your own luck through that hard work, that dedication, so roleplay, essential, and great teams that do great work, I’ve had a real estate client, that they do role playing every single morning, they all know how to do what they do. But they still roleplay every single frickin morning. And that’s why they’re spectacular at what they do.
Michael Castiglione 23:10
You got to stay sharp, if you don’t use it, you lose it. And as soon as you think that you can start coasting is when you’re not at the top of your game. So if you’re doing well, for the managers out there who have those eight, eight players and are worth doing, just think they can be better, everyone can be better. And if they’re coasting and they’re cruising, and they’re kind of just, they’ve got their their territory, they know what their sales are going to be. They could be increasing 1020 30% on the regular if they’re held accountable in the right way. And again, it’s not big brother, it’s not pointing the finger and wagging saying you have to do this. It’s let’s collaborate. Let’s talk about realistic metrics. Are you doing the behaviors? You know, are you doing them every and what happens is in those who are listening are probably Yep, that’s me, isn’t the beginning. You’re hungry, you don’t have a book of business. So you’re pounding the pavement, you’re, you’re dialing for dollars, but then you get those relationships. So you shift to the second tier, which is more relationship management and conversation. And you stop doing that, you know, some of the best sales professionals I know, even though you’ve been doing it 25-35 years, they still make five cold dials a day. It’s not a lot, but they still keep that craft present.
Umar Hameed 24:21
Michael Castiglione 24:22
And so they grow over time.
Umar Hameed 24:24
So there’s a friend of mine, his name is Vj, and Vj is a Financial Planner. And if you’re really, really good, you get to go to the million dollar round table. And if you’re spectacular, you get at the top 1% worldwide. And so when he started he still prospects every single day, but his wife was telling me a story, that he had made himself a promise to actually do presentations every single day. And there was a snowstorm and nothing was moving. He couldn’t drive his car. So he actually walked off frickin firehouse because they couldn’t leave either. And he went in and they did a presentation to a bunch of firefighters. That’s all level of dedication you need. And Michael, it was a joyous conversation with you today. And thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with us.
Michael Castiglione 25:08
Umar, it’s been a pleasure. Happy to be here.
Umar Hameed 25:10
If you enjoyed this episode, please go to iTunes and leave a five star rating. And if you’re looking for more tools, go to my website at Nolimitsselling.com. I’ve got a free mind training course there that’s going to teach you some insights from the world of neuro linguistic programming and that is the fastest way to get better results.
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