In this episode I talked with Ryan Miller about working with high performing salespeople. His objective is to achieve “alignment”. We dig into what that means for Ryan and his clients. To make it even more interesting, he does this work with corporate clients as well.
Ryan Miller is a coach to high performers and a consultant to industry leaders. Through great tragedy, he learned the importance I’ve getting clear on who he was in order to help other people do the same and achieve all they have been created for.
Frank Bria: 00:01 The six to seven figures show, episode 67.
Announcer: 00:04 Broadcasting from the Valley of the sun outside Phoenix, Arizona. This is the six to seven figure show tired of working so hard and having no time. Take your six figure practice and turn into a thriving seven figure enterprise. And now your host, author, speaker, mentor, and strategist Frank Bria,
Frank Bria: 00:29 Everyone. Welcome to the six to seven figure show. I’m your host, Frank Bria and today absolutely thrilled to be joined by Ryan Miller’s, a coach to high performers and a consultant to industry leaders through great tragedy. Learn the importance of getting clear on who he was in order to help other people do the same and achieve all that they’ve been created for. Ryan, thanks for being here. Welcome to the show.
Ryan Miller: 00:52 Thanks Frank. I appreciate it. You know, every time somebody introduces me, I always feel so important. You know, they start talking about like titles and like maybe one or two things you accomplished. And I’m like, man, we’re off to a good start now. I just kind of live up to it.
Frank Bria: 01:05 That’s right. That’s our goal here is set the bar high. That’s awesome. All right. So Ryan, tell us a little bit about the kinds of people that you’re working with. I mean, high performers and industry experts that you’re looking to sort of, you know, dive into that thing that they are meant to do a, meant to achieve. Um, how’s that go? Well, who do you work with typically?
Ryan Miller: 01:27 Yeah, so, uh, there’s typically two domains that I live within on the coaching and consulting side. Uh, I’ll say the consulting first is normally, uh, an organization that is looking to further scale or maybe they have recently grown. And so they need to go back in and restructure, uh, their sales, business development, marketing efforts. And so I’m working with them to help them create and then implement and execute on a strategic sales process. Everything from ideal client identification through to the execution of the actual in-person sales process and onto fulfillment of whatever promise we made during the sales conversation. Uh, so that’s on the organizational side of things. And then sometimes they’re, uh, they will then invite me in to coach some of their, uh, sales leaders, uh, sometimes other people in an executive leadership role, uh, as well as ancillary, uh, employees like speakers and maybe some out of their outside consultants trying to help them to stay in the right frame of mind as it relates to performance and things of that nature. Got it. And then other than that, I tend to attract a lot of individuals, either entrepreneurs or some sales outside sales role. And those people are typically a, at some level of, I would say reasonable performance. And yet they’ve plateaued, plateaued either because they just don’t have any more time or maybe they’ve even admitted to a little bit of contentedness and so they’re looking, break through and take it to the next level.
Frank Bria: 03:01 Got it. Excellent. So yeah, salespeople are got, it’s a quirky mindset thing, right? Those of us who’ve been in that role kind of know what I’m talking about, that’s all with all the love I have. But what are some of the big, um, I guess, blocks, rope, mental roadblocks that you’re having to push through with these folks? Um, when they’ve plateaued to get them to the next level? Like what’s usually the hangup for, for, for us.
Ryan Miller: 03:27 Yeah. I mean, you know, there are there traditional raw ones right around, you know, I hate to like lead out with something like this, but you know, some sense of pride, uh, some sense of like, I’ve already arrived and you know, and so there may be exploring what’s possible out there. Um, but I think that more than anything, what I’m tending to find is, is they’ve gotten to a good level of success and that can, and that can mean so many different things. I’m not talking about the million dollar earner though. That’s possible. It could be a young business development professional that’s killing it, right? Setting a lot of appointments and doing well. They just don’t know, like what’s next for them. And then, and then oftentimes, even there is, is maybe they’re finding success in the industry that they’re in, but they don’t have a deep seated belief in what they’re doing. Like the product or service isn’t maybe a tapping into their heart. And so I’m trying to help realign, you know, whether or not, um, that is truly where they should be. Because I believe that belief is one of the key characteristics to becoming successful and being fulfilled. And so if we don’t have that alignment of belief and alignment of values with whatever it is we’re selling and who we’re selling for, then eventually we’re just going to struggle. And again, that’s whether we’re making 50 grand a year or you know, $500,000 a year.
Frank Bria: 04:48 Yeah. It’s interesting because in the sales profession, the career path is a real doozy for people sometimes, right? Because besides just selling more, you know, the, the really, the only sort of upward mobility path is into sales management. And not a lot of salespeople are actually good managers, but very similar to I think a lot of corporate career paths. Like now you just have to supervise people. Uh, how do you see that happen? Is, is there a, like for the folks who really don’t want to do that, what are their, do they just move to another company? Do they look for other opportunities are more aligned with,
Ryan Miller: 05:29 yeah, that’s a fantastic question. I’m sure you’ve talked about it plenty, but I hate, hate, hate, hate the fact that the trajectory of career for salespeople is ending up in some sort of leadership role. And I think that that has a ban manifested as the result of just kind of like a, a poor understanding of what it means to have accomplished something in life. And so like, I have a title, I have more. And so therefore I am, and I just despise of that. Um, there are people that are set up well to be great sales leaders, but like you said, uh, rarely I think is that a high performing salesperson that becomes that person. And so for me, one of the first things that I talk to organizations about as they’re trying to create career paths for their salespeople and then with individual salespeople is, is having them begin to understand what fulfillment means for them.
Ryan Miller: 06:27 Like what, what gets you out of bed every single day? Like what gets you really, really excited because you know, as well as I do that, um, you know, even once we get a title and get a role and gain some authority eventually, if that’s not where our heart’s at, then we’re going to be bored there and we’re going to leave anyway. So, so I think that it’s all about like if you find an industry you love or even better, if you find an organization you love and you are able to, to produce and be good at as a salesperson, good Lord, stay there for ever. There’s nothing wrong with continuing in that path. Like that is an amazing career. It’s lucrative financially, it’s beneficial to the organization. It keeps you charged up. There’s no, there’s almost no better career path I think in this life than selling because of just how dynamic it can be.
Frank Bria: 07:16 Yeah. Yeah. It’s, it’s interesting you mentioned that cause I, I, I haven’t managed a sales team before, but I’ve managed a, a software development team and they have similar kinds of issues where totally software developers don’t want to advantage other software developers. I, I remember one of our very, very best mathematical programmers, I was sitting down and doing sort of a career conversation with them and, and said, well, you know, have you thought about supervision? You thought about management? And he said, Nope, I just want raises every year raises every year and I’m fine. And it was like an eye opening thing for me cause I was like, wait, where’s your sense of, uh, like moving onto the next thing. But it’s interesting in the sales management space that these skills don’t even line up very well. There was a large financial services company that I worked with, um, that had a, they had a course called, so you want to be a manager and they brought these sales people in and they basically put them through the ringer of, here are all the things you have to do as a manager.
Frank Bria: 08:13 And they take these scenarios like, so now you’re at a bar with your coworkers on a Friday night and someone decides to do something or other, um, a, you have to report them to management in the morning, be, you know, and they’re like, Whoa, what half the people who went through that course decided they did not want to manage the track. It was incredibly successful to like weed out that whole thing. Yup. So, so you, you’re doing some something that I think a lot of people are listening to the podcast would love to be able to do, which is sell, uh, provide a personal development services into larger organizations. What is some, what are some of the things that you have had to do to establish organizational relationships? Because that for a lot of people feels like a huge wall to jump over, you know, how do you connect with a large organization, um, you know, you not just running Facebook ads to people, so you have to do a different sales process. What’s been working for you in that, in that Avenue?
Ryan Miller: 09:13 Yeah. So, um, they have all come by way of some sort of referral and or word of mouth. Um, again, you know, the age old adage, know, like, and trust. And so, you know, getting into an organization and the larger it gets, the more challenging and complex it is, require such a high level of trust. And so I’ve been super, super fortunate to be connected over the last 20 plus years of just, you know, being in sales and being in the marketplace, uh, to build some great relationships. And so that has been extremely beneficial to me. What I will say is, is there are some organizations out there that I would love to work with and I don’t have connections to. And so strategically I’ve tried to build relationships with people that have influence into or have sight into those other organizations. Because by way of like, let’s take LinkedIn for instance, like if I can build second and third tier connections, uh, to influencers in that organization, then eventually they’re going to begin to see what I’m doing.
Ryan Miller: 10:21 I mean, right now, like, uh, over the last couple of weeks I posted something on LinkedIn. I decently, I get pretty decent engagement regularly, but I have this one post going absolutely viral. It’s had over 165,000 views on LinkedIn. Like it’s absolutely absurd, but the, but the people that are seeing this are people that I would die to do business with and I don’t know them. And so I think sometimes it’s just continuing to live in the brand that we’re building for ourselves to eventually attract those people. So I think kind of, you know, that’s the beginning at least
Frank Bria: 10:52 it’s AGS really fascinating because as you talk about the whole networking and connection thing, I mean that was the whole purpose of that LinkedIn was built for [inaudible] and all and now we get lost in all these other things. But forget like one of the original features was you are, you know, here are all of the people who could introduce you to this and what a powerful tool that is. And you know, now we, we kind of ignore it and try to do all this mass stuff, but relationships really are key. Super big. Yeah. So, so let me pivot the conversation a little bit cause I’d like to dig into a little bit about your process. So your providing what I think a lot of people would feel like it’s kind of a squishy result for folks. You know, when, when, when they’re looking for a change, they’re looking for alignment. Uh, how do you execute that on a regular basis? What’s the process that you take people through? I was hoping you were gonna tell me we can schedule a call if you want to do that later.
Ryan Miller: 11:49 Um, okay, so there’s a few things. So, um, let’s just, let’s talk in the, in the corporate environment to some degree because I think that’s where people would be most curious and there’s so many things at play, right? So I have a few objectives when I’m working, uh, at the corporate level. Number one is I continue to remind myself that I have been hired by the organization and so I need to have a deep understanding for what they are trying to accomplish longterm. And so even when I’m working in the touchy feely of personal development of one of their employees, I have to be in the frame of mind of how does this help to contribute to the organization’s goal of, you know, X number of million dollars more in revenue or, um, you know, building a substantial brand in the marketplace, whatever that may be.
Ryan Miller: 12:39 So that’s got to constantly be in my frame of mind. And so then when I’m reporting back to the CEO, if that’s who hired me or a COO or VP of sales, whomever that may be, I have got to make sure that I’m demonstrating to them a trajectory of, let’s just call it success or progress with that individual. And so I’m regularly reporting to them. And by that, that could be either weekly or biweekly, just some kind of measure of progress. So, you know, when I began engaging with employee a, a, they were on the verge of a mental breakdown. They weren’t productive. Their employees, their, you know, coworkers hated them. And now here we are and they just engaged in this really challenging conversation. Uh, it was very productive. They were able to do X, Y, and Z. And so as we can see, progress is being made and eventually we know, we just have to know that as people become better personally, they will produce better professionally.
Ryan Miller: 13:39 So, so sometimes it’s things like that. For others, it is very, very hard line. So I do when I’m working with salespeople specifically and then I’m, I’m, you know, uh, I’m communicating back to their sales leader. I am, I’m holding them accountable to the same goals that their sales leader is. So if you have to make 20 calls a week and set one appointment a week and close one deal a month and you have a $250,000 goal for the year, part of our conversation is where are you as it relates to your goals and why are you not accomplishing them or how did you do X, Y, andZ ? I’m trying to reinforce what the leadership wants me to, but I also ended up [inaudible] and this is where the beauty and the joy of a relationship like this occurs for me is I get to, I get to help the individual become the best version of themselves, even if that means eventually working them out of the organization.
Ryan Miller: 14:34 So like I had a case recently where, um, I actually told a woman who had just been hired there a few months prior. I said, I actually don’t think you’re going to make it because I don’t think that you are aligned with what they want from you. And that’s a scary thing for me to say because she could walk into the boss and say, I quit and then I look like the jerk because I got that, you know, new, new hire to quit in this case. Thank God. I just found out two days ago that she had conversation with the CEO. It went amazingly well. There was this real alignment of values and you know, and they’re off and running. That’s great. So, so I think that it can be touchy feely, but no matter what I am being, how I hold myself accountable to the goals that I’ve committed to for the organization.
Ryan Miller: 15:19 Yeah. Well the other thing is, there’s a couple of things that you said that were amazing I want to touch on, but, uh, really briefly, I mean, one of the beauties I guess of working with sales professionals is that regardless of all the messy internal stuff that’s going on, in the end, the output’s pretty measurable. You know it’s different than you know a a project manager or something like that where it’s a little harder to measure that kind of output. But you said something that I really want to emphasize because you’re in an enterprise sale capacity working with the organization, which for those people who don’t know what that means, that means you’ve got multiple, multiple interests that you’re balancing and this idea of understanding who the economic buyer was and what their goals are for the engagement and making sure you stay on path that that even as you are working with other people in the organization.
Ryan Miller: 16:09 Super, super critical. I mean one of the things that, the simple thing that I’ve done at the beginning of most enterprise sales contracts, which has made all the difference in the world is to simply ask the question, how would you define success? Like at the end of this project, if you guys are as happy as anything, how, how do, how would you measure that? How do you define that? And just knowing that, I mean, so like getting the answers to the tests. So there’s some, there’s something though that that, at least for me, this is critical and many people will say this, a few people actually put this into action. So I want, I want to be clear here, I don’t force any of my clients into a contract. We are in a month to month agreement regardless of whether it’s a multibeam not this big, but like, you know, $500 million organization or an individual, it’s a month to month.
Ryan Miller: 17:00 Yeah. And, and part of that reason, there’s a lot of reasons why I do that. Part of that reason is because one of the things I tell them up front is I will do what’s right regardless of what you want. And so that means at some point they may ask me like, Hey, you need to hold my salesperson accountable to this goal and I’ll go back to them and tell them like, you’re ridiculous. That’s not fair. That’s not the right thing. Like you haven’t set whatever. I’ve got to risk getting myself fired every single day. And most people won’t do that because they’re too attached to the financial reward of getting that check every single month or, or whatever that retainer is. And so I do that. Like I actually, I just had that happen the other day. I walked into an owner and I told her, I said, look at, I said, what you want me to do? I said, I’m going to do it because it’s not right. And she pushed and pushed and pushed. Thank God. I ended up winning the argument and the end and we’re going to move forward, but only because I felt deeply in my heart what was right. That doesn’t mean I’m right. It’s just what I feel comfortable with.
Frank Bria: 18:03 Well, and you have an aligned values that you want to be able to execute on. And if someone else has different values than even, it doesn’t matter who’s right or wrong, it’s just not gonna work. Know that that’s so incredible, uh, of a, uh, a learning for, for anyone who wants to do anything in corporate consulting. This, this ability to sort of like, stand and speak the truth and to not just go along. That is for, for new consultants that is really hard to do. Um, you know, and I’ve been in the role, it’s scary, like stand in the office of the CEO of a fortune 500 company and go your wrong. And I’ll tell you why. It’s really, really hard. It’s nerve wracking. But I will tell you that the good leaders, um, they, they appreciate that actually they, they’re bringing you in to get a different perspective. They’re not bringing you in is to be a yes man or yes woman. Um, and uh, and, and, and you’ve got to sort of have that skill set. I think that’s amazing. Yeah. Um, how long do you typically work with, with companies I, regardless of contract?
Ryan Miller: 19:08 Yeah. So, uh, the, the shortest period of time I’ve ever worked with anybody. So I’ve been doing this for seven years now. Uh, the shortest period of time I’ve ever worked with anybody was three months. Uh, that was a very specific outcome we were trying to produce. Um, the longest one is I’ve been with a client for five years. Um, and that looks different over different seasons. There’s times when I’m in the office, like in the office a couple of days a week. And like right now it’s a about a, a biweekly check-in just to make sure things are going. Um, so it really depends. Um, I, I don’t try and string them along again, like I can’t afford to lose a single client. I want them all. I want to continue to generate revenue, but I’ve got to believe that I’m contributing to them consistently or I’m going to pull the ripcord.
Frank Bria: 19:55 Yeah. And, and it’s no fun, like, you know, if you feel misaligned with stuff like that, um, what’s one piece of advice you wish someone had given you, uh, before starting that as you look back now, you’re like, man, that would’ve made things a little bit easier.
Ryan Miller: 20:11 Gosh, that people rarely throw me for a loop. So, um, I think that, um, I think it goes back to, you have to be so clear on what is most important to you and what you want out of this. And again, like I want to be gracious with people in saying that like if it’s, if it’s to be financially successful, then that’s fine, but then commit to that if it’s to, to, to do good or whatever. Like for me, and again, like it’s taken me a long time and a lot of iterations to learn this. But for me it is all about helping other people to be successful and changing other people’s lives. And that has cost me Frank money that has cost me my own integrity at times because I’ve had to push hard on or step away from something and it makes me look really bad. But I know deep down inside that it’s the right thing. And so I think that is the most important. And it took me a long time because I needed to make money because I really wanted to work with some clients. Um, and just, you know, by the grace of God, over time, I’ve gotten to a place where that has become the most important thing to me. And I think that like not only does it produce a really good feeling inside, but it will attract the right people to you externally.
Frank Bria: 21:34 Yeah, that’s for sure. I think there’s a really powerful principle. I mean, if things get tougher, everybody in business, I mean there’s no such thing as a smooth path. Um, and when those bad things happen, when those really tough things happen, man, you got to have a North star to go back to, to help guide your decision making through stuff. Otherwise you just get clouded by someone that’s this other emotion and fear and all that, you know, sense of I’m not good enough and everything. I that that’s a really powerful thing. Um, Hey, we are out of time. Unfortunately. Ryan, I’d love to keep talking, but, uh, uh, I know you’re super busy. I really appreciate the time that you’ve taken for this interview. Um, before we go, those people who would love to reach out and connect with you, if, uh, you know, they’re looking to get the kinds of services that you’re talking about or if they’re looking to just kind of do something that, um, uh, is similar to what you’re doing, what’s a great way for them to connect with you?
Ryan Miller: 22:27 Yeah, so the best way to listen to just hear everything that I talk about is that is definitely LinkedIn. It’s, you know, you can search me, Ryan, James Miller or it’s literally linkedin.com/in/rjmsalespro. Um, so that’s the best way outside of that. My website, Ryan James miller.com is also a good way to do it. And yeah, I mean I’m happy to have conversation and contribute in any way I can.
Frank Bria: 22:49 Great. Excellent. Well those links, so you’re below the video. Um, they’re also in the show notes page. If you’re out and about listening to this, come on back to the show notes page and click on through to connect with Ryan, uh, brilliant guy doing great stuff. Highly recommend that, uh, you take that opportunity. Um, Ryan, thanks so much for being with us today.
Ryan Miller: 23:06 Thank you, Frank. I appreciate it.
Frank Bria: 23:07 Absolutely. And thank you for being with us on this episode of the six to seven figure show. I’ve been your host, Frank Bria, and uh, again, no, you got a lot of things to do. So if you’re taking your time,
Frank Bria: 23:16 that’s spending with us really precious [inaudible].