INSIDE Inside Sales – Ep 106: Starting Over in Sales

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What do you do when life throws you a curveball and you need to start over? You get a sales mindset coach to help you with your sales, of course.

This week on INSIDE Inside Sales, Darryl is once again joined by well-respected author and sales trainer, Niraj Kapur. Darryl and Niraj go over the strategies you should follow when you have to hit the reset button, such as getting a coach to help with your mindset, resisting the urge to cocoon, and using your time to help others. Learn how you can succeed when starting over on this episode of INSIDE Inside Sales!

''The first thing you do to turn things around is get a coach.'' 🎧 Listen as @Nirajwriter shares his strategies to pull yourself back up after hitting the reset button in your career. #SalesMindset Click To Tweet

 

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Host: Darryl PraillVanillaSoft

Guest: Niraj Kapur, Everybodyworksinsales.com

 

Darryl Praill: Ah, what a day folks. I tell you that my week has been crazy. It’s been hellish. My back is sore just thinking about how much I’ve been standing up. And the ironic part of that is I actually have a sit-stand desk, a standing desk, little electric buttons, it goes up, it goes down. And the whole point is it’s supposed to make your back stronger. I’m not sure that’s happening for me. I’ve even got a soft carpet I stand on. I ordered it special off of Amazon. I feel all squishy. I think I need to sit down. Is my age showing? Will you be honest with me, is my age showing? Anyway, I’m rambling. Have you ever got that way, guys? You ever got to the point where you’re just so overwhelmed, you’re not sure where to turn.

Darryl Praill: You know you’re rambling, you know you’re indecisive, you know you’re lacking focus. I’ve got that way. And actually, it’s something I have to be intentional about. I have to be intentional about getting my sleep and I have to be intentional about my own schedule. I never used to be. Some would look at my schedule now, and they say, it appears you’re not now either. And there’s some truth in that, but I do know my limits. I do know when I’m in trouble. And I actually say no now, I schedule, I do a lot of time blocking to make sure I preserve certain areas of the day, whether it be in the morning or in the evening or whatever it might be, that are mine, that I’m going to have some downtime on.

Darryl Praill: Especially for me, I’m an introvert. I recognize that I’m self-aware. I need to re-energize. I spend a lot of time with people and that’s exhausting for me. As much as I enjoy it and I love hanging out with you, at the end of all of these sessions, I always go, ah, needing myself a pint or a glass of water or a strong coffee or all the above it seems. I’ve learned this over many years of working. And I think if I have to look back, the easiest way to put it is I’ve learned it from starting over. And so you maybe going, well Darryl, what does that mean? I began life as a computer programmer, and when I left that field, I became a sales engineer. Well, in fact, I was a sales rep first, selling photocopiers.

Darryl Praill: That was tough. So my real career was programming, but then I left that to become a sales engineer. And I changed countries. I went from Canada to the US. Now it’s one thing to travel. It’s another thing to be a citizen of a different country. And as much as you might think Canada and the US are very, very similar, trust me, they’re very, very different. And so it’s a different culture, different career. I didn’t know the city, I didn’t know the people, I had no support systems, just my wife and I. My wife couldn’t work, she didn’t have a visa. So we had to start over. That was challenging. And then when we moved back to Canada with our first kid and made a decision to not have an anchor child, but instead to come back home where we had friends and family who could help us with a newborn.

Darryl Praill: And then we made a decision that my wife would stay home for the first several years and stay with the children and that meant my career had to feed everybody. And the only way to achieve that was to make sure I was constantly making more money. So that meant more career changes. And that meant more cities. And I changed cities numerous times. Every single one of those instances when I changed cities or changed countries, I was starting over. That’s stressful. And what’s even more stressful is, and I’m going to give you something that sounds very patriarchal here, very old school stereotypical, and you can mock me for it and you can chastise me for it, but I felt obligated to provide for my family. So I put undue additional burden on me to make sure that I was achieving the objectives and the milestones and the revenue and the income that I needed to do to provide and grow and continue along that path and that vision we had.

Darryl Praill: So now there’s more burden on you. It got to a point actually where I actually had a nervous breakdown. And that happened when I was 31 or 32 years old. You can call it a midlife crisis. I always liked to overachieve. I got it in my thirties. And there’s nothing like weeping on a floor uncontrollably because you realize that you’re just spent, you’re burnt. And after that, I had to start over. At every step along the way in my career, when I’ve had the biggest success, I always ended up starting over. Have you been there, changed jobs changed cities, changed vocations? It’s stressful. It puts a burden upon you, it puts a burden upon your loved ones who care for you. And it creates a lot of anxiety. Now here’s the good news. Now that I’ve really just made you want to slice your wrist.

Welcome Niraj Kapur

Darryl Praill: The good news is that we’re never given something we can’t handle. Life is funny that way. We may not think we can handle it but in fact, we can. And we’re building upon the skills we’ve already had. So I was able to move locations and change careers because of the very skills that I had already developed. So with that said, I recognize that the sales industry is a career that is not for everybody. There’s a lot of rejection. There’s a lot of mind games. There’s a lot of, somebody said, there’s a lack of integrity in some occupations, some employers that you may struggle with.

Darryl Praill: What do you do when you’re in this situation? What do you do when life throws you a curveball, especially when life throws you a curveball you didn’t expect? How do you start over? It’s one thing to just choose to start over your own decision, but how do you start over when it wasn’t your decision? Maybe suddenly you’re laid off, 2020. That’s happened a lot this year, has it not? Suddenly you’re on the bench. Maybe something happens in life that you didn’t anticipate, and boom, here you are. So today’s episode, I wanted to hit starting over, starting over in sales. And I thought, who could most speak to this with the earnestness and the integrity and the personal experience that this topic deserves? So today’s topic is gonna be an introspective one. It’s gonna be a transparent one and we’re gonna get into it. I want you to meet my good friend Niraj Kapur. Niraj, welcome to the show, sir. How are you doing?

Niraj Kapur: Darryl, greetings from England. It’s fantastic to see you. We were due to meet in March in fact, this year in England, and that was canceled because of COVID-19 and lockdown. So it’s nice to see you face to face virtually.

Darryl Praill: It’s true. I missed our get together. Everything got canceled. I don’t know if I’ve gone to any events this year, but you’re right, it’s been nuts. I did miss, I was looking forward to hanging out with you, sharing a pint or two, and catching up on some stories. For those who don’t know Niraj, this is his second time on the show. So go check out his last episode. It was fantastic. And that’s probably a good segue. Niraj, when I talked to you last time on the show, you had a very different life circumstance than you have today. And since today’s topic is around starting over, maybe you can do me the favor of just bringing up the audience up to speed on what’s transpired since the last time you were on the show.

Niraj Kapur: Yeah sure. Last time I was on the show, I’d just done 23 years working in sales in London. All 23 years I was selling, and the last eight years I was a coach and trainer. I already wanted to be a full-time coach and I didn’t have the courage to leave my job because when you do very well in sales, you have a very comfortable career, great money, fantastic commission. Why would you leave that for? And I wrote a book called Everybody Works in Sales. It spent almost 21 weeks in the Amazon top 100, which I wasn’t expecting. It was just a fantastic experience. Word of mouth. The book was incredible. So I used those royalties and set my own business up, thinking, yes, this is fantastic. I have my own business. It’s less stress, more time with my family.

Niraj Kapur: And of course, when you set that business up, that’s the complete opposite. You have less time with your family. You’re really in many ways starting over and you no longer have a comfortable guarantee of a salary anymore. And all of a sudden I was just thrown into this world which was very exciting, but kind of really scary. And we met, I think several months after that. My book came out through our mutual friend, Daniel Disney, and life, it was only a year ago but it just seems so different then, compared to now. And now about a year later, I’m divorced. And that took a massive impact on my emotional health, my financial health, and it messed me up pretty badly. And if you got a mind that’s not working properly and your health is struggling, it’s gonna affect your sales very badly which it did with me. And I really have to turn it around and it was quite difficult to do so.

The benefits of a sales mindset coach

Darryl Praill: Ok, everybody, they say half of all marriages fail. So here’s Niraj. He had a dream, he’s rocking it. He’s got a best-selling book. He is living the high life, and then boom, his marriage breaks apart, it dissolves. And now he’s single again, coping with what might have led to that. Like me, he was very British there. There was an impact on my financial well-being. I’m sure there was an impact on your financial wellbeing as he’s giggling now because that’s stressful. So you have a decision to make. So what did you do? Today’s theme is starting over. Did you start over? Where are you at now?

Niraj Kapur: Yeah, I did start over. I had to go through a very painful process first of self-doubt. And I think in sales, your mindset is so important. And 21 years of marriage is a long time. And that was caused, my daughter went to university, it was just myself and my wife left and we tried date nights, we tried holidays, we tried everything and we just couldn’t make it work. So I went and got the divorce, which made me the bad guy. There was a whole series of things and it was just, it was bad. And my health got impacted. And for the first time, the doctors diagnosed me with depression. When you have to make cold calls every day and work in sales and your mind is an absolute mess, you don’t do very well. You just don’t.

Niraj Kapur: You can’t sell that well, you can’t sell effectively. And the first thing I did, which is what I recommend to everybody anyway, if you want to improve at anything in life, the first thing you do to turn things around is get a coach. So I had a sales coach who was very good but I hired a mindset coach on the 1st of January. And that was the smartest thing I did. And he really helped sort my brain out and built me back up again. And that was great because, at Christmas, all my friends were with their families. I didn’t want to bother them and say, hey guys, I’m spending Christmas alone. Can I come over? Christmas is a time for family and I’m living by myself. So the first thing I did was I got a mindset coach to work with me. And one of the smartest things you can do, Darryl is always get a coach because they will take you to another level.

Darryl Praill: I love that. So here’s the thing, we talk about this all the time on the show, on the INSIDE Inside Sales podcast, the importance of coaches, of a sales coach, sales training. I love the whole idea of investing in yourself. You gotta learn to earn, I like to say. And so whether you’re investing in a book, or investing in a program, or investing in a coach, it’s all about making you better, more whole, more ready, more prepared to succeed. So this is what I want to do, I want to go out for our commercial break. It won’t be long, don’t go anywhere. And when we come back, I’m gonna drill Niraj, going to say, Niraj, what did you and your coach come up to? What were the tactics you intentionally chose to pursue to get you where you’re at today? So don’t go anywhere. We shall be right back.

Your vision board

Darryl Praill: So Niraj, let’s get into it now. So you said you had a coach and you started being intentional about certain aspects on your road to starting over. Now when we talked in the green room, I like to say, you had mentioned a few things that were really interesting to me. Now, one of the things you talked about, and I’m going to take this a little bit out of order, cause I listened to our whole conversation. And so I’m going to bop you around a few places if you’re okay with that. You talked about mindset. Now I’ve talked about mindset over and over again as it relates to sales. You have to have a mindset for rejection. In other words, it doesn’t bother me. When you’re starting over, and I’m speaking from my personal experience right now, I can’t speak for you. Whenever I started over, I personally often felt like a failure.

Darryl Praill: I felt like an imposter. I felt like I was just trying to fake it until I make it if you will. And that makes it hard to move forward. That’s why I celebrate my successes so much, and I celebrate the successes of my team so much because those successes are worthy of celebration. How important, whether somebody here listening has lost their job, has had their marriage dissolve, or in fact maybe has had both of those situations happen, maybe they’re in financial hardship and they’re starting over. Talk to me about the importance of mindset in that context. Because this is not about sales rejection. This is about career mindset and how you approach your occupation.

Niraj Kapur: Oh absolutely. When things go wrong, Darryl, it’s so easy to focus on the negative and blame yourself, and have what I call pity parties where you spend all day watching Netflix and eating ice cream, but really it’s so easy to do. And what I did was to kind of turn that around is I have my vision board which is right in front of me. It’s got all the charity work I do, it’s got pictures of my friends, my family, my daughter, my rock music all the things that really mean something to me. And I look at that all the time and I know what my goals are.

Niraj Kapur: And if you look at that sort of 10 to 15 times a day, it really does help you get back on track and become more positive as well. The second thing I do is quite often, when you get rejected and the phone call, it’s never nice getting rejected by clients, but it happens, just go for a walk for five minutes. If you’re in an office and you can’t leave, listen to some rock music or your favorite song for five minutes. It will just perk you up. And all of a sudden you get back into what I would call, I guess athletes would call the zone.

Darryl Praill: That’s so true. I’ve talked about this before. Even when you’re selling or you’re doing like I do here, these podcasts, or webinars, or videos. I had a coach for years on this kind of content. And one of the things that coach made a comment to me on was to smile. Smile before you do it, smile before you dial, smile before you meet someone, smile before you get on screen. And I’m one of these guys that I’m like, pfft, come on, and you know, pish, posh. And yet, you smile and all of a sudden it does, it’s infectious. It does change your body. So stand up straight, shoulders back. And I love the idea of the vision board, personally, because I was trying to envision if you will, excuse the double entendre, I was trying to envision what that would be like for me. If I had a vision board in front of me and I’m staring at a phone, I make some phone calls, I’m staring at my screen because I have to send emails, I have to drum up some business, especially for you.

Darryl Praill: You have to drum up some business. And I’m thinking to myself, that vision board would constantly remind me that I’m not just doing this for me. I’m doing this for the people that I love, the people that I value, the people that I care about. And those people value me. They respect me. So, I know I can count on them. So now I need to step up so they can count on me. And it sounds silly but I totally get how that vision board would work. I love that approach.

Helping others to help yourself

Darryl Praill: Let’s carry on. You made a mention and you mentioned your charity work and in the green room, you made a passing comment about how important it was to you to help others. And I found that really interesting. I’ll be honest with you, if I’m starting over, maybe I’m a selfish bastard, I don’t know, I’m not thinking about helping others. I need help. Others should be helping me because look at me. I’m not where I want to be. So how did helping others help you do it again, start over?

Niraj Kapur: That goes back to my father. He won an MBA from Prince Charles at Buckingham palace in 2014, for all the charity work he does. And he turned his life around many years ago just because he was making good money in his career. He was a very successful doctor but he was very unhappy inside. And once he started giving to others, he said to me, that’s the happiness in life. And of course, when you’re struggling in life and somebody says do charity work, it’s like, hey, let me take care of me first, then I’ll take care of others.

Niraj Kapur: But the fact is, when you start living your life helping others, life just becomes better. You can call it karma, you can call it goodwill, call it what you like. But when I’m helping other people and asking for nothing in return, something just happens inside, your soul becomes healed, you become happier. You’re sending out good vibes to the world. And whatever you give to the world, you get back. So if you give out selfishness to the world, nothing good is going to happen to you. If you give out tremendous love to the world and joy, good things happen to you. So that karma, those vibes, call it what you will, that does matter and it does exist.

Darryl Praill: So for those who are listening with rapt attention, because it’s hitting home for you, we all have a tendency to cocoon. When times are tough, we just want to stay inside, curl up on the couch, throw a blanket over us, turn on the telly and watch our best soap opera. Maybe get a good big ass pizza and not care about the calories and away we go. And you know what? There’s comfort in that. I’m hiding is what I’m doing. And I’m not dealing with people. I’m not dealing with the conflict. I get it. I have been there so many times. But what Niraj is really speaking to is the whole idea of not doing that, the whole idea of getting out and channeling your energy and helping others and indirectly what you’re not maybe fully appreciating is how their energy, their response, their feedback, just the relational aspect of how you’re interacting with them, it’s actually feeding you.

Darryl Praill: So yes, we start off by helping others, but the reality is it’s actually others helping you. And they help you see that there is a tomorrow and there is a new opportunity and before long, what you see when you’re starting over is that there’s all this opportunity I really wasn’t seeing before because in my old life I was seeing what I had in my old life. And I didn’t see anything else, cause I already had what I had. But now I’m seeing there’s another place I can go to. And that’s kind of interesting. I want to go explore that. So the idea of helping others, it’s such brilliant advice. And don’t believe me, there have been every single philosopher and major religious figure, pick your religion, who all said the exact same, a classic die to self. Die to self, it’s really a way of saying help others.

Darryl Praill: It’s not about you, it’s about them. But again, full circle: If you help them, they help you. So it’s a mindset thing. Your vision board is a great example. It was helping others. You intentionally sought out a coach to walk alongside of you in this journey.

Allowing yourself to be vulnerable

Darryl Praill: We barely talked about that because the coach is that trusted advisor. That’s the person you can be vulnerable with. And you made a comment, speaking of being vulnerable, about the importance of authenticity and vulnerability. So talk to me about that. Because if it’s me, Niraj, I’m thinking because I am stuck in my own head, well, I can’t be vulnerable? People can’t see me when I’m weak. I’ll never get that job. I’ll never get that new client. They need to count on me. They need to trust me. I have to exude strength and confidence. But in fact, I believe you’re gonna tell me it’s the complete opposite of that. So talk to me about your comment about authenticity and vulnerability.

Niraj Kapur: Yeah. There’s a great belief in this world that to succeed in sales you have to be macho and you have to crush it and talk big. But the most successful salespeople I know are actually quite humble, very genuine, down to earth people. And you those are the people I guess I gravitate towards as well. And I look at my LinkedIn posts. I get a bit of business from LinkedIn. I get coaching inquiries because I post content every day. And in January I had about 3000 connections. And instead of just writing sales content, I talked about the struggles I was going through my life, and related that to sales.

Niraj Kapur: So my post on January the 2nd was, “I spent Christmas alone, it was incredibly lonely, it was emotionally very difficult for me. I hired this mindset coach. There’s a picture of me and the coach. And he was amazing. He gave me, the belief that I could kind of get back on my feet again and start over, and that’s what I’m doing.” And that became the most popular post I’ve done to date. And so many people resonated with what I said. And so many people reached out and said, oh my God, you’re always happy all the time. We had no idea you were going through this. And people started seeing me in a different way.

Niraj Kapur: And people don’t really think much of salespeople, recruitment consultants, estate agents they’re all put in the same bracket of awful. And when people start seeing you as being more authentic and more real and more human, they start connecting with you. And apart from the several hundred LinkedIn connections, what I got were people in my sales pipeline who were kind of thinking about working with me, but not entirely sure yet, all of a sudden saying, yes, we want to work with you because you’re a real person. That was the biggest surprise out of it. The fact I got business out of something by just being vulnerable and real and authentic and opening up to people.

Darryl Praill: See, that’s the thing that people forget: It’s that people would just want to work with people they know and trust and respect. And it actually, when you’re vulnerable, when you’re transparent, you’re not walking on the street with a picket flag, saying, I’m up shit’s creek, I’m feeling bad. It’s not that. But you know it’s the classic, hey, how you doing today? Well, what do we all say? Oh, I’m doing great, thanks. No, no, no, I asked you a question. How are you doing today? Oh, well, I could be better. I tell people all the time when they ask me, how are you doing today? Well, I’m old, I’m tired. I could drop a few pounds. I got a few bills I want to get rid of. But other than that, I’m good. And you get one of two reactions. One is they either giggle and it’s a nervous giggle, cause, oh, I don’t want to hear this. Or you get the other one saying, really? Tell me more.

Darryl Praill: I love those conversations the best. And here’s the bottom line. Wouldn’t you rather have a client or an employer who respects you for your authenticity and your vulnerability so that you can be yourself with them all the time as opposed to trying to project this exhausting persona of who you think they want you to be? That’s not starting over. That’s just actually a recipe for more heartache. You mentioned your network. You mentioned that you’re posting content all the time. You mentioned your network reacted to them, to you. And you mentioned you’re getting business off of LinkedIn, that’s just one channel.

Darryl Praill: The one area that I have always always, always, always sucked at, and my wife mocks me for it cause she’s an outgoing person and of course I’m not, is networking. Networking is what gets me through every little hiccup in life cause there’s always somebody who says, hey, I know somebody, or hey, they need help. And maybe you can help them out. And somebody playing matchmaker and bringing me into something that I didn’t even know existed, an opportunity. I suck at building a network. But you mentioned the point that that was instrumental. Help me understand why that was so important to your starting over journey.

Niraj Kapur: There’s an old saying, you become the average of the five people you spend time with. So if you surround yourself with really positive people and you reach out to them and say, look, I’m really struggling here. What would you do? You kind of develop an even stronger relationship with them. So I have friends, many of whom you know, you got the Steve Burtons of the world, Alistairs, and Daniel Disneys, people I have tremendous respect and admiration for. And I reached out to all three of them, to say, look, here’s where I am. I’m really in a difficult place. I don’t want pity. I just want to talk to you. And they were unbelievably supportive. They always check in on me. They see how I’m doing. that network is so strong now. We speak, most of us, on a weekly basis and we help each other write and we support each other’s posts and we support each other’s events.

Niraj Kapur: And when my book came out recently they all promoted it massively on LinkedIn and social media. And when they have events, I promote it on social media. And it’s a wonderful network. And I’ve seen a lot of the American gurus, the Mark Hunters, Anthony Iannarinos you know, the Jeb Blounts and Mike Weinbergs. They support each other amazingly well. And they’re so successful. And in the UK, I do the same with my inner circle and we help and support each other. And when you’re going through tough times, it’s really important to have people who won’t just say you’re amazing, because that doesn’t really help you much, but they will have honest conversations with you and say, why don’t you try that? And you’re doing well here, but what about this? And you can have real frank conversations with them about how to improve and do better in life.

Darryl Praill: So there you have it, folks. Let me ask you a question. Would you rather work with a, for lack of a better word, an expert sales coach and trainer who is confident in their strengths and weaknesses, who practices exactly what they’re gonna coach you on doing themselves, who has had to use it to literally start over again? Would you rather work with someone like that, or would you rather work with a pretender? Somebody who’s going to talk about 10x we’re gonna 10x everything and doesn’t actually give a crap about anybody other than themselves.

Darryl Praill: Right now folks, my good friend, Niraj Kapur, he, if you don’t know it, it’s what he does. He is an expert sales coach and trainer. He’s the man. I love him dearly. You can check him out at Everybodyworksinsales.com. I’m telling you, he’s a best selling author for a reason. But even more importantly, when you engage with him and you engage with his content, what you get is exactly what you need. You get sales advice that feeds your sales soul, baby. So check him out. He’s on LinkedIn. That’s the best way to get him. It’s Niraj Kapur. The nice thing is, he says, “There ain’t many of us out there. So it’s really easy to find.”

Darryl Praill: Just do that. Google on LinkedIn. Niraj, thank you for your time today, sir. I know it’s late there in the UK. I’m grateful for your time, but in the meantime folks, we’re out of time. In fact, some might even say we’re over time and we’ve got to fix that. So we’re gonna call it quits here. And we’re gonna do this again though, guess what, next week. Will I see you there? I sure as hell hope I will. In the meantime, I’m gonna go and just have some quiet time. I’m gonna relax. And then when I come back I’m gonna smile and start it all over again. Take care folks. We’ll talk to you soon. Bye-bye.

Niraj Kapur: Thank you so much, Darryl, take care.