What Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Can Teach Us About Sales Success

Michael Veltri is a best-selling author, leadership expert, and more importantly for this episode, a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (BJJ) black belt.

In this episode of The Salesman Podcast, Michael shares the universal links between sales, business, and BJJ success as well as how we can toughen up and beat the competition.

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Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - Michael Veltri
Leadership Expert and Best-selling Author

Resources:

Transcript

Will Barron:

Coming up on today’s episode of the Salesmen Podcast.

 

Michael Veltri:

As a salesperson, I want to present my prospect with an irresistible offer, where they have no choice but to say yes to hiring Michael Veltri. And in jujitsu, we’re faced with that irresistible offer, whether we’re receiving it or giving it when we find ourselves in a position where we have to tap.

 

Will Barron:

Hello, Sales Nation. I’m Will Barron, host of the Salesmen Podcast, the world’s most listened to B2B sales show. If you haven’t already, make sure to click subscribe. And with that, let’s meet today’s guest.

 

Michael Veltri:

Hi, I’m Michael Veltri, keynote speaker and trainer for sales teams and sales meetings. You can find me at michaelveltri.com.

 

What is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu? · [01:07]

 

Will Barron:

On this episode of the show, the legend is Mike. We’re diving into how Brazilian Jujitsu can teach us to become better sales professionals. Why being full contact in our training is incredibly important, the importance of having a system to selling, and a whole lot more, so let’s jump right in. Michael, tell us what Brazilian Jujitsu is, and then we can dive into how it relates to business.

 

Michael Veltri:

Sure. You bet, Will. So it’s very interesting, because it’s actually Japanese Jujitsu that was exported to Brazil, way back in 1914. And one of the unique things I love about it is that the Brazilians took this Japanese form of grappling. Jujitsu is made up of two Japanese characters, actually meaning gentle technique. So it’s not a striking art where you’re punching and kicking.

 

Michael Veltri:

But it’s primarily a ground grappling, like wrestling, where you learn as a smaller person, to control a bigger person. That might be through the use of body pressure, joint locks, or even choking techniques. So the Brazilians took Japanese Jujitsu and innovated beyond belief. And then spread it worldwide to this amazingly popular mixed martial arts, MMA and BJJ, Brazilian Jujitsu that we now hear about today.

 

Will Barron:

So we’ll get on to the branding of things and how they perhaps, spread it in the messaging a little bit later on.

 

Michael Veltri:

Sure.

 

How Does Martial Arts Translate into Sales and Business Success? · [02:12] 

 

Will Barron:

But I’ve got a whole bunch of thoughts on this, but I don’t want to put words in your mouth, Michael. How the heck does this martial arts, where essentially is a bunch of men and women in dressing gowns on the floor, strangling each other, how does this translate into business and sales success?

 

“As a salesperson, I want to present my prospect with an irresistible offer, where they have no choice but to say yes to hiring Michael Veltri. And in jujitsu, we’re faced with that irresistible offer, whether we’re receiving it or giving it when we find ourselves in a position where we have to tap out, where we’re caught, where there’s no way out.” – Michael Veltri · [02:49] 

 

Michael Veltri:

Sure. So there’s a lot of different ways to go with this. One of the things that I like, again, as a salesperson myself, and what I see with a direct connection with jujitsu is something that I call the irresistible offer, Will. So as a salesperson, I want to present my prospect with an irresistible offer, where they have no choice but to say yes to hiring Michael Veltri.

 

Michael Veltri:

And in jujitsu, we’re faced with that irresistible offer, whether we’re receiving it or giving it when we find ourselves in a position where we have to tap, where we have to tap out, where we’re caught, where there’s no way out, where every window has been closed, every escape, whether that’s somebody catching me in a position where I tap.

 

Michael Veltri:

And for our listeners, a tap means that you submit, that you give the sale, that you give something to somebody else. And when you’re applying your technique to somebody, you’re closing every window for them to escape where you give them the irresistible offer where if they don’t tap, they’re going to lose out. They can get injured or hurt.

 

“When we train in jiu jitsu, whether we’re being submitted and having to tap, or learning how to apply that submission to somebody else, it’s like in sales learning how to create an irresistible offer to our prospects.” – Michael Veltri · [03:42] 

 

Michael Veltri:

So one of the things I like to equate is that when we train in jujitsu, whether we’re being submitted and having to tap, or learning how to apply that submission to somebody else, it’s like in sales, learning how to create an irresistible offer to our prospects.

 

Will Barron:

Just to add a layer on this, I’ve never really thought about it like this before. And this I must assume far less for you, Michael, than it is for me. But when I’m getting caught up, triangled, strangled, whatever it is, there’s a point where you have to make a decision. There’s a point where it’s a binary choice of, you’re going to needlessly hurt yourself, you’re going to go unconscious, or you tap and you give up.

 

Will Barron:

And I guess the whole point of sales in the analogy that we’re driving here, is to get to a binary decision. And I like the way you aligned it there of you’re cutting off, not necessarily cutting off all the escapes, because we’re not trying to push people down a pathway that they don’t want to go down. But we are trying to influence people towards a binary decision. And it’s their free will whether they do decide to go down that route or not.

 

Will Barron:

But another layer on this, which I’ve talked about on the show a million times, is the fact that until I started training jujitsu, I’ve been selling for a long time, a relative long time, I’d still have a little bit of rejection. Not necessarily a phobia, but I’d feel it. Someone slams that phone down on me. Someone tells me I’m an idiot. Someone rejects whatever proposal I think is an irresistible offer.

 

Do Salespeople Make Sales Rejection a Higher Threat Than It Should be? · [05:24] 

 

Will Barron:

Getting strangled three or four times a week and giving up on it. Really, let me go with that rejection, because I realised that it doesn’t really matter. It’s one thing to have some big, burly dude on your back or occasionally, some skinny girl strangling you from the front. That is real life. That’s a literal potential threat. And do you feel this translates?

 

Will Barron:

Do you feel the same way that in sales, we make the rejection the threat level, the adrenaline that’s higher than what it should be? And I find that Brazilian Jujitsu levels it. It makes it more of what it should be, which is a bear chasing after you, or physically being attacked.

 

Michael Veltri:

Yeah, it’s such a great point, Will. Because that leads me to not only agreeing with what you said. But to get to that point, you can practise drilling, for example, in jujitsu, drilling 1,000 arm bars. Drill, drill, drill this, that, the other. And then when you have to apply it in a live sparring session, a live rolling session, and a million things go wrong, and you really see if your technique works or not, you need those full resistance sessions to get better.

 

Michael Veltri:

Much like you can practise your sales pitch over and over, and over, then you get in front of a real live human being who tells you to go eff off, or get out of here, or humiliates you, or is just a jerk. Or they had a bad day, or they’re testing you. And if you at that point, you crumble because all you’ve done is you’ve never had live resistance to your technique, your sales technique, your marketing technique, your jujitsu technique.

 

Michael Veltri:

So yes, I love the fact that in jujitsu, it’s one of the few martial arts where you go at it full on, really without worrying too much about getting hurt or hurting somebody. I love all martial arts, and I did karate for many years. But if I try to punch somebody full on as hard as I can, I might hurt them. I can’t do it as much as jujitsu. So yes, practising on the mats, full resistance, allows us when we have to do full resistance in the boardroom, or in a big sales conference, or a big sales pitch.

 

“When our technique doesn’t work as we thought it would, and they don’t tap, they don’t take our irresistible offer, then it’s a practise of self-awareness of humility. Because I’ve had those little, small people, male and female, choke me out. Humility and patience, those two things translate exquisitely from the mats to our sales processes.” – Michael Veltri · [07:38] 

 

Michael Veltri:

So when our technique doesn’t work as we thought it would, and they don’t tap, they don’t take our irresistible offer, then it’s a practise of self-awareness, of humility. Man, that’s one of the things I’ve learned the most, Will, is humility. Because I’ve had those little, small people, male and female, choke me out. Humility and patience, those two things translate exquisitely from the mats to our sales processes.

 

If Sales Translate to Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, Which Martial Art Represents Marketing? · [08:06] 

 

Will Barron:

So if sales translates to full contact sparring, which is Brazilian Jujitsu, what does marketing translate to as a martial art, where there’s a bunch of people with, and obviously I’m playing a stereotype here, with thick rimmed glasses, cappuccinos in their hands, sat in an office, naturally speaking to anyone in particular?

 

Michael Veltri:

Yes. Well, that’s a really good question. So I see it a couple different ways. I notice in jujitsu competition, before we even touch hands or start, we’re already marketing. We’re either presenting ourselves a certain way, or presenting ourselves a different way.

 

Michael Veltri:

We’re marketing ourselves one way or another, so much so that I’ve noticed some of the black belts that when they’re training on the mats and they have 20 years, and they have those three or four white stripes on their black belt, when they go to competition, Will, they wear a brand new black belt. So those other black belts don’t know how long they’ve been training.

 

Michael Veltri:

So they’re marketing themselves one way. So, how does that translate into the real world? Well, that’s a good question. I think it all comes down to, are you getting the results you want? You’re going to find out right away if your marketing material is effective, or is not effective, if it’s producing the results you want. Much like I’m going to find out if my technique is working, if I get the results I want.

 

Michael Veltri:

So simply saying, do I get the results I want from the marketing? And if not, what am I going to do to improve it? I’m learning. I’m a black belt now in jujitsu. I’ve been training for 12 years. I marketed myself one way that didn’t work, and I evolved. I innovated. However, I had to and you couldn’t relate to this, you have to market and play your own game.

 

Michael Veltri:

I’m tall and thin. I can’t pretend I’m a 200-pound monster that does this. I have to market myself and ultimately, be true to myself. So I think that’s another way of saying it is the way you train on the mats, you can’t pretend to be a Gracie, if you’re not a Gracie, that body type or a certain type.

 

Michael Veltri:

Likewise, if your marketing is trying to make your product or service into something it isn’t, it’s going to fail. So I guess that’s one way of saying it. It allows you to try and get your marketing to be as authentic as possible, because it’s not going to work.

 

Michael Compares Marketing Strategies to Tai Chi · [10:43] 

 

Will Barron:

You’ve actually given me a far better answer than I was expecting there, because I don’t think I asked a very good question. What I was getting at was, if Brazilian Jujitsu translates to salespeople on the frontline for contact, are marketers doing Aikido? Are they doing karate?

 

Will Barron:

Well, given, there’s probably a little bit more validity to karate. But what bullshit martial arts are marketers doing when they’ve sat there, acting all fancy, but not actually selling anything?

 

Michael Veltri:

Oh, my goodness. That’s okay. I did give you a much longer answer. Well, because I do have a place close to my heart for those marketers, maybe it is. Maybe it is presenting something that’s not going to be effective. Maybe a bit of Tai Chi in them. Maybe what once was a great martial art on the battlefields of China, has now become something that’s fluff.

 

Will Barron:

Fair enough. I’ll take that.

 

Michael Veltri:

And I don’t like fluff.

 

Will Barron:

Anything to do with chakras and I’m out. I’m out of there. I’m gone. So with that then, and you touched on it then, which is where I wanted the conversation to go to, you mentioned the Gracies. Clearly, a family that invented jujitsu. There is the UFC, which everyone has heard of. And there’s Conor McGregor, which if you haven’t heard of the UFC, you’ve probably heard of him as a celebrity.

 

What Can We Learn About Personal Branding from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu? · [12:06] 

 

Will Barron:

I don’t think people realise that the UFC was essentially a marketing ploy for the Gracie family. They created it. They won the first few of it. And the whole scheme behind it was to get Brazilian Jujitsu and Gracie Jujitsu in front of more people, so they could open more schools and popularise it. So, what can we learn from the branding side of it? And especially, the personal branding side of Brazilian Jujitsu?

 

Michael Veltri:

Yeah. Again, what I really like and I mentioned this early on is the innovation. If you are not innovating, you’re going to become the technology of the past, if you’re not innovating. And one of the things that I absolutely love about the Gracies is how they innovated, how they innovated when they first started training in 1916, to what they’re still doing now in innovation.

 

Michael Veltri:

So how they brand, they’re always innovating themselves, showing how. And if you think about this now, Will, how not only it was always based upon how a smaller person, how a weaker person can defend themselves, can have self-confidence, self-esteem. But now, look at what they have done. It attracts everybody.

 

Michael Veltri:

People, the big tough guys who would never think about doing a martial art, are signing up to it. So I see what they’ve done as far as branding, that is the constant, what we say in Japanese, the Kaizen. That they’re always improving, that they’re always innovating, that they’re not resting. And think about how that translates to do jujitsu: the techniques.

 

Michael Veltri:

Berimbolo or this 50-50 guard, there’s always things that are coming up that are being innovative because of that full resistance training. If it doesn’t work, we’re going to know right away. So what I love, again, what the Gracies done. And they’ve stumbled. They sold the UFC for pennies compared to what it’s going for now.

 

Michael Veltri:

But they’re continuing to innovate and they are the premier jujitsu family in this amazing area that we occupy.

 

Will Barron:

And it’s the narrative, right? I know … I can’t think of his name now, I’ll lose it. A Japanese MMA fighter, it’ll come back to me in a minute. Doped out of his mind on steroids anyway, from that kind of era, changed his name to Gracie. And they essentially bullied him into changing his surname back into whatever it was, because they were so protective of their brand.

 

Salespeople Need to be Protective of Their Personal Brands and Stop Spamming the Marketplace Sending Unpersonalised Cold Emails · [14:37]

 

Will Barron:

And essentially, they wouldn’t let him train with the Gracie gyms and the Gracie family unless he changed his name back to whatever it was prior. So there’s an element of being really staunchly proactive in your personal branding, which is something I see salespeople not doing effectively at the moment.

 

Will Barron:

People are far too happy to spam cold emails and to do shady things. When your LinkedIn profile, whether you like it or not, it’s going to be with you now for the next decade until the next thing comes along and wipes it out. So, how important is it for us to control both our personal brand and the narrative behind our brand? How important is it for us to write our own story rather than just accept it from other people, from a business and standpoint?

 

“People buy people. They don’t buy our products and services. Ultimately, we want them to buy our products and services, but they’re going to take our phone call, they’re going to listen to us because of the person that’s showing up in front of them. And yeah, we have to be able to control who we are, digitally, physically, verbally, when we’re on the phone or doing a podcast.” Michael Veltri · [15:52] 

 

Michael Veltri:

Yeah. It’s so great. So looking at the martial arts analogy, you’re right, Gracies are synonymous with jujitsu. And even myself, having been exposed to them in the early … like they did in 1993 or 1994, when that first UFC came out, my image is one of integrity, of hard work, of honour, of history. And so I think it’s incredibly important as salespeople, people buy people. They don’t buy our products and services.

 

Michael Veltri:

Ultimately, we want them to buy our products and services, but they’re going to take our phone call. They’re going to listen to us because of the person that’s showing up in front of them. And yeah, make no mistake about it, Will, we have to be able to control who we are, digitally, physically, verbally, when we’re on the phone, or doing a podcast, when it’s a combination of everything. So it’s incredibly important.

 

Michael Veltri:

The first thing I do when I have a new opportunity is I go to LinkedIn, I find out who I’m going to be talking to. And I know everyone does it for me too. So I think that’s an huge tool that people can automatically pick. So we’re leading the charge on how we’re being branded, much as when we first start jujitsu, our personal branding is we’re being led everywhere by these advanced belts. We’ve got no choice.

 

Michael Veltri:

So, how can we be a black belt in our personal narrative right away? By taking the centre, by showing people who we are authentically. That’s the other thing too, is we can’t pretend to be somebody that we’re not, much like I said earlier. You have to in jujitsu, play the game that’s suited for your body type, your mentality. So it’s incredibly important.

 

Michael Veltri:

And that is a great tool for salespeople to take advantage of, is take the initiative to brand yourself, and really embrace your brand as you’re putting it out there to your prospects and customers and clients.

 

Will Barron:

So something that is a bug both for me and you, and give me your thoughts on this, Michael, is the fact that compared to pretty much anything, if you’re trying to learn piano, martial arts, jujitsu, whatever it is, there’s a system. There’s a ladder of progress. There’s a way of doing things. There’s a best practise.

 

Will Barron:

Most sales training sucks. There is none of that. Most of it is either a one-off event, or it’s a book that people have read and don’t implement. And I fall for this myself of, you think that you know better than industry standard practises, and you try and invent things when you should just be doing what works over and over.

 

Michael Explains Why Sometimes Focusing on the Basics Can Be the Difference Between Success and Failure in Sales · [18:05] 

 

Will Barron:

And clearly, that is a systemized path. Am I off on the rails here, going the wrong direction? Or is this something that we should learn from martial arts in general, that sales very easily can be systematised, and we should be thinking in a systematic way as we’re selling?

 

Michael Veltri:

Oh, my gosh. Will, one of the things I wrote in preparing for your show is basics are best. It’s like, think about your jujitsu training. I’ve learned a bunch of techniques. But even now as a black belt, I still do arm bar. I still do triangles. I still do basic chokes, rear naked chokes. The basics work, and they work for a reason. They have a high percentage of success.

 

“In sales, if you stick to the basics, you still have to do your prospecting, you still have to do great presentations, you still have to do follow up, there’s a basic system. You don’t need to chase after the latest and greatest technique that’s going to transform your life, because it’s not.” – Michael Veltri · [18:46] 

 

Michael Veltri:

So the same thing, in our sales. If you stick to the basics, you still have to do your prospecting. You still have to do great presentations. You still have to do followup. There’s a system, there’s a basic system. You don’t need to chase after the latest and greatest technique that’s going to transform your life, because it’s not.

 

Michael Veltri:

Just like in the mats, there’s no substitution for mat time. We were talking earlier. You said three days a week, you’re training. One day of open rolling later. That’s how we got to put in the time, the basics. Keep to that system and the basics work great.

 

Will Barron:

And on that front, and I’ve never really thought about this before, I train three times a week and then hopefully, one of mat, which can be a couple of hours where I get to roll with the black belts and everyone on the way down from that. That’s probably more sales training. That’s probably more training than anyone does in sales training, even though jujitsu is a hobby and sales is I don’t want to say my life, but pays for everything else.

 

Is There a Cadence for How Often We Should be Training and Perfecting Our Selling Skills? · [19:49] 

 

Will Barron:

So, is there a cadence of how often we should be sales training? Because it seems like it should be as often if not more often than a hobby. It’s enjoyable and it’s a life skill, and then I get to hang out with cool people. But it doesn’t really pay the bills or mean anything at the end of the day, if that makes sense. Should I be training more on sales, or should everyone else be than what the average person does when they train jujitsu?

 

Michael Veltri:

Yeah, that’s a great analogy. Seeing how much time we spend actually training in jujitsu, to hopefully avoid any type of severe conflict. But then also, having the confidence knowing to handle it. So I even think of what I do. Running my own business, I constantly make time for some type of training of myself, at least some type of sales training, at least once a week for me. And that could be reading some material.

 

Michael Veltri:

I try to go to some type of third party live sales event, at least once a quarter. So I’m going somewhere. So it’s very interesting, because yes, I remember my time in corporate America, working for big companies. Maybe we had an annual sales kickoff where we got some stuff that was useless, jammed down our throat. Maybe there was a quarterly sales meeting where it was just a lot of posturing to make yourself look good in front of your superior.

 

Michael Veltri:

But that’s a really good thing. I’d be curious to see what your listeners are. What are they doing? Do you train? Now, listening to the podcast, this is a great way hopefully, that they’re training, that they’re learning new techniques. And this is one of the things I do is I listen to podcasts like yours, to try to learn and train myself.

 

“I think it’s incredibly imperative that sales professionals are getting some type of regular training to continue to stay sharp, otherwise we become lackadaisical. We become complacent. And complacency is the death of all good salespeople.” – Michael Veltri · [21:40] 

 

Michael Veltri:

So I think it’s incredibly imperative that sales professionals are getting some type of regular training to continue to stay sharp, otherwise we become lackadaisical. We become complacent. And complacency is the death of all good salespeople.

 

Will Barron:

I think just to put my spin on the training elements of this, and people can take it for what it’s worth, but I feel like sales is like learning a language where you’ve got to be in the thick of things. If you’re learning German, you want to be in Berlin, surrounded by people speaking the same language. And that’s what I feel the podcast is. That’s something you can tune into every day.

 

Will Barron:

Even if you’re in your community, probably three quarters, eight tenths listening to the show. You’re not fully committed. Most people probably are making notes, or they’re at the gym, or they’re driving to work or they’re commuting. That covers that ground. I still think you need that systematic level of training laid on top of the podcast. So hopefully, this is a great first step.

 

Will Barron:

And obviously, I want the audience to continue listening. And hopefully, they get a tonne of value out of these episodes, especially this one with you, Michael. But I do feel like there’s another level to it, which is that systematic training, which, as you just alluded to, I never had either in any of my sales roles. I think I had one dude, I can’t remember his name now, he’s a local Yorkshire sales trainer.

 

Will Barron:

He came out with me in the field in medical devices for two days, wasn’t all that useful. Perhaps he was useful and I was too stubborn to listen, but he told me what I already knew, rather than anything revolutionary or anything tactical that could be put into my diary and be done each day. And that was about it. I had my sales managers come out with me, but that was more of … It wasn’t even coaching.

 

Will Barron:

That was just them making sure that I wasn’t skiving, I think more than anything else. So potentially there’s a weird conflict there between salespeople and sales managers. So yeah, that systematised training I think is incredibly valuable. I don’t think we get enough of it. And I’ve never thought about it like that, but that really goes to show that even I, hosting this podcast, probably spend dedicated …

 

Will Barron:

For example, with me, obviously all I’m doing is talking about sales. But marketing, I probably train more jujitsu than I do marketing. And obviously, marketing is important to getting this message out there. That’s a real call to arms for me. It’s something I need to ponder on. Something else on this is the systematised progress as well. So you get a belt. I’m a white belt, you get strangled by everyone.

 

How to Implement a Systematised Sales Training Framework Throughout an Organisation or in a Sales Team · [24:15]

 

Will Barron:

You get a blue belt, probably strangled by a few less people, but still pretty much get strangled by everyone. And you could walk through the ranks. Is there any way that we can implement that into perhaps, now we’re talking about a sales team, where we have other people supporting other people. You have professors or coaches passing down their knowledge. Is that something that we should be focused on as well?

 

Michael Veltri:

Wow, what you just shared about your time in medical device sales, we would hope that it was more of the exception than the rule, Will. But I remember some of the sales teams I was on, where what you just described existed. Where you had, say, your GM of your channel, you had your regional managers, your sales manager and your teams, and they all worked together.

 

“I notice that in jujitsu, the people that stay and advance are selfless, because you cannot learn without giving and taking. Just much like the great sales teams I’ve been on and been with, the leadership has given back so much, whether that’s in their time, their coaching, or sharing their systems.” – Michael Veltri · [25:15] 

 

Michael Veltri:

One was training the other, just like you have that black belt helping everyone, brown belts, purple belts, blue belts, and even senior white belts. And I know when I was in a situation like that where I could go to people with questions, and they wanted to help me. In other words, it was a selfless team. And I notice that in jujitsu.

 

Michael Veltri:

The people that stay and advance are selfless, because you cannot learn without giving and taking. Just much like the great sales teams I’ve been on and been with, the leadership has given back so much, whether that’s in their time, their coaching. Sharing their systems, Will. If I knew my sales friend, Jeff was the best at, I don’t know, followup, I’m like, “How can he followup with all the stuff we have to do?”

 

Michael Veltri:

And he would like say, “Hey, Michael, this is what I do. Here. This is exactly the system I use.” And he shared it with me because he wanted me to be successful. Those type of people are ultimately going to be more successful than if you try to hold it in or don’t use anything. So I think it’s incredibly important. You know what? And even if you do it for your own selfish success by being selfless.

 

Michael Veltri:

Wrap your mind about that. Selfishly, I always wanted to get to blue belt and then purple, then brown and black. And the way I achieve my selfish goals is by being selfless.

 

Why Helping Others Actually Makes You Happier · [26:24] 

 

Will Barron:

How does that translate in B2B sales, from the perspective of … Let me put another angle on it. This is a belief, I’ve got no data to support this, whatever. And I’m not religious. I don’t believe in karma or anything like that. But my belief is that if I go and help 10 people, none of them won’t give a shit and give anything back. One of them will give more than 10 times the effort I’ve put in, if that makes sense.

 

Will Barron:

So I always feel that over the long term, I’m always net positive. Whether it’s helping doing consulting calls for free, whether it’s giving people access to software, or helping them out with different things, or just answering questions, my email is full of people who are always emailing. My email is relatively open. It’s will@salesman.org. Anyone can email me, ask questions.

 

Will Barron:

And I’ll spend 20 minutes on an email and I’ll get nothing back. Maybe I’ve made an effort. Maybe I’ve made an impact on that person’s day. I have no idea because they haven’t replied. But out of 10 emails, I got one email back, which is worth a tonne of value to me.

 

Michael Veltri:

Yeah.

 

Will Barron:

Is there any logic in that? Is there any rules? Do you have any beliefs that mirror that?

 

Michael Veltri:

I do. I do.

 

Will Barron:

How does that mirror to you, Michael?

 

Michael Veltri:

Well, for millions of years if not longer that we’ve been evolving as human beings, we haven’t survived by ourself. We’ve had to rely on others and the group, and sharing and giving. So I think, Will, there is an innate, I don’t call it a yearning or something that we have just been created with, to help others, to give, for our own survival.

 

Michael Veltri:

So I don’t know about you. I’m sure there are some people that may not feel this way, but when I help somebody else of my own free will, I feel good. I feel better. I just feel better. I like doing it. Now, of course, I have to manage my time. I can’t just say I’m going to help others for all day and not make my sales numbers or whatever. But I just feel good doing it.

 

Michael Veltri:

And you’re right, maybe if 10%. 90%, I won’t hear back from, but 10%, Will. That’s what I do from the stage, man. I’m on stage talking and I model the way I talk and teach from all the horrible sales meetings I’ve been in, when I didn’t learn anything and it was just irrelevant and it sucked. So I know, I give to audiences of thousands and I won’t hear back from 90% of them or even more.

 

“We are built as human beings to want to help others. And I know when I do, I feel better. So, if you want to feel better, help somebody.” – Michael Veltri · [29:11] 

 

Michael Veltri:

But that one person that comes back to me and says, “Michael, oh my gosh, I’m going through a tough divorce too. What you shared with me about when you went through your divorce and how you got through that to help your professional career is great.” So I just think, man, we are built as human beings to want to help somebody. And I know when I do, I feel better. So, you know what? If you want to feel better, help somebody.

 

Will Barron:

That’s a good way to put it. And having said that, that’s actually really interesting, because there is a lot of data on tribal relations and how our brain is structured, and how we can only remember so many names. And women more so than men, or people with more feminine energy perhaps is a way of pointing it, to be politically correct … I don’t know why I mean politically correct on my own show, but people with more female energy, they tend to gossip more because they can’t remember so many names, but they’re based in their tribal environment.

 

Will Barron:

There’s a tonne of data on all of that. So perhaps there is data I can tie to it, as opposed to just a whimsical belief that I have. And with that, I’ve got two final things that I want to go through. One, something that we touched on, but then moved away from was the fact that if you’re getting chocked unconscious, you tap. You reset. You’re back at it. That’s a good way to think about sales of you get rejected, you tap out. You have a cup of tea. You get back on with it. And it’s just a game. No one’s dying in jujitsu in a friendly club, and in sales. But then there’s another element to it as well, of not giving in.

 

Do Salespeople Give Up Too Easily When Faced with Buyer Objections? · [30:26] 

 

Will Barron:

So there are certain occasions where you may feel like this is the moment, I’ve got to tap. And for me anyway, it’s more of an instinctual thing as opposed to a conscious thing of, you do an escape. You get out of the arm bar. You do the running man. You do whatever it is. How does that translate to sales of … Because there’s plenty of data on this as well that sales people don’t follow up often enough, whether it said many times or they don’t follow up after they’ve been rejected. How does it translate to sales of, we perhaps shouldn’t give in as easily as what we sometimes do?

 

Michael Veltri:

Yeah, so a couple things. One of the things that I’ve learned and continuing to train even now, is that I’ve been pushed to see beyond my limits. Okay. So there’s a limit we know where we’re going to pass out, or our arm is going to break if we don’t tap. But then there’s those times where you just got somebody on side control on you and you think you want to tap because they’re crushing you. But it’s no pain. It’s just discomfort.

 

Michael Veltri:

It sucks under there. And you want to tap, but you don’t. You’re taught to go beyond your limits and to hang in there, and to push, and push, and push. Now of course, there comes a time when you know you’re caught. And what I take from every tap, and even as a black belt, Will, I still get tapped, not as much, and then I say to myself, what can I learn from this? What can I learn from this client saying no to hiring me?

 

Michael Veltri:

What can I learn from this? That’s how I look at it. I look at it as a wonderful opportunity. Oh, my God, I didn’t get the sale. Okay. What can I learn? You know what? I got triangled again. What can I learn from this? I got knee barred again, so what can I learn from that? As you know, recently, John Danaher in New York and his whole leg locking system, and leg locks have been around forever, but there’s been a revitalization.

 

“The two things that I see in jujitsu translating into what we want our sales friends to learn is to go past your limits and not to give up. To show that hey, you can keep doing this, even if it’s uncomfortable. And the second thing is when you do get that no, what can you learn from it?” – Michael Veltri · [32:32] 

 

Michael Veltri:

What can I learn from getting heel hooked? What can I learn from that? What can I learn from getting rejected? So two things that I see is jujitsu translating into what we want our sales friends to learn, is to go past your limits than not to give up. To show that hey, you can keep doing this, even if it’s uncomfortable. And the second thing is when you do get that no, what can you learn from it? I don’t just get pissed off at that guy that arm barred me.

 

Michael Veltri:

I’m like, “Oh, okay. All right, I see what you did there.” And hopefully, I won’t get caught that way again. And if I get that no, and I’ve done that, I’ve been a little too aggressive, a little too quick in presenting myself as a speaker. The client didn’t like it and I got tapped, I got a no. But I learned about that. I found in my business, I have to use the here kitty, kitty approach, Will. If I jump too soon, the cat’s going to run away. But if I’m here, kitty, kitty, I can get it.

 

Michael Veltri:

And in my jujitsu sometimes, too. Sometimes you go right for the kill and it works. Other times, you got that squirrely opponent, you got to bait them, invite them in and then get them. So I learn something from every no I get as a salesperson. I learn something likewise, from every yes I get. So those are my two thoughts. We’re learned to go beyond what we think our limits are. And then even when we do get the no, just ask yourself, okay, what can I learn from this no?

 

How to Differentiate Between Minor Discomfort and Reaching Our Limits in Sales · [34:01]

 

Will Barron:

So something interesting here, a specific point of that process. How do we know both if we’re being attacked in jujitsu, or in business sales, and life in general, Michael? And we’ll wrap up with this, mate. How do we know discomfort being uncomfortable, which we can push through? How do we separate that from our limits, or death, or the end of the road?

 

Will Barron:

Because obviously, it’s probably a gradual transition from one to the other rather than a binary. And I feel like people who can spend more time in uncomfortable positions tend to do better overall, and they raise their level of ability to deal with discomfort and stress, and everything else as well. So, how do we know when we are at that limit when we should tap out? And how do we know when we should just perhaps push along a little bit further?

 

Michael Veltri:

So two things come to mind when you say that. One is experience. There’s no substitution for doing it. It’s just, you’ve got to get out there. You’ve got to start somewhere. And think about your first class. I can’t remember how you got started, Will, but you just got to get out there and try it. So I think experience starts to show you more of what you can handle.

 

Michael Veltri:

But the second critical part of experience is having others help guide you. Think about in your class, you have so many other people to help guide you and show you and tell you, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, you got to tap there.” Because there are some people that have the opposite problem. They don’t give up. They stay in there until their arm is broken, or until their ankle pops.

 

“The most successful people I know have others help reflect for them, “Hey, you’re at your limit.” Or, “Hey, you can go a little farther, push yourself a little more.” – Michael Veltri · [35:49] 

 

Michael Veltri:

And that’s no good either. But they have others to help them. And as salespeople, maybe we’re type A aggressive, big ego people that maybe don’t want to play well with others. But the most successful people I know have had others help to reflect to them. “Hey, this? You’re at your limit.” Or, “Hey, you can go a little farther, push yourself a little more.”

 

Michael Veltri:

So I would say if you’re listening to this podcast and you’re a sales team of one, what can you do to get a mentor? Who else can you have to help guide you, who can be your professor? Who can be your sales professor? Who can be your sales coach? What does your sales academy look like? If you don’t have one, there’s tonnes of ways you can create one.

 

Michael Veltri:

So you can see your limits, and you can see how to go past your limits. So experience and others, those two things, I think, Will, are paramount in making sure you don’t get hurt. And also, making sure you continue to go past what you think you can do.

 

Will Barron:

I’ve got one more layer to this. So I don’t necessarily do this in jujitsu, especially training. There’s no point. Maybe in a competition, this would be my mindset. But in business, whenever I’m selling or create content, or whatever it is, I’m getting towards the end of the day, I’m starving. It’s 9:00 PM, I don’t want to do any more. I ask myself the question of, I’ve mentioned this on the show loads of times, I just say this question, what would a champion do?

 

Will Barron:

If it’s at the point where a champion goes, “Okay, well, you’re fatigued, it’s going to affect the next day’s training,” it’s fine to stop and recuperate. If the champion would shut up and get on with things and make a few more calls, then that’s what I’d do. And that question tends to crystallise and make a rational decision, whether to stop or to carry on.

 

Will and Michael Reveal How they Handle Severe Discomfort and Push Beyond Their Limits · [37:30] 

 

Will Barron:

Rather than emotionally getting wrapped up of, Game of Thrones is on tonight, I’ve got to get back to watch that, or there’s this going on. Or I could get back for another training session of jujitsu, whatever it is. And so that’s the question I always ask myself. Is there any questions or mantras, or anything that you have running through your head during the day?

 

Michael Veltri:

One of the things, similar to that, but I like yours better. It’s similar. What would have to be true for this to be the best option? So, what would have to be true for Game of Thrones to be the best option? Well, maybe it’s 10 o’clock and I’ve hit my quota or anything like that.

 

Michael Veltri:

What would have to be true for staying in and working for another three hours to be the best option? Well, maybe my five-year-old is in bed and my fiancé is exquisitely taken care of. So I like your question a little bit better. I might have to use that in some of my talks.

 

Michael Veltri:

But that’s one thing that I ask myself. What would have to be true for this option to be the best choice? And then I if-then it to death, Will. If I make 10 more calls, then I got a good chance of getting one more sale. If I go have a few more beers, then I might not be able to train tomorrow, and things like that.

 

Will Barron:

Makes total sense. And feel free to use it because I robbed it from someone else. And I’ve no idea who I pinched it from, someone on the show in one of the early episodes. So yeah, with that, I’ve got two final questions for you, Michael. Well, the final question, but I’m going to ask you a jujitsu version of it.

 

Michael’s Advise to His Younger Self on How to Become Better at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Faster · [38:50] 

 

Will Barron:

And then we’ll go into the one that I usually ask everyone that comes on the show. So if you could go back in time and speak to your younger self, what would be the one piece of advice you’d give him, to help him become better at Brazilian Jujitsu faster?

 

Michael Veltri:

I think for me, it comes down to patience. I can be patient in some things, but I like to see results. And as you know, Will, in this art, the results don’t come overnight. I am very stubborn, and that served me well here. So I would just say, be patient.

 

Michael Veltri:

Be patient, Michael. Be patient. Be patient. I never gave up, and never give up. I’ve been training. I had some injuries that I handled, but patience, patience, patience, that’s what I would tell my impatient self.

 

Will Barron:

And I’m the same. And this is an important learning point to hear I guess, of context, of I’ve been training just over a year. Maybe a year and two or three months or so now. New guy joined the gym a few weeks ago and he’s freaking massive, really strong. And you take one look at him, mean extreme, and you think he’ll just batter me. Well, a year’s worth of training and comfortably just manipulate him, control him, do whatever I like to him.

 

Will Barron:

But before that moment, everyone else I’ve been training with has been training for a similar amount of time as me. And so everyone’s making the same progress. So everything is really competitive. So I think there’s value in, and I’m adding to what you said there, Michael, but perhaps there’s value in taking a step back every now and again. Taking a breath. Maybe having a glass of wine, celebrating where we’ve got so far.

 

Michael’s Advise to His Younger Self on How to Become Better at Selling · [40:34] 

 

Will Barron:

And yeah, just having that bit of context, because as long as you’re making that steady progress every day, and you’re being impatient, you’re going to end up in the right place. And with that, the final question that I ask everyone who comes on the show, and I’ve asked you this in the past, if you could go back in time and speak to your younger self, what would be the one piece of advice you’d give him to help him become better at selling?

 

Michael Veltri:

Yeah. It’s don’t try to be anybody that you’re not. I know early on, I tried to be this other sales guy, or to present myself as the this or that. Be yourself. People know who you are. People want you to be yourself.

 

Michael Veltri:

Be yourself. And the other thing I’d tell myself is to have fun. Have fun. If you’re having fun, the sales will come. So be yourself. Have fun. And if you’re doing those two things, you’re going to create some amazing results.

 

How To Make Your Sales Process a Fun Activity · [41:17] 

 

Will Barron:

A final look at this. How do you make, especially if you’re booking keynote speeches, you’ve got a gap in a month and you’re, “Oh, shit, I’ve got to pay me bills. I’ve got to get rock and rolling on this,” how do you make that fun? And this could be a whole episode in itself, I guess. But how do you turn that from drudgery of prospecting to something that’s self-entertaining?

 

Michael Veltri:

Well, it’s interesting, man because what I’m doing now, it’s the morning time now here. I’ve got my whole day planned. I get excited, dude, by prospecting. I love the biz dev stuff. To me, that’s exciting. So I would say this. If you’re not excited by what you do, you got to take a close look at that. So if either July and August are slow times, it allows me to train more jujitsu maybe in those times. But I love what I do, man. Because in the past, I wasn’t authentic with myself.

 

Michael Veltri:

And I was trying to be somebody I wasn’t. And if I did have those slow times, it might cause me to reflect and be miserable, because I knew I wasn’t being authentic. But now, it’s just like man, I’m being more of me, and more of me wants to go train jujitsu now. And then I’m going to come back and get on the phone with 10 prospects, and tell them about these great principles and how that can change their lives. That’s the key. Find something you love to do and keep doing it, damn it.

 

Will Barron:

Amazing. I know for me, final thing, I just have to do bigger deals. If I’m feeling bored, if I don’t want to do prospecting and I’m doing deal sizes with the sales school, for example, at the moment, perhaps it’s 10 people on a team, I need to start targeting enterprise organisations with 100 people on a team, which is what I’ve just started doing this week. Because that then gets the juices flowing.

 

Will Barron:

And you’re constantly on that stepladder upwards, rather than just on that level playing field, on that plane. And going back to what we started the show with of how humans are wired to help people, I feel like you get to a certain point, and there is a name for this in psychology, and it’s been well-studied of, you get to a point and then you reach a plateau. And then your dopamine, serotonin effing levels out. You have to keep pushing to get that next step of all those neuro chemicals. Hedonic adaptation, I think it’s called.

 

Will Barron:

And it works with everything. You get a nice BMW, you’ve got BMW. Then you get a nice Porsche, you’ve got a Porsche. Then you have to get Ferrari. And it’s just the way that the human brain is wired, to push people to success and to succeed. So yeah, that’s what I would advise everyone to do, if you’re feeling a bit bored. If you’re not as happy as what Michael is right at this second, who’s clearly crushing it and excited about prospecting, then you need jujitsu, Brazilian Jujitsu and bigger deals.

 

Parting Thoughts · [44:05]

 

Will Barron:

With that, mate, I want you to tell us a little bit about the keynote speaking, so we can add context to that. And anyone who’s listening can potentially bring you in and use whatever in this show to use that as a starting point to train their teams through you. And then where we can find out more about you in general, Michael. 

 

Michael Veltri:

Sure, Will. So as a keynote speaker, I work with sales teams to show them how to make better decisions, to be better salespeople. And again, I rely on martial arts principles, to show people how to make better decisions, to be a better salesperson.

 

Michael Veltri:

And I speak at a lot of sales kickoffs and sales managers’ meetings and leadership meetings. People can find out more about me at my website, michaelveltri.com, because as a salesperson, I love speaking to other sales teams.

 

Will Barron:

Amazing stuff. Well, I’ll link to the website, everything else, over at Salesman.org for the show notes of this episode. And with that, Michael, I want to thank you for your time, your expertise in all of this, for the off camera back and forth that we have of jujitsu, and the interesting stuff that you shared with me. I appreciate that, mate. And I want to thank you again for joining us on the Salesmen Podcast.

 

Michael Veltri:

Thank you, Will. It’s my pleasure.

 

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