#236 – Are You Open To… With Merit Kahn

Thomas Green here with Ethical Marketing Service. On the episode today, we have Merit Kahn. Merit, welcome. Well, thank you Thomas. Happy to be here. I am happy to have you. Would you like to take a moment and tell the audience a bit about yourself and what you do? Absolutely. I am the CEO of select sales development. We are a sales training, coaching, consulting firm and we spell it S E L L E C T not because we can’t spell, but because we are all about selling, but we actually want people to stop selling and start getting selected, see what we did there. When I’m not in front of an audience doing a keynote or inspiring them to open their minds to close more deals, I’m coaching and consulting companies that are hiring sales people, they need to get them up to speed very quickly. I work with professionals and entrepreneurs, anybody that sells something complex, creative, custom, nothing that you could click here by now, but if it requires a consultation and you need to be good at moving somebody from disinterest to open minded to hearing your offers, that’s what we do.

Thank you for the introduction. I’ve noticed that there’s a theme about, should we say, open mindedness, whether it be, whether the context being leadership or sales or opportunity, would you like to go into kind of what that means to you and what you teach others on that topic? Yeah, I think that, you know, first of all, after being in sales training, coaching consulting for more than 20 years now, it dawned on me at some point that you really could have all the right words, you really could have a perfectly orchestrated sales process, you really could have the best products, services, solutions, offers and options for your ideal target market, but if they’re not open to hearing any of that, it doesn’t really matter how amazing your stuff is or how articulate you are. None of that matters.

So somewhere along the line, I learned that the first step to a closed deal is always an open mind and what I’ve been working with people on is that question of, okay, well if that’s true and it is, how do you open someone’s mind to hear your offers? Because if you are, you know, if a salesperson has dug their heels in the ground and they know exactly what they want to sell or they are talking to a type of prospect that they’ve worked with many, many times and they kind of know all, they know what that person needs or that company needs. So they’ve been there, done that and they are very clear in what their offer is, but sometimes we need to remind ourselves in our sales role to stay open to the possibilities that we may uncover a lot of needs that they have beyond the original concern, right?

So if somebody is contacting me like they know that their company is growing, this is a situation I had recently, the company’s growing. Um, they know they need to hire sales people in the past. They’ve made a lot of hiring mistakes, They’ve had very costly turnover issues. Um, they’ve, they’ve, which has impacted morale for the people that they already had. There’s just, uh, like a tsunami of issues that come when you make bad hiring decisions, especially in a sales role. And so they weren’t, they were very clear that they wanted to do it better. And so the question that they brought me was, can you help me find good salespeople to hire? And of course, if I were to just go on that one issue, um, we’re not a recruiting firm. So I don’t go out and find those people, but I can certainly impact that issue. And because I was open minded, because I knew that the question that they were bringing wasn’t really the, the be all and end all question that they probably didn’t know all the host of other things that is available to them.

Once we do get that right person, you know, you get the right person, then you put them into a flawed onboarding experience, you’re gonna lose that right person and that’s even more costly, Right? So there were so many other issues, but they didn’t understand that at the time. And so because I was open minded and I helped them open their minds to the, the whole project scope. Now we’re able to solve the real problem and make sure that the solution actually works for them. And were you able to help in that in that instance? Yeah. And then in that instance, there were a combination of things. So I worked with uh, collaborated with a recruiting firm that specializes in finding top performing salespeople. This was a technical business. And so we made sure that we were working together so that I was taking sales language, writing the right um job posts for them so that they could attract the right people. The recruiting firm was integral and making sure that that messed with what what they do.

Um they handled all of the the selection and the interviews and all of that process. And then once while they were doing that, I was working with the organization to make sure that we were building a good process to put that new salesperson into as soon as they accepted that position. And so we really built out the the on boarding process and came up with all of the things that that new hire would need to know and all of the systems and tools they would they would have to use in their role. And we designed all of the training around helping that person be successful in the shortest period of time possible with the least amount of managerial oversight. So working in collaboration with the recruiting who was out looking for the person and at the same time building that process to help them be successful once they did take that job, that was, you know, that was really the ultimate solution for this client. And when did you start realizing that this was an issue in the sense that there are some people who would just take that at face value.

How long have you known that perhaps there’s an openness issue to contend with? Well, thomas, I suffer from a very debilitating disease. It’s called possibility. Itis I think you remember that movie, what was it? The sixth sense and the kid And and he said, you know, I stay the dead people. Well, my secret power is I see possibilities, I see possibilities everywhere and I can’t turn it off. So I think, you know, just that natural wiring in me and a natural curiosity and a desire to help um was sort of the perfect storm. And so I and somewhere along the line, I know I did my own professional sales training, you know, early in my career and I’m I’m pretty sure I learned very specifically the question that the prospect brings you is never the real question. Keep digging just a little bit. Get curious, you know, not in order to expand an opportunity, but because it’s the right thing to do for that client.

And in the scenario I just shared with you, asking better questions, not only lead to a deeper engagement from what I was able to provide in my area of expertise, but it also was the right thing to do to introduce them to other partners that I collaborate with to get the real complete solution. And so I’m not just asking questions to find out. How can I turn their $10 deal into $1000 deal. I’m asking questions to find out what’s the right deal that makes the most sense for you that’s appropriate and will truly solve the problem. And when I come at it, when I teach my clients to come at it from that perspective, it’s just naturally expansive and new possibilities arise that you didn’t even go into that initial conversation thinking could be an option. So your your possibility.

Itis great phrase by the way, you’ve always you’ve always had it, you said always, always. It’s a the other thing I’ve learned along the way is it comes from a very high level of optimism and I have done enough assessments on my myself because I’m always testing things out for new tools and things that I want to bring to my, my business, my clients. And when I came across an emotional intelligence assessment, this is probably 15 years ago, I I was able to see on paper how very extraordinarily high my optimism levels really are. And that sounds great except that in my case back then and I’ve learned to balance it out over time. But back then I had high levels of optimism, but low levels of reality testing. And so with that showed up for me, like I could see the possibilities for you. But I wasn’t asking the right questions just to make sure that that was that everything that I saw that was possible was even appropriate to talk about or not appropriate in a bad way, but like appropriate in a business context, like, you know, I see these million dollar possibilities for multi million dollars and you don’t have the level of investment that it’s gonna take for the people on your team or the desire to get to that level.

So my seeing those amazing possibilities is not met with a sense of reality based on where you are or what you’re trying to accomplish. So I’ve learned, you know, that those kinds of things come up for me and anything like I could be Driving to a meeting and I’ll look at my map program and it says, you know, 30 minutes without traffic and I’ll be like, oh, no problem, there won’t be any traffic. Um, that’s high optimism, low reality test. And inevitably I put myself on the road where there is traffic where I don’t check it before I go. And, and you know, that’s where the problem is. So you have to be balanced, I guess is my point. And when you are aware of the strengths that you have that will support you accomplishing your goals, whether it’s sales or anything else. And you’re also eyes wide open about some of the, the elements of how you’re not wired naturally, that aren’t quite at that same level of strength, those imbalances are, where the real rich stories come in and as a coach, um I work with a lot of entrepreneurs leaders, sales, top sales professionals and you know, they, they understand the mechanics of selling, that’s not really what is going to get them to that, you know, next level, what they want is that deeper understanding of how their wiring is going to support them or sabotage them without them being consciously aware of it.

And so to bring some conscious, a deliberate focus to this is how you are wired and in this emotional, you know, foundational level. And because of that, here’s how we’re going to adjust the mechanics of selling. So you can use these tools and strategies and techniques that are, you know, appropriate and effective in a business context to get, you know, to to reach your aims without being sabotaged without you knowing it. Thank you for that. Can you share with me what re deciding means? Yeah, I wrote about this concept in my book from 2016. It’s called myth shift, challenging the truths that sabotage success. And I did write it while I was married, I have since changed my last name. So if you go on amazon and says, merit guest wrote that book, it’s still me maricon. Um, but in that book, Um I was looking at the things that we’re told in business that are these gospel truths and when you look at it from all 360°, they’re not really always true at face value.

And so I just, one would be act as if you are the success you want to be right. We were all told that kind of early in our careers were fumbling around figuring it out, act as if and I thought, you know at the time I did and I, you know, dressed the part and I acted like I had it all figured out and like I knew all the answers and when you see somebody doing that, you can quickly pick up on it, you know? Um and so what ended up what I ended up discovering was it wasn’t about acting as in pretending it was more about asking. So instead of act as if you’re the success, you want to be the twist on that. The shift is asked as if you are the success you want to be asked is if you really want to know the the right questions to get to the real, you know, crux of the issue that your prospect has so stop acting like you know it all like your your solution is the best thing that ever happened and ask is if you really want to know if this solution is the right fit in this particular situation.

So that’s an example. Another another myth would be, you know, especially for leaders, this is hard because we’re always told like set a goal and stick to it no matter what. And I used to subscribe to that advice wholeheartedly like find a way, make it happen, you know, you know, at any cost, like go for it, get that goal. And what I discovered later was that’s terrible advice because at the beginning of the pandemic as an example, I know we’re all over it, but it’s a universal shared experience. So it’s a good example. But my business model, The goal that I had set January 1, 2020 was I was, you know, starting to sort of phase out, I was turning over some of the sales training, coaching, uh project work that we do in the company to another coach and my role as the Ceo is more speaking at conferences, generating that awareness, you know, and then driving people to the sales training company.

Well obviously if I had stuck to that goal, no matter what that my personal role in the business was as a speaker at large events, I would be starving right now, the business would be over. So I had to look at that goal and say, okay, that based on the information I had at the time when I set that goal, that was a great plan of action, that was an appropriate goal. And then new information came into my experience that rendered that original game plan irrelevant in a moment. So if I had stuck to it, no matter what, nothing would it would have been a bad, very difficult couple of years. Instead I allowed that new information to help to, to impact the scenario and I re decided the course of action, I re decided the goal. In this case, I re decided the goal and a course of action.

Sometimes we do want to keep the goal, but we as we track and measure our actions and behaviors along the way to reach that goal. If we notice we’re not getting the results that we want, then what we need to re decide is the action and behavior plan, not necessarily the goal. The reason I use the word re decide is because it gives leaders a little bit more power and control. It’s not good to be seen as a flip flopper, wishy washy or indecisive. No leader is going to want to admit to that. And I think those are some of the reasons why strong leaders are hesitant to make changes in their decisions because it’s it’s viewed as weakness in leadership. Whereas I think a strong leader is always on the lookout for new developments, changes new information in the marketplace that they need to, you know, take into consideration and make sure that they’re still on the right path.

And if that that word re decide gives you more power and comfort in course correcting along the way, then I’ve done a good job, Thank you for sharing that. It’s also something that I’ve spoken about in relation to, you can’t really know sort of what your life will look like and whether you sort of enjoy that goal when you, when you set the goal, like I don’t know what my life is going to look like, whereas when you get closer and closer to it, you start to realize what that might feel like, what it might look like. And maybe you do want to based off that information, which was what you said, Maybe you do want to kind of change that a little bit and not stick so closely to your original goals. Exactly. Would you like to start off with sort of where you, where does your business journey begin? Well, I grew up in a family of sales professionals, so it was really never a question of what is merit going to do with her life. It was more a question of what was I going to sell.

And so I started in radio advertising sales in Chicago, which in the US is the third largest market in the country. And I quickly moved up the ranks, got myself a management job, if I’m honest, probably before I was ready for it and in that role I was able to, I go out and my job was to support and develop and and coach the sales team. So I was building a sales team and developing them at the same time. And honestly, still very early in my career myself. So I was smart enough to go out and get help and I worked with a sales training company who really helped me develop my skills as a manager, but also, you know, work directly with the team. And then we had an interesting thing happened, the radio station that I was working for was going to be sold and you know, not because we weren’t successful but because we were and so a bigger company was swallowing us up and my choices were at that time felt like, well I don’t want to work for that other company.

I could go out and get a, you know, look for another job at a different station or something or I could do something else. And I looked around and I noticed that a lot of the women at that time in that business really didn’t have much else going on in their lives besides the high powered, you know, the C suite role that they had, there was no high powered women in, in that industry with families or at the little league games and that wasn’t the future that I saw for myself. So I took the opportunity to leave the business and as I was talking about that with the sales training organization that I had hired to help us, they said, um actually we think you’d be great at this and what are all the things you like about the job that you do and what are all the things you don’t and I realized that everything that I liked about what I was doing had to do with coaching, training, inspiring, um and nothing had, there was nothing to do with radio business, and so it was an easy decision once I had that new information and I opened up my own business, I was an independent contractor under someone else’s brand for about a decade before I realized I can build a better mousetrap and then I built it and It was 1998 and I haven’t looked back since, so I’ve been running my own show and working with a lot of entrepreneurs because I really understand how they’re wired and what they need to grow, and it’s been it’s been a good journey.

thank you for sharing that you mentioned right at the beginning about the fact that you, it wasn’t necessarily what you would do, it would be what you would sell. Are you are you happy with that? Like you quite, you know satisfied with with what you’re doing or would you have wanted to have some other options available? I think I think everything that I’ve done has led me to this point, I think um I remember being in a Tony Robbins seminar, very young and walking on hot coals and doing all the things that I remember saying to myself, that’s what I want, I want to do what he’s doing and I didn’t have any structure for how that would happen or how does somebody become a professional speaker, like none of that in my mind at all. And because I was on a, in a, in a role where I got to promote the sales training um services that we had, I started doing these workshops for business groups and Chambers of Commerce and different things, and so I would do this quote unquote free talk and at the end of it, if people wanted to learn more about our programs, they could let me know that.

And so I found myself speaking in front of groups and one day a woman came up to me after one of the programs and she said, well I’d love to have you speak to our group, I’m sure we can’t afford you, I don’t want to insult you, um you know, would you ever, you know, what do you charge for speaking? And I at that point I was doing them for free, like there was no speaking fee and I said, well what do you normally, you know, what’s the honorary and you normally pay your speakers? And she gave me a number and I was like, well that’s not my normal fee, but you know, I’ll make an exception, you know, you’re so sweet or whatever, and that was the first moment I realized like, oh my God, I could get paid for what I’m doing for free and it, it opened my eyes to like, oh yeah, that dream, I had that, that vision that I had, sitting in a Tony Robbins seminar, like I can kind of see a pathway to it now and so I think I’m in the perfect role for how I’m wired naturally and what I love to do in the world, I love to talk, I love to inspire, I love um watching people see what is possible for themselves and being the person that can guide them through an experience where they can discover for themselves that more is possible.

Um and I love being somebody that can give them access to those possibilities through, you know, strengthening their mindset, strengthening the mechanics of selling, helping them to be a more consistent motion with some of our accountability structures and things like that. So I love that I have the tools as well as the mindset to really create positive change for people and help them see more for themselves and the people that work for them, I do sometimes ask about the first paid client because it’s just sort of like sticks in your mind and it’s great to hear Um but what I was going to follow up on was you said that you are operating under someone else’s brand, for I believe you said 10 years um what did it look like when you decided to go out on your own and what what made you make that decision? Um you know that’s a great question, there were so many factors that went into that making that decision one was like a physical geography location move.

So that was probably the biggest factor. But if I think back, even before that I was frustrated, I think there are some people that how they’re wired is to give them something that’s already fully baked and then they can just run with it and while that was appropriate and necessary for me, early in my career, I got to the point where I could again see that more was possible. So for example, um, one of the things that I remember hearing often in this particular organization was that they would say don’t get creative, just follow our system and that works for a lot of people that did not work for me. So I couldn’t, in fact there was, there was a particular situation where I had two guys in my training class, they sat next to each other in class, they worked for the same company, they were hired around the same time, they, they sold the same products and services at the same price point in the same territory and honestly I thought they even looked alike.

I mean everything was the same between these two guys except that one of them Stephen um would sit in my class learn something and then he’d be like out the next day putting it into action, getting results, He would constantly call me and be like, you wouldn’t believe I just had this great call and this is how the, this is what happened and he was not going to cover off the ball. And then the guy sitting next to him was Daniel and I never got calls from Daniel with success stories like his manager told me, yeah, he’s doing okay, we’re not seeing much was just marginal change and it really shook me because I thought, how can I take credit for Stephen’s success if I’m not also taking responsibility for the fact that Daniel hasn’t done much with it. And so it can’t be the content, it can’t be what I’m teaching them because they’re learning the same thing from the same person in the same moment. And when the company would say, you know, don’t get creative just through the system. And then I would look and see in my real experience what was happening, I realized it wasn’t the system and that made me seek out what else is it.

And I realized then that so much of it was mind what I now call mindset and everybody, you know, lots of people will say, you know, mindset is so important, but I didn’t understand the distinction of, you know, there’s, there’s, it’s one thing to be like, you know, get talking to yourself in the mirror and doing affirmations and saying like I’m smart enough, I’m good enough and people like me, that’s fine, but there’s other aspects to what it is to have a strong mindset that will help you use the skills that you’re, that you’ve learned. And so I look at mindset in three ways. There’s your internal mindset, that’s what you say to yourself. There’s your behavioral mindset, that’s what your actions say to other people. And then there’s your emotional mindset and that’s how well you understand the impact you have on other people. And that was, it was that moment with steven and Daniel. That was the pivotal moment that had me look outside of the, the system that I was teaching, which basically was just tools and techniques.

There wasn’t anything we didn’t touch mindset at all. And, and, and, and that’s when I found emotional intelligence and once I did an assessment on these guys, then I could see the difference, then I could coach them differently. It was no longer, I, I had outgrown the system that I was teaching. I had new information that I knew could really help people And I’d seen it in action because I experimented with it and to go back and just ignore that and only teach this. Here’s what to say when a prospect says X was horrifying to me. I couldn’t do it and that’s when I knew I had to leave. And and that spurred conversations with my husband at the time about, well if I am going to go out on my own, let’s move to where we really want to live and I’ll start over there. And so it was sort of that perfect storm of, you know, changing the geography meant, You know, no turning back now, I’m definitely starting from ground zero and but it came from, I think that moment with steven and Daniel and I realized I can’t, I can’t teach the basics if I know that that’s not going to be the thing that makes the difference for people because you’ve got possibility.

Itis right. Exactly. Always break the possibility. I guess you mentioned the three types of mindsets which I love by the way um of the three types, what is typically taught, meaning, what are they, what are the two that are being left out by people that talk about mindset? Um I think certainly the most prevalent one that people focus on is that behavioral mindset because that is um you know, if you’re familiar with disc profiles and many of us have done those over the years at some point. There’s, you know, there’s four ways that we could describe ourselves. I won’t go into the detail here, but there’s colors, there’s animals, there’s shapes, there’s letters like basically it’s the same for ways of behaving that people have more of a natural or an adapted tendency toward, right? So we’re wired one way and we adapt to perform in our role another way or we’re lucky enough to be wired naturally and our role is consistent with somebody being good naturally in those areas.

Uh so that I think is the most often taught and I’ve taught that for decades about, you know, understanding like if you make decisions based on stories or relationships, other people might need statistics and facts and so you have to first understand how does, how is somebody else comfortable? Well, first you have to understand how you’re wired. Once with that understanding, you can quickly assess how somebody else is most comfortable. Then, you know, whether or not you have to make any adjustments in your approach because they get to be how they get to be and it’s up to you if you want to be influential with them in any way, as a leader or in sales or whatever, um you have to adjust so that they get what they need and you’re playing in their environment. So I think that’s the most common, I think second to that is um probably the emotional mindset only because of the The growth in emotional intelligence.

When I first started talking about it in the early 2000s, I would ask my audiences, you know, who’s heard of emotional intelligence and very few hands went up. Um you know, Daniel Goldman’s work was just coming on the scene and and people just didn’t understand what it was. Uh Nowadays everybody’s heard the term, they’ve probably read the book and may have done an assessment, but very few people have looked at it the ways that I do specifically for sales and leadership work that I do. I think the what’s interesting is each of those emotional intelligence attributes and we can assess 15 of them. Um I think they’re interesting to look at individually, but where the real stories come are looking at the combinations, how those attributes play together and how the balancing and imbalances show up in their sales and leadership day to day experiences. And so I feel like the emotional mindset is getting more press and more popular for people to look at.

But I don’t quite feel like there are enough other organizations and professional coaches like me who are looking at those combinations, um and applying them directly to sales and leaders. So I think that one is still, there’s a lot of room for growth. Um and then that internal mindset, that’s a lot of self work. Uh that’s doing a belief inventory. What do you think about money and self worth and decision making. And you know, we take our clients through a battery of questions to help them discover for themselves what some of their internal mindsets are. And our our point is, you know, it’s not, it’s interesting and sometimes it’s useful but it’s not always necessary to kind of lie back on the couch and and figure out why you got this idea about money, you know, money doesn’t grow on trees. Okay, well let’s look in your childhood, you know, where did that come from? That’s fascinating.

I just want you to be able to identify that. That’s your belief. And then as an adult, you are not restricted by the hand me down beliefs that you may have gotten as a child. You get to now as an adult. Look at that on paper and say, that serves me that one doesn’t. I’m in a hand back that hand me down belief because I don’t need that anymore. And now that I have control over my own thoughts and ideas as an adult with an adult perspective on the world. Now I can choose this new belief. Now I can re decide this new belief and I think that gives people a lot of power. You know, there’s no evidence and no reason why a belief that you got as a child that you have a lot of experience with is the truth any more so than the new belief you want to install is the truth. But why not pick the ones that work for you and that will serve you because they’re every bit as much of the truth as something that was imprinted in your brain long ago.

Fantastic points. But I do have to ask Mirror, what do you think about money. Um I have had to work on my own money mindset and full disclosure. I took myself through my own exercises. I was frustrated. There was way too long of a period of time that I would care to admit publicly. Um where I thought I had this idea that $100,000 was a lot of money And it was when I was 20, when I was 20, That was all, that was more than what I needed to, you know as a recent university graduate, you know 21 maybe that was more than happy to be making $100,000 a year. Um later the problem came when I expand like I wanted to, you know, I had bigger dreams, I had you know better vacation plans, I wanted to invest, make investments, I wanted to buy real estate, you know, I had a family, all of those things started happening and I I would hit my, what I thought was a lot of money, you know income goals and then I would kind of just notice like I would self correct like and when you see this a lot in sales, you know, they’ll have a good month, like wow, I’m good and then you have a not so good month, well you know like I’m good but I’m not that good and then you self correct and and the next month sales aren’t that great and so it’s this roller coaster ride and the reason for that is you know, we’d like to say, well I was busy serving those clients so I didn’t have time to do the prospecting and that’s why that happens.

Yeah, true, possibly. But also what you know your own ideas about what is a lot of money, what is self, you know, what, what, what are you able to earn, what’s a good income for you and we have to very deliberately expand that because I did not grow up thinking I wanted to, you know, be a multimillionaire. Um I grew up, you know, my early years of my career, like literally $100,000 was a lot of money. I had to shift that in my brain once I saw that and I knew where I got that from. In fact it was, it came out of a conversation I had with my uncle who I have great admiration for. And it got to the point where when I realized he was the one that kind of said to me, you know, if you’re making 100 grand, like you’re killing it at that time. And so I called him When I had that realization, I go, you won’t remember this, but when I was 21, you told me this thing and I need you to tell me something totally different now.

And so I was able to here in that same voice like no, like seriously at this point you should be making you know this number and I’m like, oh, okay, thank you. That’s what I need to hear. And it was like magic. So all of a sudden revenues go up. Um but yeah, I just think it’s, it’s important to identify your own money mindset. The other way that it comes up, it shows up in sales is if I think let’s say, I think $1000 1000 pounds, sorry, I forgot where I’m talking to in the UK. Um if I think £1000 is a lot of money, but my solutions that I’m selling are £10,000 then I’m, you know, if somebody says, well gee merit that that’s, that’s kind of a lot of money, no matter what I might be trained to say to help them see the value of it or discover it for themselves. I might say, well yeah, it is, you know, um let me see what I can do for you because I also think it’s a lot of money.

Right? So it’s our own money mindset, particularly in sales is going to impact how we sell, how we buy impacts how we sell. What we believe is the truth is going to impact how we see the objections that our prospects gives us give us to thank you for sharing that. I feel like it probably prompts me to think about what I think about money as well. And not only that it’s all the other stuff that you’ve picked up. Right? So what are your opinions on, I mean, have you got some other examples that you’ve done work on because I feel like your self analysis or your introspection is probably beneficial for other people. Oh, let’s see. Um I think Certainly there, I’ve seen I’ve seen this pattern with my clients often over the years, I asked them, I ask questions early about how they make buying decisions for themselves, you know? Walk me through the process.

You’ve got, you’ve got to, you’ve got to buy something, it’s it’s it’s $1,000 How do you go about making that decision and I’ll give them some places to look like, you know, do you, do you comparison shop at a few different stores? Do you post it on facebook? You know? Hey who’s who’s got a a new grill? You know, I’m in the market for a grill. What’s your favorite, like do you crowdsource, you go to yelp, like what I want to understand how they buy something for themselves. I know and the reason I ask that is again the same reason how you buy impacts how you sell. So that gives me just by asking questions that they’re they’re like, aren’t you supposed to be like coaching me to sell better? Like the mechanics of selling what to say, like. Yeah, yeah, hang on, hang with me, I know what I’m doing. Um But when I have an understanding of how they buy, I can I can adjust the sales process, I can say um you know, I can teach them to say things in a sales conversation so that their process doesn’t sabotage them anymore.

It’s like, you know, like they might even say to somebody um you know if you’re open to it, let’s have a conversation and see if we might be a match to work together. Um You know because rather than you going through all the effort of you know asking every friend you’ve ever met, you know what girl they use and you know putting it out to anonymous facebook. Um Let’s just see what what really works for you or you know like we can kind of massage the language so that how they make their own buying decisions doesn’t come up to hurt them. And the flip side sometimes when I asked that question, I get very strong buying process. Like you know what? I see something, you know I know I need something, I go after it. I hunted, I kill it. I don’t second guess myself. I’ve never returned anything in my life. Great. That’s those are some strong stronger buying mindsets that are going to support you in the sales process.

So it’s important. That’s why we that belief inventory, that’s all part of that. Like how do you buy? How do you, you know it impacts how you sell and have a lot of different philosophies like that that impact how I coach and my ability to get to the heart of the issue with people much quicker than in a you know traditional online course that’s going to tell you how to get more clicks or whatever and how do you buy something me? Uh well, let’s see, I I normally don’t do a lot of second guessing. Um once I make the decision, I feel very comfortable, like I have a friend and she’ll buy something and then she’ll go online to make sure she got the best deal. And I’m like, that doesn’t make any sense to me. Um I’m just gonna go with that. I I don’t know, I’ve gotten to the point in my my business, my life, my lifestyle that I know I know in that moment if I’m going to regret not buying something, so I just want to live a life of no regret.

And so that’s kind of my filter. Am I going to regret buying this or not buying this? And the right answer pops in and I go with it decisive. Yeah, I think so. I think it’s it’s home, it’s learned. I I think, I think even why I’m observing myself like trying to articulate how I buy. And I think because I have asked that question to so many clients over the years and I know kind of the right answers that it wasn’t how I was naturally wired younger. And I’ve learned over time to become a better purchaser, I would, you know, I may not be so great on the consumer, like personal side, but I will say this when I have a business decision to make a purchase for the company or my own professional development, I first of all, I always invest every year without fail and I’ve done this for more than 20 years, whatever is my signature offer value.

I that is 100%, that’s the baseline for my level of investment in my own professional development. I’m asking people to invest, you know, 10s of thousands of dollars sometimes in working with me, Not always, but right? Like if I’m asking somebody to invest $10,000 in my coaching, then I sure as hell better be out there investing in that level in someone else. And I just have always believed that that’s critically important that I also know has helped me in situations where somebody is like, gosh, that’s a lot of money to, you know, to spend on a coach. And I’m like, I know I do the same thing every year, right? I mean I put myself in your shoes and this is the process that I take myself through when I’m making sure that I am really, you know, making sure that this is the right match for me based on where I am and you know, we need different things at different points in our career.

And there are many, many coaches that I’ve worked with that are consultants that I’ve outgrown at a certain period of time and my philosophy is let’s get to that point as quickly as possible for you if I’ve got a finite amount of knowledge or wisdom or you know, things that I can guide you in, then let’s get there as fast as possible. I don’t want you to hire me based on a time frame. I want you to hire me based on a, this is the outcome that I need to get to and you’re the one to get me there. Great, let’s get there as fast as possible. Thank you for that regarding your, your story we covered because you, you went into some great information so I appreciate that, but we covered it sort of in no bullet points I suppose if you like, so adding one more um what would you say are some of the biggest challenges that you’ve had in your in your current business? Well, I think the the challenges I face as a business owner have have perfectly mirrored um challenges that were happening in other areas of my life, you know, just full transparency.

Like it’s fascinating to me that you know, when I, when there were uh growth challenges happening personally, they showed I could see them so clearly in my business. Um I just always found that fascinating. I think um probably the biggest challenge for me as a business owner has been moving from lone ranger, I can do it all myself um where I have to do it all myself because I was bootstrapping and and more afraid to make investments in the business and I think what was happening simultaneously is even though I was a very uh you would never have called me um a lack of confident type of person, but I was dealing with some things, personally that had me um questioning my own self worth, and so how that showed up in my business was I wasn’t betting on myself, I wasn’t I wasn’t um comfortable investing in my own business and that I think was based on all of my time on a couch I realized was coming with rooted in the personal, you know, challenges I was dealing with.

So there was a simultaneously, there was a symbiotic relationship between becoming a stronger getting back to who I was in terms of my own self worth and confidence and strength um that that perfectly messed with making investments in the business, getting help, collaborating with others? Um really looking for expansion beyond just how can I grow as a solo preneurs, it became more about, you know, an organization and how can I grow exponentially and to do that, I needed more people and even even freelancers, but I think I wasn’t ready for that, and I know now looking back that the that was not at all separate from personal challenges.

So anyway, that may have been more more, more than you wanted to know on that question. It’s great, I’ll do the flip side of the question, thank you for sharing that anyway, and the flip side is, what are your biggest wins? Uh the biggest wins have certainly been um taking on the ceo role at select sales development. Um I had had a different brand, Select was being run by a friend of mine who passed away far too young and in an effort to helped serve clients who had already paid her business, um I I stepped up to to just do what was right to do to do the right thing for her, her kids, her business, her brand, and um and then was offered the opportunity to take on the leader, you know, the leadership role of that company, which like overnight, you know, expanded what was possible for me and for the brand.

Um and so I need some, you know, really let go of my own brand and we kind of took the best of what I was training and the best of what um the select team had created and merged everything and I think it made the, the solutions and our programs much better for all clients involved and you know, it just, it was, it stretched me, it stretched me in a lot of new ways and I think that, you know from now now I just don’t look back, I’m always looking for, who can I collaborate with to get to where we want to go faster and better. Um and every time I look at uh an opportunity as a collaborative experience, it has always paid off in dividends for everybody involved and I like working with people.

Um I like working with people who think differently than me, I like being the visionary and having other people whose gifts are more in the execution side of things to collaborate with people like that has been absolutely game changing. Well, thank you for the answer and it brings me nicely on to my next question, which I said I was going to ask you about, which is what does success mean to you definition has changed so much over the years, but right now, um it’s really about lifestyle and um and serving people, I think, you know, I there’s nothing better for me than I’m a performer at heart. I love being in front of an audience um whether that’s delivering the opening keynote to help people open their minds to all the other ideas that are going to come at a conference or corporate event or I’m opening people up with laughter, I do stand up comedy, I wrote a one woman comedy show, I’m gonna be touring that um starting at the end of 2022 I’m super excited about that.

That’s my passion project. Will I ever make money from it? I don’t know that would be fun. That would be a great lifestyle traveling around touring, doing keynotes during the day and making people laugh at night, I’ve, I’m pretty sure I can’t think of anything better than that, and so I can make a living doing that set up my kids for the future. That’s success. Thank you. Well um I have I have learned from our conversation today and I’m sure that other people have as well so I very much appreciate you being a amazing guest. Would you like to share where people can connect with you? Absolutely. Uh the hub for all things is Merritt Con dot com. So M E R I T K A H N dot com. And on that page you’ll find a let’s talk button so don’t be afraid just grab 15 minutes on my schedule. Let’s have an actual conversation. I’m always open to that. Um That also gets you to the training company. So select sales dot com but you can get there from from meritcon.com.

And if you do meritcon.com/podcast then there will be some resources on that page. I talk a little bit about the open for business framework, a little bit more detail on mindset, mechanics and motion. There’s some other tools and resources on that page, so check it out. Merit, thank you for being a great guest today. My pleasure. Thanks for having me Thomas. Appreciate it.