EPISODE 7: CONSTANT & CONSISTENT LEADERSHIP AS AN SDR
Episode 7 Transcript
Alex: Hello and welcome to the SDRealness Podcast brought to you by SDRevolution, where we talk with practitioners about their take on important topics in the space.
I am Alex Ellison and here with me is my co-host, Greyson Fullbright.
Greyson: Hello everyone.
Alex: In this series, we’re focused on becoming a leader in the SDR role and today we’re going to explore the importance of being constant and consistent as an SDR leader on the floor.
With us today to dive into this often overlooked aspect of SDR leadership is Lee Rozins, Head of Sales at Cheetah – and personally, I believe – the owner of the best virtual background I have seen yet while working from home.
Lee, thank you so much for hopping on with us.
Lee: It’s my pleasure and I’m glad that the background is definitely resonating with you.
Greyson: It’s resonating with me hard. I love Will Smith so much.
Alex: Will is — He’s a legend! He is… He is the king of positivity and perceiving challenges in the right way. So all the power to him.
Greyson: Exactly – and I think that’s really kind relevant to what we’re talking about. The first thing that I want to do to kick things off is — I find it interesting that, when we got this episode setup, you used the word “constant” and “consistent” when describing being a leader as an SDR on the floor.
So I want to get your take because I can talk about it all day. What does it mean to you when you say “Being a leader consistently and constantly on the floor?”
Lee: Yeah. It’s a great question. So I think with anything in life; you need to be consistent in what you do, if you really want to achieve success – and in sales, it’s obviously no different.
Nobody remembers the person who had a really great month and then had an awful two months after.
You remember the legends who over-performed month after month, week after week and day after day. If you want salespeople to be successful, it starts with a leader who is fostering that environment for them where they can simply be the best version of themselves.
When you think about consistency, that means that leader needs to consistently lead the right way.
Something I love to remind myself of every day Greyson and Alex, is: We make 35,000 decisions a day. Subconsciously, consciously… Most people don’t realize that. That is a wild number of decisions – and you are so often influenced by other people around you and you don’t even realize it, right?
Any little decision that you make can have a major impact on any outcome that you’re trying to achieve.
So when leading in these environments, you really want people to be in a positive environment where they’re feeding off of each other’s energy, where they know that everybody around them is lifting them higher and they’re being a good and positive spirit and impact that they know is going to bring them to a better place. Because that then triggers your decisions, which will ultimately help you achieve whatever it is that you’re trying to achieve.
Greyson: Yeah. I love that. I think what you spoke to there is really about this idea that, even if you’re not a leader, even if you’re just an SDR at your organization – you have an impact and an influence on that culture and on that environment.
So kind of getting into this mindset of: Every day when you walk into that office and you’re on the floor, how you perform, your motivation, how aligned you are with the team that day, and how connected you are, like that has an impact.
And I think, kind of backing back into the topic, especially if you’re a team lead or if you’re a manager, everyone is looking around you. If you’re an SDR, you can get away with it because sometimes you’re invisible, but when you’re a lead, people are just looking at you and saying, like: “I’m going to do my thing. I’m going to do my activities, but I am curious to see from day to day what you’re doing and kind of looking up to see, like – How have you changed things? How is your motivation keeping you forward?”
I really love that.
Lee: Thank you. Yeah. So I think there is a big misconception out there and it’s that only the leaders need to inspire. I think and I really believe that every single one of us, when we are part of a team and we’re out on that floor, we all have a responsibility to inspire each one of us around us.
I actually wrote about this the other day and it got a lot of really interesting comments and engagement and it was this question around would you rather take somebody on your team who you know is always going to over-perform, or would you rather take somebody on your team who you know is always going to lift everybody up around them, who isn’t there yet, but might get there?
And so many people agreed with the second one because when you bring that person on your team who is naturally and genuinely, organically going to inspire others to want to come into the office, to want to do their work… They might bring everybody’s performance up 15-20%.
So that right there becomes 10x more powerful than having an individual contributor who is always over-performing, but not making everybody else around them better. It’s one of these so often overlooked abilities that some people have.
To kind of go on a little fun tangent here… When you really think about why people make decisions… If we’re in sales, regardless if we’re an SDR or we’re an AD or a manager, or an executive, etc, we need to understand why people make decisions. Right? If we don’t understand, then we can’t sell them anything.
So there was a Harvard professor that came out with a study and I believe his name was Gerald Zaltman. He saw that 95% of all purchasing decisions are actually driven by emotion.
So get this. Emotion, if you think about it, really comes from the way in which you’re projecting over the phone. And what I have seen in the office is when you have these people who are understanding this whole concept to that – motion creates emotion which then genuinely transcends over the phone, they start creating this beautiful networking effect in the team where you do have this beautiful feed off of everyone’s energy and people are speaking with much more enthusiasm over the phone and then it feeds into their storytelling ability and so on and so forth.
It starts with your gestures. Okay? Your gestures are very simple. They’re any movement or part of the body to express an idea or a meaning, right? Those gestures are then triggering motions, which then trigger your emotions.
So I have a lot of these stories – and I know that we all do, right? But I have this salesperson who is always just on top of their chair, throwing his hands around in the air… Like if you walk into the office, it’s impossible for your eyes to not go directly at this salesperson, because you just — You feel it!
He is constantly moving around and creating emotion because he knows that people are not going to buy from him unless he has appealed to their emotion. So how does he appeal to their emotion? He gets himself going by throwing his hands around, by speaking with such energy and creating these motions, which then naturally flips the switch for him to start speaking with emotion, so that he can appeal to them. So that he can now start building rapport and trust making them truly buy whatever it is that he is selling.
That’s not even the best part! Right, Greyson and Alex? The best part is everybody else is now being impacted by this one salesperson’s emotions and crazy action in the office – and now they’re all more likely to be enthusiastic and in a fun, energetic environment where you have now got this trickling effect of energy – and it is one of the secret weapons of a sales floor.
Alex: Wow. Yeah. I absolutely love that. For anyone who is listening to this, I highly recommend heading over to YouTube and watching it. Not only to see Lee’s background, but to see, as you were explaining that – and now I am doing it – Look, it’s already working! Like you talk with your hands, gesturing wildly to show us exactly what this guy was doing and you sounded passionate about it. Now, look at me! I am waving my hands around, I’m talking about it and I sound way more excited about this than I would have if you had just been monotonous or if I had just closed my eyes and maybe just listened to you and didn’t get all of the gesticulation.
I mean, case in point right there. End of the episode… There you go. You proved it! [Laughs]
Lee: And that wasn’t planned… but I am loving it! [Laughs]
Alex: Exactly. So I absolutely love that. I want to sort of spin this around on you. Obviously, like you said you have got a ton of great examples of people that have gone above and beyond and really led as an SDR for their team.
Are there are sort of warning signs or maybe “yellow flags” you might see from somebody who is, maybe not even actively, but is sort of bringing the team morale and that energy down – and what do you do to counteract that and make sure it doesn’t create a sort of snowball effect for the rest of the team?
Lee: Yeah. It’s a fantastic question. So in my mind, you call these people “toxic” at times. Right? They’re like cancerous because they will spread to others and it’s not good! It’s not healthy when you’re trying to build and scale a team to support growth.
So you obviously want to make sure that you are able to identify these as early as you possibly can and it really doesn’t take much to understand when somebody’s being negative. When they’re acting in very pessimistic ways. When they’re interpreting things the wrong way.
Sometimes it’s super ego-driven and other times it’s just the type of personality and person that they are. There’s no other way to put it! They’re just not very positive or optimistic, right? They don’t have a growth mindset.
So to answer your question, I think step one is identifying these people as early as you possibly can – and that should not be challenging. And then step two is you obviously try and coach it out of them and you have to have very tough, candid conversation with them.
But if that does not result in the outcome that you want, then you are now having your entire sales team impacted negatively because of this. And instead of everybody increasing by 15-20%, you might now have everybody decreasing by 15-20% on their performance.
You might have certain A players leave the team, all because somebody is out there now bringing them down and not up.
So it is equally as important for you to identify your A players that bring everybody high – and also, unfortunately, on the opposite end – so that you can eliminate them as soon as possible because there’s plenty of other people who would, I’m sure, be grateful to be in those shoes.
You know, life is too short to surround yourself with people who are going to bring you down. There is no other way to put it.
Greyson: Yeah. I wanted to kind of “dig down” into this topic a bit with kind of a side question of: How would you recommend someone taking this on if they’re not in a decision-making position, on whether someone stays on at their role?
If you’re just an SDR on the team that’s aware that kind of everyone’s energy impacts the team, or maybe you’re an SDR team lead that has a bit of the reins and is kind of helping influence and navigate the team, but doesn’t have a direct say in whether or not someone should stay on?
What advice would you give to someone in that position?
Lee: Yeah. It goes back to the responsibility that everybody has. Everybody has a responsibility out there to inspire one another and if you see that there is a potential blocker or an obstacle in the way of everybody feeling inspired to be the best version of themselves, you have a responsibility to do something about it, regardless if you’re a leader or not.
You can then go down two paths, right? You can actually have a serious conversation with your peer and let them know how they’re impacting others – and it’s got to be candid, right? Because it’s for the best.
If that hasn’t worked or if you don’t feel comfortable having that conversation, that’s why there’s managers and leaders, because they’re the ones who are supposed to have those conversations.
But I think for any salesperson, you should really understand the data and the statistics behind why this is so important. This isn’t just my opinion, or “Oh, okay. This is the cheesy… what we hear about positivity”.
Like optimistic salespeople out-perform pessimistic salespeople by 57%. It is easier for you to be optimistic if other people around you are also optimistic because you feed off of each other’s energy!
If somebody is being pessimistic, they are now directly impacting you – in a bad way! So I would hope that you would feel incentivized to go and have a conversation with them. Because when they turn around, you are more naturally going to turn around as well.
But that statistic is super powerful. A lot of leaders know that, but not every SDR always knows that is the case… but it is a serious number to get behind.
Greyson: Yeah. I think that touches well on this topic of consistency. Because even if you are a great leader – whether you be an SDR, a team leader, or a manager – there are people in your team that can still degrade your ability to lead others.
I think that’s a great call-out of even if you’re an SDR, even if you have no sway and even if you’re kind of new and ramping up – if you are identifying toxicity, or if you are identifying somebody that’s bringing you down and others down and preventing growth – then that’s something that you should speak up about and not — You know, you talk about office politics and I think that’s kind of where this gets into. It’s like, don’t let your SDR team be this political space where people are kind of struggling for their ego to win.
Make it a space where everyone – everyone involved, whether they’re new or experienced or the manager themselves – make it positive! That’s why people have the gong bells and the TV showing the stats and the couches and the workout rooms, because it’s all about keeping the right mental health while you’re going through this really rough role of rejection after rejection after rejection.
So I really love that point, Lee.
To close us out, I wanted to dive in again, to kind of close out, on this idea of consistency as a leader, because we can talk about leadership all day, but if you cannot do it and repeat it again and again and get the same results – then you’re not leading well and you’re going to struggle.
So do you have any last advice or some top tips that you would give to either an SDR, an SDR team lead or a manager that’s trying to learn how to be more consistent in the way that they lead teams?
Lee: Yes! Too much! But so that we stay within time, I’ll dive into one area.
It is simply that the hallmark of a great salesperson is consistency. That is the hallmark, at the very core, but if you want to reach that, I really think it starts with you conditioning your mindset.
Here is something that I teach my team and that I think everybody can relate to this: Regardless of the scenario or the situation you are in, think about it like this… There are always ten other people that are in your exact shoes. No matter what the challenge is, no matter what the adversity is, no matter what is in between you and your finish line, there’s at least ten other people, right? Because there’s 7.7 billion people on this planet. I am sure there’s at least ten other people that are in your shoes.
So since that is the case, your mindset needs to understand that out of that cohort of people, a few of them will always reach their desired outcome and will always hit that finish line and if you believe that is going to be you, then that is the biggest step for it actually happening, because then you reverse engineer every little thing that you need to do in order to hit your finish line.
If that mindset is there every single day, then consistency will naturally follow right behind it. But just know that somebody will accomplish whatever you are trying to accomplish. The question is: Will it be you or will it be somebody else? Make it you.
Alex: That’s gold. I love that – and especially because, you know, as SDRs most of us are pretty competitive, I’d say. So it’s a good way to sort of put — Not imaginary because it is very real, there are people trying to do exactly what you’re doing – but a less tangible idea around your motivation and, you know, “Why should I be doing this?”
Because at the end of the day, there is a lot of tedious tasks involved with being an SDR and you can get lost in the day-to-day, the logging in SalesForce, the no contacts and things like that. And it’s important to keep that in mind, that there’s SDRs all over the place trying to reach into this account and sell their product or whatever it might be. What can you do to make it you?
So I absolutely love that. Lee, thank you so much for joining us to talk about this invaluable stuff. I learned a lot, I feel like, on this call, which has been invaluable for me.
For those who want to learn more about you, what you’re doing or more about Cheetah, where can they find you?
Lee: Yeah, absolutely. They can go to my website. It’s leerozins.com. So it’s just my name… Or they can go to gocheetah.com to check out more about the company that I work for. Then I am all over LinkedIn. So you can pretty much see the inside of my mind on a daily basis there.
Alex: Awesome. Lee, thank you so much again for having us on. This has been Alex and Greyson for the SDRealness Podcast.
Until next time, SDRS, keep it real.