Have you ever listened to someone speak and then completely missed the main point that they were talking about? Maybe you zoned out and thought about what was for lunch. Or maybe you were so focused on some other thing they said that you didn’t reel your brain back in to hear the main topic. That happens to people all the time, and it’s because they are not ACTIVELY LISTENING. I’m guilty of it too! It’s so easy for the human brain to get distracted and focus on the wrong things. That’s why active listening is a SKILL, and according to my guest today, it’s one that is ESSENTIAL to have if you want to be good at SALES. My guest today is not only a MASTER SALESMAN, but he’s also one of the great young entrepreneurs in the United States. I’m so fired up to have Brad Lea on the show today. Brad is a self-made entrepreneur with over 25 years in sales and marketing. He has trained and motivated thousands WORLDWIDE. I have been following him on social media for a long time, and this guy is seriously one of the most CREATIVE and INNOVATIVE people out there. Brad is an expert on teaching people how to become more productive entrepreneurs, especially in the realm of selling and closing deals! I’m so excited that this brother is here with us, and I’m honored that he let me pick his brain and learn the history behind the hugely successful entrepreneur who he is today! From his beginnings in an orphanage to mastering his sales techniques through different job positions and life scenarios, Brad is an incredible person to learn from. I’m sure this interview will fascinate and motivate you to #MAXOUT your life!
Brad Lea is a leading authority on web-based training. Experienced and proven in sales and marketing, he is a seasoned professional with a strong base of sales management coming from 25 years in the automotive industry. Brad’s thoughtful leadership has been instrumental in helping guide some of today’s most effective and productive sales professionals worldwide. He is also the author of the Real Deal Lease Presentation. Engaging, authentic, and dynamic, Brad is passionate about helping companies discover and develop additional recurring revenue models and improving existing systems and processes. As the Founder and CEO of LightSpeed VT, Brad has revolutionized the online training world. He has set the gold standard for how training is delivered, tracked, and reported, ensuring maximum performance and results. I absolutely loved our conversation today. It’s full of some incredible advice about sales and also about life in general, and I can’t wait to share it with you.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that a lot of the guests I bring on the show come from humble roots. That’s because I think it’s such a great lesson that you can #MAXOUT your life and achieve MASSIVE success no matter where you come from! Brad’s journey to where he is today is a great example of that. Growing up, he lived in the smallest house in the neighborhood. Surrounded by wealthy families in huge houses, he and his siblings stuck out like a sore thumb. But Brad didn’t just have to deal with feeling out of place as a child — he also was abandoned to an orphanage by his divorced parents at the age of two years old. Although his father eventually took him and his siblings back under his wing, Brad didn’t have much parental direction. He was never able to achieve his full athletic potential and ended up dropping out of high school. After trying out manual labor for a day, he quickly realized that that was not the life he wanted. But when he got a job selling cars, he excelled and discovered that he had found his calling. Most people would consider this just a job that they were doing for someone else. But to 17-year-old Brad, it was his own business that he didn’t even have to pay for:
“They gave me a car to drive. I got to wear a suit … and the way I looked at it, this individual (my manager) paid for all the cars, paid for the building, paid for the advertising, and gave me a pen and let me have my own little business without investing a dime. That's the way I looked at it. And so I was aggressive and started selling.” - Brad Lea
It’s all about PERSPECTIVE. Even though he didn’t have a share in the business at any level, Brad considered his first sales job his own business and used his talent to level it up. He always had the sales skills he needed — as a six-year-old, he was selling candy bars like they were the last ones left on earth. Now, he had the resources to use those skills fully. So what made him such a great closer in the sales industry? First of all, Brad has an incredible way of communicating that keeps you interested. Instead of just describing a product, he always has a punchline. He has a unique way of leading you somewhere that seems unrelated and then bringing it all back to the product in such a creative way. But it’s not just creativity that makes the sale. Brad shared the two main things that make a good salesperson, and they are absolute GOLD. The best part? Literally anyone can use them to make the close.
So what does Brad do that sets him apart and allows him to sell anything to anyone? The first thing that he does is ACTIVELY LISTEN. People want to be heard, and when you listen, you can figure out what they are looking for. When you know what they are looking for, you know what angle you need to sell from!
“If you want to be great in sales, first of all, you need to learn to listen closely and actively. … A lot of salespeople really don’t listen. … If I say ‘go ahead and sell me that,’ people will start saying ‘Oh, it’s quality leather and it’s going to last a long time.’ But that’s not really selling. That’s telling. To sell, I have to know what it is about you that values [what I’m selling].” - Brad Lea
What a great point. SELLING a product is completely different than just TELLING someone about it. If you can’t directly link the person to the product in a personal way and figure out why they need it, they aren’t going to feel the need to buy it! Aside from listening, the second thing that a good salesperson does is ASK GOOD QUESTIONS. Asking questions is absolutely essential to understanding why someone needs what you are selling! To illustrate this, Brad used the example of selling a chair:
“[Other salespeople] might say, ‘Oh this chair’s constructed this way. And it’s the greatest fabric. And it’s going to last longest.’ But they’re not asking you, ‘Who’s the chair for? Are you replacing a chair? What did you like about the chair you’re replacing? What didn’t you like about the chair you’re replacing? … [By asking questions] I can explain the same chair and provide value and explain why it’s valuable. ” - Brad Lea
Say, for example, the person you are selling the chair to is replacing it for a divorce settlement. If so, Brad noted that you will be UNSELLING it to them by describing it as “long-lasting.” You have to ask questions to know these things. And you have to listen to be able to ask those questions in the first place. Do you want to be good at sales? If so, follow those two amazing pieces of advice from a master salesman — actively listen and ask good questions. Brad isn’t just an incredible salesman though. He is also amazing at building a team of other people who are incredible at sales too! Today, he shared how he does this in four simple steps.
It’s awesome to be good at sales. But companies usually need more than one good salesperson — they need a whole TEAM of people that know how to sell a product. Brad has built an amazing company, and he knows exactly what it takes to have a successful training program in sales:
“A lot of companies have training programs that aren’t really effective. And the goal of a training program is to get results. So if you’re not getting the results you are looking for, then [your training program] is not effective. It’s like making a cake. There are certain ingredients that you put in a cake. Leave out an egg in your cake and see what happens. It doesn’t come out right.” - Brad Lea
If you leave out the sugar or any other ingredient, the cake doesn’t come out right either. You have to have every single component for the cake to turn out. The same goes for sales training. So what are those four “ingredients” that you need to build a great sales team? According to Brad, they are good CONTENT, consistent REPETITION, actual ROLE PLAY of the training, and finally ACCOUNTABILITY. Not only does your CONTENT have to be there as the base for your training, but you have to repeat it for it to stick! As Brad mentioned, it’s just like going to the gym. You don’t get stronger from doing one push-up — you have to repeat your reps over time. REPETITION allows you to be reflexive under pressure. If you’ve done enough reps, when the pressure comes, your response is a reflex. You don’t have to actively think under stress, which can be very unpredictable. So repetitive training is essential for building a successful sales team. You can put that repetition into action through ROLE PLAY. When someone tells you something, you may or may not remember it. But when you actually are the one putting it to practice, you’ll be way more likely to get it right. Finally, holding each and every member of your team ACCOUNTABLE is the fourth piece of the puzzle. If a team lacks accountability, there’s no way to ensure that anything will be done correctly. All four of these requisites are essential to building a team of people who can actively move forward in sales, and Brad has built an amazing company using them.
Guys, I was absolutely honored to be able to have this conversation with such an entrepreneurial legend today. I’m so excited that you joined me in learning Brad’s wisdom and hearing his incredible story. Be sure to listen to the rest of the interview to hear more of Brad’s wisdom, including his “why” behind his work, the core things that hold people back from building a business, how he maintains his intense work ethic, and so much more! This brother has such an authentic way of communicating that is entertaining and fresh but also enlightening, so be sure to go follow him on Instagram and Twitter. You’ll be so glad you did. If this interview changed you in any way, please rate and review the podcast on Apple Podcasts — it goes a long way to helping new people find us and me being able to invite more epic guests to share their genius with you! And please be sure to share this episode on Instagram by posting a screenshot and tagging Brad, @therealbradlea, and me, @edmylett, so that we can spread this message to people who may need to hear it! Don’t forget — every day on Instagram, I run the two-minute drill. That means everyone who comments within the first two minutes of my post, Monday through Friday, is entered into a drawing. We pick a winner EVERY DAY. Winners can receive coaching calls with me, MAXOUT gear, or a flight on my jet. So make sure your notifications are turned on, and you’re staying engaged in the MAXOUT community! Now, go take ownership of your life today and #MAXOUT!