071 : Scott Leese | One Simple Step You Can Take To Increase Your Network and Sales

Today, we have the Founder of Scott Leese consulting, Surf & Sales, and Co-Founder of Thursday Night Sales, Scott Leese.

Scott founded Scott Leese Consulting, LLC in 2016 with a focus on companies scaling from $0 – $25M ARR. He serves as CEO/Founder and works with both domestic and international companies on sales strategy, process, people, pitch, and more. He has worked with many companies over the past several years as a Strategic Advisor, providing sales training to leadership and salespeople alike.

In this episode, we dive into how he’s utilized his 61k connections on LinkedIn to build his company and work for himself. He talks about the reason you should leave people behind that don’t fit your future trajectory, and 1 Simple step you can take today to increase your network and sales. Check it out!

Scott’s learning journey and Masterminds

The Mastermind Effect:  02:10

I believe the ability to learn and have access to different people has really changed over the last 5, 10 years. When you and I were younger, it was teachers and textbooks. Then it’s family, friends, and our co-workers. But that’s a sliver of what’s possible. How has your learning changed from your early years versus today?

Scott Leese:  02:49

There was no such thing as LinkedIn, for example, when I was coming up. There certainly were no micro-sales communities like Thursday Night Sales and Surfing Sales, and some of the things I’m involved with, like Red Genius. It’s just that the level of accessibility you have to the greater sales and revenue and leadership community can’t be understated. At any point in time now, I have roughly 61,000 followers on LinkedIn. That’s a whole baseball stadium, three basketball stadiums, and some NFL stadiums -full of people that I can tap into and reach out to, if I’ve done a good job cultivating and activating network, for advice, for help, for jobs, and for coaching—all these kinds of stuff. The net that you’re casting is bigger. The speed with which you can acquire new information has accelerated from all these different sources. I can go anywhere and look up content on cold calling on closing, on leadership, on coaching, on scaling, on content creation, on brand. We’re really only limited by how bad we want to make something happen and potentially by the size of our network right now. There’s never been an easier time to be good at whatever it is you’re interested in getting good at.

The Mastermind Effect:  04:21

People are more accessible than ever before. With what’s going on still in the country, by the time this air hopefully the world has calmed and things are better. But people are more accessible. Your 61,000 is a small city. The amount of content, knowledge, and help that not only are they probably able to give you but you’re able to help them access is enormous. That comes with a lot of responsibility, knowing that you can affect that many people. That’s very impressive.

Talking about the amount of information, we have more information that we can take in ever before and it can be a little confusing. Some people learn from mentors, coaches, masterminds, and accountability buddies. There’s a lot of ways to learn. Who are you learning from currently and more importantly, how did you connect with them?

Scott Leese:  05:14

I am learning from a lot of entrepreneurs right now more than anybody else. I cut the cord and went into business completely for myself 13 and half months ago, last October 2019. I’ve spent the last year building different parts of my overall business. I got a lot of different components that fall within there. I’ve had a lot of conversations with folks like John Barrows, Amy Boloss, Richard Harris, Dale Dupree, Jocko Vanderkoosh, and Tony Hughes from Australia—a lot of people who are in the sales, leadership, consulting and advising world—about what they did to be successful and are doing to be successful. I just love that through the power of growing my network on LinkedIn and just being bold and saying, “Hey, I’d love to connect with you” many years ago, I connected with some of these folks. Just through that simple act of asking and then forming a relationship with them over time, following their content, engaging with that content, and seeing them show up online and engaging it.

Here’s a good example. I have known Amy Voloss through LinkedIn for a couple years. She came on my podcast earlier this year in early March. I had started a little happy hour with my friend, Justin Welsh, who’s a sales leader. Now, he’s in the business for himself as well. Justin couldn’t make it and I don’t want this virtual happy hour to stop. This is the birth of Thursday Night Sales. Just because I had Amy on my podcast, I said, “Hey, you want to substitute basically?” Amy said yes. She came on and we’ve done 40 episodes in a row this year. There’s been over 10,000 people who’ve come to our virtual sales happy hours. We have a really good relationship right now. I consider her like one of my better friends and like a big sister. That’s the power of the network if you’re engaging with it, cultivating it, and activating it the right way. She’s been in business for herself for a number of years. Pandemic hits and I’m three to four months into being in business on my own. I’m thinking, “Okay, what are those people doing? What am I going to do?” I hit that fast forward button and I decided. I don’t know what else to do other than be everywhere all the time and run a million miles an hour. A lot of these folks, they lost 25%, 50%, 75% of their business overnight from what they do. What I do advising and consulting early-stage companies and help them grow and scale sales orgs.

COVID was a bit of a forcing function for me to help out. I didn’t have this dip. I actually accelerated and the relationship became bi-directional as I’m learning from them and the years that they’ve had ups and downs. How do I navigate this? How do I price this? They started asking me questions like, “How are you surviving and doing well? What are you talking about?” My buddy, Richard said, “I don’t even understand what you do. But what is happening? How do you do this?” So, I’m learning from people who have been where I want to go. What’s really important is who you’re trying to surround yourself with.

The Mastermind Effect:  09:05

Absolutely. You didn’t know that this should cause a dip in your business. I was talking and interviewing someone the other day that in March, they lost 80% of the revenue and made them reshape and think how they had to do. But you didn’t have to reshape and rethink. You were just on a trajectory of what you were passionate on, what you knew about, and how you would see other people become successful.

Scott Leese:  09:28

I got lucky a little bit. There’s so many people who have been hammered by this situation this year. I’m just a little bit in the right place at the right time. But I’d also done almost 20 years-worth of work in the trenches, building and scaling sales org. It’s not I was an SDR for three months and then decided to build my consulting business. You know what I mean? There’s something to be said for doing the work right, having some track record of success, and some modicum of expertise behind you to give not just you, but to give others confidence in what you’re talking about.

The Mastermind Effect:  10:12

A lot of people get stuck and we don’t know how to execute what’s in our head. I’m sure that’s where you come into play, especially with new businesses. We’re still obviously going through pandemic and I feel it’s causing a reset on how we’re able to accomplish things and become creative. How have masterminds or coaching helps you when you’re looking to get unstuck and reset that mentality to actually accomplish what you’re building today?

Scott Leese:  10:59

For me, it comes down to diversification. If you have all your eggs in one basket of anything, it’s very easy to get stuck to me or bored or have a lot of risk in your profile. The beauty of diversification is if this one thing falls, I’m fine because I’ve got these other things, these other revenue streams coming in. It spawns creativity. There was no business of Thursday Night Sales in 2019 or even in the first three months of 2020. Now, it’s a business. It makes money. In addition to having fun and helping all these people, the energy that one gets from that creative process and this new channel to pour myself into can’t be understated. There’s spillage and seepage that happens in other aspects of my business.

Now, I have this Thursday Night Sales, which today just happens to be Thursday. I have this event tonight. I will be energized. It’d be like coming off stage if you ever played in the band. You come offstage and you’re fired up. You’re ready to go. You ride that energy out late into the night sometimes or into a few days later. So, come tomorrow when it’ll be Friday, a lot of people might be, “Oh, man, I can’t wait for the weekend. Let’s go. I’m ready to roll.” I just had a conversation with 200 like-minded individuals who are asking me questions and giving me ideas. I’m connecting people all over the place. Diversification breeds creativity, and that creativity brings in energy and passion. You turn that passion into activity and action, and off you go.

The Mastermind Effect:  12:44

Have you ever found when you’ve got all that energy and it’s built up? People who might not have been on the call but they’re still in your life? Family, friends, whatever it is, you have to slowly release that energy to them. Because if they weren’t involved in that call or they weren’t involved in that experience, they can’t fully understand why you’re just bursting with all this positive energy and feedback.

Scott Leese:  13:08

I’m going to reveal a personal detail about myself. I have more or less left those types of people behind. Those are not the people who I have surrounded myself with in my life—friends, family. Because I don’t release slowly. I don’t have this valve that you’re referring to. When I’m fired up, I’m fired up. I have a very difficult time dealing with people who move slowly or who don’t do what they say they’re going to do.

For those who don’t know me, part of my story is that I spent four years in the hospital in my early 20s. Fighting for my life, I’ve had nine major surgeries, four life-saving surgeries, two of which were emergency life-saving surgeries. I got addicted to opioids and the process. I had to kick over that I lost for years. My sense of urgency and perspective are different from other people. I’m on borrowed time already. I’m not here to chill. I’m not here to filter my enthusiasm. I’m here to get as much done as humanly possible, to do as much good as humanly possible. If you can’t handle that, then get out of my way.

The Mastermind Effect:  14:28

It’s not about that valve, it’s about making sure you surround yourself with people that get it. They might not get involved with the conversation, but they know when you’re releasing that kind of energy and that momentum, whatever that vibe is, they get to just be in that atmosphere, that circle. Let me soak that up. Because you know what, I need a little bit of that today. If not move over. Because it’s not my wrong time, wrong place, but it might be yours.

Scott Leese:  14:56

Yes. People feel that they definitely do hold back and filter it. You’re going to get a lot of shit when you move at a particular speed and rate. You’re going to get a lot of shit when you start being more successful than your friends who got a better GPA than you, or your family or your parents. Do you remember the first time that you actually made more money than your mom or dad? I do. That’s an actual thing. There’s a weird dynamic. But I’m not here to be overly concerned and worried about how everybody else deals with me and views me. I got things to do. I don’t believe that I’m doing harm. I believe that I’m doing a lot of super helpful things. I don’t want people to think that I’m not thoughtful in any way. I just don’t have time for people who are not on my level. If you are not on my level right now but you want to get there, I’ll carry you. I will bring you a look. You want to work like nine to five and 40 hours a week, punch in and punch out? I can’t relate to that. I’m sorry. It takes you two weeks to make a decision about a $250-item? I don’t have time for that. We got to move. That’s just how I operate. I do think that a lot of that is shaped by what I went through. We have a very limited number of opportunities in this life. I’m here to make the most out of every single one.

Self-Education and Scott’s reality

The Mastermind Effect:  16:34

Moving on into the world of masterminds, they’ve been around for a long time. Probably the first mastermind was the apostles. Then Benjamin Franklin, he creates something called the Judo club. Then Napoleon Hill writes this book, and he explains really the concept of masterminds. With this large boom of self-education these days, where do you see the difference or the dynamic shifting between self-education and standardized education moving forward?

Scott Leese:  17:20

My first place I went to is academia and I’m thinking about my kids. I have a 13-year-old who’s in seventh grade and Middle School and an 11-year-old who’s in fifth grade and still in his last year of elementary school. When you ask that question, I immediately go to them actually, not me. I’m thinking is this self-learning, self-taught trajectory that they’re headed for? Or is it the traditional route that you and I came up with where there’s curriculum and it’s digested at the same rate for everybody, regardless of how fast or slowly you’re digesting it? I think that model is probably a big trouble if I had to guess the old model. I think the newer model have dived deep into the things you love, don’t spend as much time on the things that you aren’t into, and move at your pace for your learning style and ability. I think it’s going that direction. The information and the speed and mechanism of delivery that we have now, however good we think that is, what is that going to look like in 10, 20, 30 years? Maybe we’ll get to that place in The Matrix where he’s like, I want to know karate and he instantly knows karate. I don’t know. It sounds sci-fi but who’s to say we’re not heading that direction?

I think my kids and your kids will be learning in a totally different way than we are. Maybe we’re getting a little bit of a sneak preview of it right now. My kids have been distance learning all year and they’re not going back into the classroom next year at all. We’ve already made the decision. We’ve got different classes and tutors that we put them in. They’re taking extra soccer lessons and baseball hitting lessons and all this stuff that they wouldn’t be able to do if they were in normal school times. They’re still getting good grades. They’re asking for extra work. They don’t want to go back to the classroom to be honest with you. I worry about the social kind of component of that a little bit but they’re like, “What are you talking about Dad? I go to soccer practice four times a week and baseball practice three times a week. I’m around all these kids.” So, I’m wrestling with it but their comfort level with it has lapped to me already and that might be a unique story. I know there’s a lot of people who are having a lot more challenging experiences with the learning environment and stuff. But I’m just speaking from my experience right now and what we’re gonna do.

The Mastermind Effect:  20:12

I have to agree with you. I’ve got a six-year-old and we’re talking about the company we’re building right now, the Success finder. He knows the other companies that we’ve got. He’s six and he asked, “Who’s your competition?”

Scott Leese:  20:27

You ever asked that question when you were six?

The Mastermind Effect:  20:29

No. He said it. “Who is what you’re building for? Why is it that your competition has an edge against you?” I said, “Listen, Liam. I have a feeling we’re gonna be starting your first company by the time you hit 16. I go with the mentality of the $30,000 experience. When you’re ready for college, I’m gonna have $30,000 in each hand. This $30,000 will help pay for your standardized education which may last a year. This $30,000 right here is going to be for you to either use my Rolodex, cell phone, or the Success Finder. You’re going to go pay people. This will last you at least two years. Your room, your board, and paying the people to learn from that are currently doing it hourly, I already have done it. Which $30,000 do you want?” Let him make that decision.

Scott Leese:  21:14

It’ll be interesting to see what they choose. My kids were telling me that they don’t want to go to college. And that terrifies me to be honest with you. It shouldn’t terrify me because it’s not like they’re deadbeats. It’s not that they’re there. They know more about business at their age than I knew till I was 27 or 28 years old. I didn’t study business in academics and academia at all. I have a psychology degree in religious studies minor. I never had a real job. I never worked in sales until I was 27 years old. Teach these kids no more about that than I did at an early age.

The Mastermind Effect:  21:55

Because we’re open about it and we talk about it, they’re soaking it in. They’re listening to everything. They are literally human recorders right there.

Scott Leese:  22:03

They asked me questions: How much money did you make from this and how do you how much money are you making from that? Why are you spending time doing that? They’re learning all that stuff. They’re consuming it and I can hear their gears grinding in their head. It’s a really interesting question.

The Mastermind Effect:  22:20

When someone invest in their future, they have a better than vague idea of what they’re going to get. They have an expectation of what the outcome could be if they actually put in the work and they actually do it. What should people expect when they enter Scott’s reality and work with you?

Scott Leese:  22:43

Number one, I move quickly. I’m very accessible and very responsive. One of my friends teases me. It says I text as much as a teenage girl. I fired off quick. You reach out to me, my response time is quick.

I’m very process oriented. I wrote a book in 2017 called “Addicted to the Process,” talking a little bit about, my life experience and my sales philosophy that I came up with called the “Addiction Model of Selling.” I’m very process-driven. I believe in getting what works out of your head and onto paper, so it can be scaled and codified and replicated. You’re going to get somebody who forces you to think systematically that way. If somebody says this to me, what should my response be? Okay, it’s this. And that’s awkward for a lot of people to try to get it out of your head and onto paper. But I can’t force you to do that. I’m very direct. I don’t pull punches and call you on your stuff. I do it with peace and love, as my friend Amy says. I genuinely care. You can ping any number of people on LinkedIn, in my network and circle. I talked about this on my friend games podcast about Legacy the other day. All I care about is that when I’m dead and gone, people are just able to say is that guy helped me. That’s all I want. I live by that creed.

A sales leader in the community tweeted something the other day about how disingenuous it sounds in emails when people say, “Let me know if I can help you.” I replied, saying every single message I send over every platform ends with “Let me know if I can ever be helpful to you.” I was kind of challenging him on that line of thinking. He wrote back and he said, “Listen Scott, for every one of you, there’s 100 who don’t do anything about it and don’t mean anything behind it.” But I really do. I genuinely am trying to care. I generally care and try to show that I care through my actions about the people that I interact with and your success and your career and your life. That’s what you’re getting.

The Mastermind Effect:  25:17

I feel that people have a way of surprising us, whether it’s their willingness to learn, their drive, whatever it is. The rooms that you put together 61,000-large or 10,000 that have been to the Thursday Night calls, your hand selecting, making sure who you surround yourself with. Give us a success story of someone that’s been through your coaching program and what they were able to accomplish because they work with you.

Scott Leese:  25:40

My greatest success story is somebody who has become one of my best friends. But 15 years ago, he was released from prison. He was in prison for distribution of methamphetamine in the Bay Area. I hired him anyways as an entry-level salesperson. I think we were paying $25,000 base salary at the time in the Bay Area, which even then you can’t live on. People always said, why did you hire this guy? He’d never done formal inside sales before.

During my interview with him, I had said to him, “Why are you willing to do something now that you’ve never been willing to do before?” He said, “I just need a shot. Somebody’s going to get the best version of me that’s ever existed.” So, I gave him a shot and he did pretty good. I ended up bringing them to the next company that I was at, and then the next one. Then he moved from the Bay Area to Texas when I did for an opportunity. Then he got into sales management underneath me, then he became a senior sales manager. Then we moved again, and he became a director. Now, he’s the VP of Sales with a company of a couple of 100 people. They’re in mid-low to mid-eight figures in ARR.

The guy’s life is completely changed. He makes half a million dollars a year, got an equity stake. That is like the rags to riches type of inside sales story. Sales really can be a vehicle to change your life. You teach somebody how to sell. You teach them how to get in the right mindset. You instill self-confidence in them. You work with them closely, so they learn how to make better life decisions, not just better selling decisions. You work with them on how to lead and how to manage and into the process and the numbers and the metrics. You teach them these things and you watch them pay it forward. He now has his disciples. People who have come under his coaching tree are now moving and scattering about the sales community in the landscape of startups. That’s the success story. That’s the legacy. I could go on about others but that’s always the one that stands out to me.

One Simple Step You can take to Increase your network and sales

The Mastermind Effect:  28:52

When I work with one of my coaches, we talk about success and what does it take to be successful. In the solo shows, what we talked about are the pillars of success. I believe that just a few of them are experimentation, partnerships, mentorship, and willingness to fail. What is one core ingredient that you feel that it takes to be successful?

Scott Leese:  29:19

I think if I had to pick one, I’d say shrinking the delta between idea and action. We all have lots of good ideas and then far too many people sit with those ideas and do nothing about it. Holding off. I’ll tell you a quick story about this. I think in July maybe of this year, my good friend Kevin Dorsey sent me a text. I was lying in bed 11 o’clock at night and I get this text message. What’s this dude texting me so late for? He said, “I wanted to check this out. It’s this thing called Patreon.” What the hell is Patreon? I’m looking at it. He’s loaded sales essays and old trainings. So, he’s down there. What is it? People pay you money to access this stuff. This is amazing. I brought him back. How long you’ve been building these things? A couple of months. Then 36 hours later, I went live with my Patreon account. Idea came in. This is great. This is a new way to make some money, a new way to coach and train to interact with people. Six months later, Patreon pays my mortgage. Some brand-new revenue stream covers my mortgage. I’ve had conversations with other people in the community. They still haven’t started their Patreon account for whatever reason. Maybe they’re doing big things outside of there. But for me, this idea came to me from somebody else. Copycat League, right? If he can do it, I can do it. I just move quickly. I think people spend way too much time deliberating on something and trying to make it perfect rather than just good enough. Good enough and go is something I say all the time. It’s good enough? Let’s go on to the next thing and iterate along the way. I think one of the keys to success is shrinking the delta between idea and action.

The Mastermind Effect:  31:19

Absolutely. To me, perfection means you never took off the planes on the runway. There is no such thing as perfection.

Scott Leese:  31:26

I’ve been blessed to not possess this perfectionism gene. I know some people have it. I really encourage you to do some work to fight it, to disassociate from that perfectionism. I don’t think it does you any favors in the sales world.

The Mastermind Effect:  31:44

I feel there’s always new ideas brewing in times of prosperity. It’s easy to be successful when the world is successful. But I think ingenuity and creativity come when we start feeling squeezed like we are now. What are you working on right now that’s gonna take place over the next 12 months that excites you?

Scott Leese:  32:05

My second book is coming out in probably Q1 of next year. It’s called “More Than A Number.” It’s about the life and times of a VP of Sales—the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’m excited about that. I’m about to release an e-Book that I co-authored about how to go from rep to manager. Then, to be honest, I haven’t been surfing since late February, and I am dying. I need us to be able to travel again so I can host Surfing Sales Summits again. We typically hold two to three a year and I’m not playing. I’m gonna go set up shop in Costa Rica for like four to six weeks. We’re gonna host four to six certain sales summits in a row. I’m super excited about that. The moment I get confident and comfortable that everybody will be safe, the planning will go into that.

The last thing I’d say is I did a really good job this year in my opinion. I’m way overachieving and excelling and hitting my goals. But I worked my ass off. So, year two for me is not about doubling my revenue. Year two as a solopreneur for me is about how do I maintain where I was while putting less effort in, to becoming more efficient with my time and more economical. That’s what I’m excited about and what I’m learning and trying to sort out right now. Those are a few things that I’m working on and excited about, and hopefully others can get involved with as well.

The Mastermind Effect:  34:04

What is a tip, a tactic, or an actual item that if they implemented this in the next 30, 60, 90 days, they could see some real results?

Scott Leese:  34:16

Just grow the size of your network. That’s the first thing that comes to mind. In 30 days, I think you could send comfortably 20 new connection requests per day. That’s 600 more people, assuming everybody says yes. At 600 more people in your network that you can learn from, that might be able to help you or you might be able to help them. It’s incredibly rewarding. The ROI inside of your network is absolutely massive. That will help with deal flow. It will help with career growth. It will help with finding a new job, getting promoted, anything you can imagine. The opportunity in 30 days. Add 600 people into your network. Activate those 600 people. Those 600 people, if it even turns into one more deal, we’re talking about 1,000s of dollars in commission probably for a lot of salespeople out there. That’s the simplest, easiest thing I can think of.

The Mastermind Effect:  35:19

I love the simplicity of it because someone can do that, and they can start it today. They don’t have to sit down and be like, “Can you show me the system now?” Get your copy so you bring in value to it and start connecting. I love it. Simplicity in its finest.

Scott, I appreciate it. Thank you so much for your time.

Tweetable Quotes:

“All I care about is, when I’m dead and gone people can say, “That guy helped me”. That’s all I want. I live by that creed.” – Scott Leese

“If you have all your eggs in one basket, it’s very easy to get stuck.” – Scott Leese

“Diversification breeds creativity, and that creativity brings in energy and passion, then you turn that passion into activity and action, and off you go.” – Scott Leese

“You’re gonna get a lot of shit, when you move at a particular speed and rate. You’re gonna get a lot of shit, when you start being more successful than other people.” – Scott Leese

“I don’t have time for people who are not on my level.” – Scott Leese

“We have a very limited number of opportunities in this life, so I’m here to make the most out of every single one.” – Scott Leese

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Scott on LinkedIn and Twitter. Visit https://scottleeseconsulting.com/ and https://www.surfandsales.com/

Be one of the first adopters of The Success Finder when it releases! Email me at brandon@thesuccessfinder.com

You can connect with me, Brandon Straza, on LinkedIn, Instagram, send me a message, or an email at brandon@thesuccessfinder.com. I’d love to get in touch and talk more about personal development and how you can move beyond your limits.

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