540: The Power of Sales Discovery | Brandon Bornancin
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How much of an impact is there in a Sales Discovery call?
Tune in Conquerors to this week’s episode of the Conquer Local Podcast. Let’s welcome Brandon Bornancin, a best-selling author of 3 books, a motivational speaker, an entrepreneur, and the founder of Seamless.AI – a software company with a $1 billion valuation.
Brandon is on a mission to maximize success and raised over $100 Million from the founders of Google, Facebook, and other top VCs in the US, and speaks nationally about sales, entrepreneurship, marketing, and venture capital.
Conquerors – Navigate to Seamless.AI to sign-up for free and type the referral code, Conquer Local for $500 in free leads!
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The Power of Sales Discovery
George: This is the Conquer Local podcast, a show about billion-dollar sales leaders, marketers leading local economic growth, and entrepreneurs that have created their dream organizations. They wanna share their secrets, giving you the distilled version of their extraordinary feats. Our hope is with the tangible takeaways from each episode, you can rewire, rework, and reimagine your business. I’m George Leith. On this episode, we welcome Brandon Bornancin. He’s a bestselling author of three books and a serial salesperson, he sold over $100 million in sales, is an eight-figure entrepreneur, two times over, and the inventor of Seamless.ai, which recently got the Unicorn valuation over a billion dollar valuation with investors that include Serge Brin and Amazon Ventures. Brandon is also a motivational speaker who is obsessed with helping you maximize your success. Over the past 10 years, he’s built a following of salespeople and entrepreneurs in the millions and has sold hundreds of thousands of his book and made popular the concept sales lists and founded the software company Seamless.ai that’s helping over 150,000 salespeople globally maximize their sales, and he did all of that in just two years. Brandon Bornancin, coming up next on the Conqueror Local podcast.
George: Brandon, welcome to the show. I’m super excited. I’ve wanted to have you as a guest for a long time. Thanks for joining us.
Brandon: George, thank you so much for having me on Conquer Local, super excited to be here today.
George: You know, we gotta talk about the books. You’ve been an author for a long time, so let’s do that right outta the gate. The first one, one of my faves “Whatever It Takes.” How did you come up with a concept for this book?
Brandon: Ah, man, thank you so much. You know, a lot of people always ask me like, hey, what are your secrets to success? How did you make it in sales? How did you make it in entrepreneurship? So I always knew I wanted to write a book. You know, salespeople aren’t great writers typically, and I’m definitely one of ’em, you know. So I never wanted to write and then, you know, it was March 2020 when the governor shut down the state of Ohio, our headquarters is in Ohio, and I’m like, oh, shit. I’ve ran companies during recessions before and you have to put in 300, 400, and 500% the amount of work, you have to develop new habits, new mindsets, new principles, operating principles to be successful. And I was like, I have to put something together so my employees know what to do to achieve success and we don’t go out of business as we built this tech company. So I wrote it as a Google Doc for my employees, and then my employees got it and they’re like shit, you need to publish this and give it to the world. So ended up, you know, editing it, extending it for Amazon and the world and, you know, tens of thousands of copies later, it’s a number one best seller. So really the book premise is all about the principles, the secrets, the strategies to maximize your success during any time, and the ability for you to learn the habits to maximize your life, your business, and your relationships.
George: Well, and that’s what I found there was a lot more in here than just your day-to-day in sales. But I just wanna make sure I heard this correctly. This was written at the beginning of the pandemic then when you were faced with what are we gonna do, how are we gonna get through this?
Brandon: Yeah, this was at the beginning of March, literally the governor shut down the state pretty much when all the states in the United States were starting to shut down. Ohio was like next. It was all over the news, we’re gonna shut it down, I’m like, we gotta close our off… Like everyone’s gotta leave the office. I had like 15 employees at the time. So I just started writing every morning because the governor shut down, you know, work for like, you had to go work from home. I had all this time. I wasn’t commuting to and from the office. I wasn’t screwing around. So from five to 7:00 a.m I would write and I wrote the book in 20 days, took two days to edit, published it on Amazon, like, you know, 22 days from the start and we were rocking and rolling.
George: That’s fascinating. So “Whatever It Takes” I highly recommend it. But what I’ve noticed is that great sales leaders that start to write books, you can’t stop at once, so now we’ve got a couple of others that have come along like “Seven Figure Social Selling” and the one I can see in your background, they’re Sales secrets. Let’s talk about those.
Brandon: Yeah, yeah. You know, it’s funny, so my first book was actually “Sales Secrets” And, you know, “Sales Secrets” was a way to interview all the top salespeople in the world and get their secrets to success. It was something like that I’m personally passionate about and I’m like, there’s probably a lot of people that would love to learn from all the other top salespeople in the world to get their secrets to success. So I’m gonna interview them and like doing the interviews and scheduling the interviews is a lot of work and it’s a ton of time. However, doing an interview book is like the dumbest book to do because it’s the hardest and the longest cause not only do you have to schedule all these interviews, you then have to do the hour-long interviews. You then have to transcribe all the interviews, then you have to actually write the chapter for the interview of the person that you interviewed. It’s like 5X the amount of time. So that book took me two years to do and during that time I wrote: “Seven Figure Social Selling” which was my first published book on how to make millions and how your network is your net worth and how to grow your network on LinkedIn and make millions from LinkedIn social selling. So I actually wrote “LinkedIn Social Selling” while I was writing “Sales Secrets” cause doing an interview book is just so intense. However, super excited I have both of them out.
George Well, so now I gotta ask this question. Now, thank you for helping me get the chronological order correct. But you’re also running a company here too as CEO and founder of Seamless.ai. So it seems to me like you got like eight different jobs.
Brandon: Yeah. Yeah. I mean my number one job is Seamless, right? You know, we’re blessed to work extremely hard and build a tech company. The number one sales software that went from zero to billion dollar valuation in four years or less. Now granted, you know, many things almost killed us and the company over the course of the years of building it. And we’ve just leveraged the principles from whatever it takes to be successful. You know, we’ve built the list, we sold the list using our software, you know, Seamless finds emails and phone numbers for everyone in the world. It’s the number one sales lead software. So what’s great is like most sales teams globally, they don’t have the list of the people that they need to sell to. Well, we built the list-building software, which is a search engine that finds everyone that you need to sell to and then uses AI to research their emails and cell phones. So it was like we were drinking our own champagne and while we were drinking the champagne, we were serving a lot of amazing sales teams and making a lot of money while our customers were making a lot of money. And it’s free, you know, I always got pissed when I was networking. Like if I wanted to network with Peter Teal or I wanted to network with Elon Musk or all these famous people or investors or top business CEOs, but they would never connect with me on LinkedIn or Facebook. I’m like, I’m gonna build a platform that just instantly gives me their contact info, and then I will contact them and then I’ll build relationships with them. And we use that to build, you go from a zero to billion dollar company here at Seamless. I used it to raise 100 million in venture capital funding, I used it to recruit 500 employees. I used it to market over 125 million impressions. So what’s crazy is if you wanna sell anything to anyone you need the list and the riches are in the lists. And for you to build your list, you need Seamless.
George: Well, and I think it’s such a fascinating problem that you’re solving because as you know in our world, we work with a lot of Media companies and you would be astonished the number of times I sit down with a sales manager and say, show me your list of prospects and accounts and the data that they have is accounting at local hardware store for an email address.
Brandon: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
George: I’m sure you see a lot of that in organizations that join Seamless AI and you change their lives by giving them the right data.
Brandon: 100%. Like I would say half the sales organizations are spending this insane amount of money on these old, outdated, expensive sales databases. These databases are missing 90% of the people that they need to sell to in their total addressable market and I felt that pain myself when I was selling for IBM and Google. I needed to sell to VPs of digital marketing at Fortune 500 companies. Well, my team and I on the biz dev team at Google and IBM, we would spend millions of dollars on these sales databases and none of ’em had the digital marketers I needed to sell to and that’s actually where I got the idea to build Seamless. I was like, I’m gonna lose my job. If I don’t generate tens of millions in revenue right now, my Chief Revenue Officer is gonna fire me, and out of like anxiety and scared for my life and my job had to think of a way to build a solution and that’s why we invented this search engine to find everyone that you needed to sell to. And then luckily Sergey Brin, the founder of Google and his wife invested, Amazon invested Dun and Brad Street invested, you know, Guy Kawasaki, Steve Jobs’ right-hand man from Apple invested. So I’m just blessed. However, I had to pitch 347 venture capitalists across the nation. I built a list of 20,000 VCs, prospected them, pitched thousands of VCs, got turned down by hundreds of VCs, and then finally made it. So I always like used the word blessed as in like, worked my ass off with the team to then finally make it without quitting.
George: Well, and we’ve noticed over the last five years whenever we interview somebody as successful as you, that blessed usually comes with a hell of a lot of work attached to it. So thanks for sharing that to the group. There’s one of the secrets that jumps out when we are doing the research for the episode. The secret number seven, the secret sauce in all sales scripting. When you tap this psychological vein, you literally hit the mother load is what the text says. Would you care sharing that with our audience?
Brandon: Yeah, so it’s all about like this is the secret to success in sales and secret to success in business and in life. It’s all about, you know, I call it the radio station, What are you tuning into? And your prospects and your audience are always tuning into the same station that I love listening to, it’s called WIIFM it’s this new radio station that just came out and that stands for what is in it for me. The only thing people care about is listening to WIIFM, they don’t care about you. They don’t care about your company, they don’t care about your awards, They don’t care about how long you’ve been in business. The only thing people care about is, what’s in it for me? So if you’re selling anything to anyone, you know, one of the top secrets to success is figuring out where are they at today? Their pain points, their problems, their challenges. Where do they want to go in the future, their biggest goals, dreams, and desires? So point A to point B, what is the bridge? What is the ladder, what is the rocket ship that you can help them build or deliver to take them from point A to point B as fast as possible, as cheap as possible, and as quick as possible? And if you do that, you’ll be able to help a lot of people. You’ll be able to serve a lot of people and you’ll be able to make a lot of money.
George: You know, thank you for that. Amazing advice. But I find that when I’m listening to sales calls or we’re out working with a partner, our questions, the questions that we ask are pretty weak, and understanding what you just talked about, what’s in it for the customer all comes down to asking the right questions.
Brandon: Yeah, 100%. Sales discovery, this is what I call sales discovery. So in anything in life that you wanna accomplish, if you can master sales discovery and sales discovery is like really asking the hard, difficult questions that you know you wanna ask, that you know you should ask. But then you don’t ask because you’re too scared to ask cause you’re worried it’s gonna kill a deal. Like, you know, George, if you say, hey, let me think about it. And I say, okay, no problem. But in the reality, in the back of my head, I’m thinking, well, what do you need to think about? I thought we just went over an hour-long presentation, like you should just ask that, hey, you know, totally agree, I think you should think about whatever you need to think about. Quick question, what do you still need to think about? You know, what did I not effectively address with you on the call today? You know, you told me you’ve got this problem, I showed you that this solution could solve that problem, it could do it for an insane return on investment. We could get started tomorrow. Like what do you still need to think about? And if they’re like, wow, I just wanna think about it, then ask it again. Like, okay, well, typically when people tell me they need to think about it, they still need to think about the price, the product, or me and my company. Which one is it? So like it’s all about, I guess at the beginning asking effective questions. Like if I was selling Seamless to you, I’d wanna know like, hey, you know, what piqued your interest in learning about Seamless today? How many salespeople do you have? What’s your sales tech stack? What are some of your biggest challenges with lead generation, prospecting, appointment setting, closing, and sales? What’s your average deal size? What’s the average length of your sales cycle? How many appointments are you generating every single day, week, month? How many sales you’re generating every day, week, month? Cause then I can figure out if I could figure out like your sales funnel, I know the impact that Seamless could have on your sales funnel and the problems that you’ve got solving those problems, then my presentation could be highly customized to just addressing why you’re on the call. You know, no one wants to sit in… My biggest pain point with taking sales demos, especially with high tech companies, they’ll try to do a call before the call, before the demo of the call to like it’s a five-step call till I just get pricing and a two-minute demo. It’s like I want you to be able to run sales discovery in five minutes to 10 minutes, learn everything about me and my business. Also, by the way, don’t waste time just with me on the line. You better do your research way before meeting with me. Sure. You already know everything about me, my industry you could project and hypothesize what my problems are and then you come to the table, we run sales discovery, you give me a quick concise demo solving my problems and needs and wants and dreams, and then give me pricing and how this is the best thing to invest my money into.
George: You know, Brandon, thanks for that. You just gave us a vignette that any sales leader could play to their sales team right there to remind them about how important discovery is and how to do it effectively. We are on the clock and I’ve got one thing that I really wanted to get to and that is your concept around the insider secrets that every marketer can use to cut through the noise. Cause there’s never been more noise, I’ve never got more emails, I’ve never got more LinkedIn InMail messages, I get bloody phone calls from all sorts of unknown numbers, but there are people that wanna talk and sell to me. So how do you recommend that we cut through that clutter?
Brandon: Yeah. So one of the top secrets that I recommend is leveraging right off the gate a compliment to your prospect, you know, that you’re marketing and selling to. So come right off the gate with a compliment and then a research-backed statement. You know, hey, I know that Conquer Local is looking to interview, you know, the top business leaders in the US, well, hey, I run a CEO interview business that could help you find the top 100 CEOs at the top 500 fastest growing companies in the US and I could help you connect with those people for an insanely low price. And by the way, I’m one off for free to get you connected with two of those CEOs to show you my value. So using research in value propositions and then a gift in your messaging, like a lot of people say don’t do work for free. I believe that’s complete bullshit. I think you should do a ton of work for free because if you are prospecting and you’re marketing and you’re selling and you’re advertising to people, there’s millions of impressions that they see every day from different advertisers. The ones that invest in their success are the ones that they’ll invest in their business. It’s all about making deposits versus withdrawals. If I meet with you and I want something from you without asking something back, I basically say, hey, give me a withdrawal from your bank account. Let me take something from you. But if I literally say I’m gonna give you something, I’m gonna make a deposit in you and your business and your bank account, then when I finally ask you for something, to meet with me, to learn about my products and services, for me to show you a new strategy that could transform your business, you’re gonna be willing to take your time and effort and capital to meet with me. So it’s all about making deposits versus withdrawals using research and strategy and gifts to track, retain, and grow your book of business.
George: Well, I think that you hit on something that’s really important and that is, that’s where the market is. So if you aren’t doing it, you’re actually at a competitive disadvantage so that, you know, running the commercial all the time without giving some value just isn’t gonna work for you. I’ve got this one question I gotta ask before we run at a time. You started a business in college, tell us about that poker website cause I think it’s a hell of a story.
Brandon: Yeah, so ironically I started my career as a janitor and it was terrible long hours, you know, I worked for a lazy principal janitor and I was scraping gum off of 500 desks every single day and I was soaked in bleach and windshield washer stuff and just after the like 20th week, I’m like, there’s gotta be a better way, you know, So I looked in the classified ads, saw an ad for a call center, I apply and applied to the call center because it had unlimited commissions. You know, go from $6 an hour to making 25 to $50 an hour. So when I’m at this call center, that was the first time I saw what sales was. I didn’t really know what sales was. And then basically after the call center, I was prepping to go to college and I was like, man, I sold a lot when I was selling for that call center. I gotta find a product I love so that I could sell it when I’m in college. And I was a big avid online poker player, so I was like, you know what? Everyone’s asking me where I’m playing online poker, I was always playing online poker on, you know, full till poker, poker stars, WSOP poker, you name it. And I’m like, what if I cold call these companies, sell them that I’m gonna recruit players to join their site? So I called a dozen of these online poker sites and I was finally able to convince one of ’em to pay me a $100 per person to sign up and join their site. And then from there, you know, my freshman year took it from nothing to, by the time I was a junior to doing over $12 million in sales for this online poker marketing company and it was amazing. I got to basically sell what I loved every single day of the week to people like selling poker to college students when the World Series of Poker came to the US, I basically hit the perfect product, the perfect market, and then if you match it with sales and hard work, that’s how I was able to do zero to 12 million. And it started with door knocking, door-to-door in my dorm room, then I went to dorm rooms at the whole campus, then I built a website and took it national, and then it blew up. And unfortunately, that went for about three and a half years until the government shut down online gaming in the US in 2007. So by that time I was like shit, didn’t go bankrupt or anything like the business just disappeared. So I had all this money and after a few years, you’re like, okay, I need to get a job and make more money again.
George: Well, Brandon, you know, I knew this episode was gonna be incredible, and congratulations on all your success with Seamless.ai. Now, how do people get ahold of you? Like your brand is out there, but let’s give them – We gotta do this. It’s something they had to do in every episode.
Brandon: Yeah, George, no thank you. Anyone tuning into Conquer Local right now, you know, I told George, you know, George was like, hey if you come on the show, you gotta give a free gift to the audience, you know, just cause I believe in giving, you know, give more than you receive. So, you know, what I wanna do is give everyone $500 in free credits to join Seamless.ai. So if you go to Seamless.ai, you join for free and you type in the referral code, Conquer Local could be one word or two words, we’re gonna make sure you get $500 in free leads. You just join the site Seamless.ai, and type in the referral code, Conquer Local. You’re not only gonna get my daily newsletter of Top Sales Secrets, but you’re also gonna be able to find emails and cell phones and direct dials to anyone in the world. And it works anywhere you work, in Gmail, on any website, on LinkedIn or social media, you name it. So connect with me there. And then also I drop daily sales secrets on LinkedIn, YouTube, and my podcast Sales Secrets. So we’d love to connect with you wherever on social media, just search Brandon Bornancin.
George: We’ll put all the links inside the show notes and I highly recommend it. I’m a subscriber, so make sure that you follow Brandon, there’s all sorts of learnings there, and thank you for joining us on the show. We really appreciate it, Brandon.
Brandon: Hey, thank you so much, George. Congrats and look forward to having the audience make this next year the biggest and best yet.
George: Well, I love $500 in free goodies from Seamless.ai. Thanks to Brandon for sharing that with the team. Well, what a great episode. You know, he wrote the book in 20 Days, just a workhorse, 5:00 a.m getting up, writing pretty much 20 hours a day and published it within two days and did it because he wanted to help his company make it through the pandemic. What an incredible story from Brandon. And then this whole story around Seamless.ai and the problems that they’re solving and their billion-dollar evaluation, that’s an incredible story as well. And one thing you could tell from Brandon, his passion is infectious. In that 20 some odd minutes that we had him on the show, I just got excited and we learned a lot around the power of sales discovery, how to message properly, how to deliver value before you ask for the business. Just some great secrets on marketing and how to cut through the clutter. And I could have just talked to Brandon for hours. In fact, producer Suliman, make a note. We should really work to get him back on the show sometime soon. If you like Brandon’s episode discussing social selling, let’s continue the conversation. Check out episode 449, a mind for sales with Mark Hunter, or episode 441, less is more when it comes to your social media strategy with Krista Neher. Please subscribe and leave us a review. And thanks for joining us this week on the Conquer Local podcast. My name is George Leith. I’ll see you when I see you.