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Episode 12 · 43 minutes
Ben Carrington (Expert Sales and Online Marketing Professional)
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In this podcast episode, we chat with Ben Carrington, an expert in sales and online marketing. Ben kicked off his career in sales with a role at a telecommunications company, quickly falling in love with the fast-paced nature of the job and the satisfaction of meeting customer needs. Over the years, Ben has mastered the art of sales & marketing, from making a connection over the phone to crafting effective online marketing strategies.

Ben shares practical tips on everything from improving your sales approach to understanding market trends and managing budgets effectively. He also talks about why for him, sales and marketing isn’t about closing deals, but rather about understanding people and finding joy in solving their problems. His insights are not just theoretical; they're based on real-world experiences and successes.

Key Takeaways

  • Have a Passion for Sales: Cultivate a genuine love for the sales process and the satisfaction of addressing customer needs. This passion is crucial for success. This includes hiring team members who are just as passionate.
  • Sharpen Your Communication: Master the art of conversation, especially in phone sales and online marketing. Your tone and the questions you ask are key to building connections without seeing someone face-to-face.
  • Really Understand Your Customers: Tailor your strategies to fit the exact needs and preferences of your audience. Customisation is essential, no matter if you’re on a call or crafting a digital campaign.
  • Embrace Digital for Leads: Use digital tools wisely to find and attract the right leads. This smart approach boosts your marketing's impact and saves money.
  • Get Smart with CRM: Implement customer relationship management (CRM) to better understand and engage with your audience, making your marketing more relevant and appealing.
  • Grow a Supportive Team: Encourage a team environment where learning and development are valued. Regular updates and training keep everyone aligned with your brand’s mission.
  • Be Ready to Innovate: Stay flexible and open to change, using challenges as opportunities to grow. Adaptability can uncover new paths to success.
  • Aim High with Clear Goals: Set definite objectives for what you want to achieve, like becoming a niche leader. Adapt your strategies as needed to meet evolving customer demands.

Who is Ben Carrington?

Ben Carrington is an expert sales and online marketing professional whose career trajectory showcases his expertise, innovation, and adaptability. Starting his career in telecommunications sales, Ben quickly established himself as a formidable force, known for his ability to connect with customers over the phone and seamlessly address their needs.

As Ben's career progressed, he ventured into online marketing, where he applied his sales and marketing skills to digital platforms, mastering lead generation, customer relationship management, and strategic online marketing tactics.

Ben's success stories, especially his strategic pivot during the COVID-19 pandemic to launch a thriving online business, highlight his forward-thinking approach and his knack for turning challenges into opportunities.

Tap Into Your Entrepreneurial Potential with Online Courses Australia

Looking to dive deeper into the world of sales and online marketing? Our Online Marketing Skills Course is the perfect next step. With Ben as one of your mentors, our course covers essential marketing topics such as:

  • Techniques for interpreting market trends to make informed marketing decisions.
  • Skills for crafting and delivering impactful presentations to various audiences.
  • Strategies for developing effective marketing plans that align with business goals.
  • Methods for managing marketing budgets efficiently to maximise return on investment.

This course is for anyone looking to sharpen their sales and marketing skills, learn from the best in the business, and apply these lessons to achieve real-world success.

Ready to learn from Ben and other marketing experts? Enrol in our Online Marketing Skills Course today and start building the skills you need to thrive as a marketer.

Or, if you’re looking to broaden your overall business acumen, we have a range of online businesses courses to meet you wherever you are in your professional pathway.

Listen on:

[00:00:04.040] - Speaker 2

Welcome to the Learning Without Limits interview series. I'm your host, Melanie Burnicle. This episode, I chat to Ben Carrington, who is a sales specialist. We're going to dig deep and get all of his insider information on sales strategy. How do you create a great lead? What is a great lead? How to get the most out of your sales strategy? How to create a sales strategy? And what's really important? And does it really need to be difficult? He He's going to give us all the insider info, so stay tuned. This exciting episode is going to help you and your business or your sales team reach your goals. Check it out. Ben, thanks so much for joining me.

[00:00:42.150] - Speaker 1

Pleasure, Mel.

[00:00:42.690] - Speaker 2

Awesome. Can you take me through the beginning of your career and what led you to become a sales specialist?

[00:00:49.330] - Speaker 1

Right. Being called a specialist is a funny one, but I guess I have been doing this for some time now, so I do appreciate that.

[00:00:56.050] - Speaker 2

We always underplayed a little bit.

[00:00:59.100] - Speaker 1

I No, it was funny. What led me to that was I had a few friends working for a phone sales company, and that was just after school, so around that '18, '19 year period. A bit unsure what I was going to do in my career. I went in for an interview and got the job and then joined the business, and I just fell in love with it. It was essentially selling Telstra phone plans for Telstra. It was a company that was contracted by Telstra. You may have had a call from I'm not sure. We used to call thousands of thousands of people and convert them over from Vodafone or Optus and try and get them across to Telstra. There was a lot of things about it that I liked. The thrill of the sale, obviously. Yes. Looking to lots of different people and hearing their stories and understanding what it is out of even something like a simpler phone plan means to them. You talk to people in rural New South Wales that couldn't speak to loved ones. It's just amazing all the different types of conversations that you'd have. From there, my passion really progressed into phone sales.

[00:02:06.840] - Speaker 2

Amazing. You were working more like a call centre type feel rather than in-store?

[00:02:11.950] - Speaker 1

Exactly. All phone sales on the phone. We're selling phones through the phone. Basically, the way it worked is an automatic dialer. You'd have your headset on, the calls drop in when someone answers, and then you'd start the script.

[00:02:28.720] - Speaker 2

Wow. How do you I find working when you don't see someone face to face. I always find I'm better in person, I think, than on the phone with certain things. When you don't have that connexion, a visual connexion with someone, Obviously, you have to have there's something obviously in the tone. You speak quite nicely as well. So do you think the tone in the voice and so many things come to play to get people to feel confident with you quite quickly?

[00:02:55.470] - Speaker 1

There's a lot of, and I think that's another reason why I like phone sales is because You don't have the opportunity to see the person, and you have to find a common ground without your surroundings and physically seeing them. So what you typically do is try and, through questions at the start, identify a problem that the person has, and then you can connect with them through that problem.

[00:03:19.760] - Speaker 2

It's like any sales pitch, even if you're doing a deck and sending it out from Canva, it doesn't matter what it is. So it's that same identifying the problem for that individual, but without seeing them, because sometimes If you know someone's looking for something specific, but without doing that, that's a real skill to maybe ask the right questions.

[00:03:37.000] - Speaker 1

Definitely. And that's questions is actually, so people think about sales as almost like that typical phone salesman cliché. It's like, Hi, how are you going? But in actual reality, the best sales are those who can ask the most questions at the start and identify the needs. That was a big process that we did. We had a list of identifying questions, and then when we get into the pitch, it's all tailored around what they've told us at the start. What I always found fascinating, too, is there was sales people in that business. There was one guy in particular who was by far the best, absolutely break. He almost could convert anyone. We I just wanted to know, what is it about this guy, Jacks his name was, that made him so much better than everyone else? And we put it down to things like when he spoke, he was very indifferent. So the typical, Hi, how are you going? That's almost a thing for people to think, oh, salesperson. Exactly. He would speak very smoothly, calmly. He didn't really mind if you wanted to switch or not, which gave people a lot of confidence to actually listen to what he was saying.

[00:04:42.680] - Speaker 1

Then he was really good at connecting with people. So asking questions, finding common ground, and then tailoring it back to that person.

[00:04:49.330] - Speaker 2

Do you think someone like this particular guy was genuinely curious about people and also wanting to get to the why behind?

[00:05:00.280] - Speaker 1

I think so. I think he was very understanding about the product that he was selling and therefore very good at identifying who it was suited to and why. And I think through that, he was able to... His numbers were so significant. We just watched him in awe. But that's really what I put it down to, which is quite fascinating to see.

[00:05:20.700] - Speaker 2

When you look at other businesses, what do you think are some common mistakes, say in small to medium businesses that people just don't get right with sales?

[00:05:29.660] - Speaker 1

So It's a tough one to answer because there are so many varying businesses and sales. There are some businesses that a direct selling method is just perfect for, and there's other businesses that requires a different type of strategy. I think a big mistake that people make is maybe not having the correct understanding about which strategy they should be taking because phone sales, for example, doesn't work in other industries, whereas digital marketing may not work for others. I think understanding what your strategy should be and really where that comes from is who your customer is. What channels are they on or how do you get to your customer? And then what do you need to put in front of them to convert them?

[00:06:13.860] - Speaker 2

Okay. A lot of people don't even have a sales strategy in place. They rely on their existing customer base. What advice could you give to someone if they were starting out and creating a sales strategy apart from just, okay, here's your core consumer. Where would you go next?

[00:06:32.680] - Speaker 1

So I think, like previously, the other question as well, it does come down to who your customer is. So start with who is my customer? Essentially all lead generation sales is Getting your message in front of the right people. So you don't need to overcomplicate sales and strategies because it does sound quite hard. It does. But who's my customer? For example, if I'm a dog walker in a certain area, my How do I get in front of my customers are dog owners in this area. How do I get in front of dog owners in my area and what message are they going to want to see? I'm guessing with a dog walker, even you could drill down further to being someone who's busy who owns a dog. So is it, do you want to save time walking your dog? And then how do you get in front of them? So it's really about breaking it down quite simply to start. And then once you start to build a bit of momentum and through that, It's then about identifying further ways to then scale what you are doing.

[00:07:33.770] - Speaker 2

Yeah, I think that's great. So identifying the core consumer and then identifying their personal needs and being able to deliver what they're looking for.

[00:07:44.330] - Speaker 1

Exactly. And We're just getting the message in front of them. We're very lucky these days with all the different ways we can do that now. We've got Google, we've got Facebook, we've got Instagram, we've now got TikTok, we've got all the traditional methods of letter drops and word of mouth and everything. We are spoiled for choice, which is obviously good, but does then also bring a bit of complexity to which method is best. But always ask yourself, tell people to think about where did you hear about your competitors? So where are they marketing? Why are your competitor is more known than you? And where are those customers seeing them? And that's a good place to start as well.

[00:08:23.670] - Speaker 2

That's really great advice.

[00:08:25.200] - Speaker 1

I guess from a brand in marketing, have It has to have to correlate. So your company's messaging and tone of voice and everything has to be equal across all the comms that you put out, no matter what strategy it is. So that way your brand is correctly reflected. And then you just need to work And then from there, what is your goal? So is your goal to generate a lot more new customers? Is your goal to reengage existing customers? Or is your goal to just get brand awareness? And then you need to then target or deliver your strategy based on that goal.

[00:09:00.530] - Speaker 2

So within your sales strategy, you might have three goals. One, drive sales. Exactly, yeah. Two, hit your existing customers up for further sales in different areas. And then so it's not just one particular way. So you can start After you think, Okay, sales strategy, break it down, and you might have three things that you want to hit in your sales strategy. Three things that you might want to hit in the sales strategy over the next six months. Now, for a business, how would you measure a sales? How do you know what's working and what's not?

[00:09:33.020] - Speaker 1

I think this is the key. Once again, we are very lucky with all the channels that we do have now because they're very data-driven. I think measuring against KPIs is probably the main key performance indicators. That's probably the most important thing for a good marketing strategy. So for a small business that doesn't have a huge budget, naturally, you'd like your customer acquisition to be profitable. Therefore, for every customer That's what you're doing. You're not going to be able to get the cost that you're getting from your customer that you bring on through your different channels, you need to be able to work out what cost that customer had to acquire.

[00:10:07.540] - Speaker 2

You've read my mind. I was thinking that. So how do they work out? What type of dollar value you'd spend per customer? Is it based on The product that you're delivering. Say, for example, we had a course, it was $1,000, and it cost you $50 per person in acquiring that new customer. Is there a percentage that you'd think, Okay, if I'm If I'm spending this much money, sorry, if I'm bringing in that much money through what I'm selling, and if it's dog walking and it might be, what, $40 an hour, something like that. So obviously, you don't want your spend to be $50. So is that how? Do you work it out on a percentage based on the sales product?

[00:10:47.640] - Speaker 1

That's exactly right. So a naturally $1,000 product, for example, a mattress is going to have a much higher customer acquisition cost than finding a new dog walking customer. Because the lifetime value of that customer, although in the dog walking scenario, the lifetime value might be extremely high because they might stay with you for a number of years. So you need to then work out what is a feasible amount for me to be able to spend on acquiring a new customer. But it's not as simple as if a mattress is a thousand and I spend 300, then that's good, because what about if they then buy pillows from you, doing a covers from you? You might have to work out what's my value? Does a customer buy one product and that's it for me? Or is their lifetime value quite high in that I'm prepared to spend a little bit more upfront to get them and then make money as I go?

[00:11:42.560] - Speaker 2

It's about what's the sales journey look like, potentially. That then comes back to something else you'd add into the strategy for what you're selling. See, I think this is all really for me, I love talking this stuff and I find it fascinating. You're the expert, but it just really reiterates the The importance of getting a customer and keeping them. Oh, definitely. Do you find customer acquisition? If you could keep an existing client and nurture them through that, obviously, it's a lot more cost-effective long term.

[00:12:17.460] - Speaker 1

Definitely. I think this is maybe sometimes, particularly in bigger businesses, maybe an overlooked strategy, and that nurturing your existing customer base is key. I think sometimes people get It's just way too much on new sales and new customers, which is important and you do need them, but you can't be at the neglect of your existing customer base.

[00:12:37.740] - Speaker 2

I was trying to explain that to a couple of creatives that I work with. Where's your database? I don't have one. It's like, well, actually, every job you've been on as a freelancer, there's probably three to five people on a call sheet that could potentially be someone that you could work with again. Sometimes, say, a photographer might book you or a director might book you. You've got a database, and obviously you'd want to speak to them differently. The way I talk to a producer would be very different to another makeup artist saying, Hey, babe, if you need a hand, I'm not going to turn around to a producer and go, Hey, babe, because they'd be like, I'm weird. You want to speak to them They're doing it differently. But you've already got these people and you've worked for them. They trust you. Exactly. They already have that rapport with you. So getting a new customer who doesn't know you to try and book you or do something is a lot harder than working with the ones that you already have.

[00:13:32.100] - Speaker 1

Definitely. Yeah, and again-Low hanging fruit, they call that. So low hanging fruit.

[00:13:35.970] - Speaker 2

Oh, I like the sound of that.

[00:13:37.250] - Speaker 1

They're the easiest ones to get from the tree because exactly like, they already trust your brand. They already have a relationship with you. And therefore, if you've got new products or services, they're probably your first market that you should be thinking about.

[00:13:50.040] - Speaker 2

Yeah. Again, so that's where do you go in your strategy. Okay, great. These are all the people that I've worked with before. Let's hit them up first. We've got a new product to deliver, and they already know and they trust us. If they're in the market for that, they're going to come on board.

[00:14:04.790] - Speaker 1

Definitely. Your customer acquisition cost in that scenario would be nil. They're about, depending on how you contract them through EDM or even if it's through a personal phone call, whatever it may be, you haven't had to pay to get that extra site.

[00:14:20.100] - Speaker 2

Then the profit per item goes up for those. Exactly. Yeah. I like this. Get those dollars in the door.

[00:14:29.140] - Speaker 1

People do fall into this trap of working in their business and not necessarily on their business. And there are businesses where they are the main purpose and single operators and they are the most important thing. But for people that want to have a small business whereby it's not reliant on them, I think they need to consider what roles others could do that can do them better than them. And then how can they step out so that they can focus on things like growing the business and making the customer experience better, which is what's It's going to build them that sustainable long term business growth that they're looking for.

[00:15:04.660] - Speaker 2

Talked about nurturing the existing customer. Now, if I'm looking at lead generation, so new customers. So that's what we classify it as lead generation. So you're looking for the new customer. Can you take me through the lead generation process? Yeah.

[00:15:19.870] - Speaker 1

So lead generation, once again, it's really about identifying your customer and then thinking, how do I get my message that I want to betray, whether it be the benefits of our business or product or service, whether it be a sale that we have or some give away or whatever the message is, how do I get that in front of the right people? And then what is great about the new world that we're in now, when I previously worked in phone sales, it was basically calling the phone book where you had very little information on people. And in reality, that just creates a lot of work. You will get there in the end, but now you can cut through a lot of that with social media and with different other lead generation strategies. You can get really basically like unique lead gen.

[00:16:06.520] - Speaker 2

I'll say. Yeah, that's right.

[00:16:08.000] - Speaker 1

You can basically, through all this digital marketing now, you can get a lead that's very highly qualified. So you're cutting out 90% of the calls that we used to make, and you're only speaking to or digitally speaking to, through email or whatever it might be, people that are actually relevant to what you're offering.

[00:16:26.400] - Speaker 2

Wow. I think I guess that makes it more cost-effective It's cost effective in that sense that you really are hitting people within that bullseye.

[00:16:36.990] - Speaker 1

So I think it's funny, it is more cost effective, but what's happened is the cost has now gone into the lead as opposed to into the workforce doing the calls. So before you'd have to have a large team of salespeople making calls, and you'd have to have cheap leads, where now leads are expensive because they are highly qualified, but it means a lot less people need to be called or contacted because the digital marketing is doing that for you. It's getting the right people.

[00:17:07.160] - Speaker 2

Right. So you find now that the teams themselves may be smaller? Definitely. Okay. So if you're looking at a call centre, there'd be less people dialling out because the leads are highly-is that what you classify as a good lead as well? Good lead, yeah.

[00:17:20.000] - Speaker 1

So you probably now yourself, you probably get less cold calls. Like, I think the days of-I can't take my business off the thing.

[00:17:28.090] - Speaker 2

I get calls. I probably, I reckon I get six a day.

[00:17:30.840] - Speaker 1

All right. There you go. But you probably never buy anything.

[00:17:34.680] - Speaker 2

No. I hang up before they say two words. I hear the crackling. I'm like, take that. Ben, we're talking lead generation. A highly qualified lead is your terminology, and that's what's classified as a good lead.

[00:17:47.590] - Speaker 1

That's right. So one channel that we're all very familiar with that's very good at generating leads is Facebook. So you may have been targeted previously with an ad, whether it be common is real estate, property They do it a lot, phone services, electrician, energy retailers.

[00:18:06.290] - Speaker 2

They send beauty products my way.

[00:18:07.580] - Speaker 1

Exactly. And then what you'll do, they have what's called a lead capture form. So Facebook leads runs this programme now where you Basically, it autofills your first name, last name, email. And it will then ask you maybe one or two qualifying questions. So have you, for example, in a real estate, do you own your own home or are you looking for investment or to to live in. That is then what I would call a highly qualified lead because that's someone who has made contact with the business, shown interest, answered some questions to identify that they are the right person, and then they're expecting your phone call.

[00:18:44.210] - Speaker 2

What's the difference and how does it all tie in together between online and offline?

[00:18:48.520] - Speaker 1

It's interesting because some businesses can be purely online. In fact, we have a business now that is a meal kit company. We deliver ingredients just similar to like a Hello Fresh or Mali Spoon, which people know. So that customer acquisition journey is 100 % online. So that was new to me. So we generate, whether it be social media ads or EDMs, different marketing, and the customer will go through and they'll buy direct from the site without any contact from us. So that is what a lot of businesses in e-commerce are moving towards, 100 % online. But then there is a blend of generating a lead through online methods, whether it be Google, Facebook, customer surveys, lots of number of ways of doing that, and then bringing that human touch through a phone call, face to face meetings, different things like that.

[00:19:42.150] - Speaker 2

Can I wonder? You just got me thinking then. So obviously a meal delivery kit would be probably what under a hundred bucks?

[00:19:50.700] - Speaker 1

Yeah, so between... Our average spend is $110.

[00:19:55.060] - Speaker 2

Okay, great. So that's about $110. Everything's online. Obviously, with fashion online, if it was e-commerce, you know you can send it back if it doesn't fit, so you don't need that personal contact. But then when the product becomes bigger and more expensive, is that when you think that the personal touch needs to come in? Because people are going to invest in a product that's worth a little bit more money, maybe not electronics like a fridge or something. I think people could feel confident buying that. But if it was a course or something, sometimes when they're looking at a $5,000 workshop or something, is that when you think they should pick up the phone?

[00:20:32.760] - Speaker 1

Yeah, it's funny that you mentioned courses because I think that's a great example. That was obviously a previous business that I had in education marketing.

[00:20:41.730] - Speaker 2

And quite large courses, not your Short courses or things.

[00:20:46.690] - Speaker 1

Even short courses that are above, I'd say, a three-month plus course. Online people, you will have some that know exactly what they want and they'll go through and enrol. But I think a course is a decision that sometimes you need to identify with someone on the phone. Is it the right course for you and answer any questions?

[00:21:10.390] - Speaker 2

Again, identifying their needs, which is the core basis of sales.

[00:21:14.650] - Speaker 1

Exactly right. Because as much information as you can give online, sometimes when you actually get that personal touch, as you know yourself in many different ways, you can pick up other things that, Oh, actually, I read it like that, but maybe it's not for me because of X, Y, Z. Then they can maybe recommend something that is for you. So I think that touch is very important for more conscious decisions that you need to make.

[00:21:39.200] - Speaker 2

When it comes to a CRM, which is your Client Relationship Manager, this is where people can market from, add their database, keep their database in check, and refer back to clients. Have you got any tips on the best way to utilise the information captured in a CRM?

[00:21:57.120] - Speaker 1

Yeah, so I think some of the best businesses today We know the value of data. And data is one of those words that can seem quite daunting to someone. But in actual fact, really all data is just the things that you actually know, but it's the way that we house them and the way that you use them. So as much information as you can get about your current customers, if you can extract that information, you then know which customers to target because there'll be similarities in demographics like age, location, and any other information that you may have. So I think make sure when building a CRM, you have data points that are important and also don't have ones that aren't important because you don't want to be asking your customers questions that are irrelevant because people, as you may know, they are private and they only have time to give so much information. So don't overload them. Pick the data points that you need. So a good one may be age, location, number of these types of data points, and then ensure to have it clean, which is hard. So updating emails, contact details, and then using that information to base a lot of your future decisions.

[00:23:12.550] - Speaker 1


[00:23:13.050] - Speaker 2

And a good CRM, just for people who aren't familiar with it, you can go through that data and then email accordingly and use that data capture. So if I just wanted to say, Right, we're in Sydney, we're doing a show, and you don't want to send that information to people in Melbourne because they're like, Well, this isn't relevant, so they may not look at your next email. But for the people that are in Sydney, then you can direct target them, and then that information goes to them.

[00:23:38.910] - Speaker 1

Yeah, and that's exactly right. So a good data point, like you just mentioned, is geographical location. So there's no point, as you mentioned, telling someone about an event in Sydney when they're in Melbourne. All you're going to do in that case is upset your data, and that's the last thing you want to do. So I think you're exactly right on all that. Yeah.

[00:23:55.480] - Speaker 2

I think going back to that key point of identifying your customer needs, if they're not going to need that, don't send it to them. Because for me, I'm just being bombarded with stuff over and over and over, and you're just thinking, you don't actually care about me. I'm just a number on your database. And then that's not how you want them to feel if you're trying to nurture somebody.

[00:24:18.470] - Speaker 1

Definitely. I think we all know those businesses where we've had interactions and then the emails start coming and they start coming quickly. Thick and fast. Yeah, and that's when you hit unsubscribe and you just do. I have a moment.

[00:24:33.290] - Speaker 2

It's almost like deleting one of those online dating apps. You have your moment, you're like, delete, delete, delete, delete, It's a front deal. I don't want to see this email again, and you're out. They've lost your business because they're just in your face too much, and it's stuff that's not relevant.

[00:24:55.010] - Speaker 1

I've always said with email marketing, because for us, it has been such an effective tool, but less is more. So don't bombard and only hit messages that you think are relevant at that time to that person, and you shouldn't have much of an issue in that case. Great.

[00:25:12.400] - Speaker 2

Good information. Can you just go and tell all these other businesses that keep sending me emails these things. You got more chance of keeping me if you're not in my face. Sounds like dating as well. When it comes to building out a sales team, do you find that people will now Will they use an external company or will they build it inside? What's the best way to do it? Or what are a couple of different ways to do it? Maybe not the best, but obviously it's different for different businesses. But what are some ways that you can build out your sales team and quite quickly?

[00:25:45.630] - Speaker 1

Well, I think if you can build it internally, it is probably best, particularly if you're a smaller business with a smaller budget and you want to have a bit more control. Because sales is a process that you're not necessarily going to get straight away, and it does need a lot of work and understanding and tweaking to get it right. So if you have control of that process, it will allow you a lot more flexibility to get the right process down pat. And then at that point, then you can start to scale.

[00:26:15.320] - Speaker 2

I think that's an important message there as well. It doesn't mean you're not going to get it right first time. This is something that does need to be tweaked. I think when sometimes people in business think that they failed at something, it's not the desired result, then it might hold them and stop them. Just know that with sales, it's going to need tweaking, and you have to be aware of this. I think that's a really key point that you might want to. I'm just going to reiterate it because sometimes people let that stuff stop them. It's about tweaking it and making it right. It's not about what you've done wrong. It's about, okay, what can I do better? If you're looking to employ someone in the sales team, what do you look for in somebody?

[00:26:55.590] - Speaker 1

Well, once again, that's a difficult thing because a salesperson isn't necessarily there is no right or wrong answer. You can have all types of people, can be amazing sales people in the right field. But something that I would look for, particularly if you're a small business, is someone who's passionate about what you're doing, because the best sales come from those that really mean it and believe what they're selling because customers are smart and they can understand, does this person genuinely believe what they're telling me? Or is this person just trying to sell me anything? So start with someone who's very passionate about your business, product or service, and then you can really build from there.

[00:27:35.150] - Speaker 2

When you're building out your sales team, how do you manage to keep the integrity of the brand when you've got so many different people working for you? Is that through education or is it through team building? What's the best way? Because I know that you've had businesses where you've built out teams quite big. How did you manage to keep the integrity of the brand whilst you've got so many people trying to deliver a message and in their own personal ways, probably?

[00:27:59.720] - Speaker 1

Yeah, Excellent. It's a good question. For us, we had built quite a large team, and I put that down to a few things. One that you mentioned just then is training. Anyone that works for your business representing your brand needs to understand more than just a script. They need to understand the principles of the company. They need to understand the history of the company. They need to understand how you speak, how you don't speak, who has done it successfully and what they sound like. So there's a huge amount of training that's beyond I think a lot of people think, here's the script, go, and they start. But you need to know what you're selling. And that doesn't mean just the product or service, it's who you're representing. And I think if you can get the training part right, then not only are they better salespeople, but they actually like their job more because they understand it in-depth. And taking that time at the start, so when we had the previous business, it was a minimum five day training before you started. So you do five days It's a hard training, and then we do refreshers every fortnight.

[00:29:03.700] - Speaker 1

Wow. I think that's a very important part.

[00:29:06.720] - Speaker 2

Well, I guess it feels like they're not left up to their own devices. You're constantly, again, not just nurturing the salesperson that Sorry, you're not just nurturing the consumer that you're wanting to buy, you're nurturing your team. So if they feel nurtured, they're going to be able to nurture the consumer. It just makes sense that that nurturing comes from above and that education. And then when people feel part of something, they talk like they're a part of something, not like they're talking for something. Definitely. Wow. I think I just didn't realise every fortnight you'd be doing ongoing training because obviously you've got to invest in your people if you are doing that. But I think sometimes people don't see the They don't see the value because it's in the air, so to speak. It's not like it takes a dollar there or a dollar here on a box. Yeah, exactly. But when you see the end result, for me, I know you can feel it within people if they buy into something. And if you're so passionate, it's this electric energy, and it's a natural thing. It's not forced, and that's going to make a lot more conversions quickly.

[00:30:09.800] - Speaker 2

What would be your best advice on running a successful sales team?

[00:30:13.980] - Speaker 1

So So my best advice would be phone sales, although I do love it, it is a difficult job. You have to come in motivated, you get rejection, you get a lot of things. So my best advice would be understand that the job that people are doing for your business can be quite difficult and really create an environment that gives them a lot of pleasure to be there because it can be tough. So you've got to incentivize people, you've got to keep it fun, you've got to Do the trainings. You've got to really nurture your team so that they can perform the best because it can be quite tough.

[00:30:52.290] - Speaker 2

Yeah, I really like that. I think you're very nurturing by the sound. You understand the process and what it does for people because obviously you've been in those experiences when you started out. So then smart enough to know and feel what really works and then be able to create that and probably amplified in the environments that you've created for other people. So you've built businesses, you've sold businesses. When do you know the right time to sell?

[00:31:20.090] - Speaker 1

Well, now it is an interesting question, and it really comes down to what your plans are in the future. So I think sometimes people don't realise, although it may feel like like their work is difficult and stressful and stuff. But once that's gone, it may feel like that's who they were. So although it may be attractive to accept an offer and a sale of a business, you do have to think about more than just the financial gain, but also how much of a part of your life is it and will you miss it? Because I think it can be people don't realise sometimes how much their work is their life. But at the same time That might be the reason that you want to move on. If you feel like your life, you could picture yourself not doing what you're doing, and you picture yourself maybe even doing something else that you've got in mind. I think at that point, it may be a good time to sell.

[00:32:14.670] - Speaker 2

Have you ever thought, Oh, damn, I should have held in a bit longer?

[00:32:18.300] - Speaker 1

Well, it is funny. I've definitely looked back, particularly in a business that I was in in lead generation, where times have changed significantly with the way that things are done. I do feel I wish I was still in that industry in a way because it has innovated a lot since then. But you also can't live with any regrets.

[00:32:36.230] - Speaker 2

You can't go backwards. Excuse me, I want my business back. It's a bit different to borrowing a pencil. Going from lead generation into hospitality, big jump. What led you into the hospitality arena?

[00:32:52.290] - Speaker 1

It is definitely a big jump, and it's not something that I actually envisioned myself in, but my brother Charlie Carrington, his name is quite a well-known chef.

[00:33:03.480] - Speaker 2

Yes, I've heard. Youngest to get a hat. Yeah, apparently.

[00:33:07.400] - Speaker 1

At the time, he was looking for a business partner, and the timing worked, and then I supported him as well as someone else, my other partner at the time. We created Atlas Dining, which has become a really successful restaurant in Melbourne. I was mostly a silent partner for the majority of it until COVID. Covid came. In March 2020, we were forced to shut, but in some ways we were also forced to innovate. We created, it's called Atlas Masterclass. It's actually just about to be renamed Atlas Weekly, which is an It's a exciting new branding opportunity that we have. We started off as basically a recipe box for people during COVID. We create three recipes and send them to their homes. It was very luckily It was successful at the time, and it's now grown to be a meal kit delivery company that we deliver in three states.

[00:34:06.840] - Speaker 2

That's fantastic.

[00:34:07.680] - Speaker 1

Yeah. I guess it went from the hospitality, and now that is really my main focus.

[00:34:13.460] - Speaker 2

You work through the online section of building that out.

[00:34:17.880] - Speaker 1

Exactly, yeah.

[00:34:18.400] - Speaker 2

That's amazing. I think that's so great that you see, okay, yes, everything was put to a halt with COVID, and everyone was just going, what do I do with myself? And Melbourne probably was hit the in Australia. But to be able to think on your feet because you've obviously had successful businesses and you've had to innovate or change and grow on how you do things that you automatically just saw this as, okay, great. Here's an opportunity to maybe put our meals into the hands of some people that might not necessarily be able to ever get to Melbourne restaurant and enjoy that.

[00:34:53.790] - Speaker 1

I think it's fantastic.

[00:34:56.840] - Speaker 2

I think that's where when you look at entrepreneurs, for me, that level of innovation where you here's a roadblock and you're just like, oh, cool, how do I jump it? Rather than go, and retreat into a cave. It's like, oh, okay, this is the situation we have. How do I get there? And I think That's really an admirable quality that you can't teach. I really don't think that that's teachable. I think it comes from that natural inner drive in people.

[00:35:23.020] - Speaker 1

Thank you. But it is interesting now in retrospect, everything's easy to look at in retrospect. Covid in some ways for many industries was a massive opportunity because it did change the way that we lived in so many ways. And obviously in some industries, it was a very difficult time and it still was. But there are also a lot of what they call COVID babies. I've heard that term, businesses that were born out of that time. And it's fascinating to think that such a change in life can come, but then also some good things can come out of it. Yeah. Definitely a lesson for me to always keep that in mind. I think if there is ever an adversity or something that there is potentially a silver lining and that you can try and search for it.

[00:36:08.940] - Speaker 2

Yeah, I think that the words couldn't be true in my mind. This is how do you choose to see something in that moment? And do you look for that silver lining or do you not? And that, I think, comes down to sometimes fear for people, the knowns taken away. But then for some people who don't like routine and just like, oh, what else can we do? Okay. That's the fun factor. Well, I think you said earlier, there was a thrill in hitting those sales. I think there's also a thrill in finding those opportunities.

[00:36:44.320] - Speaker 1

Definitely. I must say, when we started the online business, it was extremely thrilling because it was something we hadn't had experience in. It was amazing to see the uptake so quickly within the first day or two because it was at such a funny time. It was COVID and people were looking for things to do that they could get to their homes and everything. So it was an exciting time, definitely.

[00:37:06.650] - Speaker 2

Yeah, amazing. So what's the future looking like for you?

[00:37:10.010] - Speaker 1

So the future for us is we want to become a known as Australia's established We're a established meal kit company. So we are working really tirelessly on creating a subscription plan for people that they can live their lives by. Brilliant. So don't go to the supermarket anymore. Eat amazing food within a A really good budget and share those times with your family and friends.

[00:37:34.170] - Speaker 2

Sign me up. I hate cooking for one. I hate it. Someone said, What did you have for dinner? I'm like, Popcorn. I thought it was so exciting. I put popcorn. I haven't done this since I was a kid. I put it on this I'm like, I made something. My friends are like, Babe, that's not cooking. If I could just heat something up in my mind that's healthy, efficient because I do long days, done. Sign me up, done. I don't have to think. I want diversity in my meals. But apart from that, if I don't have to think about it, I don't want to. Send me the email. Add me to your EDM or you see your own. All right, Ben, we're just going to do some quick fire questions. So these are the fun ones. Are you ready?

[00:38:12.800] - Speaker 1

Yes, let's do it.

[00:38:15.390] - Speaker 2

Three words to describe yourself.

[00:38:18.090] - Speaker 1

Okay, so I would say outgoing, conservative.

[00:38:25.840] - Speaker 2

Jekyll Hyde, which one?

[00:38:28.430] - Speaker 1

And compassionate.

[00:38:32.890] - Speaker 2

Well, you wouldn't be good at sales if you weren't. I think when you look at people and what they do, it sums you up and puts it into perspective. Where you Excel. Best business advice you've ever been given and by whom?

[00:38:47.660] - Speaker 1

So it is probably a little bit of a... Everyone's probably heard it a number of times. I know it's always possible for people to do, but my old boss previously told me to do what you love. And I know we hear it a lot, and it is sometimes easier said than done. But I think in time, if you can love what you do, then it is a great way for success.

[00:39:11.450] - Speaker 2

Yeah, I think you can never hear enough of that. I think it's great. Favourite quote or mantra?

[00:39:16.300] - Speaker 1

Okay, so Anthony Robbins, I think he's quite a famous speaker. Something that he said- He's quite famous. Yeah, he's well known. Something that he said that I just saw just recently, which is quite interesting, and it's people underestimate What they overestimate what they can do in a short term and underestimate what they can do in the long term. So I think that's a very interesting one because I'm definitely guilty of myself wanting to do things quickly. But if you actually think about how can I get there in a 10 year period, then you can achieve a lot more than if you put the pressure on to get there in a one or two. So it's something quite interesting.

[00:39:51.850] - Speaker 2

I like that. Your number one business book.

[00:39:55.090] - Speaker 1

So it's not necessarily about business, but it is about wealth creation and understanding money. And understanding money, and it would be Rich Dad, Poor Dad. A very well written book, very interesting concept. I think it's definitely a must read.

[00:40:09.580] - Speaker 2

Who inspires you?

[00:40:15.190] - Speaker 1

Well, probably at the moment I've got local inspirations, but if I was to pick the number one, I think at the moment it is Elon Musk. I think what he's doing is just it's almost nonhuman, the way that he's He's innovating so many different industries. And although it's something not to aspire to of someone of that level, it's definitely incredible to watch someone achieve such greatness in our lifetime.

[00:40:43.360] - Speaker 2

What's your favourite dish at Atlas?

[00:40:45.920] - Speaker 1

So the concept of Atlas actually is quite unique. So my brother travels to a different country every four months and then comes back and does a set menu based on those travels. So we change cuisines. So we're in our 13th cuisine change at the moment. So my favourite cuisine that we have done in the past would be, believe it or not, one was Australian because he did such a class, that's such a unique twist on Australian, and the other one would be Mexican.

[00:41:12.590] - Speaker 2

If you could give your younger self a piece of advice, What would it be?

[00:41:17.530] - Speaker 1

It's an interesting question, but it would probably be to, like I said with that Tony Robbins quote, is to think about time as in long time. So what can you do in your 20s in that 10 year period, not what can you achieve by 21, 22, 23. So think about more as a long term and then what it's going to take to get there.

[00:41:38.650] - Speaker 2

I like that. I was going to ask you what's something you'd like to achieve in the next year, but I'm going to change that. What would you like What's the goal to achieve in the next 10 years?

[00:41:46.810] - Speaker 1

Do you know what's funny? I probably need to have a think about that myself, actually, because I'm still guilty of one year, so I can answer that question. I'll go for it then. In one year, I'd like to see our Atlas Weekly business to expand into Queensland so we can be Victoria, New South, Wales, or Queensland, and to establish a strong subscription customer base to build. And in 10 years, it's something I need to sit down and take my own advice.

[00:42:12.930] - Speaker 2

I think especially after the last two years, what we've had in place, and now we feel the comfort of everything opening back up and staying open. I think it is probably the time where people will sit down and reassess. If you were to study something in the future, what would you like to learn?

[00:42:29.260] - Speaker 1

Well, I think I would go back and study marketing. So I haven't actually studied marketing. I actually did a Bachelor of Business, and I momentarily did part of an MBA, but I've never actually studied marketing. And I think that it is so crucial in all kinds of businesses, and it is ever changing. So that would be something that I would like to learn more of.

[00:42:50.580] - Speaker 2

Amazing. Well, thank you for joining me, Ben.

[00:42:51.940] - Speaker 1

Thank you very much, Mel.

[00:42:53.570] - Speaker 2

Thanks for joining me for this episode of the Learning Without Limits Interview series. I'm Melanie Burnicle. Catch you next time.


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