Podcast

039 The very First Sale you need to make with Mark Modesti

From Driver to Logistics and Supply Chain Consultant at UPS.
Mark Modesti recently accepted early retirement from UPS as a Logistics and Supply Chain Consultant,
where he also served on multiple project teams to develop cultural improvements and Sales enhancements.
He is also co-Founder of PlatformCreator.com, and recent winner of the altMBA Walker* Award.
In 2015 he presented a TED Talk on “The Argument for Trouble.” He has contributed several articles to the UPS Longitudes Blog.

Mark and his wife, Nance, have 3 adult children and live in North Texas.
He’s an avid reader and is also part of a team that travels to colleges in the US facilitating “What’s Next?” Roundtable discussions with students.

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Resources in this Episode:

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3 Key Points:

  • I think the first sale is that you have to sell yourself.
  • Holding the space for silence in sales is crucial.
  • Learn to say no to your potential client if it is not a fit. It puts you in a stronger position.

Show Notes:

[05:43 ]I think the first sale is that you have to sell yourself. It helps to have a product that you believe in, but you really have to be clear on who it’s for, and what it’s for.
[06:15 ]Things like empathy, and the use of silence the importance of making it a conversation, curiosity those are the fundamentals of sales.
[08:57] Silence just created attention. The importance of silence to a sales conversation is crucial. Mark and I are discussing this very important element.
[09:34] And there’s gold there in that silence it and at the right moment at the right time. There’s nothing like keeping your mouth shut.
[12:39 ]Listening for an opening is different than listening because you’re genuinely interested and curious.
[12:56 ]Ask yourself after the call: Who did the talking?  I definitely want the client to do most of the talking. I’m there to learn about them.
[15:17 ]What if you don’t like sales and hold yourself back?: Why not call sales something else? What if it is about helping people make decisions?
[17:38 ]Sales is about change. And that’s where the tension comes from, is that we’re, we’re trying to convince someone to make a change that we think will help them and that takes some doing, it takes some thought, and it takes some I think it takes an awful lot of empathy as well.
[20:09 ]Learn to say no to potential clients if its not a perfect match and it puts you in a stronger position. 

Transcript:

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Read Full Transcript, click here:

Christine Schlonski [0:02]
Hi Gorgeous, this is episode number 039 with the wonderful Mark Modesti.

Mark Modesti [0:09]
Hi this is Mark Modesti you’re listening to Heart Sells! Podcast with Christine Schlonski, enjoy.

Christine Schlonski [0:17]
I’m so looking forward to the interview with Mark Modesti today. He has recently accepted early retirement from UPS as a Logistics and Supply Chain Consultant where he also served on multiple project teams to develop cultural improvements and sales enhancements. He is a co-founder of PlatformCreator.com and recent winner of the altMBA Walker award. In 2015, he presented TED Talk on “The Argument for Trouble.” He has contributed several articles to the UPS Longitudes Blog and him and his wife, Nance have three adult children and live in North Texas. He is an avid reader and is also part of the team that travels to colleges in the US facilitating “What’s Next?” Roundtable discussions with students. So tune in and find out why he can talk about Heart Sells! Have fun.

Christine Schlonski [1:27]
Well, hi, Mark. I am so super excited to have you on Heart Sells! Podcast today. Welcome.

Mark Modesti [1:33]
Thank you, Christine. I really been looking forward to this.

Christine Schlonski [1:36]
Yeah, me too. And you have such an interesting story to tell. So I can’t wait to share with our listeners. Because I’m quite sure what the one or the other listener might be in the same position you are right now and might have some questions or thoughts of how to solve it and what to do best. So you have to spend a long time at UPS. And you are now stepping into entrepreneurship yourself. So give us a little bit of a background.

Mark Modesti [2:13]
Sure. Yeah, as you mentioned, I started as a driver at UPS and wound up a Supply Chain Consultant. And after 32 years, they offered me early retirement. I tell people, they politely asked me to leave. And that was a kind of a leap for me, it was time but you know, even when it’s time there’s still some anxiety. And

Christine Schlonski [2:35]
…well, after 32 years, you know that that’s a long time. My my last job and high ticket sales was over 12 years. And it’s not that easy to leave.

Mark Modesti [2:48]
That’s right, stepping into the unknown, but it was the right decision. I’m really I’m having the time of my life, really.

Christine Schlonski [2:56]
Yeah. Oh, that’s beautiful to hear. So tell us, what was the last position like, what what did you do in your last position at UPS? So we understand the transition and where you’re going now?

Mark Modesti [3:07]
Yeah, so UPS is obviously a big transportation company, the biggest in the world. And as a Supply Chain Consultant, I wouldn’t be part of a team and we would be competing with the other big carriers. And my role was to sweeten the pot, so to speak with some of our solutions around mapping their supply chain, looking at the global picture and saying: How can we move, make progress for the organization with the global supply chain, rather than just focusing on this piece, which is maybe how much do we pay to ship a package? So it you know, shipping is this much of your supply chain? You know, the supply chain is much bigger, +

Christine Schlonski [3:51]
much bigger. Yeah. Okay.

Mark Modesti [3:52]
Expanding the conversation, I guess would be a way to put it.

Christine Schlonski [3:55]
Yeah, yeah, that’s great. Because, you know, sales is all about a conversation, and you got an amazing sales background as well. We just covered that a little bit before we hopped on this interview. So what are you up to, you know, to creating right now.

Mark Modesti [4:14]
So now I’ve I founded co-founded a company in 2012 in every turn to that. It’s called PlatformCreator. And we do digital media and marketing. But we also try to help our clients develop their platform, similar to what, you know, a politician runs on a campaign, they have a platform, they have planks they have, so we try to help them put that together before we put together their online presence, so to speak, digitally. And in addition to that, I’m doing some customized training. And I’ve also started to write more. And so I’ve really, really, really enjoying those things.

Christine Schlonski [4:52]
Yeah, wonderful. And, you know, we talked about it a little bit before that when making the transition from a job into entrepreneurship, that this is something we thought about rather long time. And then also, how do we handle that? Like, how do we handle stepping into the unknown, because the biggest or the most important thing is when when you become an entrepreneur, to have actually a company or to run a company, you need to bring customers in, right? You need to have people you can serve. And in order to do that, you need to make a sale.

Mark Modesti [5:35]
Yes.

Christine Schlonski [5:36]
So what’s what’s your point of view on sales in general?

Mark Modesti [5:42]
Yeah, you know, I think the first sale is that you have to sell yourself. Yeah, and, and you have to be sold. Obviously, it helps to have a product that you believe in, but you really have to be clear on who it’s for, and what it’s for. And I think that now this, this is a different way of selling as an entrepreneur. But it also reestablished is some of the things that I learned that worked for me in a in a big corporation. Things like empathy, and the use of silence the importance of making it a conversation, curiosity is a huge thing. And so now is my sales focus changes, those things don’t change, because I still have that those are the basics. Those are the fundamentals. And so I’m focusing on those, and I’m trying to learn as much as I can now about my client, and what what fears do they have? So yeah, it’s it’s the same muscles, but you know, a little bit different sport in a way.

Christine Schlonski [6:55]
Yeah. different. Different game.

Mark Modesti [6:57]
Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Christine Schlonski [6:59]
Yeah, I heard something you just said. And I think that’s a very interesting point that you brought that up the use of silence. So when I started in sales, that was a completely new concept to me, and without any prejudice, but women tend, well people say that women tend to speak more than men. So it’s a conversation that we are having right now. Because, you know, we both represent one pole, so to speak.

Mark Modesti [7:37]
Sure.

Christine Schlonski [7:38]
And what I what I found that when you listen to a woman, they often don’t know when to stop, and to just hold the space for silence, somehow, they tend to have the need to fill it. And then they just say something that could potentially destroy a deal, because we are interrupting the thought process of the prospect who is making up his or her mind to a yes or no, right? And I have seen that over and over again, when I trained people that they basically said the investment and then they couldn’t hold the space for the know. And they were just going on in the conversation, which totally interrupted the thinking of the customer. So how did you learn about that concept? And why do you think it is so useful for anybody listening no matter if they sell a product or if they have a conversation with another human being to give themselves the space of no.

Mark Modesti [8:49]
It’s so important, isn’t it?

Christine Schlonski [8:52]
Yeah.

Mark Modesti [8:53]
But the thing is, that silence just created attention. You began to wonder, is he going to stop? What’s he going to say? And I think tension is, is at the heart of sales. And it’s not a bad thing. It’s just there. And I think part of it is learning to dance with the tension or Tango with the tension, let’s say, right? It’s so helpful and I don’t know that it’s just women that have this trouble. I find it with newer salespeople, men or women, they, they haven’t learned yet to deal with tension. And there’s gold there in that silence it and at the right moment at the right time. There’s nothing like keeping your mouth shut. It’s especially and and where it would always bother me the most when someone did it, and hopefully not me, is when I can tell that the client is thinking, so much of sales is helping the client think. They have a decision to make, are you worth their bandwidth? Do they need to pay attention to this? And when you really get them to thinking about their business, and how it might work in their business, we get silent I think a lot of times when we’re really trying to think about something. And I think it’s, it’s almost like good manners to give them the silence to think for a moment. And I it’s, it’s really, I empathize with those who tend to feel like they need to fill up the space because you’re a salesperson, and you feel like, you’ve got to make your spiel and you throw that great question out and they they answer. And you and you don’t, you know, even after they stopped speaking, when they answer, that’s a great time for silence sometimes, too. And if it if it’s too long a silence, you might just say, Tell me more. I’m thinking of one of the best conversations I had with my daughter recently. She’s 22. Was when we were just driving in the car. And I said, How are you doing, Madeline? And she said, Fine. And I just let that sit for a minute and said, How are you really doing? And out it came and I thought about it later, because she started to tell me the story and then she kind of stopped and I just it really helped for me to just say, not say anything, but sit. And then the real story came out and she told me how she was really doing and we just had this wonderful conversation. But I wonder how many opportunities I missed.

Christine Schlonski [11:34]
Yeah, that’s a great point. How many opportunities would t I miss if I don’t learn to hold the space for silence?

Mark Modesti [11:43]
Yeah. And to be okay. With the tension that creates?

Christine Schlonski [11:47]
Yeah, well if it’s tension it’s you. It’s not in the other person.

Mark Modesti [11:51]
Yes.

Christine Schlonski [11:51]
Right. Your own the stuff you have to deal with. Yeah, I found that very interesting because, I mean, this is silence. You can apply that to any situation in your life. And I have found that really, really helpful, as you just mentioned, could be a conversation this your daughter, couldn’t even friends or family or in the dating space, right? We don’t listen, you don’t understand. So learning how to listen and really listen, not being quiet because you are formulating your next question or your answer. Like really being in the space where your head is kind of empty. And you can really take in what the other person says.

Mark Modesti [12:39]
Yeah, and that’s so good. listening for an opening is different than listening because you’re genuinely interested and curious and and I think one one great tip there that’s helped me is after the call, especially if it’s a team call. And you can ask yourself this, who did the talking? You know, who did all the talking in this call? Who did most of the talking if you can try to figure out what the ratio might be. But you definitely, I definitely want the client to do most of the talking. I’m there to learn about them. And and I think that’s where the curiosity comes in. Maybe the way you answer those questions, whether you’re willing to look to give space for the silence has to do with how curious you really are about the company and how they make decisions and there’s just so much that you want to learn and hear from them. And it would just be a shame if I was only giving my spiel.

Christine Schlonski [13:43]
Yeah, yeah, well, obviously, at Heart Sells Podcast, that is totally what this is all about, like really caring about the other person and so many people, entrepreneurs of people who want to go into entrepreneurship, they haven’t really figured out the heart-centered selling piece. Though, they still they perceive sales as something, maybe even unethical or something unnatural for them. And I think a lot has to do with what was shown to us and previous sales situation. Like what we’ve learned, we all have had bad sales experiences. We all have had people jumping at us with their offer, and trying to, you know, put it in our face and not having like, a warm-up or a genuine connection. So I totally get that. But on the other hand, if if we think about sales like this, then, unfortunately, we also limit our ability to go out. Do you have any advice for an entrepreneur, what they can do, like, which first steps they can do to feel more confident in sales?

Mark Modesti [15:03]
Yeah, and I think that those folks who may have given us that impression of sales have taught us something about sales. And if it’s helpful, the entrepreneur could even call it something else. What if it is about helping people make decisions? You believe in your product, you have something that you think can help others? And what if you see sales as help, a process of helping them decide? Primarily using questions, you know, well thought through questions. And have a strategy for, you know, what you want out of the next encounter, the phone conversation, the meeting, it’s a, the thing is, we do it all the time. If you if you have children, you’re constantly selling to them. Well, I don’t call it that. And I call it helping them think through things. But to me, that’s really what sales is. You know, in some ways, it’s a polite disagreement. I feel like they should give me their attention and their time and listen to what I have to say about why I think I can help them and they don’t necessarily agree with me from the beginning. So it’s a matter of prevailing, you know, on them that that I do have something to offer. But first, I have to make sure that I do you know if you were to ask me, I was thinking about this, the question, what was your best, most successful sale last year, let’s say. And we always tend to think of that is the one where I got the biggest bang, right? Biggest price tag. And that’s not I don’t think that’s necessarily always the case. The one the sale that I had last year that was most successful was probably the gentleman who’s in his mid-70s, who I’ve been trying to, to convince or help decide, help think through for two years. And it wasn’t every week for two years. But at first, it was a no, and then, you know, after a year or so, we we meet up again, and it’s, you know, maybe not now. And then last year, it was, yeah, it’s time. And so it’s, it’s the heart thing, I think, I love the Heart Sells! idea, because what are you really in it for? Obviously, we want to make those big sales, we want that big price tag. But what we really want to do is help people and create positive change, you know, sales is about change. And that’s where the tension comes from, is that we’re, we’re trying to convince someone to make a change that we think will help them and that takes some doing, it takes some thought, and it takes some I think it takes an awful lot of empathy as well.

Christine Schlonski [17:57]
Yeah, I love what you just said. And, and also that providing the space, listening and showing up again. So in what you just described, what would have happened, you’ve got the no the first time you’ve got the no the second time and you wouldn’t have come back, you wouldn’t have gone back to that gentleman.

Christine Schlonski [18:22]
So now,

Mark Modesti [18:23]
yeah, and, you know, I think, yeah, it’s what it’s what you spoke to initially about someone who maybe who’s new to this, their new entrepreneur, the sales thing is, gives them anxiety, or even fear, I think that it’s okay to approach clients. And what I always try to do is approach them and say, you know, this, if this doesn’t work for you, let’s not waste each others time. But it’s great to get to know you and learn about your company and how it started and the origin story. And you know, there’s always a story going on. And maybe that’s a way of relieving the tension. When you when you start the conversation, you know, they have an idea of what you do and, and you’re okay with just having a conversation at first and letting them know that I really I have to learn about your company before I know if this is a fit. And if it’s not, if it lets I’m perfectly happy to say, let’s move on.

Christine Schlonski [19:18]
Yeah, yeah, that’s, that’s also what I’m teaching my clients that you as a person who potentially is making the invitation, you can say, No, all the time, it is important to make up your mind, do you want to work with this potential client, or you don’t want to work with them? Either way, you have to get to know them to figure that out.

Mark Modesti [19:42]
I think that’s so that’s brilliant. Because that means you have to be clear on when you will say no,

Christine Schlonski [19:48]
yeah, exactly. You should you should know before you go into a conversation, what’s important to you? What brings joy to your work? And then you want to make a clear decision. If it’s not your ideal client, you don’t make that invitation.

Mark Modesti [20:06]
Right? And if I’m not their ideal client.

Christine Schlonski [20:09]
Exactly. So it’s not just one way that people say no to you all the time. Let’s say. You also say no to them. Yeah, that puts you in a stronger position when you go out for the sale because you have to have this initial conversation to really figure out is this a perfect match for me? Do I want to spend time to I want to give my gifts to this person? And will it be fun working with them?

Mark Modesti [20:39]
Yeah, I love that. I I, I’m part of the team that visits colleges around the US and we talk to students about what’s next, we have what we what we call “What’s Next?” Roundtable. And one of the things that I I try to encourage them to do is if you can start with sales, enter, find a job and sell in sales, you’ll learn so much about human nature and yourself. And it’s just it’s so foundational to business. But the other thing is that figure out who you want to work with? Who you work with, is much more important than what kind of work you do. And if you can get around the right kind of people, it’ll make all the difference in your career. And I think there’s something like that to about sales, especially for an entrepreneur, you can be more selective about who your client is. And I think it’s very helpful to spend some time thinking about who your ideal client is, and, and go after those folks. I mean, go, those are the folks you want to help.

Christine Schlonski [21:41]
Yeah, that’s, that’s amazing. Well, this conversation just flies. So before we are finishing up, where can people find you.

Mark Modesti [21:51]
So I’m on all the channels. And my name is fairly unique Mark Modesti, markmodesti.com, @mmodesti on Twitter, I’m on Facebook. I’ve got a pretty good following on LinkedIn. And I’m fairly active there.

Christine Schlonski [22:07]
Okay, so well, and it’s going to be in the show notes. And, you know, I have a page with all the Show Notes, transcripts and then obviously, all the ways and links people can find your was just one click. So it’s markmodesti.com. And if you are on LinkedIn, that’s where you can have an amazing conversation. And I’m looking forward to our next interview. Thank you so much, Mark.

Mark Modesti [22:31]
So my Thank you, Christine.

Christine Schlonski [22:35]
Well, I’m so grateful that I got to talk to Mark today, and I hope you enjoyed the interview as much as I did, make sure you hop on over to christineschlonski.com for the full show notes, the transcript and all the resources we talked about. And at this page, you also can sign up for the Empowerment Notes. This is my weekly newsletter, where I share amazing free content with you once a week, and where you are always up to date on everything in regards to selling from your heart, being authentic, empowered, true to your values and just having fun. So thank you so much for tuning in. Hope you’re having a wonderful day wherever you are in this beautiful world. And bye for now.

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