Wade Shealy is a successful and impressive entrepreneur, who kindly let me interview him during his morning routine.
Before that, he instilled some surefire wisdom around entrepreneurship, goal-setting, and following your dreams in this brief but impactful interview.
You can read Wade’s full biography here
Jamie: Wade, what have you found most fulfilling about your career in sales thus far?
Wade: I would say the most fulfilling thing is that I love doing this; it’s fun. I never felt like I work a lot; which I would happily do even if I wasn’t getting paid because I love it. I think about it, I read about it, and I love doing it. It’s just a part of who I am, and not what I do.
Jamie: Is that the same in your current entrepreneurial role?
Wade: Yes. Most entrepreneurs also need to be good salespeople because you’re constantly selling a new idea or a new business. You’re constantly raising money, and you’re constantly challenged. So, if you’re not a good salesperson, you are probably not going to be a good entrepreneur because to get something started is the hardest thing. Everybody always looks at things that are doing well and likes the idea; well, the idea was just a fraction of what it took to get that business going.
The hard part is getting it going, which is what most people can’t do. To do that, you got to wear a lot of different hats, but most of them require salesmanship. You have to sell your ideas to get other people to buy into it, you have to plan, you have to capitalize on it through hiring people to follow you, and you have to work on your dream.
Jamie: What is the best thing about being in sales?
Wade: I think sales is a misunderstood word because people associate sales with being sold, and nobody likes to be sold. Everybody likes to follow someone with a dream. I think the most important thing for a salesperson is for people never to feel like they’re being sold, but instead to get people to want to follow you and your dream, and to benefit from what you’re sharing with them. Most people in sales never understand that concept, because they trust their numbers and their goals, and it comes through to transfer to the people they’re talking to, and those people feel it – but that is not important to them at all. What’s important to them is buying into something that helps them emotionally, or financially, or physically. Unless you can get people to buy into that, you’re not going to get very far.
Jamie: If you come across a prospect and you need them to have bought in, how do you understand if they are bought in?
Wade: It depends on how you look at these people. It depends whether you’re looking at these people as a way to hit your goal, or if you’re looking to help them in their journey using what you’re offering,
It typically comes across, if you can understand that the people on the other side don’t want to feel like they’re being sold, or feel like they’re a number, or that they’re a part of you hitting your goals. If they feel like you genuinely care about them and you’re moving them along at the pace that they feel comfortable with, then it’s a whole different thing. People will follow you in greater numbers versus feeling like they’re being pushed into something. It’s all about getting people to follow you, and it’s a fine line versus pushing people toward something.
Jamie: Does that mean you believe shorter-term sales targets can be counterproductive for a salesperson?
Wade: No. I think those are all good because you have to get your pipeline full. You can’t expect to start with zero and start getting results necessarily.
You have to keep that pipeline full, and then through that pipeline, you’ve got 3 different categories of people. They’re either in the beginning, they’re in the middle, or they’re in the end. You can’t promote somebody from the beginning to the end at your pace. You have to move him at the pace that feels comfortable for them.
Jamie: What advice do you have on setting goals?
Wade: Here is the thing. I think there are 3 components, and most people out there don’t do them, and only a few have all three.
One is studying their goals or having aspirations. I’d say most people do that, not everybody but most people have some kind of goal or some kind of aspiration. Most people don’t write them down, but they’ve got them in their head. They just think about it, as stage one.
The second thing is a detailed plan of how they are going to reach those goals and aspirations. Very few people like getting into the details and planning to how they’re going to make those goals and aspirations come to fruition.
Then, the last thing is forming the habit of doing the things that they have to do to reach their goals and aspirations and to follow that plan.
Almost nobody forms those habits, and the ones who do are very successful.