Episode 3: Colin Coggins and Garrett Brown
The Unsold Mindset with Garrett Brown and Colin Coggins
In this rousing third episode of "Jack Rants With Modern Bankers," authors Garrett Brown and Colin Coggins take center stage to discuss their amazing, game changing book The Unsold Mindset. Host Jack Hubbard leads a captivating conversation that uncovers the essence of authenticity and trust and challenges traditional salesmen approaches.
Jack delves into the dynamic duo's journey from creating the innovative "Sales Mindset for Entrepreneurs" course at USC to co-authoring their groundbreaking book that reframes and reimagines sales and relationships. As Garrett and Colin share their powerful insights on authenticity, intentional ignorance, and the art of embracing one's true self, listeners are invited to explore a new paradigm that extends beyond sales techniques and resonates in every aspect of life. Join us to discover how the unsold mindset can transform not only sales teams but also individual lives, paving the way for a future of genuine connections and meaningful impact.
Garrett Brown 00:00
Sales mindset for entrepreneurs. It is the only sales mindset class that we know of in all of higher education. And we created all of the curriculum based on the things that we love to talk about. And I think, you know, Colin mentioned it's become a popular class. We think a lot of it has to do with just people looking for sales, education, but they don't want to just be taught how to build rapport and overcome objections and go for the close. And so we talk a lot about mindset, and we're going to talk about it for the rest of this conversation.
Jack Hubbard 00:30
I've had the privilege of being in and around banking for more than 50 years. Lots of changes during that time. We've gone from Ledger's to laptops, typewriters to technology. One thing, however, remains the same. Banking is a people business. And I'll be talking with those people that make banking great here on Jack Rants With Modern bankers. Welcome to Jack Rants With Modern Bankers brought to you by RelPro, and Vertical IQ. Each week I feature top voices in financial services from bankers and consultants, to best selling authors and many more. The goal of this program is simple, to provide insights, success practices and to bring new ideas to the table that you can use to maximize your results.
I am thrilled, beyond belief, to show you this brand new book, “The Unsold Mindset” and my guests today are Colin Coggins and Garrett Brown who are the co authors of this amazing book. Let's start with Colin, he earned a BA from UC Santa Barbara. He's an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at the Marshall School of Business at University of Southern California, when he's not traveling internationally to talk about these concepts from this great book. He serves as SVP and general manager of Chegg corporation.
Talk about Garrett now, Garrett sports a BS in business administration, from USC. With a law degree from Pepperdine. He is also… and they'll talk about this. He's also an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at the Marshall School of Business at USC. Yeah, they do, they teach this class together and it's, we're going to talk about that on the show today. He's the founder and chief revenue officer of Agency18. This interview was rollicking, such fun with Colin Coggins and Garrett Brown at Jack Rants With Modern Bankers. Here we go.
So, as I mentioned to you, I found, I'm such a geek on LinkedIn, I'm on all the time, and I found this really great article about these two guys. And I had to read this book, I just had to do it. And because I've trained so many bankers, and I thought, okay, there's nothing new, but there is a lot new, and today we're going to talk about “The Unsold Mindset" with Colin Coggins and Garrett Brown. Welcome, guys.
Colin Coggins 03:12
Thanks for having us.
Garrett Brown 03:14
I gotta say, Jack, I still love when people hold up the book like that. I love to watch Collins' eyes, because they just see the happiness, the little glow in his eyes when he sees that book. It's my favorite part of that.
Colin Coggins 03:27
I keep them around, like, you know, there's like a couple there. There's like a couple in the kitchen. There's a couple in the living room. I just follow that and the happiness follows wherever those books are.
Jack Hubbard 03:39
Yeah, no, I, we wrote a book in 2008, about prospecting and I have three copies left. And it's still fun to go back and look at it. So I do want to talk about this and the process and how this all works. But we were talking before we started recording about all the good things that's going on. Tell me something good about each of you. What's going on good in your lives?
Colin Coggins 04:03
Hmm. My morning was getting my seven year old ready for graduation of first grade. And then when he walks the stage, they play Green Day - Time of my life. And as the tears, like you don't, like you couldn't imagine. Like, I could not imagine my reaction. So that is something really good. Like I had happy tears this morning. For my baby, my first born baby boy, graduating first grade.
Jack Hubbard 04:43
Wow! That’s fantastic. That's fantastic. And Time goes by so fast. And I can tell you with someone that has two 13 year old grandchildren and our kids have grown up, you got to take every day and just relish that because time goes by so fast as you know, because he was just a baby two days ago. And now all of a sudden he's graduating first grade. That's wonderful. Garrett, what's going on with you?
Garrett Brown 05:06
I had a very similar experience except the song wasn't Time Of Your Life, this song was Taylor Swift “Don't Grow Up.” And for a life, you've read the book, or you follow us on social media, you know that, that hits me for a couple of different reasons, not just because of how much I love my kids and don't want them to grow up, but because of how much I love Taylor Swift as well. So definitely on the family front, that is things that are making us happy. And then on the work and career front, it's us being able to have conversations like this, and share our message and our book, and just the things that we think are interesting with strangers every single day, that's been such a fun part of this journey for me.
Jack Hubbard 05:47
So Sales Mindset For Entrepreneurs, it's a course that you teach. I'd love to know how it got started and tell us a little bit about that. You teach it at USC. And you both teach it together, which I think would be absolutely fabulous to watch you guys having heard you on other podcasts before. So tell us about The Sales Mindset For Entrepreneurs class.
Colin Coggins 06:12
It's the best part of our week. Garrett and I were at a software security identity access management company and helped it grow to an acquisition by Google and when that happened, you would think the startup community would have been, you know, the community that gravitated towards us because we were in LA, it wasn't this big SAS community back then. Or maybe not even now. And instead of just the startup community, which really did, they showed up in so many valuable ways. Academia showed up. And like we were being asked to be a guest lecturer at all of these universities. And there was something about… I always say, like, I think that they just thought that the way that we worked was palatable, because sales was such a scary word. So it wasn't being taught. But we were telling people, we've been in the enterprise, we're in the workplace, we're seeing all the new entrants that are coming from college, they don't know how to chase their dreams, they don't know how to move people, like they can't change the world, they can't change your world, they can't change the company's world, because no one's teaching them how to move people or that moving people as achy.
And so after a bunch of guest lectures, Garrett and I, you know, we sat down, and we took it seriously and USC was like, let's do this permanently. And we taught sales mindset for entrepreneurs for just coming on, like the 11th semester, a third of the class shows up because they want to learn how to sell ideas that they're to the class show up because they want to learn how to sell themselves. Third of the class, they're the crazy ones like us, they want to sell products and services. And then, and then the book deal came, the class got really popular, probably not because of one of us, but both of us, and the fact that people can see themselves in between us, if not in one of us. And in that, coupled with what we were talking about Harper Collins they were amazing. And they were like this book has not been written yet. This course has not been taught yet. And so sort of the book was based on the curriculum. Garrett, I'm going to stop talking and you can pick up about the actual journey of writing the book, but I just took you from Garrett and I falling in love at you know, at a startup all the way to signing a book deal. And I'll hand the mic to Garret.
Garrett Brown 08:32
I have nothing to add. He asked about the class and he got on our history.
Colin Coggins 08:39
It's so funny, because like we talked so much about like, don't wait to speak, like, Listen, you know, like, Don't be the person that's waiting to speak actually, listen, and I have been waiting to talk to you for so long. People should know like your LinkedIn message, like how authentic and raw like, you know, we can talk about it later. But anyways, the point is, I've been excited to talk to you and so that's probably just longer than I would have liked that to be.
Jack Hubbard 09:03
Oh, thank you so much. Nice. That's very nice. Garrett, what's your take on this class?
Garrett Brown 09:09
I agree 100% that it is our favorite part of the week. It is, you know, it's called Sales Mindset for Entrepreneurs. It is the only sales mindset class that we know of in all of higher education. And we created all of the curriculum based on the things that we love to talk about. And I think, you know, Colin mentioned it's become a popular class we think a lot of it has to do with just people are looking for sales education, but they don't want to just be taught how to build rapport and overcome objections and go for the close and so we talk a lot about my instead, and then we're going to talk about it for the rest of this conversation. But the biggest compliment that we get every semester, as we read our professor reviews, is that somebody always says something along the lines of, “I thought this was a sales class, but it's actually a life class.” And that means everything to us, because we're not just talking about selling, we're talking about the way that you think about yourself, about the world, about the people around you. And that's what we hope our book is bringing across, as well as it's not just about selling and sales. It's about you as a person. And so that's why I think it's so much fun for us to teach that because when you get 19,20, 21 year olds who have never heard these concepts before, and don't really realize yet how big a role they're going to play in their lives. And we get to be the ones that show them that. Really special to us.
Jack Hubbard 10:44
It's just so neat that you did so many interviews with people who are an art in sales, and I believe one of them was Stanley McChrystal, was it? And so you've got, and you've got so many stories that you heard from different people. The book comes out in February of 2023. I got to believe your lives have changed pretty significantly since then, what's gone on since February of 2023, In your world?
Colin Coggins 11:18
It's been really complex. It's been the most amazing whirlwind that I think either of us expected, because Garret said something really important earlier, he said that people enter through the book through a professional development intent, and they exit through a personal development, sort of understanding of it. Because if we're saying everyone sells at any given moment, and it's not a yucky thing, then we're sort of saying, “Okay, so living and selling are something that are sort of done, interchangeably.” Right? So if we're talking about selling authentically, or are you selling as your authentic self, the question is, like, are you living as your authentic self? And that's where people go, we don't take them there.
But you know, so we were talking to… We went out and interviewed a bunch of great salespeople by profession. And we were like, “Tell us why you're good and then tell us who the greatest salesperson is.” And so, it got interesting when we started to see a pattern, which became sort of the thesis for the whole book, which was not one sales professional gave us like the title of the person that the greatest salesperson, they know, none of the people that they were giving us were salespeople. Like they were lawyers, they were doctors, they were like ice cream shop owners in rural Iowa. They were bankers, they were in, but none of them were what you were thinking.
We talk to the number one sales professional at a vegan food company. And we're like, who's the greatest salesperson, you know? And he'll say, John Waxler, like the GM of Adidas, and I just like someone completely off who you would think of as a salesperson that you ask him. And then he talks about someone on web 3.0 Like Nick Adler, who's creative and was a manager of Snoop Dogg at one point in his career.
Nick, who's a great salesperson, you know, Snoop Dogg. Then we talked to Snoop Dogg. Snoop Dogg was a great salesperson, you know, his mom. So it's like, we started to see this very weird pattern that these great salespeople thought, exactly the same, almost like the outcome of their thoughts were different. But how they were thinking about it was all the same, they were just unsettled on who they were supposed to be, as a rapper, as a lawyer, as a salesperson. And when you dug under the hood, what you saw was hyper authenticity, hyper vulnerability, the ability naturally, most of them didn't even know that they were intentionally doing it, the ability to display something inside of you that most of us are taught to intentionally hide. Like, that's what these people were doing. And it just, you know, it was the craziest journey and it's, it's every day, it becomes even crazier.
Jack Hubbard 14:16
I want to ask you, Garrett, I have this formula, as I've been talking to you guys and I've been listening to you on a podcast. Two plus one equals two. And what I mean by that is that you have your two guys that have really become one but you're still two different personalities. How are audiences because I understand you grew up together when you speak and I think that would be just a hoot. When you talk about the book, then you talk about some of the stories. What are they reacting to? What do you hear? And what are they laughing about? What are they going on and doing amens about?
Garrett Brown 15:05
I will answer that question directly. But the real answer, in all honesty, is that it's different every single time. And I think that part of the secret weapon of having two of us up there. Two people who are so different, you know, Colin is emotional and I am logical. And we will come at the same point from very different angles. Collins mentioned earlier that, you know, people will see themselves somewhere in between us, the fact that we're so different, and that we get to go up there on stage together gives us the ability to just have a conversation really with each other and with the audience. And so it's really different every time.
So if we're in an audience full of bankers, the conversation and the things that land are probably going to be different than if we're in an audience full of real estate professionals or, you know, executives or something like that. So it really, it absolutely depends on the audience. And because there's two of us, it gives us the ability to kind of dance around and do different things every time to find what's going to land.
Now the more direct answer, there are definitely specific things that people love to bring up. And there's, you know, the concept of intentional ignorance is one that people tend to gravitate towards. Because when we come in, and we tell people, Hey, you know, you don't necessarily have to know every little thing about the job that you do, or the product that you're selling, you can actually find a way to focus on the stuff that you care about, that you're passionate about, that you're knowledgeable about, and leave some of the rest out and literally ignore it and bring other people in to handle that.
Those types of lessons definitely, regardless of the audience that we're in front of the light bulb goes off. And it's always fun for us to share those. But the real answer is that it's different every time and we don't when we're on stage together, we don't use slides, we don't have a set presentation. We do. It's different every single time and certainly we get up there. And we know what we want to say, and we have a plan but if we see the audience leaning in on something, we'll dig deeper on that. And if we see them going, you know, this audience maybe doesn't care as much about X, we're gonna go to Y, we get to do that, too. So it's a lot of fun.
Jack Hubbard 17:08
You speak to a lot of different audiences. And you mentioned banking, which of course is near and dear to my heart. I'm just curious, you probably talk to large conventions, where a lot of bank executives go, etc. You start talking about The Unsold Mindset and they must implode, I mean, how did bankers reacting to this whole concept because it is fantastic.
Colin Coggins 17:34
Like a breath of fresh air. You know, what we hear a lot in the banking community is “I didn't know why I was so good. Until listening to you, and you being able to put words behind what I've done every day for the last 36 years.” like Garrett has talked about, like intentional ignorance, which is, you know, the ability to look at your job and before you can be intelligent enough to ignore the parts of your job that don't authentically give you passion, you would first have to isolate the parts of the job that you love so much you basically do for free.
So there, you know, there are people, especially in the banking community that have leaned in, to the to their strengths, the areas that they love, the relationships, the community, right, the leadership, the not even from an altruistic perspective, it could be from any perspective, but they lean in to what they love doing. And you know, you'll hear that like, it's intentional ignorance. You know, like, I hired someone that loves doing what I hate doing. I didn't know what that was, but it's worked really well for me to not be the smartest person in the room. I didn't know what that was. I didn't realize my superpower was asking questions that I actually want to know the answers to. Everybody else is just asking questions that they know they're supposed to. You know, those sorts of conversations give us so much energy. And it's not just the banking community, but we spend a lot of time in the banking community and so these are common things I’m really proud of.
Jack Hubbard 19:04
I love the quote that you said, and I won't exactly say it, right. It's like 20% of the people are hitting their sales numbers. 80% are trying to be like the 20% and the 20% are just being themselves. And that's not a direct quote, but it's it's paraphrase from the book. And it does go right to authenticity.
My friend, Larry Levine, and I'm sure you know, Larry and maybe have even been on a show when he wrote Selling From The Heart and that really is what it is. This is what really gets bankers. I think you're out trying to be authentic, but yet you have goals to hit and you don't want to come back to the bank and say, “You know, I was authentic five times today.” because the Board of Directors doesn't care about that. They really care about how many loans that you booked. How do you square that circle?
Garrett Brown 20:07
We're always very clear. We both have sold for a long time. We have carried a bag, and we have sold products, and we've had quotas over our head. And we know that when your backs are against the wall, it is hard to just, you know, hear the words, be authentic, and be yourself. And so that is 100%, not what we preach and what we, what we are trying to get across with the book is like, “Oh, just just be authentic, and everything's gonna be great.”
What we have found, and we have backed it up with scientific research and anecdotal evidence and everything in between, is that in the long run, the people who don't just do what they're “supposed to do” and the people that take the authentic route, and the honest and the ethical route, they last. You can, you can succeed in the short run, by putting on a persona and by saying the thing that you need to say, to get a deal done or to make something happen, but in the long run to be truly successful, and maybe more importantly, fulfilled. We know for a fact that authenticity and figuring out what you are comfortable with the way that you want to come across asking questions that you actually want to know the answers to, that's going to change the way that you show up in conversations and that's going to change the results.
A line that we say often and I'll continue to say it because it's important, is think about how different you sound, talking to somebody that you're genuinely and authentically excited to talk to, than if it's just another name on a list of people that you have to call that day, that conversation sounds different. And of course, over time, you're going to be more successful having conversations that sound like that.
Jack Hubbard 21:44
So that's interesting. And as you've been talking, and one of the things I've been thinking about is, we're really talking about selling a product or a solution or something along those lines. But I think if I'm interviewing for a job, I'm on a sales call. And I think if I read this book, I can really get a good sense of authenticity and I love the intentional ignorance, because if somebody says to me, “How would you do this?” You can't say, “I don't know, every time.” you might say, “Let me think about that for a second.” versus trying to give some pat answer. Have you seen in your classes or in speeches or in conversations with people that people are using this to interview for jobs?
Colin Coggins 22:28
Can you just keep that up the entire time?
Jack Hubbard 22:33
I'm old, I don't think I can hold it that long, I’m sorry.
Colin Coggins 22:37
I'm like, if they look close, they'll see the matte finish. That's like what's going on in my head when I watch it. I think you're touching on why we wrote this book. Right? Like, we wrote this book because people thought that sales was a yucky word. So if you were ever in a selling situation, you were either going to be yucky, which you didn't want to do. So you would then pretend to be someone that you actually weren't, you would try to be like the best version of yourself.
So like, if you were interviewing for a job, or you were selling yourself. Now you were not cognizant that the word is selling, but you do feel very uncomfortable. It's a selling situation. And so you have this immediate reaction, which is okay, let me try to be the best version of myself in this interview because it's a selling situation and you don't have anyone ever talk to you about selling, right. So it's either yucky or perfect. No one told you that perfect actually equates to yucky, that people will say no to you because you're right, right.
That's what this book represents is that the idea that people would rather employ a learner than a knower like you will get credit for going out and fighting for your customer and finding answers more often than you will for always having the answers. People will tend to show up and be so perfect. And the easiest way that we sort of synthesize this is that who people expect you are and who people hope you are not always the same person. As a banker, as a student that's trying to get an internship as someone you know, as a frontline worker that's trying to get promoted.
You expect this person to be proficient at their job and really good and intelligent and all those things. Button up and you know, but you hope. You hope they're like you. Like, that's what people like, people like themselves. Like they hope you might expect you to be all those things, but they hope you're like, “I hope that the person I'm talking to is just like me.” which means imperfect. You want to look at a great salesperson? It's the person that's racing to show you how imperfect they are as fast as possible.
Like in the book I talked about this idea of when I was a fiance, when my wife was my fiance. I would show up to meetings late because we would have a lot of wedding planning conversations. And I would show up at the meetings and there was no strategy behind this, I would just say “I'm sorry for being late. I was talking to my fiance, she's a big wedding planner. And today it was tulips versus…” it doesn't matter.
The point is, I'm sorry. But immediately, you know, the reactions were always “Colin, don't worry about it, it's gonna get way easier on your second marriage.” Like that's a quote. “Collin, don't worry about it, you know, I've been married for 30 years. Happy wife, happy life.” Like it was an immediate vibe. Like immediately, it took me to be authentic for them to see themselves in me, we have nothing in common except that we both are in love or have been. And then I see myself in them.
So now I'm talking to them, I'm giving myself permission to ask questions that I really want all the answers to that have nothing to do with banking, right? And they start answering questions they've never heard before, because I'm a salesperson that cares differently than everybody else, because I'm not just extracting value. So I might care enough to ask such a good question that adds value which is a rare thing by the way like whoever’s listening, if you’re a great sales person, tell me how you can add value just by asking a question because most of us are taking everytime we ask a question.
So anyways, you know, that's just, the whole book is… you're talking about interviewing, and I'm just using that as like a microcosm for, it's everything, like you cannot escape selling. And it's a beautiful thing. And you can… Sorry, Garret, I'm gonna say this one thing, I promise I'm gonna shut up. When we ask our audiences, “Who's the greatest salesperson they can think of?” the top two answers are Steve Jobs, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Thank God for sales. You know, I'm saying?
Garrett Brown 26:56
I was gonna touch on the interview thing, because you're really astute to pick up on that Jack, one of the one of the units in our class every semester is interviewing. Because all of these students that are in our class, they either want to get a job, so they're going to be interviewing for jobs, or they want to be entrepreneurs, and they're going to be interviewing other people. So we spent a lot of time talking about interviewing and first thing we do, which I don't think anybody listening to this needs us to do it is frame it, that interview was a sales conversation, somebody is buying you as a human being and as an employee, or not, and you're selling yourself and your skill set and all of that.
And so it ends up becoming one of the most popular courses during the semester, because we get to talk about the things that Colin is talking about, like impactful questions. And which we talked about in the book and showing your work, which we talked about in the book, which is if you remember back in high school math class, where you didn't just get credit for the answer, you had to actually show how you got that answer. And we talked about how great salespeople have great sellers in conversations, like interviews are really good at showing their work and saying, you know, I'm nervous about this interview, because this is a company that I'm really excited about. I've always wanted to work at a company like this, giving yourself permission to share that part out loud and show the thought process that's going into the answers in an interview is exactly what great sellers do during a typical sales conversation about a product or service. So you picking up on that is great and it's evidenced by the fact that it's just one of one of our favorite sessions to teach. And I think one of our students favorite sessions to learn during each semester when we talk about interviewing.
Jack Hubbard 28:34
And you know, it's interesting. If I'm looking for a job, or if I'm looking to try to sell somebody on a relationship. I love intentional ignorance because it allows me to also see, are you a fit for me? And instead of trying to sell myself to you, it's almost like “Okay, let me listen a little bit more. Let me ask a question. Let me say, I don't know and let me see how people react.” What I always say to bankers is you never make a bad loan until it goes on the books. And you never make a mistake in going to a company as an employee. Until you say yes. And so you've I think this whole thing is so important in the interviewing process.
Charlie Green once told me, be yourself. Everyone else is taken. And yours is one of the top three books that I've read on this subject. The trusted adviser Charlie wrote it 20 years ago, 21 years ago. Now, Larry Levine's book is very authentic and yours. And one of the reasons I love your book, and as my wife was going through the chapter, she goes, “Oh, look, this is you. This is you.” And I said, What do you mean? And she says, you always have said, “We live in a world of abundance.”
In one of your chapters, you talk about this world of abundance, and I think in The Unsold Mindset that's so powerful because If I don't earn a relationship, there's always others. And that allows me to be more of myself in an interview versus trying to force something in and making a sale.
Colin Coggins 30:12
I am looking at Garret. Every interview is different. So I just I, I like where you've gravitated towards in the book. It's awesome. I was just having a business meeting with someone. And they brought up abundance, and I had short sleeves on and I like, started showing off my tattoos. And at some point, I stopped. And I was like, it's probably not HR compliant, let me stop. But like, I have the words I have abundance, like on me, you know, like, because it has changed my life, personally, professionally.
In the context of this conversation in the book, they were talking about… these really great salespeople. Forget the tactics, how good they are, like, forget the right side of the equal sign, just look at the left side of the equal sign. And what you'll find is that they see opportunities where nobody else even looks and that is the abbondanza. That is abundance. There's a story, abbondanza is Italian for abundance.
There's a story and we talk about this in every keynote. There's a story in the book about one of our top sellers at Bidion came into my office and said, “Hey, the rookie that you just hired is hoarding leads.” He's you know, he's looking in all the big areas like San Francisco, New York, and I come in in the morning, and there's nothing in San Francisco. There's no leads, right? There's nothing to even prospect into. They’re all under his name. I leave at night, he's prospecting in Australia, because they're up, right? And like all of Sydney's basically taken and he's like, “Well, you gotta figure this out.” And this is my number one hitter. So I'm like, “For sure. We're gonna figure this out.”
I called the rookie into the office and I'm like, can you sit down and we've got this nice, brown, distressed, restoration hardware couch. And I go, Look, I want to talk to you about something sit down on the couch. And as I opened my mouth, he started rubbing his tokus back and forth on the couch. And you don't get to see me rub my butt in the book everyone, and I go, and I stop, I go, you okay? And he's just like, “Yeah, this is just such a nice couch.” Oh, my God. So look, here’s what I want to talk to you about…open my mouth again. He stands up, starts flipping over couch cushions, finds the tag, flips them down.Sits on the couch, opens up his laptop, like I'm not even in front of him. Starts searching this company's name, looks up at me, like in awe and he's like, “They have 5000 employees!”
Told me where they're located, I look them up on LinkedIn. And he's like, “Do you care if I prospected them after this?” And I go? Absolutely not. You feel free. Closes his laptop, puts it aside. It's like, okay, what do you want to talk about? And I looked him dead in his eyes and I was like, absolutely nothing because you found deals in couch cushions. Like, I was like, this was a conversation from someone who could not find deals anywhere. And this guy is finding deals in couch cushions. I mean, this guy, he would drive to Vegas probably more often than any of us should.
He would drive to Vegas, and take pictures of big ribs with companies names on the side of them that you'd never even think of. And with the firmographic information, you know, like ACME Corp, right? 6000 employees Minneapolis, like Hart smiley face, he could have been the worst salesperson on the planet. With that mindset. He's always going to win. And that guy was the number one seller at that company until the time the company got acquired. That's, abundance. And that's like, and like that's the best part of our job.
Like, you know, like, imagine teaching that to a college kid for the first time who's never heard of the concept of abundance versus scarcity doesn't matter if we're talking about lead generation. That's the first time they've ever heard it. So when we say is the best part of my job like, or the best part of our week? It's because of that.
Jack Hubbard 34:19
And Garret, as I was thinking about, just that thing, with all the stuff that's going on in our country not so good. Your chapter about pathological optimism really hit me because of what I've gone through but beyond that, I mean, I wake up every day go, Jesus, this is just a hell of a day, you know but pathological optimism really struck a chord with me. You've got to have some stories, Garrett, about pathological optimism.
Garrett Brown 34:53
I didn't realize I was muted. Most of my pathological optimism stories are about my wonderful partner Colin here because he is the origin of this term “pathological optimism” and, you know, for somebody like me who might not always be my default. Now I think people who know me laugh at me when Colin and I talked about this because like, you're really optimistic? And I'm like, “Yeah, but Colin.” So compared to the two of us, I'm a little bit more realistic or even pessimistic, depending on the day of the week. And, you know, pathological optimism, but one thing that's really important for us to say is that we don't mean toxic positivity, you know, that's a buzz phrase that gets a lot of press, we're not saying, “Hey, look, at the bright side, be an optimist, you're going to sell more, your life's gonna be better.”
But what we do know is that these great sellers, whatever their title is, all of the folks that we interviewed leading up to the book, all of the most successful people we know, they are all at the end of the day, 100% confident in their souls, that no matter how bad today is, or the week is, or even the quarter is that eventually things are going to come out up into the right. And that's the only way that they're able to show up and have conversations like the ones we're talking about where you're enthusiastic and excited and looking for the good in the people that you're talking to. The only way to do that is if you know that even if things aren't great right now, eventually they're going to be good.
Colin Coggins 36:18
It sounds “wooh-wooh” . We call it the best part of the movie. Yeah, I'm sure you'll appreciate that. You typically, you know, you don't go, you don't pay $100 for two movie tickets, and a pack of sour patch kids to go see the ending or the beginning. You go for the middle, for the ups, the downs, for the highs, the lows, and a lot of times what we don't realize, I think, for sure our students don't know, I think with age, emotional intelligence obviously gets heightened. But they don't realize that they're probably in the best part of the movie, and they don't know it. Like they won't know it until they're looking back. So anyways, I think that’s special.
Jack Hubbard 37:04
That's true. And as we were talking about your seven year old, that's very true. And it's, I'll tell you, you know, in 50 years of marriage, when the day we got married, my wife said, once we're right in the car, we're gonna go to our honeymoon night. And then we're going to, we're going to Miami the next day, I'll tell you this quick start. So go to Miami because my parents were there. And then we fly back to Disney World, Disney World for $1 on Eastern Airlines. $2 cost us. It was a Quonset hut, we stayed at the contemporary Hotel.
So we're right into the place for our honeymoon at the hotel, and she looks at me and she says, “Okay, I want to be married to you for a long time.” And I said, Okay, she goes, tell me one thing that we should do every day. And I said, laugh. And every day, when we get up, we laugh at something she laughs at me more than anything else. But we laugh. And here's my point, I believe and I don't know if you want to comment on this, or if you've heard this, I believe in order to be a pathological optimist, you have to have a pathological support person that keeps you up to helps keep you optimistic the environment, because I know if I have a bad day, or we have a crossword or, or she's not feeling well, or I'm not, it's hard to get to the desk or get up and do a speech, etc. I don't know if any of the stories talked about that support person that you… talk about that.
Garrett Brown 38:39
It's such a great point. We talk a lot in a variety of contexts about building an infrastructure around you to allow yourself to live these elements of the unsold mindset. So for intentional ignorance, that might mean like we talked about bringing some people into your circle, who are passionate about the things that you're not passionate about. And so from an optimism standpoint or even from a pathological optimism standpoint, you are certainly not going to be worse off if you have somebody in your corner who is going to remind you, you know, to look for the good when things aren't going so great.
So I think I agree with you. I don't know if that 's a requirement. I think you can drop Colin in a desert and he is so dang pathologically optimistic that he probably doesn't even need me there to remind them of anything but for the most part, and in general, why not? Why not surround yourself with people who are and create that infrastructure of people and resources that are going to support you on the on the parts and the times where you're going to need it.
Colin Coggins 39:37
During the interview process, we would certainly meet people that made me feel the way that Garrett feels about optimism compared to me. Like we interviewed Ryan Ferguson, and he said he's been like top on the leaderboard of every major company you can think of and now he's top of the leaderboard, And he's just these incredible they say “He sells the unsellable.” And so he makes me look like a pathological pessimist. Like in the book we were talking to him. We're like, Yeah, we're asking him questions. And he says, and this is in the book, he says, “Every job I've ever had, has been the best job I’ve ever had.”
Colin Coggins 40:44
And this is, you know, the same guy that is in the book, being quoted for saying, this was this was great, you know, why do you? Oh, yeah, what's your secret? And he goes, I don't have a secret, like someone gives me a lead and I go and talk to him. I don't look up any of the data. And that was huge for us. We were like, Wait, why wouldn't you look up the firmographic information that's been given to you to help you sell this lead? He's like, why would I want to know where they're from? Like, I know what the propensity is of the Northwest to buy versus the northeast, he’s like, I'm going to show up differently before I've even met the people if I know where they're from.
And by the way, this is not a person that says, I am so self aware that I do not look at leads, he doesn't even know what his secret sauce is, like, he just knows like what he does. But what that actually is, is like this heightened self awareness, not self confidence, just self aware to know that like algae, someone different if I know where they're from, so I'm not going to. And he sells the “unsellable”, you know. So this is why this is a mindset book and why it's a mindset class. Because it doesn't matter what he says when he's thinking like that.
Jack Hubbard 41:58
I'll pick up on that point. You guys have redefined selling in such a good way. But you talked about at the very beginning, objection handling and asking questions and things like that. If I'm a traditional sales trading company, you guys might be a bit of a threat to me, because your process is so different. How have you seen companies interweave? The Unsold Mindset into traditional sales training?
Garrett Brown 42:28
Yeah, we are not in any way, shape, or form saying that the fundamentals of selling the building rapport and the objection handling are not important, they absolutely are. But what we have seen and what we sort of talked about earlier, when you reference the quote in the book about how 20% of people in most organizations are the ones that are thriving, while the other 80% are figuring it out. Our theory that we believe deeply now is that the reason those 20% are great is because of how they consume information because we all have information, the 20% and the 80%, they all have access to those sales trainings, to the, to the fundamentals, to the mindset trainings to anything else, the same podcast, the same books, the same courses. And the reason that the 20% are great is because instead of coming into those things, reading them and saying, Okay, I know this, now I do this. They put it in, they become the learners, and they're like, Okay, how do I experiment with this? How do I use what's authentic to me? Oh, that thing that that trainer taught me doesn't really work for me. So I'm gonna throw it out. And they're constantly learning and growing and experimenting, and that learner mindset is why the 20% are great, and the 80%, or they can copy them, they can do the exact same thing that somebody in the 20% is doing, and not get the same results. And they're going to sit there and wonder why and maybe even worse, they're going to blame the customer and say, “Oh, it must be them, because I'm doing exactly what the guy at the top of the leaderboard is doing.” But it's really just the difference between a learner and a Knower.
Colin Coggins 43:55
And bring it back to interviewing. I mean, like, what are you interviewing for out of college? Like you're interviewing for coachability, optimism, competitiveness, like all of the mindset should pardon my French, all the mindset stuff that is so hard to teach. I can teach you the ins and outs and features and benefits of any vertical. But it's really hard to teach someone how to be self aware. I mean, it'll take a long time.
So you think about that conversation in the context of like, what Garret was just saying like that, like we're talking about, we're talking about someone, it doesn't matter if you've taught them how to overcome objections, if they're not coachable. If they are right if they don't have the right mindset, if they can't see leads anywhere. They can't find opportunities anywhere. Who cares if they know how to do a third party story correctly.
You know what I mean that the inverse is actually not true. Like you could throw somebody out there with a really great mindset and have zero technique on how to overcome an objection. But just someone that's super curious or super creative or likes loves, like the people that they're talking to, like. So anyways, I'm belaboring the point, but…
Jack Hubbard 45:12
A couple more questions. You talked about coachability. Let me invent a new word called culture ability. Here the three of us are talking. somebody buys this book. Here it is, again, see… I love it. So the three of us are talking, I buy the book, I'm an individual producer, I go, “Yeah, this is the guy I’ve been looking for something like this. I can do this. I'm really good at it.” But now I've got in a bank. I've got a couple 100 salespeople, I've got 20 branch managers. How do you get the culture to buy into this process?
Colin Coggins 45:51
I'll say what I always say, and then I'll pass it to Garrett to say something smarter than me. Having a culture where people are getting paid to do what they love, is one hell of a culture. Like a lot of us get paid to do what we're good at but there's not a lot of us that get paid to do what we love. Ray Lewis, the football player, has this great quote that Garrett introduced to me that says, “They pay me for what I do Monday to Saturday, but Sunday's are free. Sunday's are my pleasure.”
So when you think about creating a culture. You want to think about things like intentional ignorance, right? So that people understand, like, at least can compartmentalize what they're getting paid to do versus what they're doing for free. And start to create the pathways to allow people to have the ability to do what they love, and get paid to do it. And imagine a culture where like, I just talked to someone and I'm like, what would you do for free? She was like, I would create PowerPoint presentations for free. My jaw dropped. Because you got to pay me a lot of money to do PowerPoint presentations. Imagine how great of a team I have, if I do not want to do PowerPoint presentations, and she would do them for free. So that's my answer to culture.
Jack Hubbard 47:16
Interesting, good stuff.
Garrett Brown 47:18
And I would say it's, that's why we're so passionate about mindset. You asked about are we a threat to traditional sales training? And the answer is no, we're a supplement to it because if you're not approaching it with the right mindset, then you're not going to put it into practice the right way anyway. And the same thing is true with culture. Culture, you know, you can, you can have all the perks, you can have the, you know, the free food and snacks and the pool table and whatever else and you can call that culture but if you don't have people thinking, and approaching the problem that you're solving, and the customers that you're helping in the same mindset, then the culture is not going to stick. So I think it's a big part of why mindset is so important to us.
Colin Coggins 48:00
Yeah, for those bank managers out there, one hack to get and I've found that works really well is if you want to create a culture of camaraderie, but also have competition, then tell your people that you do not promote from the top down. So like, you don't look at someone and say, “Oh, you're a good performer, I'm gonna pull you up.” The only way that you get promoted, you know, at this branch is by the people around you pushing you up.
And so you know, you'll see it, it works where you'll have a one on one with someone who was struggling, and they're doing well. And you ask them why and they will say, because Rebecca was telling me that I was asking horrible questions and offending people by asking leading questions, and people were smelling it. And so I changed it. And that was it. And that was my unlocking moment. And that's how Jessica gets promoted. Yeah, as opposed to like, what everyone does, which is pulls from, you know, pulls from the top up.
Jack Hubbard 49:01
You guys have been so generous with your time, and I appreciate it. This time has gone so fast. But I gotta ask you, you know, you've had such great success with this. It's amazing. I got what's next. I mean, you guys are so young. Your careers are really just starting. Where do you go from here?
Garrett Brown 49:23
That is the big question, the existential question for us sometimes, but, you know, we, the sky's the limit. If you read the conclusion of the book, you'll learn some of the kind of secrets of what we're up to next. I'll leave that as a cliffhanger. But then, you know, we mentioned earlier that we get to travel around often and speak to audiences across industries and across experience levels, about the things that we're passionate about. We would love to figure out ways to scale that and then someday when our wives have recovered from the trauma of us writing the first book, we might just go back to the lab and try to write one more we who knows.
Colin Coggins 50:03
We’ll obviously do that, you know, I will say applying The Unsold Mindset has been such a gift. You know, like writing a book and getting a book deal and all that, like you think that that's the gift but the real gift is through 1000s and 1000s of pages, you sort of become who you're writing about.
Garrett Brown 50:26
Let me just stop you there only 250 of those pages are in the book so people [inaudible]
Colin Coggins 50:36
Just to answer your question like what's next is honestly like a living this and applying this that to like, what, to what we do every day what we want to do, you know, like the goals versus purpose chapter, the pathological optimism traps are like we're out there in the real world doing things that we think are meaningful, right, not not just self promotion to the book, but things that we really care about. And to be able to apply The Unsold Mindset to that has been just an experience all on its own. So we're intentionally ignorant to what's going to happen.
Jack Hubbard 51:14
But I gotta tell you, The Unsold Sales Leader is gotta be something that you could dive into and really do well. You want to see these two guys live? I just, I can't imagine not seeing these guys live. I gotta find out where you guys are? How do people get a hold of you if they would like to see you live together?
Garrett Brown 51:37
Yeah, we are all over the place on the internet. You can find us on Twitter and Instagram @ColinandGarrett. We're pretty active on LinkedIn as ourselves. Our website is www.colinandgarrett.com. And there you can sign up to get emails from us, which we're sending out regularly and having a lot of fun with. And on that website. There's a form to if you're interested in, you know, speaking and workshops and that type of thing, so easy to find love to hear from people who hear us on these types of programs. Reach out anytime. And if we can help we will.
Jack Hubbard 52:14
And this guy's like… this is a game changer. It really is. And you'll look back on your lives at some point when you're 73 years old. And you're going to say I'm really proud of this. You should be incredibly proud of this. Thank you both for being here today. I really appreciate your time.
Garrett Brown 52:35
Thank you. We're glad to be here with you.
Jack Hubbard 52:40
Thanks for listening to this episode of Jack Rants With Modern Bankers with Colin Coggins and Garrett Brown. Get your copy of The Unsold Mindset as soon as you can. Run out and get it to Amazon Go to your favorite bookstore. Go get it. It should be on your desk and you should be reading it.
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