February 14, 2018

The Prophets of Profit: Becoming a Sales Evangelist with Donald Kelly


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The Prophets of Profit: Becoming a Sales Evangelist with Donald Kelly by Brian CalifanoDonald Kelly, “The Sales Evangelist,” is a sales trainer who has successfully taken his sales methodology and system and created a very successful podcast called The Sales Evangelist. Donald helps teach effective ways for salespeople and entrepreneurs to find more qualified prospects, close more deals, and make more money through motivating sales training, online courses, one-on-one coaching, workshops, seminars and dynamic keynote presentations.

In our conversation with Donald, he discusses game-changing moments in his career, how your business can become a sales force to be reckoned with, and what led him to pay it forward on his popular podcast.

Click here to listen to our entire conversation with Donald Kelly.

Do Salespeople have a Bad Rap?

Salespeople often have a reputation of being all flash without much substance to support it. We asked Donald if that is a fair or deserved reputation?

Donald explains that over the years, sales has had a low barrier to entry. People find sales as an attractive option for work — you don’t need a degree and you can make good money. They see people who are succeeding at sales and feel like they, or anyone, can break into it. They look at movies. They think they have a great personality, which will lend itself to selling and they just jump in.

They’re partly right that anyone can get into sales. But not everyone can be successful. In his experience working with companies, 20% of the sales force brings in 80% of results. You need training. Donald speaks from experience. He was outside of that 20% when he started out as a sales person. He was frustrated because he didn’t understand why he wasn’t effectively selling. It wasn’t until after he received proper training and started succeeding, he realized that yes, anyone can sell if trained properly. He cracked the code and started The Sales Evangelist. It’s not a religion — just a venue to let the world know about how to succeed in sales.

Donald insists that the number one thing to do to ensure a sales team stays great is to hire a great sales manager. The only way a company stays alive is to keep the money coming in. You need to staff a team that is going to work together to serve the clientele. He looks at the Ritz Carlton as a perfect example of a successful team. The Ritz Carlton has a sales force that acts as one cohesive team because they are all focused on providing exemplary service to the patrons at the hotel.

What is Your Avatar Eating for Breakfast?

Another important aspect of sales, Donald explains, is finding your ideal customers — your customer “avatars.” He wants to know as much as possible about these avatars. The more you know about your customers, the more you’ll know where to find them and how to sell to them. You should learn as much as you can about your clients—from what they eat for breakfast to their nighttime rituals. With all of that information, you can then create effective sales processes that will get the results you’re looking for. Follow the Golden Rule of Sales: Treat others the way they want to be treated.

What is Selling?

How do you know what type of processes to have in place that will lead to sales? Donald asks where your business is coming from. What is your conversion rate? What is dragging your results? You need to be able to identify what is working and what isn’t. Sales and marketing can sometimes take up to half of a company’s budget. Spending a lot of money on something doesn’t guarantee success. Donald provides an example: He can create a podcast with a special code inside of it for his listeners to use towards a purchase. That is very trackable. He can see how much of his sales are coming from that code, and the numbers will tell him if the podcast is successful or not.

A company can spend money on Facebook ads, and perhaps they’ll receive many likes, clicks, and even shares. But has it generated business? Where are your leads coming from and what is triggering them to buy? You need to identify that when you’re developing your processes.

Donald speaks of key sales indicators: What are the activities that sales people need to do that are performing? Cold calling? Emailing? Going to tradeshows? If there isn’t a clear result from an activity, Donald is not going to do it. He won’t go to a trade show unless his avatars are going to be there or people who can provide access to his avatars.

Donald’s Conference Hacks

Donald has some tricks to get more intimately involved with a conference and its attendees than the standard passive conference goer. With his podcast, he reaches out to someone on the board to interview them. During the interview, he’ll learn all about them and their business, which is perfect information to have to potentially turn this interview subject into a customer.

Another way to get on the inside of a conference is to volunteer to introduce speakers. Most conferences are based on volunteers. People on the board need to get people to introduce their speakers. When he was just starting out and Donald was introducing speakers, he made sure to stand out. Once he wore a costume and when that session was over, attendees were coming up to him as well as the main speakers.

Become a Trusted Advisor

We had a question from our audience about online branding. How can a company use their content to tell their story and use it to share their brand? What are some scalable steps a company can take to brand online?

Donald says that 50% of a buyer’s decision is made before a salesperson walks in the door. People do research and make decisions as to what they want to buy before actually encountering the service or product. Many of us do this when buying a new appliance or accessory. You can walk into an appliance store and buy a washing machine in 30 minutes because all your research was done already. Donald advises business owners to provide that research.

Take every question you ever receive from a prospect and turn it into blog post. Become that place online where people go to when doing research. You will become a trusted advisor. Find different and creative ways to answer questions. Use videos and ebooks along with the blog posts. Turn a complaint into a blog post. Use it as a learning moment. Don’t worry about your information being leveraged by a competitor. Demonstrate your knowledge to the consumer. Be an informed expert. Giving a little bit without engagement is OK.

Tweeting on a Shoestring

We had another question from a listener about what is the most effective marketing platform to use when you are first starting out with a small budget.

Donald asserts that Twitter is a free and powerful tool. You can connect with people you typically couldn’t connect with. You can follow these individuals, engage with them, and get a ton of value. Perhaps they’re tweeting about their dissatisfaction with a product or service. If your product or service matches, you can reply with a blog post or some other bit of knowledge or insight. You may connect on Twitter and then later on Linkedin. Once your business has money, you can start to buy ads. You must remember to give value to anything you’re offering. If you’re offering a class, try offering the first session free. That strategy proved very successful for Donald.

Click here to listen to our entire conversation with Donald Kelly.

To learn more from Donald Kelly…

Go to his website, thesalesevangelist.com,

Follow him on Twitter @DonaldCKelly, and

Connect with or follow him on Linkedin

Brian Califano & Scott MargolinBrian Califano

Scott Margolin

Co-founders & Managing Partners


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