Today we’ll be talking with Rana Kordahi. Rana is based in Australia. And she has been working in sales for the past 10 years, where she has an experience she has gained experience in recruitment, employment services, real estate, cleaning, and even selling software. And she’s now the co-founder of the selling Academy, and Employment Services Training, which has courses coaching, training, consulting, and workshops to help companies fall in love with sales, and the hopes of making their business more successful.
Thank you. That’s really the best introduction I’ve ever had.
Wow. will know a lot more about you in this interview? Because I’m eager to understand how you got into sales. Because from your LinkedIn profile, it sounded like you wanted to be an actress earlier on in your career. So how did that shift happen?
So yeah, that’s true. I studied acting and filmmaking for about three, four years, I spent $40,000, on my acting education. And before that, I was working in retail telemarketing, but then I was making a film, and I needed to get a job as well. Because now I’m out of film school. So I had to get a full-time job. And I get a job as a receptionist, answering the phone for this guy who has invested hundreds and thousands, probably millions of dollars in these bathroom products that he wanted to sell at pre-construction prices to builders and had a nice website he had. That was in the early 2000s. So he probably had a little bit of SEO, he advertising the newspaper. So he did all the marketing, right. But the phone did not ring. So after a month, I was like every day on MSN chatting with my friends, having a great time, then I started to get bored. And then I thought, let me just get the Yellow Pages, which is and then I just looked up all the construction companies around, I started to make cold calls, I probably didn’t even know these are cold calls. I was just like, let me call up these people been life. I started to speak to build a spreading awareness, set appointments, I started to also go out cold door knock where I used to scout different construction areas that were just building, asked for the construction or the manager or the architect. And then a few weeks later, I made my first sale of 300,000 because I sold in bulk these vanities and tiles and tops. And my boss was like, wow, because he was actually in China. He’s in and I was doing all this stuff. Yeah. So then I became like, a few months later sales manager, and he grew to a team of like six to 12 people eventually. Right? So that’s, that’s, that’s my story. Like I didn’t really think about this story until probably last year when someone asked me, and then I remember this story, I was like, Oh, that makes sense. Like maybe I’ve always liked selling, this is something I’ve always loved to do.
That’s great. That’s a great story. Now, you also say that you teach sales to people who are not familiar with sales or non-sales people. So is this related to the story you just shared with us? Or what is your methodology of teaching sales to non-sales people?
So I was working as an employment consultant, and in this company, will I worked in Australia, in the UK. And in this organization, you have to help people that were long term unemployed into work, and you had to deal with people with disabilities, long career gaps. And because I had a lot of sales background, I was like hitting my targets, even tripling my targets. And I had a lot of colleagues that were really struggling, then I realized like, you know what they don’t, they’ve never been trained in sales, because you had to pick up the phone, make a lot of cold calls, you had to go out and door knock you how to do everything selling, but you only, like, I don’t wanna say product, but your marketing your services, and also your marketing your job seekers. And a lot of times the job seekers, you know, they had a lot of disadvantages. So you had to convince an employer, why should they hire somebody that was visually impaired or, you know, hearing impaired. So, or had a huge gap of 10 years. So you had to really like selling that service. And those people selling people, whether it’s, you know, high execs or whatever, it’s one of the hardest sales jobs. So I created a, they asked me, What is it that you’re doing, I then said, This is what I’m doing, I developed my wholesale strategy, then I ended up getting a job in learning development, I started delivering this course all across the UK. Then I started working in companies like KPMG, as a trainer, and we were delivering a lot of training to partners, directors, consultants, that were sales training. And then also these people, I noticed that they were the types of people that had to go out and network, sell upsell, but they weren’t the typical salespeople. So then I ended up just from those two experiences developing my online course, I was delivering it face to face with them to develop an online course called selling for non-salespeople. That’s in a nutshell.
That’s great. And then, you know, as you mentioned, sales and is somebody, something that requires a lot of cold calling, putting yourself out there talking to people and a lot of people, especially non-sales, people are introverts. They don’t want to they they’re sort of shy. So how do you train them to overcome that shyness of theirs and come out of the shell?
Well, the number one thing I was told them that the best salespeople many times often are introverts because a lot of people don’t want to feel like they’ve been sold to. So if you are an introvert, you’re not talking a lot, you asked me a lot of questions you’re listening, you’re basically going to have better results at selling somebody than somebody that’s just pitching and talk talk talk doesn’t listen. So I mean, but at the same time, you have to think about introvert doesn’t mean shy, because I’m actually an introvert, very introverted person. So a lot of times, I always tell people like, yeah, just because you’re an introvert does not mean that you’re a shy person, because they’re still confident people, it’s just that their energy gets sucked if they building too many relationships, and they have to make a lot of customer calls. So that does take a lot of energy. Like even for me, if I had to make a lot of calls in three days, and, you know, have lots of meetings. on day four, I cannot see anybody, I cannot just I have to have a day where not even on social media, like I can’t interact. So that’s what introvert I guess, in a sense.
That’s a good analogy. Now. Also, one of the things I recently heard is that the most successful salespeople, they may not be extroverts, or you know, they may not do a lot of things, right. But they are very organized, they have a process to track their leads and, and constantly be in touch with their leads. So do you follow some process like that?
Yeah, so at the same time, you could be so motivated. But if you don’t have a process, you won’t get any results. So definitely, the process is so important and having a structure. So understanding and having obviously a sales manager that’s coaching you but if you’re an entrepreneur, you don’t have that luxury. So either get a coach that’s going to post doesn’t have to be a sales coach, it could just be a coach keeping you on track. And having like a cadenced approach of the calls that you need to make the relationships you need to make the social media posts, the outreach messages. And if you follow, and it’s so hard, to be honest with you, it’s very hard to even with me, sometimes I just fall off the because as an entrepreneur, you’re not going to be able to have the luxury like a salesperson, because you’re doing a lot of other stuff. But if you can just send out five messages a day for as an entrepreneur, that’s enough, you know, a salesperson might have to send out 30. If you can get on the phone and speak to four customers a day. That’s enough where a salesperson might have to get on the phone and speak to 30. Right? Yeah, you’re so right, the structure, the structure and having structured activities of what you need to do, again, clarity of how you need to achieve it.
Great. And do you use any software packages or tools like pipe drive or any CRM system for your process?
So I use my drive. But at the same time, if you’ve got say you’re entrepreneur, and you do consult, and you just do you just deal with three to four clients a year, and you’re prospecting to 20 people in that year, and that’s all you do, then maybe you don’t need a CRM. However, if you’ve got a lot of hot like, for me, I’ve got a high volume sales course, which is selling for non-sales people, hundreds of people on that course I have to keep track of them. But with my consulting, I don’t really, I might not enter all those into my CRM, but I’m pretty honored, to be honest with you, I’m a pretty disorganized person. So I’m not like, I’m not the best person to hold up to like the organ organizing. And that’s what I need somebody coaching me and keeping me holding me accountable as well.
All right, and, you know, and sales jobs, as he said, like, you know, you have to make a lot of calls, you have to talk to a lot of people. So that means majority of the time you will run into rejection, you will listen to an awful lot of no’s, and sort of yeses. So how do you deal with that, psychologically, you know, getting over that rejection?
I think, number one, it’s important to accept rejection. So you have to expect it and accept it, embrace it. So once you accept it, then you have a paradigm shift. And you’re like, well, I accept this, I can embrace that. Number two is I think you need to understand that it’s a necessary step to get a yes. And number three, is used as your chance to practice. So you’re getting free practice. Every time you pick up the phone, you make that call, you have that sales conversation, whether it’s asking questions, overcoming objections, saying your pitch, whatever, every day, you’re going to reach a level of mastery. Once you reach a level of mastery, then you’re going to feel more confident as well, because you would know exactly what questions to ask how to respond. And you will also be able to develop your resilience.
Okay, that’s great. And do you ever in your sales training or otherwise, do you ever recommend to record these calls too, to analyze it later on and sort of figure out where things are going wrong and what needs to be improved upon?
Yes, 100%. So I have after my sales training, I have a three month it’s a three month programme with an action plan blueprint. And I work some depends on the programme. But some sometimes I work with the managers. But in that I’m so I always advise the managers that they should be listening in on calls, and be it’s like a coach, you know, you can’t coach somebody if you’re not watching them how they’re playing, right. So you need and also in the action plan, I do have one of the Act actions that you have to record yourself with several sales calls. And then there’s a scale, you know, how confident that sounded? How I asked questions that I pitch too early. Did I have to overcome objections? Did I build some form of rapport, so and you kind of assess yourself on a scale of one to 10, after you listen to that recording, and then you assess how you’re going to get better?
Got it. Got it. And according to you, which one converts better in-person sales or online or over the phone?
It depends, if you’re selling low ticket items, which is like $57, to a few hundred dollars, I think online, because marketing would be great. That’s just from my experience. So if you run an ad to the right people, you reach the right demographic, and it’s a really good ad, then people can take out their card. Even in b2b, I’ve had managers take out, I’ve never made a cold call to sell my $47 webinar ever, I might message some of the managers to say the ones that were on my webinar saying, Hey, we have another webinar coming up. But sometimes it even takes two. So I run it on my email marketing campaign, the monitors because they either pay from the own card and get it reimbursed, they can afford to do that. But when it comes to a few thousand dollar sales, I think it’s important to pick up the phone, but also go up. So the phone is not to close the sale on that. It’s just to be able to build awareness, develop some kind of relationship and gather information about Do they have needs to have pain points, who makes the decisions? And then try to set an appointment with the right person?
I see. And you obviously had formal training and acting. So do you think those acting skills help you in your sales career as well?
100% so in my sales, so with my acting career, it did help me a lot. And so with my acting career, it did help me a lot with myself confidence. But with my acting training, however, in my acting training, the only thing that was missing, like we had a camera theatre, improvisation, Shakespeare, whatever. But the only thing that was missing from all these modules was mindset training. And I believe that if we had a module that had to do with persons of a mindset, I would have been very successful in us. in acting. I see.
So So let’s talk about that. You know, because I also think the mindset is very important for any career, any type of success that you trying to, to get in, in your life. So what are your views about mindset? What kind of mindset did you need to develop for success? And how do you do it?
So with the mindset, I think it’s really important, so how I help organisations, so when I go in, and I want to help them with their selling skills, a lot of times to be honest with you, it’s their mindset, they scared to pick up the phone, they don’t want to go out and sometimes even confident people that just don’t want to sell like, Oh, don’t feel that they, they don’t like that rejection. So the number one is, when I go in, I really emphasise what the number one is, what is sales and what it’s not. So I make it clear that, you know, selling is helping people beautiful relationships, the difference between consultative selling, and the pushy salesperson, because a lot of times I’m dealing with b2b customer companies, once I clarify what sales is, then I get them to become more mission and mission and purpose driven, and to talk about the impact they making. So for example, if you’re selling medical equipment, you’re making a huge impact on the patients adopters, you know, getting a diagnosis really early on. So thinking beyond even when you’re selling, you’re helping your organisation grow, you’re creating more jobs because a lot of redundancies end up being made because of either they’re not selling or they’re not marketing.
So making Intel even the impact you’re making for yourself, your family, do you want to go on holiday? Do you wanna have financial freedom? Once not, so number two is the impact number three, and then we then start talking about the mindset. So the confidence, the rejection, physiology, thoughts on this number stuff, and then after number three, and then we start to talk about the skills. So once you develop the skills, how to overcome objections, how to sell your pitch, or the stuff you do. So that’s the mastery part where you then those four, you have to kind of marry them together. And that’s when you end up becoming a lot more confident.
Got it. Got it. And now, what, according to you, what makes a good salesperson like, you know, you talked about mindset, you talked about process. But is there other some other characteristic common characteristics that you notice in successful salespeople?
Well, with a successful salespeople, it’s not only the level of motivate, it’s a level of loyalty, and persevering. And, like my studies really important, it’s like number one for me. But the same time, you can have the right mindset of it, if you don’t have clarity, and how you need to execute, then you’re not going to be successful. So I think that it’s very hard. I mean, it’s very subjective, you asked one person, they’re going to tell you, I’m different than what I’m telling you. So it’s quite subjective. But from what I’ve seen, if I had to choose one skill, and it’s just one, it has to be confidence. That’s like, because if you’re not, you can start working through confidence on everything else.
That’s great. And now, you also mentioned marketing. And obviously, you know, there’s still quite a bit of misconception between what marketing is what sales is, and a lot of people sort of use it interchangeably. So what are your views about that?
So I mean, I’ve worked obviously, a lot in sales, I didn’t understand marketing until I started my own business. And I still don’t really understand that well, but from because I do both I do marketing and sales. But marketing is when you’re talking to a huge amount of people, you’re building brand awareness, you’re, you know, you’re pitching, you have a great value proposition, where sales is you have to talk to specific people, and you have to, you know, ask great questions and discover problems, and you have to sell yourself. So marketing is selling more the brand, the product, the brand awareness, they’re hiding behind their computer, you know, nothing wrong with that spamming people. Sales is picking up the phone and cold calling people. So they both bother people. One is doing it the pop up ad, the other one is making calls. At the same time. They have differences. As I said, marketing is more like as an overhaul brand strategy, creating awareness and sales is when if marketing can do a good job, it’s going to make the job of the salesperson easier. Because when they pick up the phone, or they’ll go out there like here, we’ve seen you’re brand new seen on Facebook, we’ve seen it on LinkedIn, we seen it, we’ve heard about it on the radio, with, you know, there’s great social proof, and then it becomes easy and the sales cycle. Now what’s happening in sales, because sales have changed. A lot of salespeople are taking into their own hands to start marketing, whether it’s personal branding online, whether it’s writing articles, whether it’s doing blogs, inviting people on their podcast, they are taking it because they’re just not depending on marketing, they thinking, you know, I can market because I’m a business. So the great salespeople also take marketing into their own hands as well.
I see. I see. That’s great. And now, we talked about a lot about sales. But let’s quickly talk about employment service training as well. What is that all about?
So that’s still that’s still sales training. However, it’s a niche market. So as I said, employment consultants who you have welfare in Canada welfare system, yeah, okay, we have welfare UK, America has a little bit and Saudi has. So it’s people that either lose their job, unemployed, or have disabilities or they’re young, or their parents, and their different programmes to be able to help these people into work. Now, the government gives every provider there’s hundreds of providers around Australia, they give them a fund. And they say, this is not, we’re giving you this bond, now do what you need to do with that. But your job is to get this job seeker in front of the employer. The provider hires these altruistic people, they’re great, they’re great at helping people with their motivation, their resume, their job interview techniques. But at the same time, a lot of these 90% of these employment consultants have to pick up the phone and make cold calls, they have to go out Donna, they have to send emails, they have to use LinkedIn, and 90% of them have never had one day or sales training. So you can imagine the anxiety of them having to get on the phone or market somebody or build those relationships. So I saw the gap, because I’ve worked in this industry. And I saw the need, and I just so employments over this was part of the selling Academy, but I did separate it because I always believe if you have a niche, you’re going to have more impact because you’re going to talk their language. So I’ve just separated that industry into its own little business little company, but it’s no different. It’s actually sales training.
I see..got it. And now, let me ask you this question. It may be unrelated. But can these techniques also be used by job seekers themselves because at the end of the day, they are also selling their own profile and, and you know, getting in front of more recruiters more employers
100% and I in employment services training, we have a course called How to sell yourself to the employer. So everything that we spoke about from prospecting, getting on, I believe, the best person to get so for me, I haven’t named Veronica here, right? My What if we want to build not whether I don’t know you are political if you believe in unconscious bias.
Rana Kordahi is not a great name for when a recruiter looks at the name. They’re like, even if it’s somebody from my own background and our background, they still going to be like they prefer you know, I’m Megan joins that name. So when I was looking for jobs, I always had to pick up the phone and really build that rapport and my biz. My job searching success was because I got on the phone. I said I sent my resume and I had a great conversation with them. And I sold myself on the phone. The next two days, I was in an interview in front of them. So yeah, you have to you have to network, you have to know how to build that rapport, its sales. So and that’s selling for non-sales people.
Yeah, yeah. Now, let’s talk about your entrepreneurial journey. So you started your own company. So tell us a little bit about that. Like, how, how was that experience? Did you run into any issues? Did you make any mistakes earlier on?
No, I was perfect. I’m like, billion dollar company now. No, I mean, yeah, I made a lot of money. So I understood sales really well. But I didn’t understand marketing. So you know, I did everything. Well, when it came to sales, I did all the cold calling, I did lots of door knocking. But I didn’t really understand how to price myself. So I actually underpriced myself. And then if you really, if I really thought about it, because I underpriced myself, I couldn’t really see that first year was really horrible. I didn’t know about building a database, I didn’t have a database. I didn’t have your marketing. I didn’t know about I had LinkedIn, I was prospecting on LinkedIn, but you know, really about something that, you know, setting up yourself as that authority. And Calvin is, if you’ve heard of, you know, Cardone and his principles of influence. So those are so critical to be able to sell more. So I made so many mistakes, I thought it was going to be easy. I just thought, yeah, I’m going to show up, do some training, get paid a few thousand dollars for the day. And, you know, do two trainings a month. And that’s, that’s all I’m gonna work. I’m going to work two days a month. But it turns out that I had to work 80 hours a week to get those two days.
I was very, I was very naive, because I’m very artistic. And you know, I studied acting. So I have no business sense. And I’m still learning along the way.
All right. Now, let’s talk about sales targets in the sales industry. So I, I’ve talked to so many salespeople, and they’re always stressed out about meeting their targets. So does this stress actually is counterproductive? Because as you’re getting stressed out, you know, your performance tends to suffer in all areas of life. So what are your views about this?
So sales is one of the most difficult jobs in the world. And I don’t want to blame the manager. But many times if the managers coming up to you every day saying, you know, did you reach your target? Did you hit quota? Have you made a sale today? And now book sales conversations I often hear where because I as a consultant, you know, I’ve been on the sales floor, I’ve been a salesperson. I’ve done a lot of case interviews with a lot of salespeople. And if you’re asking that question, rather than developing that person having a strategy every two weeks, sit down with that salesperson, think about how they’re going to get there. And they always the sales managers, they’re usually managing the outcome rather than the process. So that’s number one. But we can we don’t want to put the whole blame on the salesperson. So number two, yes, stressing out, you know them becoming desperate. Sending all these emails where you’re trying to push yourself on the customer stalking the customer, that’s also going to be counterproductive. So then they start to have really affects their mindset, and then they stop selling. Yeah. So I guess in the end of the day, not just going to work and thinking, I’m going to just make these calls. And whatever happens, and I’m going to go with the flow routine, and structure is so critical for sales success. And I also had to learn this the hard way, because I’m not a routine or structure. And I still struggle like my diary, it really pains me to be able to do blocks of time. And I’m going to like, I’m going to focus on this for this because I’m, I start to like, Oh, go on the internet Do you know, get on the phone, multitasking, multitasking is not great for sales either. So it’s just about sitting there, switching off everything and using your blocks of time, and having a very clear structure for your cadence activity, and multiple prospecting as well, because some of the salespeople that are not selling, let me tell you, they’re just depending on one, prospecting touchpoint. So some of them are the Yeah, we just do cold calling. And that’s all we do. And that’s all that’s encouraged. Another type of salesperson is I just want to hide behind LinkedIn and create content. And they’re going to come to me, another one is just doing outreach on LinkedIn and spamming people. So another one might be just door knocking on I spending all day driving around, and not even seen one person that’s available to see them and maybe visiting eight different offices. So unless they have a quick cadence and do it like structure in a way where they break, like, I’m going to do this percentage on the phone, I’m going to do this percentage door knocking, I’m going to do this percentage emailing and understanding what works for the industries they are serving, then it’s not going to work.
I see. I see. So it goes back to the same thing we discussed, which is having a proper process and sort of, you know, making sure it’s aligned well with with the objectives that you’re trying to reach.
Yeah definitely, definitely. And it comes from high above, as I said, Every person needs to have a clear strategy of how they need to achieve their goals. So from management and above, they need to create a tailored plan of how they going to help that they stop achieve something every person knows needs to know, how they need to do things when they need to do things, and what they need to do. And having an actual plan, like actual plan for every person, which is different.
Sure. That’s what I’ll say, Okay. Now, we have a lot of entrepreneurs, professionals, and some aspiring entrepreneurs in the audience as well. So when they’re just getting started, obviously, you know, they’re very short on budget, and they just want to get something done with basically contributing their time or spending very little money. So what are some of the key things that you will advise them to do as they’re getting started?
My advice is, to whatever industry at to select two or three domains or niches that you want to serve, speak their language because if you’re trying so for example, you’re a sales a personal branding, trainer or expert. Now, how many personal branding experts are there or LinkedIn trainers?
Yeah, many, many.
Many see. But if you say I help accountants build the authority online, and then you start speaking the accountants and their problems, and you know, what’s facing the accountant? Why are they not able to build authority online, then you’re going to be able to speak their language. So number one is have a specific niche, then if you want to serve everybody wants you become successful me, I become successful in employment services, then I have said, Okay, I’m going to do something for non-salespeople. And then now I have the selling Academy, which is a little bit wider, but even I struggle to sell in selling Academy because it’s not a very niche. And I have to send out other sales trainers who are niche in that company. So number two, is get a list of all your ideal clients, you know, your ideal clients, and get their phone numbers and just pick up the phone and make calls and don’t try and sell anything, because the call in b2b, high ticket items. If you’re an entrepreneur, it’s not about selling. It’s like, Hey, my name is Jonathan, I’m from XYZ, and I’m just giving you that I’m calling accountants in your area to give them a heads up that we’re out there, we just launched. And we’re just gonna make an introduction, I’m in your area, and I would love to meet you if you’re available one day or whatever. But do not try and sell. Try and think about how I’m just calling to create awareness, because that’s the first phone call, then obviously, number three, use LinkedIn, build your authority credit card, because entrepreneurs I didn’t know, sell to people, I’m not to sort about the creating content stuff, like that’s great.
But as an entrepreneur, it’s your job to create content and build that authority. It’s really, whether it’s a blog, a video, whatever it is, you know, it doesn’t even have to be social media. Some entrepreneurs are actually not on social media, and they’re on medium. And they doing amazing work, right? So yeah, just some Avenue online where people look you up. And they’re like, Okay, I know this person, I trust them, and I want to buy from them. So that’s my three tips.
Awesome. That’s great. Well, well, this has been a very enlightening conversation about sales. Thank you so much for being with us. Now, before I let you go, can you tell us how people can reach out to you and subscribe to your courses and get trained from you?
Okay, so I’ve got a course called selling for non sales people dot com, you just look that up. And it’s an online course that you can do. And so that’s one way or another way. Just look me up on LinkedIn run up here. You’ve got my name there. And I think LinkedIn is the easiest way, just send me a message if you’ve listened to this. So that way when we’re connecting, I know like who you are, because I do have a limit of connections at the moment. So I am quite careful with you know, just connecting with the right people that need my help.
Sounds good. Sounds good. Great. Well, thank you so much for being with us today again, and I hope people will reach out and get training sales training.
Thank you so much. It’s been an honor for you to be here on your amazing podcast.
Thank you so much.
Links And Mentions From This Episode:
Rana’s Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ranakordahi/
TetraNoodle consulting services: http://innerget.com
TetraNoodle professional training: https://courses.tetranoodle.com