Sep 9, 2021 • Podcast

How do you prevent prospects from sharing your proposal with competitors? With Matthew Berra

Paul interviews Matthew Berra, New Business Development Manager at SYSCO, discussing proposal integrity, cold calling, and planning.

Show Notes: 

Be proactive and put a proprietary information statement on your proposal to dissuade the prospect from sharing your proposal with your competitors.

The difference between a pest and a persistent seller—the persistent seller creates value at every single interaction.

“The hardest door to open is the car door. You actually have to get out of that car—knock on that door.” Matthew Berra

Be unique, creative. Standout in that prospect’s eyes.

The 6 Ps: “Proper planning prevents piss-poor performance.” Matthew Berra

“You can’t control how someone’s going to feel that day, how someone’s going to talk to you that day. All you can control is your attitude and your actions.” Matthew Berra

Visit to get started on the 30-Day Tough-Timer Challenge!

Pre-order your copy of Selling Through Tough Times from Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

Click here to purchase the latest edition of Value-Added Selling!

Thanks to our production team at The Creative Impostor Studios! Click here to book a complimentary consultation with Strategist and Producer, Andrea Klunder, to find out how to launch, produce, and grow your company’s podcast.

Connect with today’s guest, Matthew Berra, on LinkedIn:

Mentioned in this podcast: Sysco.


Thank you for tuning in. Our show is updated weekly with the questions you ask. So, please go to the home page to ask the question that you want answered.

Be sure to follow our show in your favorite podcast app and share this episode with a colleague or friend.

And most importantly…make it a big day.

Check out this episode!

How do you prevent prospects from sharing your proposal with competitors? With Matthew Berra

(Transcribed from podcast interview)

So, I think a lot of a lot of this business is cold calling. We’re knocking on doors. We’re not typically picking up the phone. We’re knocking on doors. I tell my sales reps, the new guys, the hardest door to open is the car door. You know, you actually have to get out of that car, knock on that door. In this industry, you’re not typically finding a restaurant that’s like, “Oh my gosh, I’ve been waiting for Sysco to come in and sell me groceries.” Matthew Berra

Paul: Hello, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of The Q and A Sales Podcast. As you have noticed lately, we have more salespeople joining us on the show. And the reason we do this is simple. We want to answer the most pressing questions facing today’s sales professional. That’s why we have salespeople on our show.

And I’m pleased today that we have Matthew Berra joining us. Now, Matthew Berra is the New Business Development Manager for Sysco, so he’s selling into the restaurant industry—an industry that has been hit especially hard over the past two years. You do not want to miss this interview. Matthew shares some great insights, especially as it relates to cold calling. And he’s got some pretty good stories, too, as it relates to sales.

Before we do get into the interview though, a quick shout-out to Andrea over at The Creative Impostor Studios. You know, I’m amazed at how Andrea will continue to help her clients grow their podcast. Whether it’s putting together complimentary webinars, sharing ideas on how to grow your podcast, Andrea and her team at The Creative Impostor Studios is there to help you and support you, whatever you need to make your podcast successful. So if you’re thinking about starting a podcast, if you already have one up and running, reach out to Andrea and her team. We’re going to have a link over to her website on this episode’s webpage.

Also make sure you, pre-order your copy of Selling Through Tough Times. When I think about the restaurant industry, man, it’s been hammered hard, and so have all of the suppliers tied to that industry. You know, that’s why I created Selling Through Tough Times. Selling Through Tough Times is all about helping sellers build their mental resilience and grow their profits through any downturn. The book is available for pre-order, so check it out on Amazon or wherever you get your books.

All right, let’s get on to the interview

Paul: Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of The Q and A Sales Podcast. On today’s show, we’ve got a very special guest. His name is Matthew Berra. I’ve been following Matthew on LinkedIn for a number of years, and I’ve got to tell you, this guy is a sales champion, so I’m thrilled to have him on today’s show.

Matthew, welcome. A fellow St. Louisan as well. Hey, why don’t you introduce yourself to The Q and A Sales Podcast community?

Matthew: Hey, Paul. Thanks for having me. Very excited to be here. Very humbled, very honored. I’m glad we did. We had mentioned that I went to De Smet and not CBC. So I want all of our listeners in St. Louis to know that. So, right now, I’m a business development manager for Sysco Food Service here in St. Louis. My path to that started when I was 13, bussing tables at a restaurant in Clayton called Cafe Manhattan. I bussed tables there. I’ve waited tables. I’ve bartended. I’ve managed restaurants. And at the ripe age of 21, I took a shot at a sales job for another company here locally and I’ve been in sales and food service sales for the last 18 years.

Paul: Wow, there we go. Eighteen years of sales experience. You know, the one job I always wanted was to be a bartender. Is it a cool job or what?

Matthew: It’s the best job. I mean, really. People were like, “Oh, you don’t really have sales experience,” but at the end of the day, you really do. You’re talking to customers; you’re up-selling them drinks. You’re getting to know them. You’re building conversations; you’re building relationships. So that, I would say, that was probably the first sales job I ever had was really tending bar and waiting tables. Part-time, when I was with that company, I did, one or two nights a week, bartend, just for a little bit of side money and (inaudible) that, ‘cause I missed those conversations with people my age.

Paul: Oh, that’s great. It’s funny. I—. In some of our training seminars, I talk about building relationships with customers, talking about challenges they’re facing, and I tell them, I go, “You know, salespeople are like the bartenders of the business world,” because people will share their problems, struggles, almost anything with you. And I bet you have some similar experiences there.

Matthew: I do. The conversations at bartending that you have with customers are almost the same. Kind of have to stay up to date on current news and topics, and really be a chameleon in those situations, because you don’t know what you’re going to say might upset somebody, might not upset the other person. But, you know, good listening skills and empathy are keys to a sales and bartending.

Paul: Awesome man. Love it. Well, you know, the format of the show is pretty simple, right? We want to answer the most pressing questions facing the sales community. And in order to keep the pulse of the sales community, it’s important to have sales leaders, and experts like yourself, come onto the show and talk about what you’re seeing out there. What you’re hearing from your sales friends, your colleagues. So why don’t we do this? Let’s think about the question that you have—a question that you hear quite a bit from your sales team or questions that you ask yourself—and why don’t we talk through them on the show and then we’ll see where we go.

Matthew: Sure. So, I think the big one—and the world is reopening for the third time, reopening for the fourth time—it seems that more restaurants are having discussions with us and having better conversations. And we’re getting in there and we’re putting these proposals together. And these— sometimes, unfortunately, these proposals go back to our competition. And I guess my question is, you know, what do you do, or what do you need to say when that prospect takes your proposal back and the competition matches it and you lose that deal?

Paul: Oh, I can’t stand when this happens. It’s brutal, right? Because you build what you believe is a certain level of trust with that prospect. You understand their needs. You spend the time; you craft the solution. You are the one who made the effort and now they’re just taking your finished product, your finished solution, and they take it back to the competitor who obviously is going to match. They’re going to match the price. They’re going to match whatever they can. This is an interesting, interesting question, because there’s a couple of different ways you can approach it.

I think being proactive is key. You know, one thing, Matthew, I’ll do on even my proposals. Just fired one out here today. The very first thing I will put on the cover of that proposal is, I will tell the prospect, this is proprietary information that will not be shared with anyone outside of the decision-making process, not with competitors or, or anyone. It’s important to set that level of expectation. And I believe that helps, because rarely will I ever get a prospective client that will tell me, “Hey, Paul, we’re looking at one of your competitors and here’s what they put in.” And, in fact, if they sent that to me, right then and there, that would send some red flags up being like, “Okay, can I really trust this prospect if they’re going to be sharing competitor’s information?”

So, you know, I think proactively, just making it clear in whatever way you want. It could be a statement. It could be just a, it could just be a professional way of saying, “Hey, you know, integrity is core here at Sysco, right? Integrity is such a core part of how we go to market. That includes with our clients we partner with. We just want to share that what we’re sharing with you, this is proprietary between us and between you. We’ve spent the time putting it together.” So you can, I think you can proactively state that in a professional way. What are some of your thoughts? How have you handled that in the past?

Matthew: Yeah. So I think that we always talk about questioning and the questioning strategy. And one of the questions I always like to bring up, maybe toward the end of that discovery, or when you have enough rapport with the customer and say, “Listen. I’m going to craft the best deal for your business. My question is, what are you going to do when the competition comes and tries to beat this? What are you going to say to them? How is that conversation going to happen?” And you really do get that prospect thinking. And right then and there, you’re typically going to know before you start putting that RFP together, that deal together, what the answer is going to be. But again, just what you said, it goes back to transparency and honesty. And we have put, so we have put NDAs in place for proposals before. So, yeah, I think that’s a great idea.

Paul: And what’s interesting, too, I think how you address after the fact. So we talk about what you can do proactively. I love that strategy, by the way, asking questions: What are you going to do when the competition comes in and they claim they can do the same thing? What a great way to get them thinking, but you can gauge their response and determine, I think, if it’s going to be an issue or not. So that—. I absolutely love that line of questioning.

Now, what do we do after the fact? I would be very direct with a prospect at this point. And if a prospect came to me and said, “Look, Paul, we took your solution and we talked to your competitor, and they can do the same thing as you can.” And, I’d say, “Okay, so you take the proprietary information, proprietary information that I’ve created just for you and you share it with my competitor?” I said, “I did all the work there. I’m the one who asked these questions. I’m the one who’s uncovered your needs, and now you’re going to take the solution we crafted and share it with the competition?” I said, “I’m not in the free consulting business. I’m not here to make my competition’s life easier. I’m here to make your life easier. And if you’re willing go with a competitor at this point, I would step back for a moment and say, ‘Okay, who do you feel like you’re going to be better off partnering with—a company that proactively uncovers your needs, finds opportunities to help your business, or one that sit back, sits back on their laurels and just waits for the competition to figure out how to help them?’”

I think having a direct conversation would not only be okay, I think it would almost be necessary at that point. What are your thoughts? How do you handle that after the fact?

Matthew: Yeah, it’s tough. I wear my heart on my sleeve when I sell. That’s (inaudible) either good or bad. You know, the quote that you said was “I’m working really hard for you so my competition doesn’t,” something of that nature, and you’re not getting paid to do free consulting. I tell people, “This isn’t a hobby,” all the time. This is my livelihood and this is your livelihood. And, you know, it’s up to me to make your life easier, not make my competition’s life easier,” just like you said. I think it’s great.

You know, if that conversation doesn’t get very far, and in my industry sometimes it typically doesn’t, I send them a thank-you card. I play that role where “Thank you for the opportunity. I appreciate the conversation. I’m going to check back in on you on one to two to three months to see if all these promises that they made you come true.” And at least give that respect to do that.

Paul: So you don’t say, “I’m going to go do some lousy Yelp reviews on your restaurant.”

Matthew: I mean, trust me, it’s something that’s crossed my mind before. I’ll put the Yelp curse on them (Paul: The Yelp curse?) No, you know, but no, I mean, it it’s brutal. You know, like I said, I’m an emotional seller. Sometimes that gets the best of me. But in that situation, you have to be the bigger person. And you have to understand that if you’re making the competition work harder, they’re probably going to slip up and you’re going to catch them again, ‘cause you already caught them once, and they’re going to go back to their old ways and they’re going to rest on their laurels.

Paul: Sure. Something you could, probably do is invoke a little empathy. [Be]cause the restaurant industry, from what I understand is, it’s a tough industry. I mean, it’s a very tough industry. It’s absolutely brutal. And the extremely successful restaurants, they fight tooth and nail to get to where they are at.

You could almost invoke a little empathy. Let’s make up any ABC Restaurant. Let’s say ABC Restaurant is the top restaurant in the St. Louis area—our hometown. And they’ve got their signature dishes, their secret sauce that they put on it, the things that make their restaurant one of the best. What they would be doing if they shared your proprietary information, that would be the equivalent of someone coming in and then sharing their secret recipes with their competitors, and maybe invoking a little empathy there and saying, “Come on Matthew. I can’t believe you shared our proposal. That would be like me taking your secret sauce and sharing it with one of your competitive restaurants. And then they’re able to come in and steal that thunder. I mean, come on. Let’s get past this and figure out how to move forward.” But, I think invoking a little empathy is not a bad thing either.

Matthew: That’s so great, Paul. I’ve never thought about that. And I’m, taking a mental note of that. I will definitely be using that tidbit next time that that situation comes up. I absolutely love it.

Paul: Nice. If it works, you can buy me a beer at happy hour sometime. How about that? (Matthew: I will. I will.) Nice.

What are some of the other questions you run across that you want to touch on in today’s show?

Matthew: So, I think a lot of this business is cold calling. We’re knocking on doors. We’re not typically picking up the phone. We’re knocking on doors. I tell my sales reps, the new guys, the hardest door to open is the car door. You know, you actually have to get out of that car, knock on that door. In this industry, you’re not typically finding a restaurant that’s like, “Oh my gosh, I’ve been waiting for Sysco to come in and sell me groceries.” A lot of the times it’s like, “No, I’m not interested,” or “No, I’m good.” What is your best method of following up with the prospect that initially, on that first or second cold call says, “You know what? I’m not interested in doing business with Sysco. We’re good. We’re happy. Have a great day.” How often are you thinking that you need to follow up and see if their “marriage” is still intact?

Paul: Yeah. Great question. And it’s interesting how it can differ based on the type of selling environment. So, rather than giving any hard and fast numbers, what I’d like to do is just share a couple of thoughts, a couple of key principles when it comes to follow up.

Number one, the most important thing before you walk in that door or walk through, I guess that door, instead of opening that door to the car, which I love the way you mentioned that, the hardest door to open the car door.

Matthew: It’s true, man. It’s true.

Paul: I might have to use that sometime. I’ll give you credit the first few times then—. As I often said… (Matthew: I drink coffee.) I’ll buy you a coffee. There we go. So you’re buying me a beer. I’m buying you coffee. We know who has the problem on the podcast.

But I think, when you walk into that prospect’s office or to their restaurant or wherever they’re at, your number-one rule has to be to create value for that person that you are meeting with. And that means delivering a piece of meaningful insight. One thing we found in our research in Value-Added Selling, we asked key decision makers— we asked them a couple of things—one of which was, “How can salespeople create more value?” The number-one response was “deliver more meaningful insight early in the process.”

So let’s, think about this from the restaurant industry. I don’t know the answer to this question, so I’m going to ask you, how often are our restaurants changing up the menu? Do they change them up with the seasons or anything like that?

Matthew: It depends. There’s some restaurants here locally that change them weekly, monthly. I often think that twice a year is pretty, a pretty good standard to hit.

Paul: Okay. You think about that as a way to create meaningful insight. Let’s say you’re going to meet with a restaurant owner. You don’t walk in there with a brochure of the groceries you have to offer, the brands you represent or anything like that. Instead, you walk in with an idea. And you tell that business owner, “Hey, look. I know a business owner like yourself,” or “You and your chef, you’re looking at switching up the menu at least a couple of times per year.” Identify when they will do that. If there’s trigger events, if it’s seasonal, things that will force them to switch, whatever it may be, just ask them, “As you are switching up your menu, as you’re looking at ideas, at our company, we are always looking for innovative ways to help restaurants, such as yourself, stay on the leading edge of trends in the food industry as people’s tastes change. I have several ideas that could really help put this place on the map,” (or bolster the position it already has,) and, so leading with an idea of creating value. And what they’re going to do is they’re going to view Matthew Berra as a value creator, not a timewaster. That’s a big difference between a pest and being persistent. A persistent seller comes in and creates value at every single interaction. A pest just comes in and says, “Hey, do you need anything?” or, “Is there anything we can help out with? Is there anything I can quote you?” That’s where we have to set ourselves apart. So I would say just creating value is the primary driver of getting that door to open. What are your thoughts on how to follow up in that piece?

Matthew: You are so spot on. It seems like you should be training some of our reps. training (inaudible)

Paul: We can make that happen (laughing).

Matthew: We need to get on the golf course more often, but that’s so spot on. I often like to find that wedge or that idea that I know the competition doesn’t have and show that to my prospects to get them thinking. I want my prospects to ask my competitors about an idea that I brought them knowing they cannot get that from them. It’s staying on top of it. I like to call that aggressive patience to where you’re not becoming a pest, but you are letting the customer know that you are there for them and you will be there to help them.

Paul: Yep, absolutely. Absolutely. And, you know what’s interesting as well, with a follow-up piece, whatever timeframe a customer tells you—you know, let’s say, Matthew, you’re talking to a prospect and they say, “We’re just really not interested in making a change right now,” and you want to leave it on a high note. You want to leave it open for future business and say, “Okay. Do you mind if I follow up with you on occasion?” And ask them, “How often would you like me to follow up?” Pretty simple and straightforward. But whatever timeframe they tell you, cut it in half. You know, if they say, “Every couple months, why don’t you check in with us?” Okay. Every month, then, follow-up with them. And by follow-up I don’t mean necessarily walking in interrupting their day. It could be a simple email, a touch point saying, “Hey, I read this article the other day in Food and Wine magazine, and I thought you might find it interesting.”

Better yet, cut out the article. If you see an article in the newspaper that says the restaurant industry is poised to grow by, I don’t know, 10% over the next year, clip out the actual article and mail it to them. Think about it. There’s no delete button on a letter or a piece of mail. Granted the trash can’s right by there. They can throw it away afterwards. But what they do is they see Matthew Berra clipped out an article, something of value, and he took the time and actually mailed it to me. That’s something you could throw in with your thank-you notes that you mentioned already.

Matthew: That’s great that you said that about the trashcan being right there. Early in my sales career (and this is kind of a goofy one-off sales story), I knew that this prospect was throwing away all of my sales flyers. And again, I wasn’t bringing value. I was new in my sales career. So this time I thought, ‘You know what? I’m going to change the game up a little bit.’ So I went to the Dollar Store; I bought a dollar trashcan, and I put my business card and some information in that trashcan and I brought it to the prospect and I said, “Listen. This information is already in the trash because I know that’s where you put it. So I bought you this trashcan so you don’t even have to worry about putting it in the trash.” And I’ll tell you what, Paul, as stupid as that sounds, that led to a conversation, and it led to a great relationship.

Paul: No way. Oh, I love that. That is awesome!

Matthew: No joke. I had another, I had it other instance where I was having some good conversations with the owner, and I went to, I think, Walmart at the time off Telegraph, which, you know where that location is at and how crazy it gets. And I bought a pair of $9 sneakers. And I took one sneaker out of the box and I wrapped it. I sent it to the prospect and I said, “Since already let me have one foot in the door, how about you let me get the other one in?” That also worked and that led to a sale as well. So I think, again, going back what you said, bringing value, bring creative ideas, bringing new ideas and bringing something unique is always something these restaurant operators want to see because they’re pretty stuck in those four walls 5, 6, 7 days a week.

Paul: Absolutely. Oh, that’s great, man. I love that shoe piece that and the trashcan. (Matthew: It works) It’s unique. You stand out. They remember it. And you think about who you’re selling to. You’re selling to business owners that have taken risks themselves. They do things to stand out. At some level, they’re going to look at that and say, “You know what? I respect the tenacity. I appreciate that boldness.” And you could take that and turn it into a benefit and just say to the customer, “Look. You could imagine, I’m getting so creative just trying to get in here. Imagine how aggressive I’m going to be in solving your problems and helping you once we actually do come together and do some business.

Matthew: You’re right. I mean, I tell people all the time, this isn’t airplanes and blueprints, this is French fries and green beans. Let’s have fun doing this. You know, we’re not trying to solve life’s problems or cure disease. We’re, selling French fries and green beans. Let’s be creative doing it together in a partnership.

Paul: You know, you bring something interesting here, and I don’t want to discount what you just said here but providing green beans and French fries and that—and, you know, I’ve seen a lot of your posts and stuff. We’re friends on Facebook. I know you’re a family guy. I got to tell you, one of the weekly highlights for me and my family is going out to a meal. We live in Kirkwood there. We love going to like Billy G’s, and that place, one of our favorite spots. And it’s one of our favorite times of the week is where we all get to sit around, enjoy some food together. You know, and not to get too deep here, but let’s say, Sysco partnering with the restaurant—think about how many restaurants were created with the vision of connecting people, connecting families. And you get to play a role in that. Just to think about.

Matthew: You’re right. You’re right. I mean, at the end of the day, the restaurants are in charge of creating experiences and that’s what we’re really trying to do for our customers as well as create those experiences. It’s funny, you brought that up about connecting people. Sysco recently changed their mission statement and their purpose to connecting the world to share food and care for one another. (Paul: Yeah. That’s awesome.) Which, I mean, at the end of the day, that’s what it is, right?

Paul: That’s absolutely what it is. People gotta eat.

Matthew: That’s it. I’m always gonna have a job.

Paul: Man, well, good stuff. Hey, let’s, tackle one more question. What are you thinking for the third one?

Matthew: So, this is my biggest downfall; it’s planning. You know, when the best time to plan your day is. I try to live by the philosophy of the six Ps: proper planning prevents piss-poor performance. But as a dad, as a business owner, as a golfer, great weather, kid events, the gym, all that stuff gets in your way sometimes and you just miss planning. So, when are you planning for optimal results, Paul?

Paul: Yeah, I mean, I think it’s a personal choice, when you’re going to be the most productive. I prefer to plan my week either Sunday evening, or I’m doing it Monday morning. I’ll block out Monday morning as kind of the plan. But I don’t plan a week; I plan 10 days in advance. I do a 10 day plan. Because it just, it takes me while to plan. I mean, it’s going to take two to three hours on a Monday morning if I have that time available. And so, I’m like, I just don’t want to plan a week. Let’s plan 10 days and get everything out there. I identify that as you know, Monday mornings, I’m motivated. I feel ambitious. I’m ready to get the week started, so I plan heavily. I set my goals out and then time-block how to make it happen. (Matthew: That’s great.) That’s what works for me. And what I do, also, is I plan my most important activities during my, what I call, green zone days. And this is a tip I got from my dad.

When he our company back in the early 1980s, he had this simple, brilliant time-management philosophy he called Red Zone/Green Zone. And if you look at your day, right, if you, started tracking what you do every hour of the day for a week, you’re going to identify those moments of the day where you are the most productive. For me, I’m the most productive between 7:00 AM and 10:00 AM. I pack my most important tasks in that timeframe green zone activity. Then around 1:00 or so—1:00 to 2:00—man, that’s a tough, that’s a tough hour for me—after lunch. I plan those low IQ tasks during that timeframe. If I need to clear out my inbox, if I need to do some administrative tasks that don’t require a lot of, really talent, just time, then I focus during those red-zone timeframes. So that’s just a couple of thoughts on what I’m doing. How about yourself?

Matthew: I’m getting better at it. I would say the best thing for me is, because this industry seems like it changes daily and schedules change daily, I’m planning the night before I go to bed for each day. If I try to play in 10 days out, Paul, I would say the 80% of it for me would probably blow up unless I have solid appointments set. But I think the one thing that’s helping is the time-blocking (inaudible) and adhering by the golden hours. Just like you have green-zone hours, I have golden hours. Really from 8:30 to 11:30 are great—is a great time for me to prospect and get some prospecting done. You know, obviously in the restaurant business, noon to 2:00 is typically not the best, so that’s where I’m trying to do my planning, my account research, administrative tasks, clearing out the inbox. And then you got your 2:30 to 5:00/5 30 to a knock out what you need to do, your prospecting, and leave some time open for meetings. And then hopefully, get to that soccer game, get to that practice, get to the gym, get to that tee time and make it a good day.

Paul: Man. That’s great. I love how you threw tee time in there. Got to make it happen.

Matthew: Yeah, I mean, I mean, that’s a whole other topic in itself, but Mike Weinberg talked about a golf being a mental health priority during the pandemic. I think it helps a lot of salespeople out, being able to get out of the house and get outside for four or five hours at a time, talk to their friends and not be stressed out with the day to day.

Paul: Yep, absolutely. It’s important to take those times to check in. I just saw. An article on LinkedIn before we hopped on. I think Nike announced they’re closing their corporate office for like a week. What I’ll do, I’ll have a link to that article. I applaud Nike for saying that. That’s great. Man, I wonder if I could still apply for a job before they do this, you know. Who knows?

Matthew: Really. That’d be great. I’d love to shut it down for a week.

Paul: Yeah, it’s important. And you’re just coming off of vacation, aren’t you?

Matthew: I worked a little too much on vacation. My boss told me that. My wife kind of gave me a little bit of that, but, going back to your Tough-Timer Challenge and things to be grateful about and have gratitude about. I’m very grateful that I was “needed” while I was gone and I coulg fix some problems when I was gone as well. I think the last thing you want in sales is when you’re not needed and your phone stops ringing. That’s when you’re in trouble.

Paul: That is. I remember one time coming back from vacation where I unplugged, and I hardly had any emails in my inbox. I had almost no voicemails on my phone. And I was thinking to myself, I’m like, “Okay. Am I that dispensable? Am I not creating enough value?” It turns out my manager and a colleague were managing my phone and inbox while was gone. (Matthew: That’s great.) They really took care of me there, but yeah.

Cool, man. Well, that’s good. So, one thing you mentioned the trashcan piece earlier, about throwing the cards in there and the brochures and all that. I love hearing interesting stories about cold calls or if there’s memorable ones that just stick in your mind. To wrap things up, you got anything you want to share on that?

Matthew: Yeah, so I would say, the one that’ll always stick with me is when the police showed up during a cold call. I was working on an account down in southern St. Louis—the Arnold area—and we walked in the back door, my boss and I, and we were typically dressed up: long-sleeve shirts, slacks, you know, dress shoes. We walked in the back door and I guess these employees thought that we were police officers. So they ran out the front door,  and they ran across the street. And we’re like, “Oh my God! What the heck is going on?” And five minutes into it, the owner showed up and his entire staff thought that we were there for deportation. (Paul: No way.) Yes. And then the police, she called the police on us, and it was a whole deal. Yeah. We had to explain. It’s a thin line because you do see signs on doors that say, no soliciting, no trespassing. Sometimes you’ve got to open that door and see what’s behind it.

Paul: Yeah, I agree. Why would you let a sign reject you when you could have the full experience of a person rejecting you, you know? (laughs)

Matthew: Nothing is better than getting rejected 9 or 10 times a day.

Paul: Yeah. There you go. It’s funny. So you mentioned the Tough-Timer Challenge piece. You reminded me of a story. This is when my dad actually started our company. And, he was getting a psych degree down at SLU at the time. He went down to talk to one of his old professors about a research project he was doing for salespeople. And the psychology professor said, “Gosh, I just don’t know how anyone could ever get into sales. I don’t know how they could even manage that level of rejection every single day.” And my dad simply responded to him, “You know, I never even thought of it.” (Matthew: I wouldn’t either.) It’s like, come on. It’s part of just the routine of it is, you know there’s going to be rejection. How you manage it and how you brush it off is so critical.

Matthew: It’s a job hazard. Just like anything else. At some point you realize that you can’t take it personally because they’re not rejecting you, they’re rejecting the company. And the idea of change—and the idea of change is hard on anybody. I tell my people “control the controllables.” You can’t control how someone’s going to feel that day, how someone’s going to talk to you that day. All you can control is your attitude and your actions.

Paul: That’s absolutely right. Well said. Well, man, on that note, we are going to go ahead and end the episode just a little under 30 minutes here. Matthew, Thank you. We’re going to have a link over to your bio on this episode’s webpage if people wanted to just follow you. I would recommend it, because Matthew, you are sharing a lot of good sales tips and content out there. You and Carson, you guys get together, have a conversation every now and then. It’s great. So, we’ll have some links to find you on LinkedIn. And man, thanks for joining the podcast.

Matthew: No, thank you so much. Like I said, this has been a goal of mine. Once I found you on LinkedIn during the pandemic, the chat with you and we got to meet briefly at a tournament. Hopefully we get out there and play some golf with Weinberg and Carson too.

Paul: Man, that sounds like a blast. Hey, thanks for tuning into the podcast today. Make it a big day.

Ask a Question


Selling Through Tough Times

Selling Through Tough Times

The Ultimate Guide to Grow Your Profits Through Any Downturn

Order Now
Value Added Selling

Value-Added Selling (4th Edition)

The global, go-to guide that started the Value Selling Revolution - now updated for today's market.

Order Now