Oct 3, 2022 • Podcast

What are the five secrets of the top 1%? With Brandon Bornancin

Paul and Brandon unpack the secrets to a full and successful sales pipeline.

Show Notes

Learn the sales-funnel math to hit your quota and be successful.

“The top salespeople—they prep, they write, they prepare those scripts on all of those sales objections in advance so when they’re ready to go play that ‘Super Bowl Game’ (which is a connection or time on the calendar to pitch and close a deal), they’re ready to go.” Brandon Bornancin

“You have to be coachable. You have to be obsessed with improving 1% a day. The only way to get trained is by giving up your ego.” Brandon Bornancin

Success and performance are a function of motivation and ability.

“Sales is the only profession that can take you from broke to financially free as fast as humanly possible with the lowest amount of time, or money, or education as possible.” Brandon Bornancin

“Hustle beats talent when talent doesn’t hustle.” Brandon Bornancin

Learn more about Brandon Bornancin and his company, Seamless.AI.

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What are the five secrets of the top 1%? With Brandon Bornancin

(Transcribed from podcast interview)

“It’s almost like a Super Bowl team. Tom Brady, who I love, I’m a huge fan of. He doesn’t go into the Super Bowl not knowing the plays that he’s going to run, not knowing the defense, not knowing what they’re going to try to stop them from throwing touchdown passes or running plays. He knows everything, weeks and months, honestly, before the game. The top salespeople, they prep, they write, they prepare all of those scripts and all of those sales objections in advance, so when they’re ready to go play that “Super Bowl game,” which is a connection, or time on the calendar to pitch and close a deal, they’re ready to go.” Brandon Bornancin

Paul: Hello everyone. Paul Reilly here welcoming you to another episode of the Q and a Sales podcast. Well today, Brandon Bornancin is joining us. Now, he’s a serial salesperson. I love that title, by the way, Serial Salesperson. He’s generated over a hundred million in sales deals while working with IBM and Google. Two x seven figure entrepreneur expert sales speaker, sales trainer, and sales author who is obsessed with helping you maximize your sales success.

Now to give you a little more detail on his current business. So Bornancin is currently the CEO and founder at Seamless.AI. It’s a wonderful search engine. It’s delivering you the best sales leads created for business professionals to find accurate phone numbers, emails, and intel for anyone they need to sell to. Now think about that. In sales, how challenging is it to find accurate information? Think about how much time we waste looking for that information. Well, Seamless.AI, they help you just get it done. So Seamless.AI helps over 35,000+ companies find prospects, close deals, and generate millions in sales with notable names like Google, Amazon, Facebook, Slack, Dell, Oracle, and many more.

Now, what was great about this episode is Brandon was talking about some of the secrets of the top 1%. With his company, they have an award they actually give out to the top 1% closing seven figure deals, and he’s talking about the sales secrets—the things that these top performers do that you can learn from. And what I loved about this interview is that it was all very practical, easy, applicable tips and ideas. So they’ve analyzed the top 1%, and on today’s show, that’s what Brandon and I are talking about.

Before we get into the show, also make sure you pick up your copy of Value-Added Selling and Selling Through Tough Times. That is the dynamic 1-2 punch. One’s going to help you stay mentally resilient and profitable during tough times. The other book is going to help you make price irrelevant when you’re out there selling your solution. So you can pick up both copies of the books, either on Amazon or wherever you get your books.

Without any further ado, let’s get right to the show. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did. On to the show.

Paul: Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of The Q and A Sales Podcast. So, salespeople are constantly asking me, “How do I fill the pipeline? How do I find qualified prospects?” So I thought, who better than Brandon Bornancin to join me on today’s episode of the podcast and talk about pipeline and prospecting and all that.

Brandon, welcome to the show. Thanks for being here.

Brandon: Paul, thank you. I’ve been a big fan of The Q and A Sales Podcast. Super excited to be here and thanks for having me today.

Paul: Excellent. So, for salespeople that have been sleeping under a rock, can you tell us a little bit about your company, Seamless.AI, and what you guys do?

Brandon: Sure. Yeah. So Seamless.AI, we find cell phones and emails for anyone in the world. I built it, we invented it because I was selling for Google and IBM. At the time, I needed to sell multimillion dollar deals to all the Fortune 500 companies, and mainly to like VPs of digital marketing, my ad-tech products for Google. And all these expensive, outdated sales databases were missing all of the digital marketers I needed to sell to.

So I’m like, working for Google I’m like, there should be a search engine that can find any contact, any company in the world. And then I also sold an architected IBM Watson. So I’m like, why can’t we use artificial intelligence to research and validate cell phones and emails for everyone in the world? We built it, combined the two. It took years and millions of dollars, and we launched it in 2018, roughly 4 years ago. And you know, now we’re, we’re lucky to serve 500,000 sales teams and salespeople, as well as, we just recently hit a billion dollar valuation, which we’re super grateful and excited for. So it’s been a hell of a journey. And that’s the #1 thing that people waste their time on is the list: building the list, finding the list, getting contact info for the list. And we believe that the life you want, the family you want, the freedom you want, the money you want is going to be fueled by the list that you can sell to. The way to build and sell those lists is with Seamless.

Paul: Awesome. So, hey, thanks for giving that background. And, one thing I think would be important, you know, given your extensive sales background and also what you’re doing now, let’s talk about filling the pipeline. And what I’d be curious to hear is just your thoughts, just from what you’ve seen, your personal experience in working with over half a million salespeople. What do you think some of the biggest mistakes salespeople make are when they’re trying to fill their pipeline?

Brandon: Yeah, no, that, this is a great question that a lot of sales teams struggle with. And so, we came out with an award called the President’s Club Award. This award—. So we’ve got half a million users. The users that make over a hundred thousand dollars in sales, we ship the Six Figure Club Award to. The users that make over seven figures in sales, we ship the Seven Figure Award to. So the Six Figure Club Award, it’s like 14,312 winners; seven figure Club, 4,213 winners. So when we studied all the President’s Club winners and all the money that they made, there were five key themes that stood out—like secrets.

So, number one is the math. They knew the funnel math. Okay. If I research a hundred leads, that gives me, I could convert the hundred leads to 10 appointments. The 10 appointments will lead—. If I close the appointments, I close it at a 20% conversion rate. That means I’ll have two appointments. If my average deal size is $10,000, I’m going to generate $20,000 for the month—20,000 times the year, that’s 240,000. You name it. Like they knew their sales funnel and their sales math better than anything. So when they were given a quota of a million dollars, $10 million, $50 million, they would just plug in the conversion rates and figure out, “Okay, to hit my seven figure sales math here, you know, if my goal is a million dollars, okay, I divide that by my close rate. I need, you know, X amount of appointments, Y amount of sales leads every single day. So they knew down, with the predictability, down to the dollar and the day, the sales map to hit their quota.

Paul: Yeah, I mean that, that’s unbelievable. I just wanted to reiterate that for everyone. So they know, not only how many calls they need to make, how many touches they need to make, but they actually go out and do it, right? And that’s part of the thing, you know, when you look at top achievers and you look at everyone else, I think everyone really kind of sort of knows what they need to do to be successful, but they just flat out do it. Excellent. Love the math piece.

Brandon: A hundred percent. Do the math and then like do the activity that represents the math. A lot of people forget too, there, there’s not 365 days in a year. Like, the sales days, there’s 265 sales days, so you literally have to take the 365, subtract 100 for weekends and holidays and boom! Now you’re down to 265 sales days. So they would take their quota divided by 265, then figure out the leads, appointments, and sales that they need every day to hit that.

The next is, the list. Secret number two is, the President’s Club winners are building lists one of two ways. So whatever the quota said however many leads they needed per day, that the top, I would say it’s split 50/50. Fifty percent of the winners would wake up right away in the morning or in the evening and build the list for the next day. So they’d go into Seamless, they’d go into LinkedIn, they’d find all the people that they want to sell to, and then they would sell to those people that day or the next day. They weren’t really building lists, 10:00 AM 11:00 AM 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Like they were using the selling time to sell as much as possible and automate the list building. The other 50% would actually spend one to three to four days building a massive list for the next month, for the next quarter. And then once they had that big list, they would then spend the next month selling to that list. So secret number two is like the riches are on the lists. Build the lists and build it in non-selling hours. And use technology like Seamless to go do that. So that way you’ve got the math, you’ve got the list. Any questions about the list?

Paul: Just to comment on that. You know, in Selling Through Tough Times, one of the things we’ve talked about in programs and then also in the book is the fact that top achievers, they reduce the friction between their goals: where you’re at today and where you want to be. They make tomorrow’s success easier, and they do that by doing things proactively, just as you mentioned. Excellent. Excellent. So what’s secret number three?

Brandon: So secret number three, now that you’ve got the math, you’ve got the list, it’s like, “Okay? Well now what I do?” The Top President’s Club winners from all of our research, all of our data, right? And these half a million users have researched over 730 million leads. They’ve booked over 14.9 million appointments, 2.98 million deals, closed and 29.8 billion in revenue. The top 1% of that, what they do is the scripts. This is secret number three, the scripts. So they’re never shooting from the hip. All the top salespeople and President’s Club winners, they will plan out their sales campaign in advance to the list: What are my emails going to say? What are my calls going to say? What are my social touches going to say? They will plan out the 5-, 10-, 30-day sales campaign in advance, write out all the scripts, the value propositions, the elevator pitch, the what’s in it for me, the call to action. What should the call to action be for each message? How am I going to do a different message at each touch? So they plan out the script, the campaign, in advance. Also, they plan out all the plays for every sales objection: I’m not interested, No budget, It’s too expensive, I’m already working with someone, Call me back later, I’m not the right person, Call my boss, Send me more info, Tell me more, What’s the price, I’m already working with X, I’m already working with Y, I have no budget, Unsubscribe, right? All the top salespeople know, “Hey, I’ve got to have different plays, different scripts, for all of these objections and Q and As. So they’re maniacal about prepping, writing, memorizing.

It’s almost like a Super Bowl team. Tom Brady, who I love, I’m a huge fan of. He doesn’t go into the Super Bowl not knowing the plays that he’s going to run, not knowing the defense, not knowing what they’re going to try to stop them from throwing touchdown passes or running plays. He knows everything, weeks and months, honestly, before the game. The top salespeople, they prep, they write, they prepare all of those scripts and all of those sales objections in advance, so when they’re ready to go play that “Super Bowl game,” which is a connection, or time on the calendar to pitch and close a deal, they’re ready to go.

Paul: Man, I love it. And so preparation is key. And I’ll share some data from when we put the fourth edition out of Value-Added Selling, in our research on top achievers—so these are the folks that are in the top 10% as it relates to performance within their company. We interviewed over a hundred of them—various industries. What we found is that 95% of top achievers routinely plan every single call: 95% versus 10% of the general sales population.

Now, I’ll give you a little data point here on Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. I don’t know if you knew this, but talking about preparedness, (Brandon: I love both of them.) In the last Super Bowl, Bill Belichick actually, during practice, would take a break for the same amount of time that the Super Bowl halftime show was going to be, because it’s typically a little bit longer in a Super Bowl, so he wanted his team to be used to that. And that, that may have been when they just annihilated the Falcons in the second half. You remember that one from, Oh, who knows what that was. But preparation is key.

Brandon: Yeah, they smoked them. They totally smoked them. I totally know what game you’re talking about. It was like a blowout. It almost ruined the Super Bowl with how bad they won.

Paul: And all of a sudden now all my listenership in Georgia has gone down for this podcast. Alright, so, hey, what’s secret number four look like?

Brandon: So secret number four, and this is where people like you, Paul, and, and other experts come in. Secret number four is training. You have to be coachable. You have to be obsessed with improving 1% a day. The only way to get trained is by giving up your ego.

Most people don’t listen to training, coaching, mentorship secrets or try to learn from other people. This is also why I don’t hate on other people. Successful people don’t hate on other successful people because they’re studying and they’re learning from them. So anytime that I’m working with a mentor, an expert, an investor, like I’ve got investors who run $20- to $50 billion funds. The founder of Google invested in Seamless. Guy Kawasaki invested in Seamless. He was Steve Jobs right-hand man as the product evangelist. Dunn and Bradstreet, Amazon. So I’ve got all these gurus and these boards that coach me. And I’ve got two options. I could sit there and be like, “You guys don’t know what the hell you’re talking about,” and not listen and just be like, “Yeah, yeah, I’ll go do that,” and not listen. Ignore it. Right? Or I could literally be like, “What did you mean there? How do I do that? What do, how can I make that happen?”

I love getting success clues to shorten the amount of time it takes to become successful. And training is the secret to success: the books, the courses, the experts have the cheat codes because they’ve done what you want to do. They’ve gone where you want to go. They know how to get there. For example, we’re using the football analogy. If I’m a high school quarterback and I want to get to the NFL and I want to go to the Super Bowl, like I’m going to study, mimic, memorize the training rituals, the habits, the success principles that every single Super Bowl quarterback has ever practiced and has ever done. Because those are cheat codes. What are their secrets? If I just model and copy those secrets, I could maximize my success.

So training is a big one. Training on everything from outbound sales activity, calling, emailing, social selling, to sales discovery, to pitching, to objection handling, to closing, to follow up, to price increases, to marketing, to branding, to value-added selling, value proposition, challenger selling, selling during tough times, maintaining price integrity. Like all of these things, you could constantly be improving, and the ego will try to hold you back from constantly improving. And you have to make sure that your ego doesn’t get in the way.

And that’s why at our company, we’re hiring like a thousand people right now. And one of the core principles for what we’re hiring for is, are you coachable and do you showcase some level of improving 1% a day. Cause, let’s just say you’re a salesperson, you make a hundred grand. If you’re coachable and you’re trained and you’re trying to always learn and improve and invest in self-development, you improve 1% a day, that compound, that compounding interest is 37x by the end of the year. That means you go from a hundred k to making over $3.7 million by the end of the year. It’s absolutely insane. You have to train. Training is one of the top secrets.

Paul: Absolutely. You’ve got to get better. When working with top performers, one thing that I’ve noticed is, yes, there is a healthy ego sometimes, but that also can help drive them. There’s good with that. But they also, they’re proud of what they’ve accomplished, but they’re humble enough to admit, “Hey, I’m not done yet. I can always get a little bit better.” That humility is part of who they are, their fabric. And you think about it, someone can’t get better until they first admit they can get better. And having that humility is part of it. (Brandon: I love it.) Excellent. Excellent, Brandon. So let’s, let’s get onto secret number five.

Brandon: So this is the last secret, and it’s going to sound very obvious: activity—sales activity. And what this means is you could have the math, the seven figure sales math to win President’s Club. You could have the list of all the ready-to-buy decision makers with credit card in hand. You could have the scripts; you could have the training. But if you don’t put in the activity (secret number five), none of it matters. And the #1 reason why people don’t put in the activity is two things: they’re missing one of the four secrets (the list, the activity, the scripts, the training), or they’re scared—fear. They’re scared of making the calls, sending the emails, actually prospecting. They procrastinate to put in the sales activity. Some limiting belief or fear holds them back from putting in the activity.

And we’ve just got a motto here: Hustle beats talent when talent doesn’t hustle. High school—I was never the smartest kid in school. My best friend, he was a genius. Never studied; aced every test. Well, then we go to college. You know, I graduate in three years. I start a company when I was 18 that did $12 million in sales, and it took him seven years to graduate college. What was the difference? The only difference was, hustle beats talent when talent doesn’t hustle. I just worked hard. I’ll never be the smartest person in the room, but if I work hard, I put in the most amount of activity, I’ll win. And my buddy thought that his intelligence without hard work could maximize his success, and it destroyed his potential, unfortunately. And I work with a lot of salespeople, and you see the President’s Club winners all putting activity around the clock/365, and you unfortunately, see these insanely talented people who don’t put in the activity, who unfortunately don’t reach their fullest potential, don’t win that next $10 million award, $100 million award, you name it.

Paul: Absolutely. I’ve always believed that, that success and performance, it’s a function of motivation and ability, right? There’s things that we have, innate skills, some talents, but if you don’t have the motivation, if you don’t put the work in, you’re not going to be successful. That is 100% true.

You know, Brandon, it’s clear that you are passionate about sales and helping salespeople. You know, whenever I get folks on my show like you, or like a Jeb Blount, I want to know, “Okay. What is it that you love about sales?” So if you would indulge me for a moment and just share with me, since your days at Google or, with IBM, what is it about sales that you love?

Brandon: Yeah. Thank you so much Paul, and thanks again for having me on this show. Yeah, I’m writing this new book about tech sales. It’s not out yet for presale, but I’m going to drop it on Amazon. Maybe listeners tune in and will be live on my Amazon page with the other three books that I’ve got out. And tech sales, in the book, one of the top secrets is related to going all in and building a profession in sales. Sales is the highest paying career in the world, the highest paying profession in the world. Sales is the only profession that can take you from broke to financially free as fast as humanly possible with the lowest amount of investment of time or money or education as possible.

And unfortunately, the school system, all the myths out there about sales really hinder back its ability to maximize the impact and potential of so many people. It is the greatest profession in the world, because you could connect with anyone, you could sell anything to anyone. You get to serve other people to make their goals and dreams a reality.

In the book, I’ve got 50 reasons why sales is the greatest profession in the world. But I would say my #1 reason is, and because I’m a serial entrepreneur and salesperson, I don’t say that like the gurus out there that try to impress people. I say it because like almost after every success, I’ve had a massive failure. So like, I’ll have a massive success. I’ll make it all, and then I’ll try another company or something, and then I’ll lose everything. Like, I lose everything probably every five years. Luckily, you know, the zero to billion in four years with Seamless.AI, it’s actually the only company where I haven’t lost everything yet, which is amazing.

But every time I’m in a drought of losing everything, like, because I make a big bet or try to build a company, I use sales to take me from broke to financially free as fast as possible. And the world goes round because of salespeople. If products don’t get sold, if ideas don’t get sold, if visions don’t get sold, companies don’t get sold, investors don’t get sold, politicians don’t sell. Everything in life is a sale. And without salespeople and without the #1 profession in the world, there would be no economy. There would be no companies. There would be nothing. So, it is the greatest profession. Anyone tuning in, I hope this show reinvigorates you. That shit… Wake up. I do work in the best field in the world. And where am I at? What’s holding me back? What do I need to learn to continue to level up? We’ve all got levels to this game. Like I look up to billionaires and I’m like, man, I’m nowhere. Like I am no one. I know nothing. I have nothing. I’ve got a long way to go to achieve that type of accolade. And wherever you’re at and whatever your goal is, there’s something that we can do or something that we can learn to get to that next level. And the greatest part about sales is, you can do it without a college degree. You can do it without mentors. You can do it without anything.

[00:22:44] Paul: Gosh, Brandon, I’m pumped up. Actually, right after this, I’m going to go work my pipeline. So, man, I got an extra bounce in my step. I got the five secrets now. I know what it’s going to take. This is awesome.

So, before today’s episode, you know, I was looking at some of your content, some of the videos, and also poking around your website, and there was something that really grabbed my attention that I was hoping we could close out with, and that is the purpose of your company—the purpose. What is the core purpose of Seamless.AI? Maybe you could share a little bit about that.

Brandon: Yeah. Thanks for researching and diving in. So, our mission is to help the world connect opportunity, and positively impact billions. There were so many times in my life where I was behind my mortgage, I was behind my bills, I was behind in time with my family, whatever it was, because I was behind in sales. And if I can just find that one ideal customer, that one decision maker with credit card in hand, ready to buy my products and services right now, my life would forever change for the better. And, it happened a lot when I was selling for IBM, because those are like $10- to $50 million deals. Very hard to find, very hard to get. And all of my time was wasted on trying to find these buyers. So, automating it and being able to connect with anyone, being able to get the email, cell phone number and insights for anyone in the world. You know, the idea of why I built it was like, man, connecting with these super successful people on LinkedIn. When I was a kid, a lot of them didn’t accept my connection request. A lot of ’em didn’t accept me as a friend on Facebook. A lot of ’em didn’t respond to me calling the corporate line. I’m like, there’s got to be a way to connect with these people one-to-one: directly email them, directly call them, connect to opportunity, one-to-one, right away, instantly, in seconds.

So, when I had the idea of like, what if we built a search engine using AI to find anyone in the world that you need to sell to, to research and validate their cell phones and direct dials and emails instantly in seconds, that’s really the mission. I want you to be able—. Like whether you need more customers, more appointments, more sales. Whether you need to recruit—. Like I’ve personally drank my own champagne and we’ve used Seamless to acquire nearly a hundred thousand customers. We’ve raised nearly a $100 million dollars. Like this is like build the list, sell the list. Nearly a 100,000 customers. Built the list of investors, sold the list of investors cold. Raised a $100 million in funding. Recruiting—I’ve hired a thousand people with Danielle and our amazing HR team. We built the list of people that we wanted to recruit, prospected them, sold to them, and then hired them. And then marketing. We’ve used these lists to market to 125 million impressions throughout all of our digital marketing platforms.

So use this platform as a way to connect opportunities so that you can change your life and your family’s lives forever for the better.

Paul: Man, thank you. Thank you for sharing that. And thank you from the sales community. I mean, you think about how far we’ve come as an industry from, combing through rolodexes to spending countless hours online trying to find the information, and it’s all here. So, a big thank you from the sales community on that.

Brandon: Thank you so much. I think Paul’s the first one to ever thank me. I appreciate you, man.

Paul: Hey, well, we appreciate you as well. So thanks for everything today. Thanks for sharing the five tips.

Make it a big day.

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