Mastering Your Mindset To Master Sales With Ajay Shankar

Stephen: Hey, what’s going on, Ajay? Nice to have you out here today. 

Ajay: Hey man. Thanks for having me.

Stephen:  Yeah, that’s great. I appreciate it because you jumped on at the last minute. We had a call scheduled, but I had a cancellation, and we just converted that into a podcast. And the reason why I made that connection is because… I was disappointed.

It threw my day off a bit. But then I was like, “Oh yeah, he’s in sales. I see them talking about mindset all the time.” I thought it was actually a really cool opportunity, to mess with, just adjust my mindset, and just go into it. Just fix the issue, go right into it.

And not only that, but we had some technical problems here and, which I dunno, it’s interesting. It’s like things mess with your head, but if you stay centered, you can get through it. 

Ajay: Yeah. And that’s exactly the… sorry that I’m just going right into the topic, but I guess it’s the same presence that differentiates between a good sales call and a bad sales call.

Because when you’re in the moment completely focused on the person, it’s whatever the person throws at you, you can just, you can’t predict these things in advance. You can definitely have a structure where you can really follow through it because every person is a new person. Every conversation is a new conversation.

It’s like a river flowing. 

Stephen: So it’s the same thing with things going wrong. Yeah, I took that same approach actually with the podcast. Cause there are moments when I’m talking to people and if I’m thinking ahead, yeah, or if basically if I fall out of the moment I’m like, “Where am I going to go with this?”

“Or where am I going to go with that?” I can almost get panicked and I don’t know, I basically lose by trying to figure out what to say. I don’t know what to say. 

Ajay: Yeah. 

Stephen: And it’s the same thing in sales calls, too. Cause some people go right down your path and you’re like, wow, this was crazy.

But then other people right off the top, they’re like, I dunno, maybe they’re super dominating or whatever it could be, but they’ll right off the bat take you to another place. 

Ajay: Yeah. Here’s the thing, man. If we came into this conversation and if you had a structure prepared in your mind, I would not be talking to Stephen.

I would be talking to a made up portion of you. And when you’re having that anxiety of,  “Oh, am I saying the right thing? I’m trying to figure out what to say,” you’re never at your best self. And then it’s possible that I may not be at my best self as well. And then the people watching this are watching inauthentic conversation. But now because we did not do that, people get to watch something that’s in the moment and it’s this conversation can never be recreated.

Stephen: Yeah. And I think that’s cool. And that’s probably the only way I could really do it. I do notice that other people have all these questions prepared and I guess that works for them. I’ve seen successful podcasts that do that. But for me, I would rather… the best conversations I have with people are at lunch and just going back and forth and just chatting.

Ajay: Yeah. imagine if Rogan had prepared all his questions, he would not be where he’s at. 

Stephen: Yeah. I don’t know. You tell me, a little bit though, for whatever reason, I feel like mindset has become a much bigger topic over the last couple of years. I don’t know if that’s because I just had my head in the sand or if something is changing. There’s a burst of entrepreneurial-ism in the marketplace.

And maybe that’s the reason there’s a lot of people that are entrepreneurs that weren’t before and they didn’t have the mindset to do a lot of these different things. But it’s not just on sales calls. It’s even just getting up every day and facing the things you don’t want to do, but do you feel the same thing?

Does mindset seem like this is a new thing out there? I know it’s not a new thing, but it seems like in terms of how people talk about it, it is. 

Ajay: Yeah. I think mindset has been around for maybe 63 million years. How do I scrape the meat off the bones of this wild creature that I don’t even know what it’s called. I need to have a proper mindset for that. But I think the reason is, if you want to just apply for a job and if you want to go to the interview, I don’t want to say that you don’t need a mindset.

But there’s a threshold. You don’t have to maybe have it for some jobs. I’m not speaking for the entire industry in the world. But when you want to be an entrepreneur, when you’re going to figure things out by yourself, you’re trying to bring your old mindset to this new reality.

And you’re thinking this is not working out. We don’t have many options. We have to stop like, okay, what’s going on here? What can I think about differently? Why am I not thinking differently? So I think that’s the reason mindset is, it’s weird to say, it’s the reason why mindset is mainstream. But the question is, that’s not the only thing that should be mainstream.

Right? 

Stephen: It does seem like everything, in the end, applies to everything. I have an interesting perspective on it too, because I grew a business before, and I was going through a lot of different things. But because I was single, I could just let the business take as long as I needed it to grow.

Yeah. Mindset was important, but I just didn’t know about it. And so I just stumbled through things and I ended up creating a successful business. But then when I sold that one and I started the next one and I was like, man, I need this one to go a lot faster than the last one.

Then there was that pressure on me too and that’s where all this mindset stuff started to come into play for me. I started realizing, I was like, man, there’s all these things that I wasn’t actually that good at in my previous business, even though I was able to build it. I needed to do it faster. There were all these different things that I needed to become, ultimately.

So I started having all sorts of things going through my head that I had never really faced before. So that’s when I started thinking a lot about things like meditation and mindset and all that stuff. And that’s how I’ve arrived at it being such an important thing in my life.

Ajay: Did you have a moment of definition where you’re like, “I have to fix things up a little bit and then you can explore all these things?” 

Stephen: I’ve had a bunch of those, but there was a specific time last year where it was like, a lot of stuff really dawned on me.

It was actually a pretty tough moment to be honest with you, like just personally, and that’s when I, have you ever heard of Eckhardt Tolle? Yeah. So I found him and I was like, “Oh man, this is really cool.” Because I basically realized in my life, I’ve always lived, I was like an anti-Buddhist. I always lived in the past or in the future.

Ajay: You were not self-proclaimed but you didn’t…

Stephen: So then, yeah, I had a moment. I was in between, I was starting one business but I wasn’t that passionate about it. And then I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do, but I felt all this pressure to perform. It was a pretty intense moment where I really started to grow, I think I’m still in that journey.

But yeah, there was like a specific moment for me. 

Ajay: I guess that journey should never end. It should always be something that five years from now, you’ll be looking back at you today and thinking, “Man, there’s a lot of things that I didn’t know back then.” So I think that mindset of never ending, it helps personally. It helps me to move away from the destination-thinking toward the journey, not thinking only that things will get better.

It’s just where are people going with these, one after the other? Where are you running to? It’s like when I see people who are old and who still have not really understood it. It’s just really a shocking moment and I’d be like, so all this time, and it sounds pretty spiritual, but like you did not take time to be awakened and open your third eye to look at yourself.

Yeah, that was like a game changer. Like no way I’m going to that route. I only want to be the next moment. Good. If I can have a better moment right now, there’s no compromise. There’s no sacrificing this moment. This is what’s up.

Stephen:  Yeah. Yeah. I think I’m trying to master that right now, too.

What’s funny for me, and tell me if this ever happens to you. So I’ll find that zone. Yeah, or plan that next step. And then my mind is still able to take that next step to infinite complexity. And then I’ll still go off track. But I think I’m getting better.

Ajay: So basically you would have that moment. Could you repeat that again? 

Stephen: Yeah. So I get in the moment. I’ve turned all the voices off, because I tend to make things very complex, so I’ll come up with lots of ideas and I’ll be in the moment thinking about them, but then I have a tendency to then make it very complex, create a bunch of plans out into the future.

And then almost overwhelm myself thinking about all those things. And I pull myself out of the moment. But what’s cool is at least I know this is happening now. 

Ajay: Yeah. What is this law called? Where I forgot about doing it completely. Tim Ferriss talks about it, where you basically, just bring your tasks to the, as if you have a deadline.

And let’s say you had an assignment, you had one month to do something and you did not do it. Then you do it in the last minute. And is that concept called? 

Stephen: I forgot. it’s procrastination, but no.

Ajay: Parkinson’s Law. Work expands to fill the time. The fact that you’re able to do this in the last 24 hours, let’s just say you’re in school, and get a passing grade. So that means you were capable of finishing it. 

So, the less time you have for a task, the less time you’re going to be thinking about it. I just want to throw in an example, in fact, I was going to post this video today. So it was maybe three years ago, I was talking to a gentleman. We were having this conversation about me taking sales calls for him. So he said, — it’s so funny if you check my profile, like in a few minutes, you’re going to see this exact same thing I’m talking about again in the video– 

So he said, “Let’s do this, man. I want you to shadow me first. I’ll just pop on a zoom call, mute yourself and just listen.” So I’m like, “All right, I’ll listen to it.” So, I think about the third call, so I don’t know anything about the product, I don’t know anything about the service, and I’m, I’m just there.

And I think the call was at like 7:30 or something. And the guy that I’m working with, he hasn’t showed up yet. He had another call, but the prospect showed up. So I’m getting a call, and then I didn’t say anything, of course. I don’t know what to say. The prospect is un-muted and he goes, “Hey agent!” 

Oh God. And I was put in such an awkward situation that I’m like, there’s no way I’m just going to shut up and just pretend as if I’m not here. So all I did is, I had to jump in and I just unmuted myself. 

And I don’t really remember a lot of things that happened. I just remember that I spoke for the next 15 minutes and I did not notice that the person that I was working with, he actually showed up on the zoom call and he didn’t even say anything.

And at some point I had to pass it on to him, “All right, man, you can take it over from here.” And then towards the end he asked me, “Dude, I was listening in. You were doing incredible, considering that you’ve just shadowed two of my calls. You don’t know anything about our product or service or what we do or our customers but the fact that you were able to take charge, that’s quite impressive.”

And I was telling him that if you asked me to do this, there’s no way, if you’re like, “Okay, you have 10 hours or five hours to prepare. There’s no way I would’ve been able to say that.” But just the fact that I had no time to think, I could really perform there.

So I think less time is actually good because less time means less thinking. That means we just go in one step at a time, again, being in the moment and then you look back and you’re like, okay, I did something there.

Stephen: Yeah. That’s the thing I’m on right now, man. I’m trying to figure out, cause I am that guy, like the guy that took the 30 days and did it all on the last day and did pretty good at it.

So, if I could do that, why can’t I just do 30 days of one thing each. So what I’m trying to do now is, I’m literally just trying to say, okay, for the next 30 days, these are the things I have to do. And I plan out the whole 30 days.

Like I don’t give myself a chance to think about what I have to do each day. So it’s all planned out. It’s all the stuff that I said was the most important stuff. I just, I wake up and it’s already there planned for me. I’m still finding a way to screw it up a little bit here and there, but, that seems to be like the best way for me to just keep myself from thinking too much.

Ajay: So I have a question for you. So do you ever have days when, so right now, what part of the 30 days are you at? You just started or are you on the path? 

Stephen: I’m near the end of it, but I’m a little backlogged. So there were a couple of things that I didn’t execute on the way I should have.

Ajay: Okay. Do you ever have days when you wake up, let’s say you’re waking up on day 10, and you look at your tasks and you feel like you’re in a different mood that day. Did you ever feel that? 

Stephen: Oh dude. Oh yeah, of course. 

Ajay: What’s the conversation that’s going on in your head when that happens?

 

Stephen: I’d say a lot of it is self doubt. Sometimes, you know what, here’s the thing about me, man. I love to learn things. Yeah. So when I’m not learning things, I tend to feel… the best way to put is probably insecure, almost if I’m not growing, then I feel like what I am is yesterday’s news.

I don’t get what it is, when I have success, it doesn’t last very long. I’ll be really happy, but then the next day I’m basically, I want to do the next thing. So I guess what I’m trying to get back to is that in those 30 days, some of the stuff isn’t necessarily exciting. It’s just the stuff you got to do.

So it’s not always super exciting. So I’ll sometimes just be like, man, I feel like I’m not making an impact, even though the stuff I need to do is the stuff that I need to do, but I’ll get lost in that. 

Ajay: Yeah, totally dude.

Stephen: And the thing that always works is really just calming the mind down and just giving my best and it’s also being patient.

Yeah. I’ve had to master that one too. Like I’m not patient. So I’ve got all sorts of things that come back like that to screw me up when I have to do some of these things. But the things that kinda mess me up are like not being patient. And then, just feeling like I’m not growing and therefore, I’m not excited about what I’m doing.

Ajay: Yeah, so interesting that I’m listening to it. And I have as well occasionally. I’m sure that these are the thoughts that a lot of people have. The problem is these things don’t get addressed because most people don’t talk about it. Because it’s just so minute. It’s minute when it comes to your thoughts, but it’s actually affecting your day and your life overall a lot. But people don’t really talk about these small concepts. So it’s really interesting that you brought it up because people listening to it, they’ll be like, “That’s exactly how I feel. I can totally relate to that.” 

I think these are the things that have to be discussed. There’s a lot of Instagram, hashtags, and yeah, it gets you going. You’re scrolling through Instagram and you see it. It’s catchy. But this is one thing that I don’t like about short posts because it lacks context and it can often be misleading. 

Stephen: Yeah. I’m about to make a video about that where you can get really bad advice because the context of what people are saying and the profession they’re in, what they’re trying to get out of it, there’s so much context behind advice that you can get really lost if you absorb what’s in the feed too much. It’s true. 

I’ll be honest, man. I’m trying to be more open about these things just in general, because, if I could find in my forties, I’m 42 now, I’m just starting to master some of these things, I’m just assuming that I’m not alone.

You look at everybody and everyone seems so together. But yeah. I’m just trying to be more open, because it’s freeing to just talk about the things that you actually feel. 

Ajay: Dude, that’s so beautiful. Cause I had an extremely awakening moment because of what you said.

So I’m only 26 and still have a long way to go. I had this problem that I felt nobody really understands me. Nobody really understands what I’m feeling. I feel like I have a lot of people in my life that love me, support me, but they just don’t know what’s happening here and they don’t know how to talk to me.

And I feel like, my God, because of that, one of my paths in life is to make people feel seen.  

Stephen:  I have a similar thing as you did. That’s interesting. 

Ajay: If it’s the same, if it’s the same thing, like you feel like nobody understands you, 

Stephen: Maybe something along those lines and that way, that’s why I’m always internalizing it and then trying to ask people questions so that I understand them.

Ajay: That is interesting, man. And so I’ve been having that for so many years, and two weeks ago, last Saturday, I felt like I just could not take it anymore. It’s like how Eckhart Tolle started the book, “I cannot live with myself.” 

Stephen: His voice is so calming, man.

Ajay: Oh my God. Oh my God. I had that moment and I went for a walk. For some reason I told myself, “Do not resist anything.” It’s yeah, exactly. I felt like I read the book, Power of Now and I said, resist nothing. And I pulled out my phone and I made a video and it’s on LinkedIn. Actually a lot of people connected with it.

And it was the first time I posted a video on LinkedIn with zero edits, zero, nothing, just literally as recorded. Posted right away. And what I did in that video is just completely put my heart out, but not in a baby-like manner, but like from an adult, understanding that, “You know what? The universe gave me this life.”

Maybe the plan the universe has for me is that the universe wants to put people in my life who don’t really understand me so that I can take the moment to understand myself and fill that part inside of me. So it’s good enough. That happens. And from that day, when I think about the fact that the problem, that thing that bothered me for so many years, literally disappeared from my life.

Now, when I talk about it, I feel positive. I’m so happy that it happened. Like it gets me passionate to talk about it. And all I did is for the first time in my life, I decided I’m not going to run away from this. I’m going to stay here and complete in the end the power of staying, because people always want to, if you’re now on point A, you want to be on point B.

If you’re now on point B, you’re sad that you’re on point B. But there’s space in between where you’re not really sure where to go. And if you give enough space for that, I really believe life can transform and unbelievable things can happen from that space. 

Stephen: Yeah. I agree.

I feel like I’m on that search. I feel like I’m making progress. There’s probably something that’s right under my nose. That I probably know what it is, but for some reason I haven’t necessarily just had that moment. But it’s interesting because all these things do play into sales so much.

It’s because like you got to, I’ll notice, too, I’m starting to figure out how to switch it off. Pretty much every day where I have a podcast, I wake up and I’m like, “Man, do it!” I don’t want to, I, yet every time I’m in the podcast, I’m enjoying it.

I love talking to people. I love helping people, but there’s often times before, right when I wake up, I’m like, man, I don’t want to do this today. But right before, or shortly after, that kind of burns away and I’m able to just get into the moment and just take it how it comes. And then it’s always an enjoyable thing. 

But how is it that you help people when you’re talking to people about sales specifically? 

Ajay: So, what I really focus on is how I believe the world of sales evolved. People wanted to get things, so they figured out “how can we get things” starting 63 million years ago, most likely.

And, it was a lot of trial and error. There was no structure. But at some point, as smart as we are as human beings, we started observing patterns, trends. Okay. When I say this, when I act this way, this happens. And then they replicate it. And then, a couple of years ago they started coming out with sales scripts and different structures of conversations.

The sales scripts are created based on someone’s creativity in the first place. The script is created based on someone’s full state. We don’t know who it is, some great- great-grandfather who’s not alive right now. 

The problem is that if it’s given to, let’s say that it’s given to me, if I read it, and if that’s the main focus of my training, just through that paper, I would not be able to connect with the creativity that person came up with. 

Stephen: Not only that, but you’d freeze because if anything is buried, then you just get lost. 

Ajay: Exactly. What if… this is what I always like to say as a joke… What if a prospect is someone who’s seeing through your script?

What if a prospect asks,… Let’s say someone who’s been in sales for many years, they’re like, “Hey man, look. Can we just get real here? Cause I know you’re reading off of a script. Can you just talk to me like a human being? Just put that damn thing away and just talk to me normally.” 

Stephen: Yeah, you’re free.

Ajay: You’re free. There’s,… Oh my God. 

Stephen: To that point, I’ve gone through several high ticket programs and there is a script that everyone is using. You can sense it right away. I’ve been on those. I’ve done them and I’ve received them.

And there are times when I can tell what the person’s doing. I’m just like, “Dude, like just, that’s not… I know where this is going. I know literally what you’re going to say. So can we just skip that? Cut to the chase? Like I know you’re going to ask me, ‘where do I want to go?’ ” 

Ajay: Yeah, the most awkward question that I’ve seen in the sales script is, “So Stephen, if you improve your business, what kind of impact is that going to have on your family and relationships?” Do you really talk to people like that? How’s this going to affect your family?

Stephen:  Yeah, I know that’s the one in the script that I’m talking about. 

Ajay: People don’t talk like that in real life. If I bump into you in an airport and let’s just say you tell me that you need help with sales. And then let’s say, I’m talking to you and I’m not in my mind. I’m thinking this is not a sales conversation. I’m not going to ask you those questions. 

So the fact that you’re asking those questions, it’s gonna, first of all, you’re not going to feel the real person, you’re not going to feel like you’re connecting to the conversation.

That means you’re not going to the moment. The gift that can happen in the moment, you’re just completely losing it. 

Stephen: I agree, but what is interesting though, is that I have had conversations in sales where they do talk about how it would impact their family. So I know where that creativity came from.

So I know the conversation can go there. Yes. But having it in the script where it’s just asked, and then the other one is, “What’s keeping you from doing this on your own?” You know that one. They’re all designed to hit those pain points to create that gap. Supposedly your service is just going to fulfill them. 

Yeah, but it is interesting because those things came from somewhere I’ve experienced. People talking about them. I’ve heard people say, “This is in my way of doing this on my own.”

Like they say it to me. So I know those things are coming from somewhere. I know they have a place in a potential conversation, but if it’s just a script, then it just never flows the right way.

Ajay:  I think here’s the thing. The problem with that script… it depends on the personality types. So for example, let’s say, if you were on a call with me and you sense from the beginning that I’m open, I’m answering all your questions.

But I’m not completely loose and free and open with you. And you’re selling me. You’re trying to see if there’s a good fit for a product, a coaching program that you, okay, let’s just say the coaching program is about Facebook ads. So that means you don’t really have to connect with me on that level.

And if that’s the case, the best thing that you could do is just, don’t go there. And then we have a nice chemistry established. Just continue in that same path. If you suddenly ask me something like one of those questions, we’re going to lose what we already had. Then it’s just, man, Christ.

Stephen: I know. I’ve done that too. Like when you’re developing your product and it’s not fully fleshed out, this is where it’s even more of a train wreck because not only do you not know your product very well, because it’s not developed very well, but you’re going from a script, too.

I’ve done that before where I’ve asked one of those questions when it was already a good conversation. All of a sudden it was just, “What are you talking about?” Totally, “get real” and everything. 

Ajay: Yeah, if you figure out that I’m just like an open book and I’m just sharing everything, that is a different kind of guy.

I can ask him that question and I don’t have to read it. I’m just going to ask him like, “Hey man, how is this affecting your personal life as well?” Cause it looks like it is and how natural that is to ask. And my response was going to be natural. And then now it’s awesome.

Stephen: I had one sales call where I stopped going on that personal thing. But then he brought up, “So am I too old to be doing this thing?” Then I was like, Oh, interesting, this is a total, I’m coaching on marketing and all this stuff, but he’s having a mindset around, ‘is he too old to be even online?’ and all this stuff.

So I could have wrongly gone down the script path and just said, that’s just a mindset thing, man. That has nothing to do with what we’re doing here. 

Ajay: Yeah. And see, when you can focus on sales principles rather than sales techniques, you’re on the right path because this person brought up the age thing.

So let’s just say you talked to me and I’m like, I’m 18 years old or something. I’m like, ‘man, am I too young for this?’ And then you’d know how to go on that path as well. Or if I say, “Hey man, my wife is not really supportive of this journey. Do you have any tips on how I can communicate at home?”

And you don’t have that on the script. You don’t have that on the script. But if you have several principles and how you integrate those principles into your personality, then whatever happens, you can just go with that flow. And it’s weird, the interesting thing is it’s effortless like that.

It’s easy. It doesn’t drain your energy. You have normal conversations that lead to revenue and who would not want that? That’s my question. Like why,  why would someone not want that thing? 

Stephen: Yeah, honestly, that is cool. Hey man. I’m going to be conscious of your mindset. I know you got a call in two minutes, so how can people get a hold of you?

Ajay: LinkedIn. I’m posting twice a day. I thought I was going to do it for 90 days, but then now I realize that I’m going to do it forever. Not really forever, it’s like ‘unlimited.’ So I’m on LinkedIn every day. Yeah. I don’t know how to share it on my LinkedIn end.

Stephen: I’ll put it in the show notes. Awesome. Cool man. Hey, this has been awesome. I’m really glad that we did this impromptu session here, and I’d love to have you on another time. Obviously we’ve got tons of stuff to talk about, and I think this stuff is really important. Even beyond business, just like having a happy life. So even though it’s important in sales and everything, I’m really into this kind of stuff. So I appreciate it, man. 

Ajay: Hey, thanks for having me, man. And we should definitely talk later cause I see this conversation going way beyond this. 

Stephen: All right. Cool man.

Awesome. All right. 

Ajay: Take care. Bye.

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