Sam Hillestad
Product Marketing at SetSail
Table of contents:

Join Account Executive Luis Enrique Lan for an interview on how to break the ice with prospect, how to spend time “filling your cup” outside of work so you can bring your best self, and some advice for new sales professionals on how to grow their skills.

The following transcript has been roughly edited for clarity. Please excuse any errors.

Michaela: Hi Luis, thanks for coming on The Hot Seat.

Luis: Hey, Michaela, Thanks for having me so much. I'm excited to talk to you.

M: Do you want to tell us a little bit about you and your background?

L: Yeah, Yeah, for sure. So I am originally from Panama. Had been in Austin since 2000, so quite a bit. When do you hook 'em? Horns. Graduated actuarial science degree. From there, within the insurance industry for five years. Tech has been big in Austin. So how to get on that bandwagon and have just been in Texas for about a year and a half now. So it's been great. It's been a journey, but it's been great.

M: Amazing. That's a cool story. That's awesome. I visited Austin for the first time this year and I have to say it was the best breakfast tacos I've ever had.

L: One in a million. The Don Juan. Definitely. Next time you check it out. But hopefully it wasn't in the triple digits. That's as long as you can bear through the summers. Then you're, like, rewarded with a 70 for winter.

M: So I'm excited to talk today about why it's important to really try to make a personal connection and authentic connection with your prospects in the sales process. So just a level set. Why do you think that this is important?

L: There's a way that you have to make yourself stand out and make them see that you're not just a robot, you're an actual person. Get that human connection so they remember you. And to that, they remind themselves like, this is an actual person I'm talking with and that can help you get a lot further in the conversation, for sure.

M: Yeah. Yeah, you're so right. I mean, my LinkedIn DMs are cool every day, right? As are all of us. But I think when someone takes the time to really try to get to know you, it definitely makes a difference.

L: Yeah, for sure. I know that. Hey, I hope this email finds you well. Has been. Every time they see that, they're like, God, here we go again. Here we go, here we go. Right.

M: So how have you learned this? You know, you seem like you've had a couple of different types of roles in insurance in tech. So is there an experience that you can point to that really helped you understand why this is so important?

L: Yeah, not one specific experience, but in like just trial and error, just kind of going in there. Trial by fire, learning, messing up and kind of seeing that connecting with people over time got me a little further into the conversation and kind of I'm a very I like cracking jokes. So kind of cracking jokes, talking about the weather and they give you that five or ten extra seconds and just that those couple of extra seconds definitely go a long way. And you being able to type, tell them your story and kind of try and provide value to them for sure.

M: Yeah. And then you can build on it, right? If you get in a reaction, you can then use that for your next call.

L: Yeah, for sure. Def Definitely gauging how, how present they are and All right. How's this conversation going to go? How am I going to have to take it? Just kind of cracking a couple of jokes like yeah, it's Friday thank goodness. Right. Am I right?

M: Right. And it is Friday today. So yeah, well, coming as we record this, so let's get a little more tactical. So, you know, you need to make an authentic connection. What are some of the ways, maybe some big picture ideas on how you prepare yourself but also what are some tactical ways that salespeople can do this?

L: Yeah, personally, when I come in to work, I have to be locked in. I have to be present. So I'm a big proponent of filling your cup outside of work, doing what you need to do, relaxing, hanging out with friends, eating good food, kind of. So when you come into work, your presence, you're able to fight those rebuttals and kind of be at the top of your game, because that entails if you're not at the top of your game, you're not thinking how you should be and kind of come in coming quick with those rebuttals.

M: Cool. Yeah, that's a great point. What are your favorite outside of work ways to fill your cup?

L: Yeah, honestly, walking my dog, like just in the morning when everyone's still asleep, kind of just walking them thinking about the day, kind of get a game plan for the day as well as just kind of connecting with new people being able to. I'm a big proponent of providing value to people without asking anything in return because you never know when helping someone out a year ago might come back. Or I've been in Austin for 23 years. I love meeting new people. I have a list of my favorite restaurants to go to in Austin. So I love talking to them and being like, Hey, add me on LinkedIn here, here at the top here, the top 20 places that I love to go into town. And they're, it's surprising how much they'll remember you just from you giving that to them, because a lot of people kind of just don't know where to eat. They don't know where they're local. See? And I got you there.

M: Okay. Well, I definitely need to hit you up for a foreign trip. I think we establish that, any other tactics that you have or strategies that you use to to really get to that level with a prospect quickly.

L: Yeah. And my go-to’s are everyone loves talking about the weather. Some people love talking about sports or their kids. So those are a good way to kind of just go in there, talk about like, hey, it's Friday or it's some day halfway through the week at my right are like, we're getting through there and they're like, yeah, just yeah, two more days. And then you kind of get it. Took it out of them and kind of started opening up an active listening for, for sure if they're kind of talking to you like hey, today's not a good time. Like I'm not in the office. Kind of just active. Listen, try and see if you can get anything out of them so you can use them for the next time. I'm not in the office. I'm out of the league. You call them next week. Hope you were able to have a good time at the league, though. Definitely. Remember that versus like you just calling as a formality you like If you can bring something back from your previous conversation, they'll definitely kind of open up to you and be like, This person is actually listening to me.

M: Yeah, yeah. No, I love that. And I think that's important. So we're on the podcast called The Hot Seat. It wouldn't be the hot seat unless I asked you a hot seat question. So I have an impromptu question for you. You're already.

L: Yeah, I’m ready.

M: Okay, so what? Let's say that you have to mentor a brand new salesperson from scratch. What would be the first three things you would teach them and why?

L: The first three things is that — you can't do it alone. You have to find good mentors, whether that's inside of your company or outside. If it's inside, look at the top sales reps, see what they're doing, listen to their calls and kind of pick something out from each one of those reps to kind of make it your own, to kind of have your own source to it. And then from there you'll get better. The top reps didn't get there by just being by themselves. They definitely had someone that they looked up to that gave them those secrets that they'll definitely pass down to you. And then another thing is definitely to study like an open book because be open to learning new things like never split the different cycle. Cybernetics are two good books that kind of help you with that mental game. If you don't think you're going to be able to do it, you're not going to. It's all about being in a positive mindset and saying, Hey, I can do this. Like I just have to put my effort into it. You're going to suck at sales at first. Everyone does. No one is a sales prodigy. You kind of just have to go through it. And slowly but surely you are going to get better. And then two other books, Why We Sleep and Your Body Many Crave for Water are two good books that like self self-care once again, like taking care of yourself. So when you come to work, you can be present and just hit the ground running.

M: That's amazing. Okay, we're going to put those books in the show notes so everybody can check them out. So you're my go to guy for Austin food, great books, I love this. Okay. 

L: Pizza, foodie, good wine, I can let you know how to spot them in Austin. 

M: ​​All right. Awesome. That's great. Louise, thank you so much for sharing your insight and expertise with us. Where can people find you and connect with you?

L: Yeah. Thank you so much, Michaela. The easiest place to find me is on LinkedIn. I try to be super active, try to drop some knowledge for everyone trying to help. Just trying and providing value to people. So definitely connect with me on LinkedIn. Love connecting with new people. Luis Lan.

M: Awesome. Thank you so much.

L: Thank you Michaela.