Unknown Speaker 0:00
I'm going to put all this in my book bag because I'm from the streets. The
boom was going on. It's your boy ambition. And here we are today with another episode of the MYFB podcast. And today with me I have a very special guest. This guest has an expertise within sales and has been quoted as saying people don't like to be sold to they like to be sell lected and loved it, right. Absolutely love it today with me. I have Miss Marek Juan, how are you doing?
Merit Kahn 0:33
I'm doing great ambition. How are you?
Did I pronounce your last name
Merit Kahn 0:36
right? It's con que hmm, yeah, that's all right.
Why did I Okay, I went alright. It's
Merit Kahn 0:43
all good. You got merit, right? Most people mess that up. So it's all good.
Okay, so let's jump into the name right? Because I know you. I also get it. Right. I go everywhere. People will like your name is ambition. What did you did? Your mother really named me that? I'm like, Well, I named myself. Right. Like we have that power? Yes, we do. So how did you get the name Mary?
Merit Kahn 1:07
Well, my parents believe that a child grows into the meaning of their name. So their criteria was that it had to start with an M because my grandfather died before I was born. And so you take the first letter of his name and are their nerve culture. And that was so it had to be an M name. And merit means worthy of praise. And they figured, I mean, I don't know how they knew I would grow into that name, but I did. And that's how it works. Funny, funny little fact, I actually once dated a man whose last name was worthy. So yes, ambition. I was this close to being merit worthy for the rest of my life?
That is amazing. But I really I should have married him. Okay, so then along came again is or is that maybe name?
Merit Kahn 2:05
That's a good one. Actually, I didn't really like the name merit when I was a kid. And you know, kids are cruel. So it's merit pay merit, merit, fair it you know, Merritt Parkway, Merit cigarettes. And so I said, Fine, forget it. I am just gonna go by Stacy, which is my middle name. And I did that up until I was 21. And then after I graduated from college, and I was out on my own, and I was starting in sales, and now I want to stand out, then I went back to the name merit, because if I called and said, Hi, Stacy, then I had to say con and you know, from that, and you know, it's not, it's pretty, pretty clear. You probably only know one maybe two merits in your world. So I could just get away with one name like Cher or Madonna, or, you know,
no, I agree with you is that you are the only merit that I've ever met.
Merit Kahn 2:56
And you are the only ambition I've ever met,
that we've met when merit and ambition good things happen.
Merit Kahn 3:03
So amazing, right.
Okay, so talk to us a little bit about your philosophy when it comes to sales. I understand that everyone has a different philosophy, right? You could be Joe Jordan Belfort asking someone to sell you a pen. Or you could be you know, the really pushy Grant Cardone type. So what what's your flavor?
Merit Kahn 3:27
are first of all, I appreciate that. Yeah, you know, some of the the names that are getting a lot of press out there. Yeah, I might fly a little bit less under the radar screen. But I, I really believe that sales is not being pushy or aggressive. Somebody is trying to push their ideas, their offers their solutions on you, you're going to figure it out pretty quick. It's going to feel kind of gross. And you're going to do everything you can to push back. And so by being pushy, and salesy, yeah, they're going to close some deals, because some people are just ready to buy. But it just doesn't feel authentic. It's certainly not authentic to me. And I know from listening to previous episodes of your podcast, that authenticity is really important to you personally, and it's a theme with your guests as well. So we believe very much in what we call the ABCs authentic business conversations. And so we really work with people who are ready to stop selling, and start getting selected. They want to be selected by their ideal prospects and clients that really fit the work that they're best suited to do. And so we call our company select sales development, but we spell it s e LL. E. C T, which is great for the the word play. It's probably terrible for the URL, but select sales as the LL e CD sales and you know in our philosophy He really is that if you want to be more influential with other people, you really have to understand what has influence over you. And I think that's a, that's a core piece of our programs.
So interestingly enough, I was on a call last night, and I was doing some speaking. And one of the things that I was doing was I said, Okay, let me take this opportunity to re reconfigure the way that this audience, this group of people in front of me looks at sales, right. And, you know, when you think of sales, just ask the average person, they'll think of a skeevy guy in a checkered blazer, getting ready to sell them a lemon, right. And I explain that people, if you're running a business, and that's how you think of sales, then you're gonna have a rough time. Because, um, you know, one of the things that I believe is sales is one of the, one of the important pieces, the three, three most important pieces of any business, and sales is very important. So one of the things that I have been encouraging people to do is just close their eyes. And imagine a handshake, not a handshake, where somebody's turning your hand down, not a handshake where your hand is on top of fear, even firm handshake, right? There's no gender to these hands, you don't even know if it's men shaking hands, women shaking hands. And I don't even want you to put a color to the hands. There just hands shaking. And that's what I told people to imagine when they think about sales. So I just wanted to share that with you to ask your opinion, do you do a lot of reframing of people's minds of your clients minds when it comes about thinking of sales? Or is it more so let's help you develop a process so that you don't have to overthink about sales and conjure up those negative images?
Merit Kahn 6:58
Well, first of all, I love that you share that experience with your audience, because it really doesn't matter. I mean, if you've got a problem, if you've got a pain, and it's keeping you up at night, it's creating a challenge in your business. You don't care what I don't care what you ate for breakfast, I don't care where you went to school, I don't care what color you are, I don't care any of that I just can you solve my problem? Because that's, that's what I want. And so I think, you know, sales is such a, an equalizer, right? It's if you're a good communicator, if you're good at understanding how to how to listen past that initial question, somebody's asking you, so that you can get to the heart of really what is hurting them and what they need. And if you are a good match, and it's appropriate to make an offer. That's, that's the essence of sales. So to your question, I think the most important thing, first of all that we do is we meet somebody where they are. So if you're already in that mindset, you know, you're a professional salesperson, you, you embrace that identity, you've got some successes, you're excited, you know, you don't think of sales as a dirty word, great. We're going to accelerate your experience, we're going to accelerate your results. Because we've got a systematic proven process, we're going to teach you a few more advanced things that you would learn beyond sales, 101, or 202. And you're going to kind of get to that next level, as they say, right. But if you're a person who's a professional, you're an expert, you didn't go to school to be a salesperson, you went to school, or you're you went and studied as an apprentice or you were had a military background, and you came out with skill sets. You know, that's someone sometimes those people rightly so have an aversion to thinking about sales, right? They didn't go through all of those experiences to come out. The other end is like, you know, the, with the persona that you you described before, like, you're like the pushy, aggressive salesperson. So in that context, we meet you where you are, as well. And so we're not going to be in an argument with reality. If you think sales is a dirty word then, okay, let's not try to reframe that for you. Let's not try to convince you that sales is fine. let's reframe or not reframe. Let's give you some, some questioning techniques and some things that you can incorporate into your conversations with people that don't, that don't feel pushy and aggressive. They're just better questioning techniques that you as an expert need to bring your prospect through an experience where they recognize I need what you've got, I need more of you in my life.
I like that at the end. I need more of you in my life, right like that. That is something that I think a lot of people kind of forget that The reason that you're coming to a salesperson anyway, if you're any customer is that you have a problem, and you need a solution. And the solution does need to be maintained. So I like the fact that you said that. You mentioned something that was also very interesting, better questions, right? How much do you see that the biggest problem that your clients would have is that they're coming in, they're trying to sell someone, something they're making offers, but they aren't asking questions.
Merit Kahn 10:30
That is, that's one of the biggest problems because in, in the way that you describe it is how, how I hear it mostly in the marketplace, which is, how can I sell more? How can I, you know, get more of my offers out into the world? And when we think about it from that perspective, it's very self focused, right? So if we flip it, and we always keep our attention on the other person, it's, you know, what do people need that I'm the solution for, you know, how do I better identify the people who really need the areas where I have, you know, expertise, and, you know, the right solutions, whether they're products or services or whatever. And so, it's really the first thing, the the first thing a good sales professional really needs to understand is, How do I open the minds of the people that I can best serve? And what I mean by that is, you know, everybody's kind of braced, right, we're brave, even when we're scrolling through Google, and we're looking for a particular solution, there's still some part of us, that's kind of like, holding up the, the the barrier, like I don't want to be sold. And we can you can see it on certain websites that are there's formulas, like we've seen so many sales pages, now that you could see, you can feel the formula like coming through the page, right. And so when you think about it, we're all kind of braced to protect ourselves from being sold. So the first thing a sales professional really does that's distinct from a sales person, I like the distinction there is that they'll take a moment to first invite a prospect to have an open mind. So I know many of your listeners are listening to just the audio version of this. But if you're watching, you can see in the background of my little zoom screen, I have a pillow on my couch behind me and it says Are you open to? And I think those are perhaps the four most important words that will transform your business, and your life, and certainly your sales. Because when we ask a prospect as an example, have you already decided it can't get any better? Or are you open to a new possibility? They have to listen to that question and go, Hmm, I guess I am open to a new possibility. Wow. Now all the questions you've learned in the mechanics of selling can work for you. But until you ask that important question to start the game. It's everything you say, no matter how well trained you are, is going to sound pushy and aggressive.
Oh my gosh, I can't wait till we released this episode. So I can send it to several of my entrepreneur friends. Because even just in that statement, you opened up a world of possibilities when it comes to my sales, right? Like, I'm sitting here thinking about the amount of times that I realized that someone was closed off. And instead of just asking that question of Are you open to or exactly what you said, have you decided that it can't get any better? Right? And having that open acknowledgement, I think a lot of us who are coaches consultants salesman's speaker, I don't care what you do or what business it is, you listen to the client on the other end, and you know, when they're closed, you know, when they have already in their mind decided that it can't get any better. But at the same time, a lot of us as the sales professional, the salesperson on the other end, have already decided that it won't get any better with the client. That's right. So by this asking the question you read you just reopen up that world and it never becomes you truly make sure that it doesn't become a true No.
Merit Kahn 14:31
Exactly, exactly that it really is a magic question. And and while you of course want to ask your prospects and clients have you already decided it can't get any better or are you open to new possibility? The first person we need to ask that question of is ourselves. And you know, am I open to increasing my average deal size? Am I open to making additional offers? Are my clients, which I might term as an upsell, but would be additional things that would benefit them? Am I open to asking for more referrals and introductions to grow my business? Am I open to putting in the work to develop courses or work with other professionals who have courses where I might have an affiliate relationship might open to other revenue streams? Right? Like there's so much. But if we don't first acknowledge that, honestly, the first sale is always to ourselves. I know, I'm not the first person to say that, but it's a good reminder. But first, we have to sell ourselves on what's possible. What's that next level? What, what's that growth? And, and if we're open to new possibilities, and we're asking our prospects and clients that same question, then honestly, I mean, that that really gets the ball rolling. I mean, I can, there's there isn't, I could make a lot of mistakes in the mechanics of selling after I asked that question, but, and still turn out, okay, because as long as they say that they're open, then we have a dialogue going now it's just a matter of, okay, well, then let's determine whether or not our offers are appropriate for the situation that you're in. And if they're not, we'll shake hands and part friends. And if they are, we'll figure out what it looks like so that we can do the appropriate business together. And that's it.
Okay, so now we're going to take it a little bit rougher, right. So just wondering, well, what do you say to the person who says, Well, you know, all sales tactics are manipulative, right? So this is the person with the closed mind. And they think that what you're teaching them is manipulative that manipulates the human psyche, that it's not a fear and honest exchange, what do you say to that individual?
Merit Kahn 16:55
That that person I would probably not want to be in a conversation with for too long? Because that's people that think like that, that probably are using techniques in a way that is manipulative. The only reason a sales conversation or questions that you learn to ask would be manipulative would be is if your intention is not for the other person's greater good, right? So if you if your intention is I'm going, I only want to work with people where my offer is not only appropriate, but it's like they liked exactly what they need. And I know I've got the time and the energy and the effort to, to pour into them. I know what I've put into my course or something like that is going to genuinely help somebody, then I have absolutely no problem. Let me ask you like this. If you had the actual cure for cancer, ambition, I mean, like, like, you legit, you had it. You had some test tubes in the back in the back office, you've been mixing up stuff on your off time, and you knew you had the cure for cancer, would you be like, I don't know, if I really want to talk about this today. Like, I don't want to be pushy about it. Like, I don't want people to feel like I'm manipulating them.
I wouldn't be if I had the test tubes in the back. And it wasn't just a cure for cancer. So if it was, you know, if it was also the meth lab or the crack cocaine lab, I might be a little bit hesitant, but there'd be a lot of drug addicts with no cancer, right, so much good lunch, that that's
Merit Kahn 18:42
fair, that's fair. I just feel like if your heart is in the right place, if you know you do good work in the world, if you know that what you offer and how you work with people legitimately solves real problems and moves them out of that place where they feel stuck, or, you know, just they just can't get past something or they, you know, they're just not making the money or doing the business that they want. If you've got the solution for that, and you don't offer it, I think that's almost worse than if you, you know, learned to ask some questions. And you, you had to kind of fight some of your own mindsets around like being pushy or aggressive, like, right, get over that. If you've if your intention is good, then you're not doing anybody any favors by not making your offers available in the marketplace.
And one of the things that you're saying that just kind of lit up another light bulb in my head, right? Like, I love everything that you're saying. Because one of the things that it highlights is if you actually give a shit about your clients, right if you actually give a shit about your customer base, if these are the people you love Of course, you're going to be happy to share your products and share your things with them. Because you're not just sharing products and sharing offers, you're sharing solutions. And this goes back to exactly what we said earlier. So I love exactly that. Um, that being said, I'm gonna ask you about a trend that I've seen, a lot of women have picked up when it comes to sales. So I'm seeing a lot of women in sales that are moving away from the pushy sales, I'm seeing a lot of men do it as well. But this seems to be a movement within sales that is women lead, and I love it. Right? attraction based selling? And that seems to be a lot of what you're talking about as well. Do you think that that movement being is it? Well, can you confirm that it is being led by women first off? And then secondarily? What how do you see the future of attraction based sales? Taking over within the industry of sales in general?
Merit Kahn 21:05
That's some rich questions. Right there ambition? Well, first of all, the law of attraction has been around for, you know, probably since the 60s and maybe even made more popular when the secret came out. Right. You know, so it's been around for a while, I can't confirm whether that was developed or popularized by women. I, you know, the the woman who was producing the secret, you know, actually didn't invent the law of attraction that was that had been around for a bit. I think. So I, I love the idea of it. I think the idea and the mindset of attracting into your life, you know, the, the things that you want, right, the things that are your heart's desire, I think that's a beautiful, a beautiful thing. And I agree that when you put some deliberate thought and gratitude into the things that you appreciate in your life, then we're more likely to receive more of those things, right? It's just energy, right? I do believe in that it's not really part of our curriculum, at select sales, but the portion of the work that we do with people around mindset, you know, depending on where somebody's at, and what's comfortable for them, I can dive a little bit more deep into these kinds of ideas. But I do think the one piece of that law of attraction that I I am always very clear with my clients about is that, you know, if I want a piece of chocolate cake as an example, I'm not going to sit at my desk and go, God, I really want a piece of chocolate cake. Like, I wish chocolate cake just magically appeared at my doorstep wouldn't be great. I think what, you know, I would just kind of go home, I'd love chocolate cake in my life right now. And I'm gonna get in my car, I'm gonna drive my ass to a place that sells chocolate cake or cake mix. I'm gonna bake the fucking cake. Okay, I'm gonna go get a piece of cake. I'm not gonna wait for it to appear in my mailbox. So I think law of attraction, you know, when we marry that with a little bit of a dose of reality check, which is, if you've got the tools and the ability, someone put the cake mix in a box. It couldn't be easier. Go get it. Like, make your own cake.
I love it. I love it. And, you know, let me definitely quantify I wasn't saying that, you know, it was women started. But it does seem like in this time where we're seeing a lot more women owned women ran businesses that attraction based selling, and even sensual sales is something that I've heard come up as well. I'm not sure if you've heard that.
Merit Kahn 24:03
No, but I like the sound of that. I could do that. Right? Yeah.
Love it. Absolutely love it. Um, I've seen a lot more of these things pop up. And you know, they are not and I'm not saying they don't have credibility at all. I'm saying that the way that I've seen them used is so creative and so innovative. Right, that I don't see why. Even as a man, right, like, I think I do have to call people and go ahead and make sales, but I don't see if they I would argue if they told me exactly how I could participate in those sorts of sales, right? I think a lot of it does have have a lot to do with the things that they're posting on social media. And then maybe it seems to me that there's some conflation between marketing and sales within the attraction sales model, where you're really just kind of by attracting the sale versus pursuing the sale?
Merit Kahn 25:04
Well, I think let's make the distinction between sales and marketing. And the way that I define it is marketing is everything that happens before a conversation. Now, once a conversation happens, now you're in sales. And I'm, I'm speaking more to higher ticket offers that are going to, you know, somebody's not clicking a button to buy, you know, a $10 course. Right? So, that's a different animal, I'm talking about professional selling situations where you're, you're in conversations for
1000s of dollars, where somebody actually has to make a decision.
Merit Kahn 25:40
Exactly. Now, I believe, and I totally agree with you. First, the first step is so when you think about marketing and sales, you think about logically marketing happens first, and then sales. The challenge is that if you develop your marketing strategy without knowing what your sales process, what your sales conversations are, and who your ideal prospects are, or clients, then you're working backwards. So you first want to start with sales and in sales. Part of that is, who is my ideal client? What's the profile of that person? And what are the words that they would use? That would be attractive to them? Right, I'm going to maybe create a different marketing campaign, if I'm looking for women entrepreneurs versus male business owners, right? It's just it's different language. It's, and there's nothing good or bad or right or wrong. It's just, I want to speak the language of my ideal client. So as an example, I mean, your podcast name is a perfect is a perfect thing. It's going to attract the right people who are going to listen to a podcast called Mind your own fucking business, right? That's not everybody's clientele. And so you're really clear, your brand is so clear, it's so strong, and it's going to get you it's going to attract the right people, whereas no Holly Hobbie in you know, I don't know, what's a what's a really uppity place to live? Well, Irvine, or okay, you know, somebody like you somebody lives there, maybe not, you know, I don't know, maybe not the right person. Right? Maybe it is or isn't
it? And I think it works the same way in, in the opposition, right? If somebody starts branding, and they go, Eat, Pray, Love and Love and Light, like, I'm going, I'm good.
Unknown Speaker 27:39
I don't need it. Yeah. Right. And I don't think they want me there.
So it works both ways. And, and I think that's a big thing that people need to pay attention to as well, right? There's so many consumers. And I'm saying consumers, because as you're listening, if you're a business owner, you're on the other side of the coin, I hope you don't fall into this trap. But I know a lot of us do. There's so many consumers that will pay attention to the shit they don't like, pay attention to things they don't want to buy, they don't want to participate in at all. And that now takes up your feed. Right? Yeah, social media, Instagram, Facebook Mehta. They know that you absolutely hate this thing so much that you can't stop commenting on it, that you can't stop coming in and tell your friends about it. Right? I've stopped answering your phone call, because you called me to tell me about shit you don't like and I'm trying to run a business. Right? Those sorts of things happen. And you don't get anywhere. Right? It that is the true distraction. So I would remind anyone that if you are listening to a professional and they said something you don't like they've said the words, you'd never be successful. If you do this, and you want to just argue with them. Go ahead, pick up your phone, hit the block button or the delete button and go find somebody who spit in the opposite message.
Merit Kahn 29:07
Right? Yeah, I agree with that. I agree with that. I mean, you want to, especially when you're talking about doing business with somebody or getting coaching from somebody, you want somebody who's aligned, but also will bring you a little bit out of your comfort zone. But the delivery is important and the branding is important. And you know, you just I always believed that I really have attracted the right people experiences opportunities into my life that got me into that next version of myself, right or that next level of business. And I think there's no accidents for that. I think, you know, everybody that comes into our life and all the experiences and opportunities are there for a reason. They're meant to teach us something, either learn the lesson and move on or get you know, strap in because you're about to learn that lesson a few different ways. And the person or the company that resonates with you or you feel like you can do then what's next for you? That's the right. That's the right choice.
So question I, and I definitely agree with you there. My question for you is, what would you say if you could share with our listeners the most important lesson that you've had to learn in sales?
Merit Kahn 30:27
Hmm, the most important lesson that I've had to learn in sales. I mean, the obvious one, and this isn't unique to me, I think we've all kind of heard this along the way is that, you know, you can't be everything to everyone. So be true to who you are. And I think the the, but the bigger one really what? I think the big lesson was in understanding what has influence over me. And for me, that was really understanding more of my emotional mindset. So, you know, I talk about, you know, we have this open for business framework that we model our programs on, and it's mindset mechanics in motion, we talked about that in the beginning. The end, mindset is really based on three things. So the internal mind, that's, that's your self talk, right? Like what we say to ourselves, your behavioral mind, that's what your actions say to other people. So like a, like a disk model, if that's familiar to you, it's been around for a very long time. But people are sometimes people are bottom line, or they're task oriented, or people oriented. So what our actions say to other people, but the emotional mind, that's where I had a lot of big aha was, and I wish I could say I had them earlier in my career, I've been doing sales, sales, management, training, coaching, consulting for since 1998. So more than 20 years now, but I didn't really discover this until about 10 years in, and the emotional mind is, is running the show, in ways that we don't understand, at face value. So a give you an example. Just, you know, I know, at this stage of the game, we don't want to belabor all the pandemic conversations, but it is a universal shared experience that we all live through. So it's a good it's a good example. Right? But let's say, you know, it's the beginning of the pandemic, and there was all this uncertainty swirling around everybody. And so a lot of sales people just took the the the mindset of like, well, I don't want to bother anybody, everybody's trying to, you know, figure their stuff out, right? Like, nobody needs to hear from a salesperson right now, right? Now, that that's what your if your mindset was high empathy for others, and low assertiveness, which are two things that we can actually assess for in a scientifically validated tool. If your profile looks like high empathy and low assertiveness, you're gonna say to yourself, yeah, I'm not even going to pick up the phone, or maybe you do pick up the phone and you say to somebody, you know, I know things are really tough out there. Why don't we just touch base in six months and see where we're at? Right? So you're so without no, like, you could have the best sales technique in the world. But that's an example of emotional mind running the show. Now, if, as an alternative example, what if you were high in assertiveness and low in empathy? Well, then you're gonna pick up the phone, and you don't really care what's going on in someone else's world, you're because you got to a sale to make. So where I want my clients to be is balanced in those two attributes. So in that case, the language the things you would actually say are, hey, you know, I know it's tough out there things are, you know, there's a lot of uncertainty, would you be open to having a conversation about something that we could actually control and handle? And that is a perfect example of empathy for others, assertiveness with my offers. With that, are you open to question sandwiched in the middle?
Wow, I love the fact that you brought up the personality of the salesman, right. And it sounds like what you were referencing was the big five personality tests, as well, so that I'm reminded of my own big five assessment, which is zero in agreeableness, right? Like, I was the 0/5 percentile in agreeableness and 97 and assertiveness, so I really did have to learn that thing that you said, right where I really did have to learn like okay, people's lives and they they get to be sentimental about the shit going on in their life. Like, and I had to sit down and tell myself just because I'm not sentimental, right? Like, I don't want the phone to call the client, right after the their grandmother passed away. And someone's looking at me like, oh, well, you should just know that. And but in my head, I'm like, What's the big deal? Both of my grandmother's are dead like that. It'll be okay. It's it's, you don't believe like people don't believe me what I said, you really had to tell me that this was insensitive. And once someone told me it was insensitive. I was like, oh, okay, I'm being an asshole. Right. And I'm now much more conscious. And I'm not an asshole about it. Like, I'm not gonna call you right after your grandmother passes, right? But it still benefits the client on the other end, because when they're on the phone with me, and they go, Oh, well, you know, I have to take my kids to school. I'm like, so what? Take the call in the car, I could care less. Right. And it's not a, I don't have compassion for people. And I think this is where this is where the assholes of the world get a bad rap. Right? It's not that you don't have compassion, it's that we know that whether or not you take action today, the problem is going to be the same, especially if you don't take action. So if you want to have less, yeah, so if you want to have less of the problem, you have to take a little bit of action so that you can alleviate the problem. And focusing on that logic. If you don't share it, if you don't communicate, you can end up just coming off like an asshole, right and coming off. Like someone who doesn't care about people, when it's really that you, you do want the best for people. So for all of my other assertive low agreeable people out there, who are burning bridges, and they don't know what the fuck happened, start started having a little bit more compassion. That's what happened. Explain, communicate, right, give people some space.
Merit Kahn 37:16
And that's such a great example of the point, which is, if you want to be more influential with other people, you really have to know what has influence over you. And your wiring in those attributes like empathy and assertiveness is a dynamic that's going to have that's going to influence how you relate to other people, no matter what you've learned to say no matter what sound what makes sense to you. It all will be the show will be run by that emotional mind. And that's just one example. Right? So there's 15 attributes that I can assess for, and the the dynamics between highs and lows. That's where the interesting stories are told. It's not just what are your high attributes? And what are your lows? It's how do they play together? Another one that I think is fascinating, especially for people in a sales role is the dynamic between optimism and reality testing. So this for me, like I'm a high high optimist. I have very, very little reality testing in me. Now I learned. Yeah. Oh, gosh, but I have I, once I saw that, once I saw the reality of that on paper, I was able to go, Oh, that makes sense. That explains why I don't leave enough time to drive to a meeting so that I show up on time, right? Because traffic won't affect me. Because I'm an optimist. Like I've no, no, I don't check. And I'm bothered to check the traffic, like the reality of the traffic. So it shows up and stuff like that. But it also shows up when when somebody says to me, oh, merit, I really like everything that you're saying I I'd like to understand a little bit more about how we can work together and how I could be one of your clients. And all I hear is great. They they're signing up, as opposed to well, great. I appreciate that. You're liking what you've heard so far, but I'm not sure where we're ready. We're a match yet. Can I ask you some really deep questions so that we can figure out whether we're a good match to work together? Right, like I actually work to disqualify people. Because the more that they, you know, want to qualify for my offers, the better a client they will be, the more value they'll get from our relationship. So I don't want the like, Hey, I just saw your website. I heard you on the podcast, and I just can't wait to sign up for you like that, just like that. That could be problem, like right, so but I haven't had to learn to say I appreciate your enthusiasm. Let's park that for a minute. I want to make sure that we're really a good match. Are you okay? Are you open to answering some questions about the realities of what's going on in your business? Let's, let's make sure before we enthusiasm takes over, that we're really a good fit.
That I don't know, I think that's such a beautiful approach. And this is, you know, a couple of days, I want to say last week or so I gave a talk on a coach's group, right, and as coaches and speakers, and one of the things that we were talking about is, you know, what happened? What if somebody thinks that they can't afford the coach, and one of the things I told them was, go ahead and call the coach, because most of these strategy calls are exactly that they aren't trying to sell you on the call. They're seeing whether or not you qualify to be offer something to be sold to you. Right. So I love the fact that you focus on qualifying, and that does remind me go back at my sales process and look at qualifying more. I love man, so much value. So much value. Okay, so let's go into this portion, right. Pretty sure you heard story for a story. So I love trading stories on the podcast, what is the wildest or craziest story that you can tell us? Person? It could be personal, it could be business, but allow people to just gain a little bit more insight in to who merit is and how fun merit is?
Merit Kahn 41:26
Well, I would say, well, and I've been thinking about this question, because I know you I knew you're gonna ask it. But the craziest thing I've done loved, I've done a bunch of crazy things. And I think when I back when I was 23 years old, and you know, I had been in the workforce for a few years, I was completely burned out, you know, from working all this time after, after three grueling years of working for the man, I, I decided that I was going to quit my job, put everything in storage and backpack around the world on my own for a year. And my dad said to me, sounds great merit. Why don't you not let your employer know that just yet, and just carry on, like you would like, just keep selling, keep keep doing what you're gonna do, because you need to save up some money to do this plan of yours. And and then, you know, just research this idea. And then at the end of a year of working and saving and researching, if you then want to go and tell your employer that you're quitting, go ahead. But don't don't quit your job just yet. So yes, I did. I did follow his advice. My dad gives me good advice most of the time. And but a year later, I was still passionate about that concept. And so I did I put everything in storage, I quit my job, I traveled backpack the world, at 24 years old, had my 25th birthday in Indonesia. It was crazy. But it changed me and it, you know it, it opened my mind to all kinds of new possibilities. And I remember, somebody had said to me when I was when I made the announcement that I had was doing this, they said, Well, maybe instead of traveling the world, maybe you should buy real estate, because, you know, you can travel anytime you should buy real estate when you're young. And I'm like, wait, what? No, I think I could buy real estate anytime I should travel now, while I don't have kids and a husband and responsibilities, like, I'm out of here. So I went and, and in spite of the fact that somebody else had told me, you know, do you really want to leave this good job, like you're making good money, like, and I thought, I'm, I'm 24 years old, do you think I'm not going to come back and get another good job? Like, I'm not making the most I could possibly make right now like that. It also didn't make sense. So I, I learned to think for myself, I learned to not take, you know, the advice of other people as if it was gospel, but to consider it and then to make my own decisions. So that was that was one thing, but if I I know it was just a story for a story, but I'll just tell you one other little for him to don't know 2019 I'm about to I'm about to spill the beans. I turned 50 I know. This is where you go.
No, of course. Oh, no, seriously, you don't look like you don't think you are
Merit Kahn 44:33
the new 50 So I do stand up comedy. That's my hobby. It's my passion in life. I love it. Literally more than anything. And if we have
any listeners, where can they come see
Merit Kahn 44:49
in Denver, I do some shows in Denver and actually if you if if they want to get on my list, but all the people that sign up for sort of the business stuff that I'll I'll offer the open for business framework assessment and PDF. Once I have your email for that, I'll probably let you know about the comedy shows coming up. But so when I turned 50, the idea was I was going to do 50 minutes of original stand up comedy for my 50th birthday, just rent a bar packet with my friends, standard microphone stool bottled water the whole bit, right, except that my dad got a hold of my stand up set. And as I was sharing it with him, he said, Merritt, I, I think you've got more than just a stand up set here. I think this is a one woman show. And I'm like, but I don't know how to do that. Like, how do you produce a one woman show? And he goes, Don't worry about it. We'll figure it out. As we go. Well, let's cut to the chase. I rented a theater, I sold 200 tickets, I put up a sales page, I did all the transactions online, I wrote a script, I hired a co associate writer, I had my dad be the director. And I performed a one woman show script, like sets costumes, the whole bit. It was amazing. And now what I'm working on is I am going to take the show on the road, we're gonna do a US tour coming up by the end of this year. And yeah, and I have absolutely no idea how I'm going to do it. But I just know that I know I can sell stuff. I know I can promote a tour. Why not? Let's figure it out. No, exactly.
Listen, when you make your trip to California, go ahead and give me a call. Right? And less I definitely want to see the show. Right? That was good. Those were two amazing stories, right? Like so. Alright, so I'll match you where I did. Same crazy thing, higher stakes, right? Except I did leave the job that had paid me the most money that I had ever seen. As well as, okay, most money I've ever seen, and also pretty much top tier within the industry that I was in. So cybersecurity professional have over 11 years, right? This is actually last year that I'm talking about. Now, yeah, I'm sitting here, and I'm making $200,000 plus a year, and I'm working in my dream job. And they're going through a merger. And now I'm working on three Sox. And I actually have a team, and people are respecting my opinion. And I'm sitting there going, oh my god, I fucking hate this. Right? It was everything that I wanted. And I'm sitting here like, I fucking hate this. And the reason that I could set kept sitting there thinking, I fucking hate this wasn't that I hated doing cybersecurity or I didn't like the people. Everything was perfect. Except that it wasn't my vision. Right? It wasn't what I wanted. For myself. What I wanted was to be a motivational speaker and to be a teacher and to help people with their business, right? Like, I wanted to be around the entrepreneurs who were crazy, like Richard Branson. And here I am with the money that allowed me access to a certain group of people. But it felt almost soulless. So this was last year. So this is now. Okay, in 20 and 2020, actually, January 2020, I started the business that supports the podcast that we're on. We started with teaching people how to do their business plans. Right. And by the time we get to last year around September, between you and me, this business is nowhere near where it needs to be to support me and my family full time. Right? But I'm burnt out. And I'm like, No, I'm not doing it. And I'm waiting for people in my life to be like, No, keep working the job. I'm telling them what I'm planning to do and nobody's stopping me. Right? So I'm sitting there like, Okay, this is pretty fucking nuts. I know. I'm crazy. But are you guys also crazy. But so I finally went to my mom, I was like, you know, I didn't expect you to just tell me to go do it. And she goes, Look, you've done your thing all your life on your own. You figured it out. If it doesn't work, you can go back but you know, it seems like something that you're serious about. So she, it was the belief that my family had in me when I said okay, I'm walking that that meant the world to me. And then to your second story, right? Yeah. Remind me again, second story was
Merit Kahn 49:58
comedy show comedy show.
Alright, so I went to a music and theater school, right. And even before I went to that music and theater school, this is what I wanted to share with you. And you know why I forgot the comedy show was the second story because that's no longer a story. I'm coming to your comedy show. And we will be there. But I went to a music and theater school. And even before that, I was extremely comfortable on stage. Like, I'm one of those people who you can put on a stage and I'll do whatever the fuck I feel like, right? Like so much so that my ninth grade year, there's this talent show, right? So obviously, I'm a freshman in a music and theater school. And I want people to know, if you can't sing at a school, where people do music and theater. They're not shy about telling you. Right? They won't tell you exactly where your hangups are, and exactly how you can improve yourself or not embarrass yourself in front of them again, right. Obviously, this is ninth grade. So I'm 14. My voice is changing. So it's not that I can't sing. I could sing last year. I just can't see this year. And I'm singing genuine and song stingy. Right? So I'm onstage and I didn't practice because I'm famous for not really, like I don't over prepare for things. I just like the idea of winging shit. I love winging ship. Right? Don't ask me why I live on the wild side. I just do. So I'm on stage, no guitar. No, nothing acapella. I get off the stage, I go sit down and take my seat. This girl goes. I'll tell you what, you're brave. And I think that it was a very encouraging moment for me. Like I was actually ecstatic about that. I think it meant more to me to go on the stage and suck than it would have to be great. Like, what does it mean? If I go on there, and I can actually sing gives a fuck about that. Right? But going on stage knowing that I can't. And all of you didn't think this was a gag. This wasn't American Idol. But buddies William Hung it. You knew this was like, that space just reminded me like, this is the worst thing that could possibly happen. And it's really not that bad. So what these people don't think I can say, but they know I got balls. And that's all I give a shit about.
Merit Kahn 52:46
Right? So love that story.
Listen, I got a million of those ones. I when I'm when I say I will step on stage, totally unprepared. I don't, I will say as a speaker, right, because there may be people listening and like, I don't do that anymore. I'm actually really talented speaker for 10 years. Not I'm not unpolished when I come on stage. But, um, I guess having that that ability and having that gift to just kind of step out and say fuck all to the embarrassment or whatever shame could have come has really helped me hone my speaking in the year since. But
Merit Kahn 53:28
I think I mean, I love that story. And I love that, you know, you continue to tell yourself and reinforce what you learned at 14 which was, yeah, I got balls like I am brave and I will do things that other people are afraid of that other people will be stopped and they won't think is possible. I will go ahead and do that. And it doesn't matter if I'm successful right out of the gate or not. I did the thing. And you know, if we circle that back to sales, like that's more than half the battle, pick up the phone, do the thing. You know, sign up for a course work with a coach learn a few things, sift out like figure out what are those beliefs that sabotage you without your your say in it? Because I know all I called was hand me down beliefs, right? Like, we got handed some belief. Like a like your cousin. You know, your cousin's hand me down sweater that doesn't fit. And suddenly you're just supposed to live with it. No, no, no, no, take that sweater, take it back to the goodwill. Or like pass it down to someone else and be like, Nope, that one doesn't fit. I get to choose the beliefs that serve me. And the one that serves me is I am brave. I do brave shit. And I'm going to go and get the piece of fucking cake. I'm going to go buy the cake mix like I do things other people don't do. That's a great belief says then that obviously has served you well.
This is a warning to anyone listening once this company hits a billion dollars, which eventually a will, and I don't care how old I am when it happens. Do you remember the stunt that Richard Branson pulled in the clear boxes for Virgin Mobile? I think it was either Virgin Mobile or Virgin Airlines? Well, he got these clear tubes, where they were on the front of the building, kind of like elevate kind of like how you have the outside elevators. Right. And him. And several models just stood there naked in the tubes. The headline Virgin Mobile have been obviously covering his bits, right? That is something that I want to do that I want to recreate.
Merit Kahn 55:55
I applaud that. I don't think you should wait until you've got a billion I think that might, you know, maybe just do that sooner rather than later. I mean, you know,
I may end up taking your advice, I think that would be great marketing. And what I'll do is I'll take your phrase, are you open? To? Hey, go, and then we'll add the tagline. A, in order to get successful in business, sometimes you have to be naked, or get naked?
Merit Kahn 56:28
Well, you can have that tagline I'm gonna keep Are you open to?
Okay. All right. So getting ready to close it out. What is the one thing that you would leave our audience with that you think has made you the most successful over the years, either one quality, one trade, one tool, whatever it would be?
Merit Kahn 56:53
Well, I will, I will choose a tool and and I'll make a free offer to your audience as well. I think the thing that made me the most money, the thing that that stopped me in my tracks and really had me focus on the on the pieces of the business that would make the most sense for me to really move forward and get ahead faster, was taking that reality check. I was I was the person that anytime I would go into a bookstore, I would go to the, you know, Self Help section. And I would read all these, you know, I would like go gravitate to the books like, you know, goal setting and something and stuff. And I remember my husband at the time said to me, Merritt, you already know how to do that. Why don't you read about something that you don't know how to do? And I thought, why would I do that? Like, that's like, what? Because I yeah, that was just not my thing. So when I did an assessment on all the aspects of my business, like what my beliefs were, what, what this, the strengths were what I already knew about sales and my areas of expertise, and then what I was actually doing so that mindset mechanics motion. When I really looked at that it was so clear to me that the biggest gap was my own mindset that I had all the other things in place, I had great habits and behaviors. I followed action plans, but I really, I had a certain I thought a certain amount of money, it was a lot because I it was a lot when I was 23 years old. And then all of a sudden, it wasn't a lot as you know, head of a household with a child running a business being responsible for other people's income. Like it wasn't a lot, I had to reshift my reset my mind about what is a lot of money, and what I'm capable of. And that diving into that, because I knew that I had the other things kind of on either handled was really incredibly powerful. So I'd like to offer your audience the opportunity to do an assessment like that. It's a free tool we developed. It's called the Open for Business framework. It's a quiz. So if you go to merit khan.com forward slash podcast, so M er it k h n.com, forward slash podcast, singular, you'll, you'll be asked to, you know, put your email in, it's totally worth it. We don't spam anybody. So don't worry about it. Although I will let you know about the comedy show that way. But you'll get access to a quiz. And at the end of that it will give you a report about which of the areas of the framework are the would make the biggest difference for you in the shortest amount of time. And also some very helpful resources, things you know might be podcasts and books and different things that I have come across that can help you in the specific areas. So all roads do not lead to join our course. So that's not the intention. And if it makes sense for us to talk about that great and if it's not appropriate, I want you I want to point you in the right direction to move you on on your path forward.
And we'll definitely make sure that that gets into the show notes. So go ahead, look in the description and go ahead go to that website. Right like one more time that was married con.com backslash
Merit Kahn 1:00:28
podcast, podcast Yes. Yes.
So go ahead and click that and for everybody listening go be great. People.
Unknown Speaker 1:00:52