Alex Goldfayn on How to Overcome Entrepreneurial Hardships and Thrive in Business

When you become the leader of an organization, start a business, or take any kind of an entrepreneurial path, oftentimes you are also met with fear and doubt along the way. On today’s show, we are pleased to welcome back Alex Goldfayn, keynote sales speaker, CEO of The Revenue Growth Consultancy, to explain entrepreneurial mindset issues facing many today and what they can do to overcome them.

Transcription:

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Alex, for joining us once again on the show.

Alex Goldfayn:
Thanks, Jim. Great to see you.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Sure. Great to see you. And I hope everybody is safe in your camp.

Alex Goldfayn:
Yeah, thanks. It’s as close to normal as we have been. It feels like every week that goes by, we get a little bit closer to normal.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s tight. That’s right. Before we got recording here today, we talked a little bit about the incredible increase of small business owners and entrepreneurs that are through all of this working from home and having a side hustle that now all of a sudden turns into a real business for them. And as we see, many people not going back to their jobs as a result of this. The good news is that you’ve got a lot more people realizing their dream of becoming an entrepreneur. And what does it mean, from your perspective… Because you work with entrepreneurs all over the country, and written books about it, and you’re kind of the foremost authority in this space. What does it mean, from your perspective, to have an entrepreneurial mindset?

Alex Goldfayn:
Well, you know, it’s interesting. Normally there’s a really big moat, a big distance between thinking about starting a business when you have a job and then actually starting one, doing it.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yes. That moat is big, yes.

Alex Goldfayn:
So if a million people think about a business to start, the number that actually do it is in the three or four figures. It’s in the hundreds or maybe the thousands.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Right, or maybe double digits. Right.

Alex Goldfayn:
But it’s probably not even 10,000. I mean, it’s a very small number of people who think about it that actually get to doing it though. Now, the pandemic has accelerated that, interestingly. It has sort of catapulted people who have been thinking about it for a long time now into actual business. Well, the biggest difference of course, as everybody knows, is instead of getting paid every two weeks, you only get paid when you sell something. That’s—

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Let’s not forget about that. Right.

Alex Goldfayn:
So if you want to feed your family when you’re in business, as I am and, and as you are, you’ve got to sell something. And the answer to your question is, I think an entrepreneurial mindset has to be a hunting mindset and not a gathering mindset. Because if you’re used to gathering when you had a job, that’s going to be a really hard way to feed your family when you’re in business.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. That’s right. And as you said, there are so many people that have entered the field of entrepreneurship, either through they’re forced to because they were laid off and they’ve got to do something, and during some of the times there were no jobs available. There seem to be a lot of jobs available now. But also through the desire, that they saw opportunities. I’ve got friends of mine that saw an opportunity to say, “While things are like this, I’m going to put together that company, or buy that franchise, or start that consultant business that I’ve always wanted to start.” A lot of people realized they can work successfully from their home office, and they didn’t realize maybe they could do that. And so I think that put a lot of people into that market and on that entrepreneurial track.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
But there’s a lot of people out there that have got doubt. You question yourself all along the way. I’ve been an entrepreneur now for 30 years, and I question myself every single day. Could we be doing it better? Will I make it through? Will I make it through to retirement? Is this a real business? All of those great things. Is there a market for what my next idea will be? What do you think holds people back for the most part?

Alex Goldfayn:
Well, I think more than anything else, Jim, it’s fear. I think fear is the strongest emotion of all emotions, and it overpowers anything that stands in its way. It plows over good intentions you might have for the day or the week. And you make yourself a little plan. “Here’s my top three. Here’s my top five.” Well, if there’s fear… And there is, meaning if you’re watching this and you’re breathing there is fear.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
No question. That’s right.

Alex Goldfayn:
Because we all experience it, as you said. And I do also. And I’ve never had a job. I’ve been in business… So what, I’m 45 years old. I’ve been in business since 21, since I left college.

Alex Goldfayn:
So fear is the reason that we don’t do the things that we know we should do. And fear is the reason that we avoid some of these uncomfortable actions. So you called it doubt. And all of those different things you described, “Is this a real business? Will I make it to retirement?” Those are all individual that gather up and into doubt. And those things cause inaction, procrastination. Fear leads to procrastination, if we draw a line. And procrastination is death to business. If you’re starting an entrepreneurial endeavor now in the pandemic and you find yourself sitting at your desk, or maybe even avoiding sitting at your desk and you’re on the couch or in your chair in front of the TV, it’s just, you’re not going to last very long. Entrepreneurship demands action. Fear is the brick wall for action. So what we need to do… I think the determining step in entrepreneurship, in sales, in business growth, in success in general, I think, is to deal with our fear. I think that’s the key.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. That’s right. Any techniques that you know of or that you know have worked well for those dealing with fear to take that very important next step in their journey?

Alex Goldfayn:
Yeah. There’s a number of things. And so a lot of this comes from the field of positive psychology. So positive psychology is the study of what makes us happy and successful, while the rest of psychology is the study of what makes us screwed up, depressed and anxious and everything else that psychology focuses on. So positive psychology talks about practical cognitive behavioral exercises, like focus in on things you’ve done well and successfully. And so if you’re fearing something, the odds are probably that you’ve done that very thing or something very similar to it successfully already. And so think about those things. Write them down. Write yourself a little script of self-talk. And this is 20 seconds long. And I’ll give you an example. “I’ve already done this. I’ve already succeeded at this. I’ve done these things that I’m avoiding right now. I’ve got to do them for the success of what I’m trying to do, what I’m trying to start here. So I’m going to go and do it now.| And so that’s one thing, self-talk.

Alex Goldfayn:
Another technique you can take is a lot more practical, and that is do the first one. Do it once. And so you and I have talked about my most recent book, which is called Pick Up The Phone and Sell.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yep. Absolutely. Pick Up The Phone and Sell. I love it. It’s a great book.

Alex Goldfayn:
Thank you. Picking up the phone is something people are terrified of. Calling prospects, because they might reject you, that’s a gigantic fear that people have. And entrepreneurs, that’s kind of an important thing. You have to call prospective customers.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
You do.

Alex Goldfayn:
So what I teach those folks who have to call for a living is just do one. Do one good one. Do the first one. And what you’ll find is that you won’t die. Nobody will shoot at you. They won’t. A grizzly bear won’t come out of the woods to chase you, to eat you. And so that’s a big win, because in our heads it’s, “If I make a call, I might my die.” And that’s an automatic fear. It happens so quickly, we don’t even know it’s there. That’s the problem with fears, is that they happen in microseconds. They don’t happen slowly so that we can observe them. They’re automatic. So often the first action gives you an outcome and the energy and the positivity and the motivation that can lead you to the next action, and the next one, and the next one. So we use the energy from the first effort to take us to the next ones.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. That’s right. And it’s great advice, because just to get started, just to get off the blocks and get out there and started gives you a tremendous amount of also satisfaction, that you’ve started it and that you’ve had conversations.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
And you’re also perfecting your pitch. So the idea that maybe go through the first 10, 15, or 20 before you really hone in on what your pitch should sound like. Don’t worry about those first 15 or 20. There’ll be more. I mean, make it the best that you know how. But you will learn so much about what to say, and what not to say, and when to ask questions, and what to ask. And it can be such an incredible learning experience for you as an individual and also for your company as to, “Oh, wow. I’m glad that I didn’t jump right out of the box with my biggest prospect and hit them with this first pitch, because it sounded terrible.” It’s kind of like a comedian that goes on stage and perfects their craft night after night after night, until after 20 or 30 presentations or performances, they say, “Okay, boom. Now I’m in my groove. I got it. I know the jokes that work. I know the jokes that don’t work. I’m ready for the big time.”

Jim Fitzpatrick:
And I think so much of that is the same case with entrepreneurs that have that tremendous fear, but so much can come from that. That also becomes the fuel, does it not, for entrepreneurs?

Alex Goldfayn:
Yeah, totally. Past successes. If you can look back and say that I did this, and not only did I do it, I had some success… Or perhaps even if you didn’t have success yet, again, you simply didn’t die, which you won’t.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s successful, right?

Alex Goldfayn:
That’s a win.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
It’s a win.

Alex Goldfayn:
I’m alive. I get to try again.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
We’re saying this kind of jokingly and having fun with it, because at the end of the day, you can’t take yourself too serious on this. What’s the worst case that could happen? Somebody goes, “Yeah, I’m really not interested. Thanks anyway. Appreciate it.” Click. And you’re not devastated. Like you said, you’re still alive. You’re still there. There’s 100 other people that want to hear your pitch because they need your product. You just got to call them.

Alex Goldfayn:
Let’s talk about what happened in that no. If they’ve rejected you in that way, “Thanks for letting me know, but I’m good on that. Thank you,” what happened? One, the customer or the prospect saw that you tried. You put an effort into it. Two, they heard your voice and they heard your company name. Three, they now know that they can buy that thing from you, whatever it is, which is a gigantic victory, because the competition who isn’t making those calls, they’re not in that person’s mind the way that you are. And four, guess where that guy’s going to go… Or that person. Where’s that person going to go when they need that thing? Are they going to go to the business owner that’s not calling them trying to help them? Or are they going to go to the person that called them and tried to help them? I would suggest they’re going to go to you.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. I will tell you that my experience out there too is that I’ve made those calls, those cold calls to say, “I’m Jim Fitzpatrick, and I’m with such and such company, and this is what we do,” And I try to get as much in as possible. And I’ve had a few people that called me back a week later, month, even months later that said, “After my first talk with you when you called, I kind of got to thinking about it, and I went online and I read a little bit about your company and your product. And actually, can you share with me what this particular product…”

Jim Fitzpatrick:
And I’m thinking to myself, “Wow. They took that URL or the name of my company and they Googled it when they needed it.” Which is the best brochure out there for your company. I didn’t get to send it to them. I didn’t meet them. I didn’t give them my business card or what have you. But it started, to your point, with that initial call, and then they go online. And then they check out my reviews and they see I’m a good guy and we have a good company. And guess what? Lo and behold, they called me back. Not because of the number that I left with them at the time. We don’t know where that is. But because they remembered my URL, and my phone number is right there on the website.

Alex Goldfayn:
So let’s talk about what happened there, because it’s a great example. It almost doesn’t matter if they buy or say yes at the time that you are calling to try to get them to buy, because the odds of your prospect having an itch when you are calling them on the phone trying to scratch are very low, because that’s a timing issue. You’ve got to get the timing to match exactly, which is dumb luck basically. —happens, it’s dumb luck.

Alex Goldfayn:
But when you call people consistently, when you show up regularly, and a lot of this is in the book, what you’re doing is you’re taking that timing off the table, like you just described. And it doesn’t matter when they have the itch. It doesn’t matter that you show up exactly when they have the itch. Because what you’re doing is you’re taking a back scratcher… And I’m just using a pen here. But the back scratcher says Jim on it, or your name, whoever’s listening to us now. And you put a back scratcher on their desk with your name on it and your website and your phone number. And when the itch comes, they look at their desk and they say, “Oh, Jim.” And they pick it up and they scratch their itch. And that’s when they go to your website, and that’s when they call you on the phone.

Alex Goldfayn:
So don’t think a no in the moment of your phone call is a failure or a loss, which is of course the thing that we’re hugely afraid of. That’s what the fear is of, rejection. Well, later, as you said, when the itch comes, they’re going to come back to you. And so what you’re doing with these calls, with these communications that we fear, if you do them systematically, is you’re feeding the machine. You’re feeding the machine of your entrepreneurial business. You’re feeding your pipeline. You’re filling your calendar. And really, by making outbound proactive calls, you are generating phone calls into you from these people who you’re reaching out to.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. That’s right. But to your point, it’s so incredibly important to make that first step, make that first call. Hey, before I let you leave… And I appreciate all the time that you’ve given us. I know companies pay a lot of money for your time like this, and hopefully our viewers understand that, because it’s coming to them for free. But nevertheless, share with us some of the big takeaways from your most recent book, because it’s a phenomenal book. We’re showing it on the screen right now. Run, don’t walk to get it. We’ll also… Underneath our interview here today with Alex, we’ll have a have a button you can just click. Take you right over to buy the book. But we highly recommend here at the show to get the book. So tell us some of the big takeaways before I let you go today.

Alex Goldfayn:
Thanks, Jim. Thanks for that opportunity. We’ve talked about a number of them. And I think the biggest takeaway is, when you’re in business and you want to grow your sales, the single most effective tool we have is the telephone, is making proactive calls. We think our customer’s phones are ringing off the hook. They are not. Nobody is calling, because everybody is afraid. And if you want a demonstration of that, think back to the last time that a supplier of yours, somebody you know, called you on the phone and said, “Hey, Jim. It’s Alex. How you doing? How’s your family? I was thinking about you. What are you working on these days that I can help you with?” Can you remember the last call you got like that?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. No. I can’t even get my kids to call, so let alone a vendor.

Alex Goldfayn:
Because nobody’s calling. So your customer’s phones are silent. When you show up, you’re the only one calling them, so you’re going to do all that good stuff that you and I just talked about. And so the most effective tool, the telephone, the most effective tool for growing sales quickly is also the most avoided one because of fear. It’s the least used one, because it makes us the most afraid. Because when the rejection comes, it comes into our ear. It’s an intimate, personal rejection. At least, that’s how we experience it. It’s not from the customer’s perspective, but it is from ours.

Alex Goldfayn:
And so the biggest takeaway is make three calls a day, which is 780 phone calls in a year. Leave the voicemails the way that the book says, and then follow up with a text message, giving the customer a choice of how to communicate back to you. Your three calls a day will take five minutes. Do this first thing in the morning. Don’t do it later in the day. Really, for any work… We’ve talked about fear today. Anything that you’re avoiding because of fear, do it first thing in the morning, because that’s when you have the most focus and energy. And do these calls, and you will find that the number of conversations you have, the number of scheduled phone calls you develop as a result of these outbound calls… And you will find your quotes and proposals, and you will find your, your business, your closed sales, shooting up through the roof, because you’re going to be the only one communicating like that. And all it takes is three calls a day.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Isn’t that something> And if you do nothing else that was productive in your business that day… Because so many of us are reactive and we’re not proactive. Calling is a proactive exercise. At least you made those three calls. You know what I mean? And I think that’s so incredibly important. And I agree with you, it’s got to be done first thing in the morning, right after you hit the gym, because I hate hitting the gym, but as soon as I’m in the gym I’m so glad I’m done with it. And it’s like, “Okay, I don’t care what happens today. At least I got my hour in the gym.” Same thing with the phone calls.

Alex Goldfayn:
You feel good the rest of the day.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
And like going to the gym… There’s no way I’m going to have the physique that I want, or the body that I want, or the weight that I want if I don’t go to the gym every day. You’re not going to have the riches that you want, you’re not going to have the wealth you want, you’re not going to have that great business that you’ve dreamed of unless you make three calls a day to move that football down the field just a little at a time. No quarterback picks it up on the one-yard line and throws it to the 100-yard line and says, “Okay, boom.” It’s just a little at a time. And that’s with three calls a day. You make it sound so easy, because it is so easy. You just got to do it.

Alex Goldfayn:
That’s because it is. Yeah. It’s exactly as easy as it sounds, but our fear makes it feel very, very complicated.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. That’s right. Alex Goldfayn, who is a keynote speaker, CEO of Revenue Growth Consultancy, as I said, Wall Street Journal bestselling author. That’s for a reason. You’ve got to get the book. We’re going to show it one more time here. And of course you can connect to get the book right underneath this interview. So, Alex, thank you so much for joining us once again on the show. We very much appreciate it.

Alex Goldfayn:
Thank you, Jim. I love talking with you. Thanks for having me.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Great. Thanks.


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