EPISODE 007: Keith Scott, President and CEO of the BCCC shares how important the human connection is in sales
Keith (@KeithBScott) is the president and CEO of the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce (@baltcochamber) and the Small Business Resource Center. He's an action oriented person and believes in persistence, continuing to figure out who you are and refining oneself.
Highlights from the Podcast:
1. The more you observe people, the better you understand their behaviors and habits.
2. The motivation of a salesperson should be solving problems for their clients not selling stuff.
3. The human connection is the most important part of the transaction.
4. Always be authentic. Be yourself and have real conversations with people.
5. Re-assess. Always listen to your inner voice.
Connect with Keith
Here's a transcription of this podcast:
Umar Hameed: Are you ready to become awesomer? Hi everyone this is your host Umar Hameed, welcome to the NO LIMITS SELLING podcast where leaders share their tips, techniques, and strategies to improve sales performance, and today I’m privileged to have Keith Scott, president of the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce. Keith, welcome to the program.
Keith Scott: Thank you, it is an honor to be here today.
Umar Hameed: So Keith in 90 seconds tell us what you do and who you are.
Keith Scott: I’m an action oriented person. I believe in persistence, continuing to figure out who you are and refining yourself. I enjoy the role of president and CEO of the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Resource Center.
Umar Hameed: So, in a nutshell what you said there, I think is critically important. You have to be authentic, you can’t pretend to be anybody. You can be successful as that, but if you want to be wildly successful, you have to be who you are. You know your identity, you know who stand for.
Keith Scott: You have to be transparent, you have to be yourself. People will find out if you are fake, later in life. You’ve got to be yourself, figure out what skill God has given you on this earth and then pursue that skill.
Umar Hameed: Like a madman.
Keith Scott: Exactly!
Umar Hameed: So, Keith who is your favorite superhero and why?
Keith Scott: I’d definitely say Superman; he’s always been my favorite. I’m just amazed by the ability of the person. They’ve been given a gift and have to constantly figure out how they are going to best use that gift to serve humanity, at the same time you have to figure out, who do I help, because the problems of the world are immense and we can become overwhelmed by it; Superman is great at figuring out who do I help and why do I go help that person.
Umar Hameed: Brilliant. So Keith what motivates you?
Keith Scott: My motivation is, knowing every day that I have an opportunity to make the world a better place for myself and my family. At the end of the day if we’re not making this a better place for future generations, what’s the point?
Umar Hameed: Makes perfect sense. I know you are a mentor to a lot of people but who’s your mentor?
Keith Scott: My mentor would be my parents, they inspire me, and they have given me the strength, the talent, the resources to do what I can do. They are always encouraging, no matter, on my worst days or my best days they always have wisdom that they can share with me.
Umar Hameed: Yeah, wisdom comes everywhere we just need to look for it. If you could have lunch with anybody living today or someone from history who would you have lunch with and what would you want to find out?
Keith Scott: Wonderful question, I would like to have lunch with Thomas Jefferson. Recently I read about this library that is intact, the Library of Congress, he was a big believer that you have to know about a number of different subjects to be a well-rounded person and politician, you have to know about a number of things, it could be: how to farm, to build a house, understanding science. I want to understand his thoughts for the founding of our country.
Umar Hameed: Are you also a lifelong learner?
Keith Scott: Learning is an everyday addiction. There are 1 million things to learn from people, from organizations, from religions, you name it. There is always something new that can keep you inspired.
Umar Hameed: Absolutely, and I think that’s why you and I are friends, we share that common passion for learning. So Keith, tell us about your career. What was your first sales job?
Keith Scott: First sales job was at Brookstone’s in the Columbia Mall, and I loved that job because my rule was to be out in the front of the store and bring people in, kind of like a Barker at a circus, that was my rule, and it had the coolest items there. My favorite was a huge massage chair that sold for couple thousand dollars, and when I could get someone to buy one of them my day was made, was perfect.
Umar Hameed: Was it the commission or was it just the challenge?
Keith Scott: Oh I didn’t get any commission, from the fact it was the challenge of being able to sell that, to convince somebody, to persuade somebody to why this chair is going to make their life better.
Umar Hameed: Brilliant. What’s the best deal you’ve ever gotten?
Keith Scott: The best deal I’ve ever gotten. I was at Kings Dominion one time and I won this huge stuffed animal, one of those mega sized ones from the games that no one ever wins, had to go back on the bus this thing was never going to fit on the bus, a woman came up and offered me $30 for this bear, and I was in seventh or eighth grade. It was a lot of money, I said, well, No I’m not going to do it. How much do you have? She goes, I’ve only got 40. I said, I’ll take 40 for it. So that was my best deal. I always remember, always go up a bit more. See where people will go to.
Umar Hameed: So, who was the best sales manager or leader that you had, and what was the attribute they had that you really admired?
Keith Scott: I worked for Goodwill industries for a number of years and I had a facility down at Winchester Virginia, there was a former CEO there, Craig McLean, and his motivation was not a long lecture, not going through a whole bunch of sales prospects; we need this done for the good of the people, and that was it, and he motivated me for the good of our clientele. I needed to sell more contracts, to provide more individuals with disabilities, opportunities to work. And I learned to go out and visit every business and uncover what opportunities are there, because the more I sold the more opportunities for individuals who would never had a job before would have an opportunity to learn the power of work.
Umar Hameed: So, this guy showed you how to go beyond yourself, showed you all will work out, impact the world.
Keith Scott: Absolutely and he did it with just a few words. You know how he did it? He did it with his body language and his eyes.
Umar Hameed: and EMS that mother had those eyes, one look and I’d straighten up still. Tell me about come to Jesus moment that had you take a look at your actions?
Keith Scott: I think to come to Jesus moment would’ve occurred when I ran eyes that people have the same needs and one they have the same pain theme hurts the same need for meaning in life and were never setting an object reselling ourselves in relationship to that person because people can buy basically items from anyone believe by a relationship the way like right troth and that’s what I realized never about a thing of the chain it will. The chamber that membership will be offer and why I’m to that member.
Umar Hameed: That Makes fun of Shakespeare it was always about that human.
Keith Scott: Absolutely in connection people look at another person nothing can I work with that person and a half to feel that fire and we can do that any other way than to look the person in the eye.
Umar Hameed: The can I sleep with that person but that’s a different category. Is there a deal that came from the jaws of death?
Keith Scott: Absolutely many times in communication on confused by claim they don’t understand Ray doing something and it takes time to tell them get confus from and to indicate in a way that we understand reasonably they may decide to cancel membership or they may say that I’m not going to sponsor this year but it’s there why and how they come to that decision and that’s how you pull deals from the jaws of death.
Umar Hameed: Understanding what internal motivation where as others feel people would look at the wares most state salespeople look at the surface so you go a little deeper or two to figure out motivation.
Keith Scott: Similar to kids when they get angry. They’re not to become angry about the situation. Something a couple layers down, but they are just a little scared to talk about it. So they lash out how we customers are the same. Customers are the same way. If you’re in a store and hear a belligerent customer yelling at someone that anger typically come from them not being able to return and item or something, their anger deep-seated place from some other place, but they have found a person who is going to take.
Umar Hameed: So, looking at the sales profession at large and things are changing as we move along is rapidly what you think is the biggest challenge in sales today?
Keith Scott: Not being fake. I think the biggest challenge being authentic being real and having a conversation though coming up today are not used to the face-to-face of the conversation they can quickly fire off a message or tweet or text message but they can’t engage with the customer.
Umar Hameed: So, being authentic again it’s coming back to that theme.
Keith Scott: And it’s a dance with the customer a chance to understand their needs.
Umar Hameed: A dance?
Keith Scott: You give a little bit, I give a little bit. You circle around you have to be able to anticipate the next moves of your partner to be able to understand and get that vibe from that person many people don’t have a strong situational awareness anymore they’re living in their world or there small social online community, but they are not really understanding how people operate as human beings.
Umar Hameed: That makes sense. So, Keith you’re in an interesting position where you’ve got a salesperson that worked with you that you have a board that basically oversees the organization. How do you balance the expectations at this position or other positions where you have to manage the salespeople beneath you, but you also have to manage the expectations of people above you, how do you balance the two?
Keith Scott: The balance is easy, if there’s money in the bank and were growing in membership, we are doing pretty good with the board finding a salesperson that is aggressive and at the same time compassionate to our members is that we have here at the chamber right now. The Board of Directors they expect to be part of an organization that is growing and following our simple message that is to be the strongest networking group in the area and to be a legislative sounding board for business community in the Nami, Indianapolis and locally. So our board if they know we are doing those things and we’re doing them right then they are happy. For salespeople it’s finding the right fit and I make sure I found someone that fit because they’re passionate about what they’re doing.
Umar Hameed: Brilliant, so what’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
Keith Scott: If in doubt you’re in doubt. It’s a simple phrase.
Umar Hameed: And what does that mean because it looks like…. It sounds confusing.
Keith Scott: If you’re in doubt you’re in doubt. If you go out to a store and you’re going to buy a shirt and you have a simple little doubt about the shirt something doesn’t strike you right you don’t like the colors, you don’t think it would fit right, the fabric doesn’t feel right then put it down and don’t buy. If you’re in doubt stop what you’re doing and reassess.
Umar Hameed: And certainly when it comes to shirts who cares, but when it comes to life and the decision you feel compelled to act. And It goes back to that seen that coming over and over again being authentic because when you ignore a doubt you’re being inauthentic and you’re letting your rational side convince you of something .
Keith Scott: Right you’re not taking those vibes, those feelings. Many times we push those away or think they are not real we have to hear that inner voice that says I don’t think this is the right thing to do or I need to stop or I need to pump the brakes and slow down a bit and think. Something, we don’t do enough in life. Take time to just think, go to bed, sleep on it, let it drain through you don’t make rash decisions.
Umar Hameed: Good advice! So a lot of times when you’re hiring salespeople a lot of them look really pretty and their resumes are amazing , but as you know with a lot of Chamber members I’m sure there’s lots of people crying on your shoulders saying “We hired 5 sales people that looked brilliant, one of them turned out”. So, how do you figure out that you’ve got the right person because it is a big decision for any size company, especially a small one.
Keith Scott: I don’t think you put an ad out there and say I’m looking for sales people you’ll never get the right deal. You’ve got to look for someone who’s successful, growing that’s already working for another company that you can things that they have a passion that they are aggressive and that they are hungry to learn and to grow you’ve got to be able to assess that early on in the interview and typically , many times, the people that look the shiniest have rust underneath. You’re going to look for the real person who has a story, who has been through a journey not who looks shiny, but is going to wear out thin pretty fast.
Umar Hameed: So, if I hear you right, a) We’re going back to authenticity again, b) When I come to, let’s say I’m dating someone and certainly looking my best and not cussing too much that date, but you’re saying that you look for people that are already working, already walking their talk. And they are not acting for you or performing for you because they don’t know you were care both you and you get the animals in their natural environment and see exactly who they are for real and if you like that, the way you bring them over it with a more compelling vision and purpose.
Keith Scott: And get to know them. When you’re interviewing someone for a job and you see their resume and people can put anything they want on their resume, right? But if you’re talking to them and you‘re thinking I just don’t like the person or I got to spend 40 hours a week hanging out with this person that is not the right
Umar Hameed: That’s what marriage is for.
Keith Scott: Exactly! If they start to annoy you or have habits then you just need to move on because that will drive you nuts.
Umar Hameed: And them.
Keith Scott: And it won’t work. Many people are a flash in the pan you’ve got to have someone with a track record they can’t just do the sprint they’ve got to be able to do the marathon.
Umar Hameed: Makes perfect sense. So Keith what is something you know now that you wish you knew 10 years ago that would have changed the quality of your life or success in business.
Keith Scott: Time moves fast and as you get older it goes faster and faster, not to squander days not to do anything meaningless to try to find meaning in everything you do every day because every year goes by faster and faster.
Umar Hameed: I can’t believe we’re in October almost to November
Keith Scott: Life is moving fast.
Umar Hameed: So, what’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?
Keith Scott: You will never have all the answers when you start a business, when you make a decision, when you go forward. If you’ve got eighty percent of the answers then keep moving
Umar Hameed: Execute.
Keith Scott: Absolutely, you’ll figure out the 20% while you’re running along and while you’re building it, but too many people will say I need the full business plan and I need to this and I need to that and they never get out of the game and they never move.
Umar Hameed: And they could be moving and since they got this quandary they stop and then the inertia it’s really hard to get them rolling again
Keith Scott: And then everybody else passes them by.
Umar Hameed: Then what’s the point, why would I even bother.
Keith Scott: Exactly.
Umar Hameed: What help would you give leaders out there helping them grow their sales like what advice would you do people in small companies to midsize companies to grow their revenue.
Keith Scott: Be genuine, be a real person, talk about real things to lose all the sales jargon, all the corporate speak all that stuff. It is a waste. Become a real person that people will like. Understand and love humanity and find the positive in everyone you meet.
Umar Hameed: Let’s dig a little deeper there because the words you said in English make perfect sense but the actual doing of said for a lot of people is really difficult. So how do people really get to figure out who they are and really embrace it?
Keith Scott: Look back when you were a kid and when you had that Saturday afternoon where you could do anything you wanted to do. Embrace that as an adult that’s when you’ll figure out who you are. Take some time doing whatever you want to do in the moment don’t feel as though you have to do this or do we have to do that do what you want to do at that moment and then you will figure out who you truly are.
Umar Hameed: So, the last question for you Keith is what is a book that you would recommend people reading to improve their performance he could be in life business or sales?
Keith Scott: I wouldn’t suggest a book. What I would suggest is reading the body language, the tone, the conversation the environments of people around you take a day take a half a day whatever you can afford sit on a bench near a crowd of people and observe people. It’s the best teacher you can ever find. Observe what you like about the people, what you don’t like about the people and the mannerisms that you have that you don’t like and you will learn more about how to be a person than any book you will ever read.
Umar Hameed: So Keith what does this mean?
Keith Scott: (laughs)
Umar Hameed: Well I gave Keith a gesture.
Keith Scott: That this interview will end soon. Won’t it?
Umar Hameed: Keith thanks so much for taking time out to chat with us, I got a lot out of it.