IAM1787 – First Lady of Sales Helps Create Sustainable Growth

Podcast Interview with Dr. Cindy McGovern

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”:
In this episode of CEO Podcasts, host Gresham Harkless Jr. interviews Dr. Cindy McGovern, known as the “First Lady of Sales.” Dr. McGovern is an international speaker and consultant on sales, interpersonal communication, and leadership. With a doctorate in organizational communication, she worked as a professor of communication before starting Orange Leaf Consulting, a sales management and consulting firm in San Francisco.
Dr. McGovern has helped hundreds of companies and individuals create dramatic and sustainable growth, coaching both professional sales employees and those whose jobs are not sales-related.
Throughout the episode, Dr. McGovern shares valuable insights on effective sales strategies and communication skills, emphasizing the importance of building relationships and understanding the needs of your customers. She also discusses her book, “Every Job is a Sales Job,” a Wall Street Journal bestseller, and offers a free gift to listeners who purchase it using the code “I AM CEO.”

Overall, the episode provides valuable insights and advice for anyone looking to improve their sales skills and create sustainable growth in their business.

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Dr. Cindy McGovern Teaser 00:00

My big secret sauce is the fact that you do sell and every interaction is a sales transaction. And like we said, if you're getting your kids to eat their vegetables, if you've convinced one of your colleagues or one of your employees to stay late, you sold them on the idea.

So we just shift the way we think about it. My secret sauce, is I actually look at basically every day as sales conversations. It's just a series of sales conversations.

Intro 00:26

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs. Without listening to a long, long, long interview?

If so, You've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of.

This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:53

Hello, hello, hello, this is Gresham from the I AM CEO podcast and I appreciate you listening to this episode. If you've been listening this year, you know that we hit over 1600 episodes at the beginning of this year. We're doing something a little bit different where we are repurposing our favorite episodes around certain categories, topics, or as I like to call them, the business pillars that we think are gonna be extremely impactful for CEOs, entrepreneurs, business owners, and what I like to call CB Nation architects who are looking to level up their organizations.

This month we are focused on the visibility game, a.k.a. marketing, advertising, PR, and sales. I often say the name of the game is being found, and these tools will help you to do that. We have heard the philosophical question, if the tree falls in the forest and no one is around, does it make a sound? If there's a really, really great product or service and no one knows about it, How great is it really? What impact does it ultimately make? This is where we will go into this month looking at visibility, branding, marketing, public relations, sales being the lifeblood of businesses, building many companies, and so much more.

This is probably one of the most exciting and probably the most excruciating topics, but we hope this month to demystify or maybe even vanquish the fear and help and arm you with the tools to be able to increase your visibility. So buckle up and sit back and enjoy this special episode of the I AM CEO Podcast.

Hello, hello, hello, this is Gresh from I AM CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Dr. Cindy McGovern of drcindy.com. Dr. Cindy, it's awesome to you on the show.

Dr. Cindy McGovern 02:24

Thank you so much for having me. It's a pleasure to be here.

Gresham Harkless 02:26

Pleasure is definitely all ours. What I want to do is just read a little bit more about Dr. Cindy so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing. Dr. Cindy is known as the First Lady of Sales. She's also the author of Every Job as a Sales Job, and it is a Wall Street Journal bestseller. She speaks and consults internationally on sales, interpersonal communication, and leadership.

Dr. Cindy holds a doctorate in organizational communication and worked as a professor of communication before starting Orange Leaf Consulting, a sales management and consulting firm in San Francisco. She has helped hundreds of companies and individuals create dramatic and sustainable growth. Dr. Cindy regularly coaches, both professional sales employees and those whose jobs are not sales related in an effort to help them both take advantage of opportunities to bring more business to their companies.

Dr. Cindy, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

Dr. Cindy McGovern 03:17

I am excited to speak to the community. Absolutely.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 03:20

Awesome. Let's do it. So to kick everything off, I wanted to hear a little bit more about your background and your CEO story and what led you to get started with the business.

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Dr. Cindy McGovern 03:27

So the funny part about that is I thought I was meant to be a college professor. Like you said in my bio, that was what I went to school for, that's what my PhD is in. And all of a sudden I woke up one day and said, this is not where I'm supposed to be. So, I ended up doing some consulting. Then at the bottom of the market, 2008, 2009, I said, it's time to be CEO.

So I went out and started my own company and it was terrifying and exciting and exhilarating all in one, but, It's funny when you're pivoting your entire career multiple times in a very short amount of time. That's what actually propelled me to want to help other CEOs and wanna help other folks to be able to learn from the things that I did not do well along the way so they can avoid those pitfalls.

Gresham Harkless 04:10

Yeah. That's really great. You know that you're doing that, and I don't know if you have seen this, but I almost feel as if sales have become a lot more kind of like being a professor.

Like you have a certain expertise anyway. So I don't know if you found that a lot of your past life, I guess you can say it's trickled down into all the awesome things you're doing now.

Dr. Cindy McGovern 04:29

It's funny because I actually never wanted to be in sales, so that's the humor of it. And how I ended up writing this book is part of that journey in being a CEO is you have to sell. You have to sell yourself. Prior to that consulting firm, I woke up one day in a sales job and thought, oh God, I'm gonna get fired. Like I can't, this is not me and through my work I realized I'd actually been selling all along. I just didn't call it sales.

That was part of what gave me the confidence to go out on my own because I was like, oh man, if I can figure that out, I could do this. Really wanna help others to embrace their kind of inner salesperson, to be able to move their companies and their people forward too.

Gresham Harkless 05:07

Yeah, we're kind of always in that sales process and those skills are necessary, literally everywhere we're walking and talking.

Dr. Cindy McGovern 05:13

I actually use that example in my book where I talk about if you've ever gotten a toddler to eat anything green, you're one of the best salespeople on the planet and you can use that skill set and apply it to business. So everybody, all of your listeners are salespeople. I'm sure.

Gresham Harkless 05:26

Exactly. So, I wanted to hear, I know we touched on it a little bit, a little bit more on what you're doing to help support the clients you work with and of course about your book and all the awesome words of wisdom we can on there.

Dr. Cindy McGovern 05:37

So the moral of the story is I am on a mission to change the way that people look at sales, and that's what I do as a company. That's what my company Orange Lake Consulting does, is we believe that truly every job is a sales job, which is how the book ended up being titled that. But it's more than that. It's about how you empower your people to know that they are good at sales and they can do it and then helping them to actually be successful at it.

So a lot of the consulting we do is working with CEOs and owners to help their entire untapped sales team, their account management team, their front desk people, the back office people, anybody that's emailing with a client. Those are all people in sales. So I'm on a mission to change the way we look at the word sales and help everybody to realize we are all in sales and we can be successful at it. The more successful you are as an individual, the more successful the company is too.

Gresham Harkless 06:26

Yeah. And so a lot of times the way that your company looks, the way it presents itself is not just that outside salesperson that's knocking on doors. It's the person that's picking up the customer service phone and interacting through email or through chat and all those things. If you don't have that awareness, then that could be a detriment of the company.

Dr. Cindy McGovern 06:44

A hundred percent. I think a lot of folks, especially CEOs, we forget that part. We're focused on strategy, we're focused on growth. We forget that there's a huge trickle-down approach that lives, every person in your organization is a walking, talking commercial.

Even if they don't become, day-to-day interaction with a client, but they are talking to potential clients, their neighbors, their family, they are carrying the banner for your organization. Are they telling the story you want them to be telling? And if not, we need to change that. That's a lot of the work that we do, is we coach them and help them, but first it starts with the CEO recognizing that they too are in sales.

Gresham Harkless 07:20

Yeah. So, I wanted to ask you now for what I call your secret sauce. It could be for you personally or for your business, but what do you feel kind of sets you apart and makes you unique?

Dr. Cindy McGovern 07:30

So, my secret sauce is more with regard to the fact that I think sales is a life skill. I think it gets mis-categorized. So like I'm on a mission to change the way people look at sales. And honestly, Gresh, by the time I'm done, we might need a new word. We have to call it something completely different. But I think it should have been taught in high school. We learn reading, we learn writing. You learn arithmetic, sometimes you even learn job interview skills. That is nothing more than a sales skill, but we don't teach it as that. We categorize it as this thing that these people over here do.

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Quite frankly, most of us probably shied away from it because we thought, I don't wanna be like that. I don't wanna be that guy. Oh, ooh, that's icky. That's manipulative. So my big secret sauce is the fact that you do sell and every interaction is a sales transaction. So, like we said, if you're getting your kids to eat their vegetables, if you've convinced one of your colleagues or one of your employees to stay late, you sold them on the idea. So we just shift the way we think about it, and that's my secret sauce is I actually look at basically every day as sales conversations. It's just a series of sales conversations.

Gresham Harkless 08:34

Yeah, absolutely. And if you have that kind of sales mentality or that approach or the way you look at things, then that starts to make you think about how you can bring value rather than take away a lot of times.

Dr. Cindy McGovern 08:45

It is, and I think the other piece that I wanna empower the listeners today to think about too is the fact that you can't be afraid of it if you want your people to do it. I think that's one of the things is a lot of times when you know a CEO or a CFO or COO comes to us for consulting and they think, okay, these people are the ones that need it.

We start, my friend, it is starting with you in the C-suite, and then we're trickling down. And so they have to really embrace that for themselves and know that it is a skill they already have or else you wouldn't be in that C-suite anyways. Like you do have this, you just don't call it that.

Gresham Harkless 09:18

So, I wanted to switch gears a little bit and ask you for what I call a CEO hack. This could be something from your book, it could be an app, a book or another habit that you have. But what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

Dr. Cindy McGovern 09:30

So there are five steps that I go through in the book and my favorite hack is actually step one. Just planning. I think we play plan where we do these like large strategic initiatives and we all sit around a board table and we brainstorm, and then we put all these goals up on a board. But how are you planning your day, your week, your month, your minutes, and looking at it in terms of the best return on investment? And so the hack for me is re plan every day. I always have a to-do list for the day. If you saw my list, you'd giggle today.

But it's something where I truly think that's the piece because that's how we start to really measure our time, control our time. And as CEOs, we're pulled in 30,000 directions every second of the day. You have to plan so you can go back and measure because I don't know, but a lot of the CEOs that I coach, I'll ask them, where are you spending your time? Where is your best ROI and they can't even tell me where half their week went. And I get it, but let's look at that. Let's chunk it down.

There is some magic to writing it down. So that is absolutely step one in my book. I think that is the best CEO hack that I can share, is if you're not planning and writing it down and putting real due dates to it, you're flying by the seat of your pants and that's not enough.

Gresham Harkless 10:41

Yeah, it makes so much sense. So now let me ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. That could be like a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. It could be around sales or something you might tell your client or your younger business self.

Dr. Cindy McGovern 10:54

If I could tell my younger business self, I would tell my younger business self that sales is not icky and that I would've used 25 years ago, is that sales is truly a life skill. That is my message for everyone is that it isn't icky and you don't have to be that sales guy. I call him Johnny two thumbs because in my head I have this picture of a guy I'm like, flat pants and white shoes who's like across the car lot. So, Johnny, two thumbs and my message to everybody is, you don't have to be that and I would never teach you to be that.

Nobody wants to be sold. Everybody likes to buy. So your job is to invite them to buy, to invite them to adopt your idea, to invite them to sell. I think that's really the message that I would share with any CEO, but also any employee is making sure it's about inviting.

Gresham Harkless 11:48

Yeah, that makes so much sense. And a lot of times, you're trying to be of value, so you're trying to PR introduce something to you or invite people to something that you're providing and I think that you're absolutely right. A lot of times when we think back to our traumas, that might be a strong word. But a lot of times we might have bought something from somebody we didn't necessarily wanna buy.

So now our association with sales is that, and we don't want anything to do with it because we don't realize that maybe that person was just the outlier to what the whole process was, where we can actually be people that are providing and inviting people and helping out the world.

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Dr. Cindy McGovern 12:22

Totally. And the media doesn't do a great job of helping us to change this. It's very much stereotype of sales. If you see a salesperson in a movie or a television program, nine times out of 10, they're that cheesy Johnny two thumbs. I want you to think about the fact that you are sold to and you sell every day, every interaction with a customer, every interaction with one of your colleagues.

If you have had a board meeting this year with your team, if you haven't had a video message go out, you sold them on the idea. That's the kind of sales I'm talking about. You're inviting them to buy into the ideas and the goals of what you want your organization to be this year. That's sales and that's the kind I wanna tell.

Gresham Harkless 13:04

Nice. I definitely appreciate you for changing the narrative. So I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO.

We're hoping to help create an entirely different narrative around what it means to be a CEO entrepreneur and business owner. But Dr. Cindy, I wanted to ask you very specifically, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Dr. Cindy McGovern 13:22

So I actually have an acronym that I use for it, and it's choosing to elevate others, and that's the way I look at CEO. My job is to make everybody else better and I'm supposed to surround myself with people who are younger, better looking and smarter than me. So that's the plan.

But it's really about truly finding ways to continue to elevate because if I live in a bubble, if I stay here and I think I'm the only one with the vision, I'm missing literally everything. So it's how I look at this person and make them even better. It's gonna make everybody around us better.

Gresham Harkless 13:53

Yeah, it makes so much sense. I think that a lot of times when you have that mindset and that mentality, it helps, raise the entire tide and all the boats rise, so to speak. Just by us having that mentality, looking to others to tap into their potential things that they do best and we can continue to win as a team.

Dr. Cindy McGovern 14:10

For sure. I've got a girl that works on our social media and she was doing on-the-fly post, and she texted me this morning and said, do I need to run these by you? And I said, of course not. Run with it, girl. Go get out there. You're doing great.

But it is funny because I think so often we feel like we have to manage. If they don't need managing, stop managing them.

Gresham Harkless 14:30

Yeah, absolutely. And I think a lot of times when you give somebody the freedom to be a leader within themselves as well too, that also helps out so much because they become empowered, they take ownership, and it starts to manifest itself in the work.

You get a lot more joy and a lot better product at the end of the day.

Dr. Cindy McGovern 14:45

And it's so much more fun. That's the best part, is when you see somebody else totally crush it. That's great. That's the point of being a CEO.

Gresham Harkless 14:54

Yeah, absolutely. Awesome. Dr. Cindy truly appreciate that definition and that perspective. Appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you want to let our readers and listeners know, and of course how best they can get ahold of you.

Dr. Cindy McGovern 15:07

Absolutely, so I'm super easy to find. It's drcindy.com. Our consulting firm is orangeleafconsulting.com. I'm all over social media. Just search for either one of those, but really it's about helping you to grow your business and to grow as a person. I'd invite your folks to check out my book if they're interested and share it with your staff. It's not written for the salesperson, it's written for the regular person. So you're really trying to grow that business. Check it out.

And of course, I've got a free gift for your listeners too. They can go to drcindy.com and they just need to use I AM CEO in the promo code when they buy the book, and I'm gonna send them a bonus chapter on personal branding as well as some sales tips to help them out, be able to grow the business here in 2020.

Gresham Harkless 15:46

Awesome. Awesome, awesome. Thank you so much again, Dr. Cindy. Truly appreciate your time again, and I truly appreciate obviously that gift and all the awesome things you're doing to change the narrative around sales as well.

We will have the links and information in the show notes so that everybody can follow up as well. Thank you again and I hope you have a great rest of the day.

Outro 16:03

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co. I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community.

Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and everywhere you listen to podcasts, subscribe and leave us a five-star rating.

Grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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