Boom VisionTM Podcast

Ep. 24: How to Sell More by Simply Being Human with John Hill 


Quote: “What I honestly value more than anything else is quality; doing one's best in the manner of the responsibility and craftsmanship of a Number One.” – Bruce Lee

Today's interview is my guest, John 'Small Mountain' Hill, Sales Coach, Author, and Founder of Adapted Growth.  From being a dedicated student of martial arts and living a past life as a professional poker player, John has amassed over 2 decades of sales experience, and now he empowers entrepreneurs and sales professionals on how to authentically be a better salesperson.  What's the secret to selling more?  Are gifted salespeople naturally born for that role or is it a skill that can be practiced, improved and mastered?  In today's interview, we dive into:

  1. John's origin story
  2. John's alignment with his current path.
  3. Roadblock that entrepreneurs tend to have: Too many people think that sales is something you're born with and so they don't treat it like a skill that you can develop.
  4. Biggest misconceptions of sales, both from the perspectives of an outsider and insider.
  5. John shares his favorite chapter in his book, Selling from Scratch: How to Sell More by Simply Being Human.
  6. His advice and final takeaways to become a better salesperson.

Show Notes

[2:49] - Quote: “What I honestly value more than anything else is quality; doing one's best in the manner of the responsibility and craftsmanship of a Number One.” – Bruce Lee

Welcome to episode 24 of the Boom Vision podcast!  Folks, I'm excited to share today's interview with John 'Small Mountain' Hill.  John is a new friend that I am blessed to get introduced through one of my previous guest, Dan Bennet (Episode 18).  I first heard of John when he was a guest on Dan's The Antipreneur podcast, and my intuition was telling me that I need to connect with John and invite him on my show. After talking to John for over an hour in our first call, my intuition was right cuz we immediately hit it off with so many similar interests and connected on what sparks joy in our lives.

As a brief background:

John “Small Mountain” Hill, is the founder of Adapted Growth and author of Selling From Scratch. John has been selling in one form or another for over 20 years.

A voracious seeker of knowledge, John began learning everything he could about selling and communicating better. That led to his passion for helping others find their own levels of growth. He started his sales consulting and coaching company in 2018 and began co-hosting a podcast, Sales Throwdown, in 2019.

In his coaching, John combines a motivational mindset with actionable, data-driven processes, a method he uses to coach more than eight sales teams internationally. He’s also written a sales improvement book with plans for more books already in development.

When he’s not helping others sell more efficiently and authentically, John enjoys spending time with his family, biking, martial arts, poker, and traveling.

So without further ado, here's John 'Small Mountain' Hill:

[5:15] - John's origin story.

  • (JH) Initially in sales and waiting tables for the first 10 years.
  • When John was training in a martial arts school, a friend invited him to meet a sales coach. John was not coachable in most aspects of life, but in a Kung Fu context, John was very coachable. 
  • John now coach and train salespeople and entrepreneurs.

[7:03] - (BY) You're known as John 'Small Mountain' Hill. Where does this moniker come from?

(JH) "Sales is much more of a philosophy than it is like one universal thing that works all ways." 'Small Mountain' was a way for John to get pass his speech impediment.

[8:58] (BY) Would you consider the path you are currently on is a path where you're living your purpose? Do you feel really aligned with this path of sales, or did it take certain inflection points to get where you are right now?

(JH) As far as this being my calling, yes, this is the thing that I can NOT do.  This is aligned with the thing that only I can do.

[10:19] - (BY) Speaking of sales coach, I think another moniker is 'Sales Sherpa.' Who do you primarily serve and how do you best help your clients?  

(JH) You have to have trust. Too many people buy things with the wrong expectations, and the reason why they have the wrong expectations is because they are sold with the wrong expectations. 

Example: If you take SEO vs pay-per-click advertising, these are 2 different digital marketing growth. 

[13:55] - (BY) Sales is the lifeline of any business. For entrepreneurs or executive leaders that have that Inner Voice saying they are NOT naturally born salespeople. With that belief, what have you found to be the biggest mental roadblock for people and how do you help them overcome it?

[14:51] - (JH) Too many people think that sales is something you're born with and so they don't treat it like a skill that you can develop.

The best leaders use the same techniques, the same process, the same processes that great salespeople do. If you don't do a good job that as a leader, you're always going to be firing people and hiring people and frustrated that you can't find someone that can take action.

[16:34] - Takeaways of 2 biggest things mental roadblocks:

1. People are born for sales or their not, which is not true, and

2. I'm not a salesperson because I'm an owner, that's also not true.

[16:53] - (BY)  What's the biggest misconception of sales, from the perspectives of sales people (and non-sales people) that people often think is true?

(JH) From the outside view: sale person just wants to sell you. They just want to close you. 

Inside view: If you try hard enough, you'll get the deal.

(JH) This is a misconception because not all deals are suppose to close. 

[22:19] -  (BY) Reminds me of my personal story when shopping for a new SUV

[28:11] -  (BY) John, I love your diverse background, from immersing yourself in the martial arts, as a professional poker player, and how a Sales Sherpa. What does mind, body and soul mean to you given the variety of experiences and disciplines you’ve cultivated over the years?

[28:54] (JH) A big part of this comes from martial arts background.

(JH): Buying is an emotional process, and we justify it with intellectual things later on.

Having clear intentions is really important.

[31:03] (JH) I use to be a professional poker player, and I had a coach then that said: "You will improve based on the questions you ask yourself."

[36:47] (BY) I’d love to talk about your book, Selling From Scratch: How to Sell More by Simply Being Human. Please share with our audience what inspired you to write this book at this given time? 

[37:06] (JH) In the middle of the pandemic, I made a commitment to write 1,500 words a day. 

Melissa, who is my partner of 19 years, and my editor of my book, helped me turn it into what it is today. The book is for starting the change, the stigma around sales. There's a nobility to it [sales].

[40:23]: (JH): "It's noble when you're noble. And if you're not noble, it can't be."

 [40:44] (BY) Is there a particular chapter or topic within that book that you can share today, which you feel might resonate the most with my Boom Vision audience?

(JH) My favorite chapter is Intentional Selling. In there, I make the case that introverts can make arguably better sales than extroverts. 

The book is for entrepreneurs who doesn't think they are a salesperson, or the salesperson that's struggling in their sales role because they're trying to be all things to everybody. 

[42:45] - (BY) I do want to share this: there's 2 things I got from reading this book:

1. Momento by Christopher Nolan. When I read the book, the energy I felt from it, is indicative of where your energy is at: people that have been around the block have a few battle scars, they haven't been able to thrive in that next level.  The sequence in how you laid out the book is for intermediate folks that are learning how to thrive. If you are someone new, if you read the last chapter going backwards, it's a different experience.

2. I do recommend this book to my listeners for multiple reasons

a) I read it myself and I believe in it.

b) The perspective I learned on how to view sales: building trust (campfire) and building integrity (bridge) between the salesperson and potential client/customers.  Are you selling or are you building a bridge?

[49:32] (JH) The idea of Sherpa is it's awareness forward sales approach, versus a technique approach. 

[50:30] - (JH) Daniel H. Pink talks about this in his book "To Sell is Human": If you can't acknowledge the agenda in this conversation, you're putting yourself at the position where it'll be used against you.

[51:32] - (BY) Book Recommendation: In addition to your book, is there another book you've read in the past year that has been transformative in your life?

(JH): The most powerful book in the past 5 years: "Leadership and Self Deception" by Arbinger Institute

(JH) Takeaway: When you're a leader, when your first decision is flawed, none of the rest of your decisions can be good decisions.

[52:27] - (BY) What is one thing you would tell yourself if you had an ability to travel back 10 years ago and share with your younger self? 

(JH) JH: Soft skills matter. They are the connective tissue that make the main skill work.

If you don't communicate with your team well, it just won't work.

[54:27] - (BY) Where can our listeners find you?

John's information:

[56:39] - Man, I felt like I just had a conversation with an old college roommate. I really hope you all enjoyed today's interview! There's several nuggets of wisdom that John shared.  The top 3 takeaways I got are:

  1. "Buying is an emotional process, and we justify it with intellectual things later on."
  2. "You will improve based on the questions you ask yourself."
  3. The idea of sherpa is it's awareness forward sales approach, versus a technique approach. 

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