Interview with Another IntrovertJan 17, 2022
Hi everyone! Here’s Episode 2’s transcript.
[Note: Please excuse any typo’s, punctuation, or odd wording as the software occasionally transcribes it incorrectly. If in doubt, listen to the episode!]
Hello, everyone. Thank you for listening and welcome back to the sales for introverts podcast. My name is Mark Wilson, and I'm from sales for introverts.com. Which is a sales training course that you need to check out. If you have any sort of introversion, any sort of shyness. Or uncomfortableness with the whole sales process, customer service type deals.
So today's podcast is based on an interview that I had with a friend and a cousin by marriage of mine. His name is Billy Claunch and he's so something sort of unusual. He actually sells fire trucks and fire equipment to fire stations. I mean, Hey, I guess somebody has to do it and it's going to be Billy and, and people in his industry. So a really interesting conversation, but what makes it more interesting is that he is a self-described introvert as well. So he's.
Been in the industry for a long time. He's had to go through all the different sales processes that most salespeople have to go through. And yet he is an introvert, so I kind of wanted him to pick his brain and, and open up to us and see what sort of insights that he had. And the conversation that came from it is going to be two parts. This is the first part.
And there'll be a second part. Both are around 20 minutes each. But we laughed a little bit. We cried a little bit too. Maybe. Well, maybe not. You know, audible tears, but but it was a great conversation. I do want to add a little bit of context for you. Billy has known me for a long time, so he knows a little bit about me and what I do and which is that's something that I haven't really gone into too much on the podcast yet.
We will eventually talk about my background but just to give you the 62nd version my day job. Is a sales person. And I sell. My company's products direct to our customers. I worked for a lumber company. And so I sell building materials to people. Who. Can remodel their house. They are building a new house. There's a new development going on.
You know, I'm involved in that kind of stuff. Specifically, I usually work on larger projects, larger scale projects in the commercial world. But we also sell two by fours to anybody who wants to walk in the building. Sort of like an old school home Depot on one hand. But on another hand, it's a, it's a high-scale production lumberyard as well. So it's not just a mom and pop place. It is a.
Full service. Supersized. Ready to go. A multimillion dollar business. So, and my, my clientele is the same. As well. So. Good high volume stuff. And that's what I do day to day, but our lumber yard is a third generation family owned business that started in 1949. And it's still in the family and the family still runs it.
Along with a lot of help. Of course. We have a fairly large business now. So we have around 300 employees, I believe. And still growing. So over multiple different locations in states. So you'll hear Billy mentioned that occasionally, and he'll talk about my, my dad or my grandfather who were the family members before me, as well as I also have cousins and uncles and various other family members that have worked there through the years.
In fact, I work right now with two of my cousins. One of whom is the president and the other is the VP. So, uh, I had to find my spot in the company and that's a huge part of my story. And I hope to share that at some point. Uh, and I found it in sales.
But we're going to have to save that story for a different podcast.
So when he talks about the lumber company, that's what he's referring to.
And again, I have plenty to say about that. It's interesting experience working with family. And growing up in that atmosphere, it is It's a blessing. For sure. And it also has its challenges as, as anybody would tell you. And most family businesses don't last.
Up to the third generation and rarely do they ever go to the fourth generation. So. I don't know if that's going to happen or not. We're still working on that, but enough about me, let's get to our conversation with Billy. We'll dive right in. And he is he's his first question is just questioning what, why we're doing this in the first place. So that's a great place to start.
And also just production note real quick. We had some sound issues with, with Billy's audio for the first. Two or three minutes. That does clear up eventually. So hang with us. But everything you, you can understand it. It's just a little bit fuzzy. So. Really appreciate you listening.
And hope you enjoyed both part one and part two. And we will check in with you. At the end of the show. Okay.
So without further ado, here's my conversation with Billy. Claunch the firetruck salesman.
what are you going to do with all the content you collect from people? I'm going to use your personal content sentence, sell it online and take all of your intimate information that you don't want to be exposed to the public and see if I can make any money off it.
I've heard of that business model before I've gotten a lot of emails from you in the past, I think. No. What I'm trying to create an online course. To train. Uh, But it's like a sales training basically.
Okay. obviously that's a, it's going to be a sales person's perspective. But, but the sales person is not your typical average run of the mill extroverted guy or gal he's he's me. And, and I'm in a pretty, pretty significant introvert, I would think. And I, I don't know. I think my approach is a little different.
So of the research I did online and stuff, and I didn't find a lot about it. And I just thought that a lot of people might be able to benefit from it. So there's going to be an online course, but I was recommended to me that I kind of start a podcast to kind of help the grassroots interests movement, because podcast is free to listen to.
Sure. I know a lot of people like to listen to business. Podcasts. I don't know that I'm necessarily one of them, but there's a lot of people out there that do. I don't know. Do you listen to any, any podcasts at all? I did a little bit of podcasts, mostly audible,
I liked the online digital books a lot better than. The podcast for whatever reason I got ya. I like history biographies. We do some work in the Caribbean, some fire department operations and some sales down there. So I just finished reading empire at a crossroads, which is like the history of the Caribbean islands, basically, which is just fascinating to me. Reading the founders of Ali-Baba right now, and I'm reading the Airbnb guys right now. So yeah. Yeah. Well, I know that Alibaba stories, I don't know much about it, but I've, I've, I've heard about it and that sounds really cool, but you just mentioned doing business in the Caribbean, so I'm just going to jump in. And yeah, because that sounds really cool.
So I want to expand on that a little bit. Why don't, why don't you just explain who you are and, and, and what your business does. Sure. It's Billy Claunch we buy, sell and refurbish used firetrucks. So the business model is basically a used car, lot excepted. Thank you for making a joke, because I wasn't going to make a joke about a used car salesman, but you went ahead and did that.
So now I don't have to feel awkward car salesman. Yes. But you sound okay with that? Yeah. Very, very proud of it. How many people work with your company? 60 employees right now, 16, 6, 0, really? I had, but yeah, I had no idea. It was a, it was that sizable. Yeah. About half are in operations. So they're the ones doing the real work on the firetrucks.
So, you know, rebuilding the engine, pump, service, paint, bodywork, stuff like that. And then half of us are in the office doing sales, purchasing, marketing accounting, et cetera. And so just so I'm not remiss your, the name of your company is Brindley mountain fire apparatus. That is correct. Right.
All right. Holy cow. This is disconnection is a lot better. Okay, great. I don't know what was happening there, but, okay. So we were talking about your company and then I had a question. What what is your specific role there? And then we got cut off. Okay. Yeah. So my title is VP of sales and actual function like in many small businesses, you end up doing a bunch of different stuff.
So I was basically the first Person besides the founder that bought or sold firetrucks there. So I think I got the title VP of sales, and then we've hired some other people since then. And I've kept the same title, but basically my responsibility is the transaction of buying and selling firetrucks and trying to find a way to do that better.
Okay. And do you have other sales guys at work in your team? We do. Yeah. We have six people in the sales department and five in the purchasing department. Okay. So just for my curiosity, how many firetrucks do you think that you've sold? Me personally. Yeah. I'm probably in the let's say you're 18.
So I would say I'm in the, I dunno thousand 1200 range personally, probably. That's pretty cool accomplishment. I think the company does about 600 a year. And I don't do a lot of direct sales anymore. But but during the period when I was selling, I probably landed somewhere in that range.
Gotcha. Yeah. Yeah. It's not your day to day job anymore, but you manage those operations, those sales and purchasing operations and whatnot. That's correct. So you are. Intimately involved with the, with the sales process for your car. That's correct. And yet the point of this interview and this podcast and this whole thing is that you also say, or you told me earlier that you would call yourself an introvert.
Yeah. So you know which there's a lot of ways you could probably define extrovert and introvert. I don't know if you have a particular way of kind of in my mind, I've always thought extrovert and you kind of energize yourself or you get recharged from other people being around other people and introverts you probably default to recharging or getting your energy from being by yourself.
And while I think everybody probably at different points, seasons of life, or even days of the week, you, you feel different, but in general, yeah, I'd rather be by myself and people are kind of a nightmare to me. So I'm an only child grew up an only child. Dad retired from NASA. He was an engineer there for like 40 years and had no.
Used for anyone trying to sell him something his entire life up until and including today. When I was a kid, I remember we'd go to a car lot. And the sales people, you know, want saunter up to us. Hey guys, how are you doing today? And dad are just like, oh geez, SWAT. I wish they would just leave us alone.
I mean, he couldn't stand on really. Even in funny story a few years ago, it was probably 10 years ago or so, but I had a motor home and I was telling dad yeah, that's how I took it up to this. Something was wrong with it. So I had a dealership or working on it and I was up there with talking to them and, and I call it Dan.
And I said, yeah, I'm thinking about, maybe I'll trade this one in and try to get another one because they were saying. The generator on this one really isn't quite big enough to operate it or whatever. I was telling dad what they were saying. And dad said now, was it the sales guy you were talking with him there?
Or was it one of the technicians? The implication, obviously being, if you're talking with a sales guy, he may or may not be telling you the truth. You're talking with the technician. That's a man that works with his hands. He's honest. So you can trust with, they say sales guys who knows, you know, so. Yeah, it's funny.
And I feel like that sentiment is just everywhere. Yeah. I had thought the same thing and, my dad was not a sales guy. I chose to go into sales. But you know, he was, he was the exact same mentality and a lot of people are, you know, that's sort of the status quo. It seems like. Well, and I think the you know, introvert, like you can define introvert and extrovert a lot different different ways you can define what sales is.
Obviously an infinite number of ways. Also, you know, in general, I would say you have a business has marketing and sales, right. Marketing's job is to somehow some way get leads into the business. You're getting some contact information of some person that may or may not have some interest in your product and or service.
Right. And that's sales the salesperson's job then, or the sales department's job is to take that lead and convert. Into some sort of business, right? So the, the, the pers the stereotypical, you know, gregarious, big personality sales person, who's taking people on trips and golfing and out, you know, wine and dine.
And that's a pretty, I think in my opinion, small part of the overall sales process, and while certainly in certain businesses, personality, personal connection. Can make a difference in closing the business, as you do have to have some level of trust there with another person, it's probably a pretty small amount.
And I think in today's world, particularly it's an, it's a, it's a as small amount as it's ever been in the sales process. That's really funny you say that because I would agree with that a lot. Don't get me wrong. I love to go out and have people take me out to lunch or go out and play golf or invite me to like an a on a weekend fishing trip or something like that sounds fantastic.
Well, I have two problems though. Number one, I I've got little kids at home that I've got to help take care of. So I can't just go off and do whatever I want. But number two, I just flat out don't have time to do that anymore. And I don't know. And this is just as, as soon as 10 years ago, maybe, but 10, 20 years ago, you know, that was a lot more common.
I feel like in the workplace, in the Workday, especially for salespeople. But now it's, I don't have time to do it, even if I was that personality type. So as a sales person, you kind of have to adapt to that. And, and I personally think that the client today's climate. Or sell there's a lot less focus on in-person meetings and in-person, you know, going out to hit 18 holes or something like that.
It's more about, you know, what kind of service can you provide and, and email-based, and text-based and all that kind of stuff. You know what I mean? Yeah, absolutely. Well, the, yeah, I I'm the same way. I don't want to go on a weekend anywhere with any, I got five kids. Moronic guys. I mean, I don't have time for that and I don't even want to do it, you know, but again, Part it's such a small part of the sales process.
There's so much opportunity to succeed in sales. I think with, even without that personality, because ultimately the function of sales in an organization is trying to match whatever you're doing for a living, with whatever this person, this lead, that marketing just delivered to you. You're trying to find out if what they need is something that you can help with.
Right. So, It can be something where like my, from my perspective, I always just wanted to try to help as much as I could, you know? And I think if you can, if you just approach it that, Hey, I'm just trying to find a solution to this problem. I'm not trying to entertain this person or. You know, being the biggest personality in the room or the coolest kid in class.
And because of that, they want to come, you know, hang out and buy a bunch of stuff from me. I'm just trying to honestly find out, Hey, okay, you sent us an inquiry about this thing. What is it exactly you're looking for? Tell me everything in your mind about it and just let them talk and then figure out, okay.
Yeah, I can do this. I really can't do this for you. You probably don't even want to be doing this part of it based on my opinion. You do whatever you want, but. Here's how we make it help. Is that a possibility, you know, and then kind of going from there and just trying to, from a very humble, I think perspective find a way you can help the person that's right in front of you.
Yeah. You kind of answered a question before I even asked it, but I was going to ask what particular skills do you have as an introvert that you think helps contribute to your success? You know, feel free to continue answering that. But what I heard was you're listening, you're not concerned about selling.
You're concerned more about listening to what they have that's going on. And I mean, you don't necessarily know I have an agenda to sell them, and of course you want to sell them products, but you'd rather prefer to find out what they need first. And that, that sort of takes away a little bit of that.
Friction, I guess some the sales process has. Yeah, and well, and certainly depending on your business and industry, there's going to be a particular type way you have to approach your market. Right? So a statistic from our industry about 10 years ago something like 4.3 or the average person when they bought a personal vehicle, someone analogous to our industry.
Not exactly, but they visited a car lot, like 4.3 times prior to the purchase of a car. Today, they visit like 1.1 times and that's changing rapidly with Carvana. Well, and especially with COVID in the past few months, you know, there's a lot more there's a lot in Tesla, you know, you sort of the thing aligned, you don't even see it until you own it, you know?
Like, so there's a massive shift. Delivery. And so that's still sales, but it's a lot more sales operations rather than sales closing, you know, which the stereotypical sales person is set up to maybe gain someone's trust and close business in a way that when they're put in front of people, Hey, that's not something you can scale in a great way.
Like you can only go on so many fishing trips and you can only fit so many dudes on the boat, right? Like you just can't scale in any significant way. You know? So at lumber company, if you've got salesperson, a and they're talking with this builder and this builder does 20 homes a year and they have that because they've got a certain capacity of people they can manage.
Well, say they get their capacity to manage is 10 of them. Well, they're just tapped. So then you've got either hire another salesperson or you have to find, okay, well, this person has great talent. We're going to move them to builders that are building 50 homes a year, rather than 20 homes a year. You know, so that's the only way you can scale.
But the, so the, the, the extrovert introvert is probably a wash as far as in my opinion, as far as does it make you successful for me and a lot? Well, in the successful for me, honestly, it was, we just ended up in a very lucky industry. Like, I really think that James decided to buy a used firetruck because he's an idiot.
And I don't know why, you know, he just wanted to do that. And we just got lucky that we're in an industry that it really is like, it's not easy, but it's a great clientele. It's a great industry. You know, the firefighters love what they do. Nobody is well, not, not nobody. Very rarely do you run into someone punching the clock?
That's a firefighter and it's buying our trucks. Right. It's in their blood. They're volunteering a lot of times, it's a part of their life. W when they go on vacation, they go visit the local fire station, you know, to get a patch, to get a t-shirt, Hey, what kind of trucks are y'all running? You know, just that you have that level of interest, so we're just lucky, I think to end up in a great industry for me personally I'm. I am fairly organized. So at Brinley, I feel like I was able to organize our sales processes, which starting in marketing, but then as soon as it exits marketing, when it hits sales, we have fairly defined processes for.
If the inquiry meets this criteria, this person is calling them back. This person has to call them back within this amount of timeframe. We have automated reporting that shows when that happens, if that person contacts them and the customer meets this criteria, then it moves over to this section of sales and these people follow up.
And then we have reports for those people that show that they're on top of the stuff. There's nothing falling through the cracks. There's no phone calls going on returns. My contribution to help organize a system that makes that run efficiently makes it easier than trying to like when we hire somebody, I don't have to worry so much about, okay, how charming is this person going to be with a customer?
I just need somebody to get in and work the system and do it the way we done. You know, I don't need them cussing at people. I don't need them, you know, insulting their religion or any other thing about the person. But as long as they can reasonably and politely talk with people, we can generally work and find them the right seat on the bus and they can contribute to that.
So are most of your salespeople inside sales? Yeah, they're all inside sales, but we do travel with that. So so we have, we have sales broken up into kind of three categories. So I have inbound sales. So every inquiry hits the inbound team first and their job is to simply take initial inbound inquiries.
Get the information from the customer, enter it in our system and qualify the customer. We have 12 points of qualification that defines a qualified customer. They'll generally get three or four on the first phone call based on that info, that lead, then we'll go into either some sort of automated prospecting campaign.
Or it will go to an outbound prospecting campaign, which is another person that will follow up to get more info or it'll go to one of our senior salespeople if we deem it qualified enough. So yeah, you gotta, you gotta pre a serious system, worked out there. And, and what I'm hearing you say is that it doesn't matter.
It, it doesn't matter who you are as long as your agent, as long as you can competently take care of your classes. Do those qualifications and, and, and those processes you were talking about, you shouldn't be worried about it if you're an introvert, right? Yeah. I mean, I think marketing and sales is, is, is as much as ever, it's not an art anymore.
It's as close to a science now as it's ever been. Yeah. So the system is the important thing. Not, you know, I don't want to depend on. People superhuman people doing superhuman feats to have to get revenue at the company. I didn't know, just normal people and normal humans. You know, I can just come to a job, work the job they're going to make mistakes.
But as long as they're doing it within our system, that we're going to be fine. So on your job postings, you put a, we need a normal human only normal people. Yes. Yes. All the normal people, you know, or people that you don't really know that well, but yes, we try to keep crazy out of the building.
All right. Well, we're going to cut it off right there and then we'll pick right back up and part two in the final part of this podcast episode. Shortly. Um, we've talked about a little bit about trade shows and what it's like to really be transparent and be yourself. Is it. Is that. Always the best move, you know? Or do you need to, to dress yourself up a little bit or where do you tip on a scale of authenticity?
At first, it seems like Billy and I didn't really agree on what we thought about that, but after talking it out, I think we came to an understanding. So that's going to be in part to look forward to it. I hope you check it out as soon as it's available. Otherwise, check me out mark at salesforintroverts.com.
Online course sits right there, but there's also all kinds of content on YouTube, Facebook and whatnot. So. Have a great rest of your day. And we will see you next time.
If you're an introvert in the sales world, you'll want to check out my free Introvert Kickstart. It's time to reframe your whole career!