Ep 5 – Kim Orlesky – KO Advantage Group

The Ambition Project – Calgary Entrepreneurial Podcast

The Ambition Project is a video series in which we interview successful and ambitious Calgary entrepreneurs and talk to them about their struggles, what they’ve had to overcome on their journey and valuable insights they have to share with up and coming business owners. The series will premiere on September 18th, 2018. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay updated or stream an episode on Spotify or iTunes.

Jonathan Hafichuk: Welcome, Kim.

Kim Orlesky: Thank you.

Jonathan Hafichuk: Thank you for being a part of this. I really appreciate it.

Kim Orlesky: Thank you. I’m so excited to be here. I’m so excited for everything that we’re going to share and the conversations that are going to help inspire more business owners, more entrepreneurs into doing amazing things.

Jonathan Hafichuk: That’s great. So Kim Orlesky is… You got female entrepreneur of the year-

Kim Orlesky: I did, yes.

Jonathan Hafichuk: … by Startup Canada.

Kim Orlesky: Yes.

Jonathan Hafichuk: You’ve had a podcast going for a while. You interviewed some pretty amazing people. Guy Kawasaki, Grant Cardone, Neil Patel.

Kim Orlesky: Yes. Yeah. Yeah. It’s on a hiatus right now after my son was born, right? I had to choose important things, which was family first before some areas of business, but I do hope to get it started again at some point.

Jonathan Hafichuk: Great. So you are the founder of the KO Advantage Group.

Kim Orlesky on The Ambition Project

Kim Orlesky: That’s correct.

Jonathan Hafichuk: So maybe just to start off, tell us a little bit about what the KO Advantage Group provides in terms of services to entrepreneurs.

Kim Orlesky: Yeah. We are one of the fastest growing entrepreneurial sales schools in Canada, and we’re starting to break into the US as well. We offer an online sales training program where still teacher directed, but it helps those that are in the high value services market. You know a lot of our students are engineers, project managers, business consultants, marketing agencies, those types of areas to understand how to navigate a true business to business sales strategy and process so that they’re able to essentially get those big deals even faster.

Jonathan Hafichuk: So is it primarily like a single course that you offer or is it customized?

Kim Orlesky: So we do a little bit of customization for our small business clients that want to hire us for their teams. For the most part, for many entrepreneurs, sales is just something that they need to understand. So our goal is not to turn these students into salespeople. Our goal is to give them the sales skills so that they can continue to passionately sell their product. KO Sales U is our flagship. And we do have some additional courses and programs that we’re launching, we’ve launched and are beginning to launch, to help people now take that sales conversation, get ready to hire their first sales people, and as well turn themselves into even more effective revenue generating businesses.

Jonathan Hafichuk: So it sounds like you primarily focus on the B2B space. Do you also dive into the B2C, or business to consumer space?

Kim Orlesky: If we find a student that really wants to learn high value sales strategy, we’re not going to turn them away. But we know more than anything else is pick a lane and stick with it, and do that really, really well. One of the reasons why we say we primarily target and business to business is because when we’re talking about the sales strategy and process, you have to understand that there’s chains of commands and hierarchy; people that you have to understand. There’s multiple points of contact. There is influencers, there’s decision makers. Those may be included in a business to consumer type of conversation, but they might not be. So we make our students aware that no matter what background that they’re coming from, this is the primary conversation that we’re going to be talking about.

The other big thing is that we’re also, usually in a business to business environment, we’re talking about transaction sizes that are in the low thousands, at the very, very bottom, but mostly in the tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands, which has a completely different conversation, emotional investment, when we’re talking business to consumer versus a business to business. So I mean long story short is yes, we primarily focus on that conversation. We won’t turn anyone away, but we do not consider ourselves to be experts in that space by any means.

Kim Orlesky on The Ambition Project

Jonathan Hafichuk: So you started out, your first experience in sales from what I understand was with Xerox.

Kim Orlesky: Yeah. Yeah. I never thought I was going to be a salesperson. I don’t think very many people actually think that they are going to be sales people. And it was never something that you choose on the career board of things that you want to do. I mean people want to be lawyers, and doctors, and engineers. And when I graduated university, from U of A with a finance degree, I thought I was going to be like a business analyst. Right? I thought I was going to sit in front of spreadsheets all day.

And when I was looking for jobs, the recruiter I was chatting with, she said, you know what? She’s like, “You have way too much personality to sit in front of spreadsheets.” She’s like, “You are a salesperson.” And I cringed at the moment, I thought… I actually thought I had to like take a shower. This woman had insulted me so bad. I was like, “I’m not any sales person. I am university educated.” But it actually turned out to be one of the best moves that I had ever made in my entire life. You know, I was very fortunate because I hadn’t just finished reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and he talked a lot about how his experience at Xerox helped making the entrepreneur and the millionaire that he was to this day.

And so I just learned from those people that have already done. I said, “If somebody else has done it, the smartest person in the room says go do this, who am I to argue with them?” So I just want to head and accepted a job with Xerox and very quickly learned how to sell, how to connect with people, how to go through a process that becomes eventually to a point where you’re getting these large transactions and took that onto further on my rest of my sales and corporate sales career.

Jonathan Hafichuk: Awesome. That’s great. I actually… I sold Cutco knives for three years, which was actually, it was really good experience. Super beneficial. And then-

Kim Orlesky: Did you do door to door?

Jonathan Hafichuk: No, it was like by referrals. So just like it was mostly realistically just cold calling people indefinitely until they give you an appointment.

Kim Orlesky: Yeah.

Kim Orlesky on The Ambition Project

Jonathan Hafichuk: But I found out that people had previously bought the product where the best customers, because they knew how good it was already [crosstalk 00:06:12]. Instead of somebody being like, “Here buy this a hundred dollar knife.”

Kim Orlesky: Yeah, absolutely. You know, and I think that’s what a lot of people forget about sales, right? People take the idea that sales is something that we’re doing to someone like in this way of coercing them or manipulation. And it’s actually so far from the opposite truth. I mean there is this kind of gray line or fine balance between being careful not to because when you get really good at sales you could, and that’s like the dirty sales people. But for most of us you have to believe that people live with honesty, integrity, and that we truly want to help others.

And you know, whether it’s a hundred dollar knife and you are having that initial conversation, or whether you are selling a $150,000 architectural drawing and design to accompany, at the end of the day you’re not doing it because you just want to milk the guy. You want to do it because you truly believe that this is going to make their business better, their life better, it’s going to change some aspect. And Cutco knives… I mean if you’re sitting there trying to cut a tomato and you end up squishing the tomato over, and over, and over again, $100 knife could solve that. And make it in presentation wise, and when we see that entire path of where we’re taking the client, right? That’s ultimately what sales is.

Jonathan Hafichuk: Yeah. It gives them something that’ll last forever. So what did you learn from those years in Xerox? What really stands out to you?

Kim Orlesky: You know, the biggest thing was that sales was a process, right? It was the idea that you have to follow the process if you want to get the results. And that’s the other biggest misconception that we typically deal when people are about to take sales training, is that they think that they can read it in a book. They think that they’re born with it, they think that I’m just naturally charismatic. That’s why Kim can sell and nobody else can. And working at Xerox, we saw people from all sorts of different personalities, all sorts of different walks of life. And every single one of them, if they were tenacious and resilient enough, they could always get it, right? Sales, first and foremost is a numbers game, right?

Just do the work, get the results, right? And work no matter what it is, whether we’re talking about marketing or sales, or actually producing a product, creating cogs. It’s hard. It’s hard work. Right? And nobody wants to do hard work, but you have to do hard work if you want to get ahead. Xerox said that, you know what? Yes, this is going to be hard. Yes, you’re going to fail. And yes, if you keep at it, you will succeed. And just continue to follow the process. And that’s exactly what we’ve done with KO Sales U is we’ve created this into a step by step process that really demystifies the whole sales conversation and turns into something that as long as I know exactly the steps that I need to follow, I’m always going to get there.

Kim Orlesky on The Ambition Project

Jonathan Hafichuk: Yeah. So after Xerox you decided to step away and go and travel the world.

Kim Orlesky: Yeah.

Jonathan Hafichuk: What sparked that decision?

Kim Orlesky: I mean there’s a little bit more history, right? It feels like sometimes there’s like a little jagged line like, “And then she did this.” But you know, yes, I did. I traveled the world and what happened was I was, at the time I was working for American Express, right? Another great company to work for. I was a very cushy position. I was probably putting in like 35 hours a week. I was telling my boss it was closer to 42. I was work from home position and I was making like six digits. Like there is nothing wrong with that lifestyle, especially when you … like at the time I just turned 30, right? And I think for a lot of people that are out there just during 30 like, I mean one of the goals is to hit that hundred thousand dollar mark and I was doing it. I was smashing it.

Yet there was something else inside me that was starting to ask, “Is this really the life that I want?” Right? Is sales… And you know, whether it was working for American Express, or any type of corporate sales at the time, is that really my calling? Is that what I was meant to do or was there something more? And I started to have like almost this quarter life crisis and I was asking myself all these questions. And then my whole life kind of fell down. I broke up with the guy that I was working with, and I was living in this house that I couldn’t afford just by myself anymore and I thought, “Screw it. What do I have to lose at this point except experience? “Like there’s nothing… At the end of the day, if I go and decide to go travel the world and I come back, no employer is going to say, “You know what? You went and did something for yourself and we never want to hire you.”

Kim Orlesky on The Ambition Project

I think I had one job interview that they actually said that. [crosstalk 00:10:39] Yeah, and I was like, “I don’t think this would ever be the job for me anyway.” But I mean that was kind of… It all led to eventually starting my own thing. But it was that moment where I thought, we wait until we’re retired. We wait until the right time to do things, right? When we have enough money, when we have the right career, when we have enough time off before we do all of these things. But there’s no guarantees in life. If I can recommend to anybody, whatever it is in life, choose to do it now. And don’t wait for that perfect moment because there’s no such thing. And doing that actually open up more doors and more opportunities for me where there was nothing there before.

Jonathan Hafichuk: I don’t know if you’re a big fan of Tim Ferriss or not-

Kim Orlesky: Yep.

Jonathan Hafichuk: … but in the Four Hour Work Week he really goes into talking about why you should do things currently and why it’s logistically possible. Walks through all the excuses that people always make to put things off till later and stuff like that.

Kim Orlesky: Oh absolutely. And it’s so critical in so many different parts of our lives and our business. Like when I went back from maternity leave, I was just starting my business and I had my son and decided that it was for me, it was the right time to go back to work. You know, I drew the line in the sand and I said, “You know what? I’m not going to work the standard work week. I’m going to do four days instead of five, and I’m going to be done at 3:30 because I want to be home with my son.” And I was amazed when I drew that line in the sand how much more profitable my business became, how much more effective I became as a business owner, as a leader in a company.

Even to this day, I mean my husband and I, we’re now planning next year to take six weeks off and spend it with our boys to go travel around because there’s no other guarantees in life. And those experiences are going to make us more creative, are going to inspire new ideas and new possibilities, and they’re going to make our boys just better human beings.

Kim Orlesky on The Ambition Project

Jonathan Hafichuk: So you said condensing your hours really benefited your business. Was it just because you had to be more productive in the hours you were working?

Kim Orlesky: Well, yes. It was also… I found that I made some critical decisions, right? I decided right away that I was only going to work these certain hours. Right? Which is a huge recommendation I made to any entrepreneur, right? The idea that you have to work throughout your sleep and eating hours and everything when you’re building a business is completely false. The reasons why you should do that is because you’re passionate about it, not because you feel you have to. Right?

The moment that passion starts to subside because you start to get exhausted, decide then what makes sense for you? What is your work life balance? And for me at that time it was I wanted to be home on Fridays with my son. I wanted that to be mommy Marcus day. And I wanted to be home by four o’clock because at the time he was so young, he would typically eat dinner around five, right? So that would give me enough time to get home, make dinner, do bath time, story time, bedtime. And then if I chose to after that I could work, but most of the time I was too exhausted. So I drew that line in the sand right away. And then from there I had to make other decisions like no more coffee meetings for the sakes of coffee meetings.

So draw the line in the sand. Right? Decide right then and there, what does it actually take to become effective with your time and stick to it. When I was working for American Express, I was helping major international conglomerates save 0.01% on their bottom line. And that didn’t have… give me the warm and fuzzies. When I taught somebody like an entrepreneur how to sell, and with that skill set that they were now able to feed their family and go on vacation and grow their business, that was what I realized was my impact. Was now to take that mastery that I had developed in that corporate experience, and help others create that bigger picture for the world. So that not only could I decide to travel or live my life of freedom, but now I’m empowering others to also have that life of freedom, so they choose.

Kim Orlesky on The Ambition Project

Jonathan Hafichuk: So since starting the KO Sales U, what has been your biggest hurdle in getting it off the ground? What’s been the most difficult thing for you?

Kim Orlesky: Yeah, I mean, like any company right? We are positioned as a high value program, right? And like anyone that’s in that high value services and they are positioned as a premium product, one of the very first struggles that we went through was that, “You’re too expensive,” right? And I mean, as a business owner, I started to have a little self doubt thinking that, “What if we were,” right? What if we were too expensive? What if we were pricing ourselves so far out there? And it took a while to get those first few people to be bought in. Because all else being equal, there was a different sales training course that will offer it for 497 for an entire day. Learn everything you possibly can about sales for 497. There’s another company out there that’s offering sales training for $1,500 right? Learn in three days everything you possibly can know about sales. And that’s not what sales is, right? And I had to remind myself that what they’re teaching doesn’t actually apply, right?

What we’re doing is something completely different and we needed to charge more. Number one, because I truly believe that we provide exceptional value for our clients. People value what they have to pay for and that there became this barrier to entry, right? We didn’t want everybody to take our sales program. We wanted the people that were already positioned as a premium service for a premium price. And if we could work through them, our own sales cycle, then they could have confidence in knowing that they weren’t learning something completely different. You don’t want to be, “Listen, I’m going to teach you premium sales and I’m going to teach it to you for the smallest price amount that you can possibly pay.” It doesn’t make sense, right? You know, you’re like, “Well no, if you’re going to teach me process, show me how it also applies to you.”

So that was a big struggle for us, was to number one, kind of get over that initial hurdle. And all we did was not saying, “Do we lower the price?” But what we said was, “How do we provide even more value, so that the price and the value now coincide?” That was easily solved though as we brought on more people in graduating, because the one thing that we looked at was getting more video testimonials. The more video testimonials we got, the easier it was to sell and it became this massive turn. We were creating momentum. We had the inertia behind us and it would be faster, and faster, and faster.

Kim Orlesky on The Ambition Project

The other biggest struggle that we had when we were trying to launch it was because we offer it as an online program, a lot of people would tell us that they’re like, “I don’t want to do online classroom.” And that was a little bit of a struggle for us to teach them that they weren’t doing an e-course, which is completely hands off, that they were actually getting a dedicated instructor, that they were actually going to be able to work through this conversation. And that became part of the value that we eventually added later on, was how do we help that instructor and how do we continue to coincide those conversations as we grew further. We learned from our students that they were going to be the best feedback that we were receiving, and so we continue to create the course based on the feedback of our students. And today we have a program that we are, the entire team, is incredibly proud to have and at the same time we’re constantly making it better.

Jonathan Hafichuk: You’ve built a fairly strong personal brand, which I think plays into what you’re doing with your business. You’ve gotten some decent speaking gigs. You just recently spoke at the HubSpot conference. How have you gone about building that personal brand?

Kim Orlesky: Yeah, it’s about constantly reaching for more, whether you feel like you’re ready or not. And right now, I mean we are currently in a process where we’re trying to change over away from my personal brand into KO Advantage Group, because I specifically want me and my business to be separate. That was actually, that was another struggle that we face and going into it was eventually as we grew, I didn’t want to… I didn’t have the time to teach the classes anymore. I had to bring on a trainer. And so the people wanted to be convinced that they were going to get the same level of sales education, whether it was me or someone else. But the personal brand side of it was just putting my name in the hat. Right?

I mean I received my first opportunity to speak with INBOUND, which is HubSpot’s annual event. It brings in 23,000 people into Boston. And I did that just by applying, right? I put together a really cool, what I thought at the time talk track with a synopsis. The same idea of sell it first, grade at later. I didn’t have a talk. I’m just like, “What would sound really good as a title and what were the three things that I would cover in that?” And they said, “That sounds good.” And I was accepted and I thought, “Oh crap, now I actually got to put something together. I don’t have anything. I got to figure this out.” When it came to launching the podcast, it wasn’t about… I mean my first three guests when I had my podcasts were Neil Patel, Grant Cardone, and now I forget his name, Ryan Blair, who is the CEO of ViSalus, right? The guy runs a multimillion dollar company out of his home now. Right? A big MLM.

And when I asked them to be on my show, I didn’t tell them what I was or what I wasn’t. Right? I allowed that ambiguity to filter in. I just said, “I have a podcast,” and I talked about my benefits. I have X number of social media followers. I am Success magazine’s most inspirational blogger. I would love to interview you on this particular thing. And they said, “Yes.” I didn’t have to tell them that I was just launching and I had no listeners. Right? If I were to said that, how many people would have said yes? No one.

Kim Orlesky on The Ambition Project

Jonathan Hafichuk: Right.

Kim Orlesky: When it came to launching like books and everything else like this… I mean, nobody needed to know what my experience was or what it wasn’t. All they needed to know was that I was willing to step up and be a part of that. And when it comes now to a lot of the speaking events, I mean I just built upon that. People live on potential and not on what you’ve done. They love knowing what you’ve done, but they also love knowing on what you are going to do next. And when people feel like you are a rocket ship, they want to get on that, right? They’re like, I want to be on that trip. I want to be on that journey. Yes, they care about what you’ve done, but at the same time, right? Show them what more you’re going to create and don’t just sit on the successes that you’ve done because that’s when you become the has beens, or the nobodies. Right?

I mean, for those of us that are ’80s babies, right? I mean, Tiffany had a great brand when she came out, right? I think we’re alone now. It was a great song. But if Tiffany came out today, I mean there wouldn’t be anybody that would really listen to her. Right? The New Kids on the Block kind of same thing, right? Unless you had grown up with them, yeah, you would. But nobody now would be really interested in them. The only reason we go to New Kids on the Block is so we can live in this nostalgia. Don’t be a personal brand that’s based on nostalgia, be a personal brand that’s based on I’m going to new places.

Jonathan Hafichuk: So are you actively looking for more speaking gigs on a regular basis?

Kim Orlesky: Absolutely. Always, right? We’re-

Jonathan Hafichuk: So what’s your goal look like with that? Are you hoping to turn that into an income source? Or is it just to get yourself and your brand out there?

Kim Orlesky on The Ambition Project

Kim Orlesky: It would mostly be to… I mean, I do some paid speaking gigs.

Jonathan Hafichuk: So with the speaking to grow your business, how do you recommend people who want to get into speaking or start getting their first speaking gigs, how do you recommend you start? Like where do you suggest looking?

Kim Orlesky: Just ask. Right? Ask everybody. Tell everybody that you want to speak. I mean, my first speaking event was where somebody else had offered me an opportunity. I was speaking at a women’s conference here in Calgary and I didn’t even really have my talk yet, right? I didn’t even really know what I was going to do. I just wanted to get through it. Then I was paid to speak by a giant company here in Calgary and that was for me, that was mind blowing, right? They’re like, “We’ve seen you do some stuff. We want to hire you.” Later on, I became better and better at it, but it was all about reaching out to companies. Find groups that are bringing on speakers. Say, “How can I become a speaker for you?”

Become very clear about what you want to speak about because that’s the other struggle that a lot of first time speakers have. They’re like, “I could speak about everything.” But that’s the same thing that we tell our students in KO Sales U, is that when you try to sell to everyone, you’re selling to no one. And when you’re trying to say, “I can speak on everything,” you essentially are speaking on nothing. So come up with like one, or two, or three really cool ideas, like something that would be clickable. Something… A title first, right? You don’t need anything more than a title at this point. What would be the title of your talk? And then tell everybody that you want to speak, and apply, and apply, and get to the next place.

And then the moment someone has says, “Yes, Jonathan, we want to have you on,” tell everybody that you’re going to be speaking at that next place. Don’t wait until it’s done before you announce it. Say, “Listen, I’m going to be speaking at INBOUND, beside Michelle Obama,” right? I said that for months before I actually got the opportunity to do it. But that alone ended up getting me more speaking events. And then it was like… And I get to speak at INBOUND again next to Deepak Chopra. And everyone’s like, “Whoa, that’s so amazing.” And I use that before INBOUND actually happened.

Kim Orlesky on The Ambition Project

Jonathan Hafichuk: The momentum.

Kim Orlesky: The momentum, right? And then the inertia. Because I mean, yes, there might be the occasion where it’s like it might fall through or things won’t happen. There was one woman who was ready to hire me for a 50,000 person event, it was going to have Tony Robbins and Grant Cardone, it was going to be held in Dallas, it was an amazing event. I put that on my bio. I was like this is amazing. Right? It didn’t happen. Right? So what? You know. But that momentum… And that’s no fault of my own, right?

The organizer just fell through, right? That happens. Do I look bad? No. Right? It helps to build that moment. I just explain, “No, it just didn’t happen.” Right? I’m not a liar. It just didn’t happen. But I was able to use that to help leverage to the next step, and the next step. Start somewhere, do it as often as you possibly can and just do it again. And ask yourself every single time, “How can I make it better?” And eventually you know that will… If speaking to make income or speaking to build your business or your personal brand is your goal, know what that goal is and use that intention to drive you forward.

Jonathan Hafichuk: So very specific message.

Kim Orlesky: Yes.

Jonathan Hafichuk: And then just a numbers game after that, about reach.

Kim Orlesky on The Ambition Project

Kim Orlesky: You’re selling yourself, you’re selling your talk, the same way you would sell any other product or service. It still takes attention to it. You still have to do it. I probably put out… We probably do 50 applications a month for calls to speakers all across Canada and the US. And we are, me and my team, my admin assistant, she is online searching for events. And then we go in, we find out what the event is, we find out who the organizer is. We connect with them on LinkedIn, we get on the phone, we send an email, we create a conversation, a relationship. It might not work for this time, but it might work for a time in the future. And just keep reiterating it. But anything that you want to have in your life determines you have focus on it. If you don’t have focus on it, it will never happen. So specific message, put focus on it, decide how much focus that is going to be and then continue, and numbers.

Jonathan Hafichuk: So I would like to give the viewers some actionable tactics that they can use in their sales process. I think a lot of the people that this is going to reach are creative, so on the marketing, design, photography side of things, [crosstalk 00:26:51] but definitely some general business to business services as well. Obviously the first thing you should do is probably figure out who you should be selling to like-

Kim Orlesky: Always.

Jonathan Hafichuk: … can’t sell to everybody, right?

Kim Orlesky: And get narrow, like super narrow, right? If you’re selling in business to business, one of the first things I tell my students is to come up with a list of 100, right? Only focus on 100 clients that you want to sell into, right? It didn’t matter if I was working for American Express or Xerox, they never even gave us a list of more than 100. And there’s a strategic reason we say this, right? Because out of every 10 conversations you have, one of them is going to lead to a client, right? So you want to make sure that your focused, and that you’ve given the attention, and that you’ve done your research before you talk to them.

Jonathan Hafichuk: So you find that specific list. What would you recommend the next step would look like? Would that be like messaging someone on LinkedIn? Would it be a phone call? Would it be a phone call to like the front desk to figure out who the decision makers? What does that next step typically look like?

Kim Orlesky on The Ambition Project

Kim Orlesky: Yeah. And it depends on every business, right? I mean, if you’re selling to small business, right? You know that the person you’re going to be calling into is going to be like the CEO, the president, the founder, right? I mean, that is your decision maker, right? If you’re calling into like large sized businesses, start with what you will know, right? Don’t assume that none of your history applies. It does. We are huge proponents of getting on the phone. The faster you can get that voice to voice conversation going, the faster you move that sales cycle. Because I mean, how many LinkedIn requests do you probably get on a weekly basis?

Jonathan Hafichuk: Twenty, maybe?

Kim Orlesky: Okay, 20, right? Maybe a portion of them are sending you, “Hey, I’d love to connect with you for this many reasons.” And then you get busy through the day and you connect with them and it gets somehow lost in your LinkedIn inbox. And you’re like, “Oh, Kim hasn’t responded to me. Oh, she must’ve hated my message.” That’s not the case. You’re a busy person, right? When you call the person, they’re going to pick up, right? And you’re going to get one of two responses. You’re going to be like, “Hey, I’ll have a conversation with you because you called me and I picked up, so I’m obviously available to have a conversation.” Or what the person is going to do is like, “I’m in a meeting, can I call you back?” Whatever else it is, right? And that’s all fine too. But now they’ve heard your voice, now you they actually know who you are. And call back again and be tenacious with this. Anything worth doing is worth doing again, and again, and again, right? Anything worth doing is worth doing right. So connect that conversation.

One of my favorite things to say is move those online conversations offline as quickly as possible, especially if you’re in high value services, because a high value touch point is necessary for a high value sale. If you are trying to dismiss to low value touch points, you’re never going get to that high value sales. Emails, LinkedIn requests, those are all low value. They have a process and they have a spot in the sales cycle, but call it what it is. I just want somebody to know who I am. I want them to see my face. I want them when I call them to not know where they recognize by name but think, “I recognize that name.” That’s fine, right? Call a spade a spade, but move as quickly as you can to the phone call.

Call the decision maker, call as high as you possibly can. Assume that’s going to be the president. Assume that’s going to be the CEO. If it’s a medium or a large sized company, [inaudible 00:30:14] this is likely going to be the director of HR. This is likely going to be the creative director of this company. This is likely going to be the VP of finance because they hold the purse strings, right? Call into that person. You call switchboard, you might get a chance to get through, right? And there’s ways to navigate how to get past that, but you want to go as quickly to the source as possible. If the finish line is getting a voice conversation with the person that’s going be the decision maker, the only question you need to ask yourself is, “How do I do that as quickly as possible?”

Jonathan Hafichuk: Right. And then once you get that decision maker, do you find that an in person meeting’s typically best? I know for my business, like if I can sit down with somebody, my chance of selling them usually really- [crosstalk 00:30:58]

Kim Orlesky on The Ambition Project

Kim Orlesky: Yeah. Why would you choose anything less? Right? I mean go for the in person meeting. I’m a huge fan of the in person meeting, because when you are connecting with somebody face to face, it’s a lot harder for them to say no to your face than it is for them to delete an email or hang up a phone. Right? So you always want to go for the in person meeting as quickly as possible. If you can’t get the in person meeting for whatever reason, geography, or the person you’re calling ons time table doesn’t work, go to the second best, which is a video chat, right? You’re still getting that face to face interaction, but you don’t have to physically be there. And if that still doesn’t work for them, “Listen, Jonathan, I’m still too busy. I can’t even make that.” “Not a problem. Can we book a 15 minute phone call meeting on Thursday at 9:00 AM?” Now it has to be specific, ask for a specific time. But if it’s in the calendar, it exists. And if it’s in the calendar, it’s now important and it gets the attention that it deserves.

So whatever it is, always go for any type of meeting. Face to face is ideal, right? Video conference is the next, and then phone call conversation. If the client still won’t meet with you and they say, “You know what? Just send me a proposal,” or, “send me a quote,” don’t do it. Right? You’re not going to get the deal. Unless you’re planning on being the cheapest out there, right? Fine, whatever, you have nothing to lose. But then you shouldn’t be asking for the in person meeting anyway because you’re wasting the person’s time if you’re trying to sell a $500 service. If you’re trying to sell a $10,000, a $20,000, a $100,000 service, right? You’re not going to win it just by saying, “Hey, my service is $100,000.” Send. That person’s going to delete it faster than they received it.

Jonathan Hafichuk: What does closing typically look like in your process? Is it asking for the sale?

Kim Orlesky: Closing is like throughout the entire process, right? Closing is… The moment we start to close is like the very first meeting; we’re closing on something. We close on an intention. We are closing that phone call on a meeting to meet with the person. And then when we meet with the person, we’re closing them on a second meeting. And we’re closing throughout and we are asking ourselves throughout the entire process, what is the intention of this meeting? What do I hope to get out of this? How will I know this is a successful meeting? And that’s where the close eventually happens. When it comes time for the close, the ultimate close, we also set the client’s expectations that it’s going to happen, right? The propose and the close will typically happen around the same time or within a two week timeframe. If you think that you’re going to propose and your close is going to take longer than two weeks, you’re not ready to propose. Too many things will happen.

So when we go to propose to the client, we set their expectations that, “Listen, we’re going to sit down and I’m going to present with you everything you need to make a decision.” Right? We set their expectations that a decision will be made. At this point in time the client’s either going to say, “Yeah, sounds great,” or they’re going to be like, “Oh, no, no, no, no. We’re not ready for that yet.” “Awesome. What more do you need to find out before you feel like you’ll be ready?” When the close actually happens, we go through the proposal. We talk about the proposal, the proposals completely… I have a whole thing just on proposals, but the proposal’s a story. It’s about the journey that we’ve just been on. And when we get to the close, what we do is we ask our single question, “Jonathan, are you ready to change your business today?”

And then we shut up. The important part in that part of the question is, number one, it’s a close ended question, right? We want a very specific yes or no answer. The other thing is that we insert the word today. I’m asking you to do something today, not two weeks from now, not whenever you’re ready, not assuming this will work at some point in the future, but today. Because if you don’t take action today, when will you take action? The client already knows that they’re going to be making a decision today. And then the third thing in there is that we shut up. The moment you ask the question, the first person that talks loses, right? You don’t want to talk yourself out of the deal. And I see too many entrepreneurs and business owners that do this.

The silence is harder on you than it is on the client because the client has just been presented with all the information. They know what the information is, but now you’ve just asked them, right? This is like the proposal of marriage, will you marry me? Right? You don’t want a guy that’s going to sit there ask, “Will you marry me?” Doesn’t hear anything, stands up, it’s like, “Okay, well never mind, actually. I made a mistake,” and like walk out of there. Right? “I’m sorry, is it the ring, is that the size?” Whatever it is. No, you have to just wait. Allow the client to have that space and that time to process what they’ve just gone through, and then they will say yes. Or they might say no, but allow them to bring that up.

I see business owners that they would get so upset with the silence that they will start to immediately take a pen and start taking out pricing. “Oh well we can actually do it better. We can do it cheaper.” Nobody asked you to, why are you discounting yourself? Nobody asked you to. Right? So you just want to be quiet, allow them to say yes, come to their own conclusion. And they always will.

We have a goal that by 2030 we will have over 100,000 students that are KO Sales U students and graduates. So that is definitely a goal. And those are people that are actually in the course. We have a bigger goal with people that consider themselves to be students of KO that have not taken the course because we believe that there’s also impact with that as well. But that’s our big goal for ourselves.

Jonathan Hafichuk: That’s very exciting.

Kim Orlesky: Thank you.

Jonathan Hafichuk: Great. Well thank you again so much for being a part of this.

Kim Orlesky: Thank you, Jonathan.

Jonathan Hafichuk: Really appreciate the time.

Kim Orlesky: I loved it. Thank you. I hope everyone really enjoyed this. And yeah, I mean I’m always available. I love having conversations with people so you can tell anybody to continue the conversation with us.

Jonathan Hafichuk: Great. Where can people learn more about you?

Kim Orlesky: Yeah, so the best place is to go check out our website, it’s at kimorlesky.com. We have a ton of information on there. Also follow me on LinkedIn. That’s the most prevalent social media that we use where we list everything from our networking events, our lunch and learns. We have a new book coming out in the new year and those that are already subscribers will be able to get that book completely free of charge. We’re going to be charging it for just shipping and handling and we’re going to give to you the book because we want that message… We want more people to be that KO student, whether they’re ready to take the course or not.

Jonathan Hafichuk: Cool. I’ll be looking forward to that.

Kim Orlesky: Thank you. Yeah, I’m very excited.

Jonathan Hafichuk: Great. Our first sponsor is Symbol Syndication, which is a video production company that I started. We do video production and online marketing for businesses of all sizes ranging from solo preneurs to Fortune 500 companies.

Our second sponsor is Gravity Cafe. They’ve been gracious enough to give us their space. The coffee’s awesome. They have live music three nights a week. The beer’s great. It’s an awesome place to come hang out.

Another sponsor of The Ambition Project is Business Link. Business Link is Alberta’s entrepreneurial hub. They’re a nonprofit organization that helps people navigate the steps towards starting their own businesses. Just because you’re in business for yourself doesn’t mean you’re in business by yourself. Business Links team of in house startup experts are there to support you all along the way.

Our next sponsor is the Better Business Bureau. Your BBB helps businesses build visibility, credibility, savings, leads, and community through BBB accreditation while funding free marketplace services with more than a million instances of service to consumers every year. Visit bbb.org/calgary to learn more today.

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