Ask around Acquirent about positivity in the workplace, and one salesperson comes to everyone’s mind: Kevin Morrissey.
Having worked with Acquirent for over eight years, Kevin has seen a lot of changes over the years, but his positivity in sales has only grown over time. We sat down with him to discuss the importance of having a positive attitude in sales, and how he has adapted to changing conditions of a post-COVID world.
Interviewer (I): A positive attitude in sales can be pretty daunting to think about these days, but when I asked Joe Flanagan (CEO of Acquirent) who best embodied that, he didn’t hesitate to drop your name. What’s your secret?
Kevin Morrissey (KM): I’m flattered! There are really two answers to that, the pre-COVID and post-COVID approaches to positivity.
In any kind of sales, it’s incredibly important that you go into a call with the right mindset, because whatever you’re thinking is going to be pre-conditioned into your head. If you go into a call and you’re thinking “this is going to go bad” it probably will. A positive attitude goes hand-in-hand with the effort that you give, taking on new and creative ideas to solve problems. It’s about thinking outside the box.
Acquirent is working with all sorts of companies, so the things we sell are all pretty different. Some things you’ve never even heard of before. But the more you engage with companies, and how they manage prospects and the quality their product brings to the market, you come to appreciate the things you’re selling, and how we fit into that equation.
I: Things have changed a bit now though now that we’ve adjusted into our quarantine lifestyle. What was that process of adjustment like for you, and how did you manage to keep positive?
KM: When I started working from home, I had initially expected that this was all going to last for about two weeks, so it didn’t initially affect my mindset or change my work practices. But as things progressed, when I realized I’d be working from home for awhile, I had to change my habits. I wasn’t thinking so much about what’s going to happen to me or the company, but what I need to do to get better and change my routine.
Developing new habits was one of the most challenging aspects of that adjustment, and I think that goes for a lot of us at Acqurient. Go into the office and we all have our friends, our desks, and our work schedules, but working with our partners and roommates is completely different. My wife and I both work in sales, and if you’ve ever been near me in the office you know I’m a loud talker, so we had to find our groove so that we could work together in the same space and make it comfortable.
Routine is what keeps me having a positive attitude. A set of tasks is manageable – once you lose that mindset people get overwhelmed. I focused on making myself as valuable to Acquirent as possible, because especially in sales the hard work you put in always tends to pay off. If you tell yourself “I have to make 100 calls today, but I know that ten of them are going to lead to opportunities and five of them are going to be closes,” you’re going to have better results.
I: How would you say the calls you’re taking have changed?
KM: Well at the beginning everything was shut down, there was a lot of fear and uncertainty. Everything was on pause. During that time all you could really do on those calls is be sympathetic. How is your business being impacted? Is your company able to operate? All you could really do is be empathetic and relatable. We’re all in the trenches trying to dodge the grenades getting lobbed at us.
I: Right. I remember at that time there was absolutely no demand for my product, and all I could really say is like “I get it, I’m with you, we’re in this together.”
KM: It added a human element to the calls. As we got deeper and deeper into this, it was more than just “I’m a salesman trying to sell you stuff.” Until about mid-May everything was on pause, and then things started to open up a bit. People realized half the year was over, and goals weren’t being met, so they started exploring their options, like when you come outside after a tornado hit. We’re in a rebuild mode now, and Acquirent has been a great step in that direction for a lot of companies.
I: You mentioned your daily goals earlier when you were talking about your routine. Things have changed for everyone, but how have your goals altered during this time?
KM: When this first hit, nobody was really sure what to expect, so a lot of my previous goals were off the table. Call goals are different when nobody knows what’s coming next, so I was more focused on things like “what do I have to do to keep moving? How do I keep engaged and prove my worth?” Sales success comes from putting in good effort – so long as I am performing at my best, results will eventually come through.
I’m not sure if you can teach a positive attitude to people, it’s something that more or less reveals itself in times of adversity, the confidence that you can overcome what is coming your way. Challenges reveal your true character.
I: I would agree that it’s not something that you can just learn, it’s more of a decision that you have to make, the idea that no matter what comes your way that you’re prepared for it. When we were in the office, I realize I got a lot of motivation just by being in the presence of leaders like Joe, Geoff, and Coach, people that really live through their confidence.
KM: A positive attitude is contagious, people feed off of that and emulate it. While things aren’t the same as they used to be, we’re still able to share our successes. Many of the managers have taken on a lot of leadership in the kind of positivity they’re able to reflect on their salespeople. I still reach out to all my old friends in the office just to check in. We’re a bit like a family in that sense, and I don’t think the current situation has changed that.