Tales From The Field with Amy Volas

Shiny Objects with Alexine Mudawar

November 08, 2021 Sales Feed Season 1 Episode 1
Tales From The Field with Amy Volas
Shiny Objects with Alexine Mudawar
Show Notes Transcript

Years ago, Alexine took a sales job when she saw a big flashing dollar sign. Can you blame her?!

Unfortunately, however, she didn’t take the time to notice the red flags that came with that sweet salary. 

Quickly disappointed with the culture and the leadership, Alexine considers this decision a fail in her career as a seller. But with every fail comes valuable lessons!

Inside the episode:

  • 3 things to base your career decisions on that aren’t money
  • Why it’s important to define what you value in a work environment
  • What’s a job scorecard and how to use one to decide if a new job is right for you

Get Amy’s job scorecard template from Avenue Talent Partners: https://avenuetalentpartners.com/2021/07/26/job-scorecard-dream-sales-gig/ 

(upbeat music) <v Amy>Welcome party people to "Tales From The Field."</v> In sales, we all screw up. And it's in those moments that we screw up where we learn the most. And I'm committed to figuring out what that looks like, to make it helpful, and have some fun along the way. Hello everyone, today is such a special day. It is the very first episode of "Tales From The Field." And it would not be right and it would not be the same if you, Alexine, did not agree to be the original gangster first episode. Welcome, I'm thrilled to have you. Thank you for leaning into this with me. For anybody that doesn't know Alexine, I'd love for you to introduce yourself and then we're going to dig right on in. So who are you, what do you do, where are you from? Tell us a little something something about you. <v Alexine>You got it.</v> My name is Alexine Mudawar. I am a strategic account execute at Alice. I just joined the team, so excited and I've spent the last almost nine years in full cycle sales. So I geek out about all things prospecting, full cycle, all the thing sales. And I also serve as head of community for Thursday Night Sales, which is somewhere that Amy and I get to hang out even more and also co-founded the Women in Sales Club alongside by dear friend Gabriel Blackwell. And if it's relevant, I'm from Lafayette, Indiana. And I used to say West Lafayette, so I could class it up a little. But I'm from Lafayette. <v Amy>Midwest.</v> And for anybody that does not know, Alexine, how long have we known each other for? <v Alexine>We're approaching five years.</v> You've been mentoring me for almost five years. It's beautiful. <v Amy>It's a beautiful thing.</v> It makes my heart happy. So of course, Alexine has to be the first episode. Let's be real. So let's dig in. So here's the thing. You're in sales, I'm in sales and as a salesperson it's a journey and we all stumble and fall along the way. And I am a big believer that in that process it's how we pick ourselves up to keep it moving that matters the most. Those lessons tend to be the most poignant. So, we're going to start here. As you think back, what's one of your biggest sales stumbles, screw ups, fails, however you want to put it and let's talk about the recovery process. <v Alexine>Oh my, which do we choose?</v> We've all had failures and I think that's a good starting point. But I think of one in particular that you were actually close to, so I think it'd be helpful to go through some of the history on this and then we'll dig into more about what it is. So, this was years ago, we'll leave it there. But I had an opportunity, I was actually working with you, Amy and exploring some external opportunities for job opportunities. And I had been in conversations with an incredible VP of sales. Absolutely amazing. And I was also in conversations with an incumbent company who I knew fairly well, I thought I knew fairly well. And they knew that I was in conversations with someone else. So I did the classic of getting shiny object syndrome. I got the cushy six figure base, six figure, you know, just overall total earnings. I got really excited. I got an ask that I need to sign by end of day. So I pulled out of this other process and took the role that gave me the 24 hours to make a decision and sign on the dotted line. And that's where we begin our journey. <v Amy>So let's dig into that.</v> And for anybody listening, I had a front row seat to this situation as Alexine so nicely put it. She was interviewing with one of my clients and one of the most remarkable sales leaders I know. We did not have the same kind of relationship that we have today, for anybody listening. And I'm curious, you were at a crossroad and you chose one path or the other. Why did you think, looking back, you got caught up in the shiny objects and what about that was really magnetic to you? And why did that lead to fail, you think? <v Alexine>I think the honest answer is</v> that I saw a lot of money come my way really fast. And I ignored every other intuition along the way. So I saw a dollar sign and I ran right at it. And so I think what I didn't pay attention to, and I think these are some of the really important lessons learned that have served me well in the years since, I did not pay attention to who I was going to be reporting to whatsoever. And I was actually thinking of this earlier today 'cause I knew I would use this example. I don't know if I actually ever met the person I was reporting to until the final round interview. And it was for a 30 minute panel session. So I really never actually was one-on-one with this person, ever. And then on top of that I had absolutely no interest in the industry or the product. Which I think like you don't have to-- I'm not in the school of thought where you have to absolutely love every product you sell. I think you have to have a mild interest, a mild to moderate interest in what you're going to be selling. So that was another piece. And I didn't ask the right questions. So I asked what I thought were the right questions. Things like, "How are your reps performing?" And I was told things like, "Well, all of our reps are pacing to quota." And so, years ago in my mind that sounds awesome. Everybody's pacing to quota. This is great. When I got to that seat, after I had accepted this opportunity, I get there over 75% of the team was at zero dollars. People had not closed a single deal. People had been there for seven, eight, nine months still at zero dollars. So what I realized almost immediately, the term pacing is potentially not helpful when you're going through the interview process. So I learned a lot about quantifying the data and like really understanding what some of these responses mean. But those are kind of like the three main elements that right away I think were big red flags that I turned a blind eye to. Intentionally, I think, in some ways. And some unintentional. <v Amy>So let's fast forward to today.</v> So those are the questions that gave you clarity or so you thought at the time. Now and Alexine just recently made a move, a good move, a move that I approve with. Not with a client company but of a phenomenal company. What did you ask differently this time around? Where you felt like you weren't getting caught up in the shiny objects, where you were making good decisions? Let's compare and contrast. <v Alexine>I spent over two hours</v> with who I'm now reporting to, even before I entered the formal interview funnel. So we really got to know each other. I wanted to know exactly what kind of leadership style that he had. I wanted to know how he lead his team. What the team looks like today. What are the parts that are going well and more than that, what is not going well. I wanted really honest feedback and I was paying close attention to how answers were being given to me. And I also asked very pointed, specific questions. And this is for any company that I would interview with in the future. It was the questions of, "Hey, you're telling me "that the team is performing really well, "what does that mean? "Can you quantify that for me? "May I say an NDA and look at your sales force instance "and check out your team dashboard? "Can you talk to me about the folks that have-- "What attrition has looked like, has that been folks "that have left the team willingly? "Have you had to make a lot of reductions? "Do you see a lot of people that are on plans?" Like, all these questions that I would never think to ask in the past. Because of the fact that I entered into some of these environments over the years where you get there and it's like, uh-oh, 50% of the team's on a pip. Uh-oh. Like, no one's actually getting quota. Everybody's at zero dollars. These are the questions that now are very different for me and I'm also paying much closer attention to who I'm going to be reporting to and what I'm walking into. So I think before, I would usually go off of, like hey, I'll spend 15 to 20 minutes with whoever I'm going to report to. And if they seem cool, then that should be good enough, right and I'll get enough information. Now it's not enough information. I'm going to need to spend some time. And if that leader doesn't want to spend an hour and a half, two hours with me, maybe that's telling me the answer that I need to hear anyways. <v Amy>So, how does--</v> So I'm listening to you and I think that's fantastic. When you think back, right, so you said earlier, "I got caught up in the money." And everything you just talked about had nothing to do with the money. Why? <v Alexceen>Because if you enter the right environment</v> with the right structure, with everything in place, the money will follow. And I also-- I think coupled with this is my negotiation skills, this is a shameless plug for Thursday Night Sales for Woman In Sales Club, have exponentially increased to where I'm really comfortable asking for the amount of money that I deserve and feel like I'm entitled to. And so the money almost falls to the weight side in some ways. Where I'm like, I already have given you from the jump, here's where I want to be. So that's kind of like a by product of the other things that matter more. Which is like, who is my leader, who runs this company, what are they all about, what are their goals for the future, what had been the biggest challenges. Like really digging into that stuff. I feel like money has gone second to this. But I also did an exercise. We talked about Amy's scorecard. She did not pay me to plant this, I'm just bringing this up. But we talk about the scorecard exercise. And what I've realized is, after doing multiple of these scorecards now, my order of importance has shifted around. So it used to be like money, team, manager. Like manager used to be like fourth or fifth for me, actually, when I used to do that exercise. Now it's like, who am I reporting to, money is still in the top three, what is the culture like? What is the white space of opportunity for me to even sell into? And what I'm realizing is every single time I'm making a move, my scorecard is just starting to shift little by little. And I'm realizing, actually now I'm learning that leader is the most important for me. Like it's not a non-negotiable. I can't just ignore who I'm going to be reporting to. That's not going to be possible for me at this stage in my career. So it's been a very fast knitting exercise and it's been cool to look back at the past ones and I can actually trace now and see this is where this pitfall came from because I'm realizing, like, oh, I didn't prioritize leader. Or I didn't prioritize what the company culture was and then I'll look back and I'll say the end of this roll, oh wow, what was my chief complaint? Maybe one of the things on that list. <v Amy>Well, and it's interesting</v> and we've talked about this at Thursday Night Sales too. But I have data. We collect data from all the conversations we have just to look for the themes. And my data over the last six years of being in the recruiting space for sales specifically, there are three things that the best of the best care about. Because they realize that if these three things are in place, the money will follow. To your point that you've just made. Number one, leadership. You've talked about this and the importance of that. And just to underscore that point a little bit, it starts at the top. Right? So if leadership isn't there, or if leadership doesn't understand the significance of sales and isn't supportive of it, or whatever the host of things that could be good or bad. If that's not there, that's a problem. The second thing is product market fit. It doesn't matter how good you are as a salesperson, if that's missing, you're not going to be able to sell a darn thing, no money following. And then the third is your opportunity to grow and thrive in the way that you deem important. Not everybody wants to go up the chain. Some people want to expand depth and breadth of the sales craft. Then we start talking about money. Because if those three things are there, your propensity for success exponentially increases. So I love that you're talking about that. I want to go back in time a little bit and open up Pandora's box just a wee bit. So you make this decision, you break up with me. <v Alexine>We had a rough break--</v> It was a very lovely email I wrote but I was terrified too. I'll own this. I was terrified to call you, Amy and tell you, because in my gut I knew that I made a mistake and so me calling you would be me owning up to the fact that I knew I made a mistake. And you've said this about past roles you've had. When I got that role, day two, I knew I had made a great mistake. And I think you know right away when you've done something wrong. And you try to do the best with what you have available. But yeah, I think there were two sides to that which is like, I knew that I-- I was terrified to call you because I didn't want to disappoint you. And then I knew I'd made a mistake. So nobody wants to make that call when they know they've done something, not even wrong for you, it was wrong for myself. So it's-- You know, I let two people down. <v Amy>Well and the best part about that is</v> and here's a nice lesson for anybody. You know I have a high bar and accountability and ownership and honesty are big deals for me in the relationships I have. And you and I have a relationship. But the best part about that is when it didn't work out and flash forward over a year later and we were talking about it, I was there for you. And there's no reason to throw salt in someone's wound. But what I loved about that is we had a very open discussion. We talked about expectations of how we communicate. And we got better together. And isn't that the point of all this? And so I think there's a big lesson there for anybody listening is, when you know that you've got it wrong, even if you're not ready to admit it to yourself and you made a decision that involves somebody else that you respect, that you like, that you want to continue on with, communication in that moment is the hardest thing you'll ever have to do. But it's the right thing to do. The right thing to do, the time is always right to do that. Even though it's difficult to do that. And you did do that and look at us and we are fine. And I wasn't punishing you. I challenged you to talk about well, what did we learn. Because if we don't stop and ask what we learned and we don't understand that and pinpoint that, your ability to make that same mistake increases big time and I want to reduce that margin for error, not add to it. And so you were really lovely about that. I want to go back, though, for a second. So, and for anybody that's talking-- we're going to talk about this in a little bit. I feel like I also have screwed up. I've done the exact same thing that Alexine has done. That's why I created the scorecard. And it wasn't even on day two, it was day one. And I called my husband bawling. What did I get into? And I vowed to myself in that moment how do I get out of my own way because I got caught up in money. It was only for the money. They gave me a 50,000 dollar raise in my base and I already had a nice base. So it's very easy to get seduced by that. And to mute those voices inside where it's like, well I don't really have clarity, or that didn't really land very well for me. But you keep it going because you get seduced. And you start spending that money in your mind like, I can do this, I can go here, I can do those things. And on day one I called my husband and I was devastated. And in that moment as I was trying to reconcile and recover and understand the lessons learned, I vowed to myself I would never have that happen again. I did not create a scorecard, that methodology was well before my time. But my spin to it, my take on it has evolved over the years and it's really because of that. Because that moment, especially early, early on when you make a decision, is heartbreaking. And it's scary. Because you're like, wow, now I'm here, I don't want to be a job hopper, what do I do? This looks bad on me. And there's a lot of emotions there. So I want to go back for you for a second. You make the decision, you go for the money, you're excited. These are people, by the way, that you've known. Let's go back and talk about that. You knew them for more than a year. You were being ported. They were coming to you, porting you. <v Alexine>Yes.</v> <v Amy>When did you know?</v> What did you see where you knew like mayday, this is no bueno. <v Alexine>Almost immediately.</v> I think one of the biggest-- I don't know why this bothers me so much but I've talked about it before. It was within the first few hours of starting we were asked to go online and write a review on Glassdoor. And something about that was just like very triggering. I was like, I have worked here for two hours, what am I going to write? And then I look on Glassdoor and it's like, "Best job ever." What does that mean? Since orientation? So I think that for me was like an immediate trigger. I also-- <v Amy>Wait, did you do the Glassdoor review?</v> And if so, what did you say? <v Alexine>No.</v> I have to this day I have never written a Glassdoor review. I will pull up my account if I have to. There is nothing therapeutic to me about writing a Glassdoor review. It's like, in my opinion. And that's why I take everything with a grain of salt. The other piece though, I got sick. I got like physically sick. I had a really bad cold. I got six colds in a period of eight months. And then over a year I had like 10 colds. You know, there's like so many colds, my body is just like, we're not well, we're not happy, it's not going well. So I think sometimes your body-- Like even if you try to ignore it, and this is why I have trouble with the advice of like, make sure you stay places for a year, make sure that you are always staying for an X period of time. Your body-- It's like that book "The Body Keeps Score." Your body is going to tell you, "I know what's happening. "You cannot hide from this." So I think like that and then the biggest thing for me, it was a predominantly-- Team of predominantly men, which is not uncommon. I'm not unaccustomed to that. However, the communication style was very vulgar for me, to be honest. It was a lot of cussing. Which I'm cool-- We play ball, we cuss sometimes. But it was like through the roof. And then the going out events, there was like a nastiness to them. There was just something for me, culturally, that was just a no. From day one I felt it and I sensed it and I witnessed it. And then it was very hard for me, I never recovered. From day two when it kind of set in and I knew I'd made a mistake, I could not mentally get out of that hole. I was like, I know I'm not where I'm supposed to be and I can try to make the best of it. But I knew in the back of my mind I'm leaving. I don't know when, but it's not going to be-- This is not going to be like a long 10 years. So I think there are moments like that too where you're just like, you know that you've made a mistake. You know that you went into the wrong environment, the wrong culture and then you're in that repair mode. Like, what do I do next? And you start to spiral. And I think that was part of it too. You knew me during that time. I was like spiraling out. So I was freaking out. I knew I made a mistake. Now what do I do? <v Amy>And I remember that conversation well.</v> I can tell you what I was wearing, I can tell you-- I was taking a walk outside with you, I can tell you the street that I was on. I will never forget that moment. And it was a painful moment because I care about you and it's hard to see the people you care about struggle. But it was a real growth moment for you as well because I challenged the mess out of you and said, so you don't-- And I agree and I disagree at the same time. I agree with there shouldn't be timestamps to how long you do something. But when you're jumping every six months you're the common denominator. And I wanted you to avoid that. And in that moment I asked you, "What did you learn?" Like what are we going to do here so that you're not chasing, you're not on a hamster wheel of chasing. And there's a big difference between a job move and a career move. And I said to you at the time, you're making job moves. Let's stop this. Let's figure out a way to stop this. So when I asked you this question as we wrap things up. What do you do now, baby Tentee. And for anybody that's here, this is my nickname for her. If anybody hasn't watched the "Octopus Teacher." Stop, drop, watch it. Separate episode for a separate day. We'll have to have you on just to break down the Octopus Teacher and the lessons learned. But all that aside. What do you do now? Having that scar tissue and going through those things to avoid something like this happening again to you? <v Alexine>There are several things.</v> So many things. There's the scorecard. That's a non-negotiable. That goes with me wherever I go. There is learning-- There was like a big curve of me learning to trust myself again. I think part of what happened, you know, your point about scar tissue, I carried some heavy baggage where after that I was like, "Can I trust myself?" Do I have a horrible understanding-- Do I trust the wrong people? Is there something wrong with me? Do I even know what I'm doing? And so I think, me, I had to go through like a very extensive journey of getting to know myself and understanding what makes me tick. I did assessments, I did like different exercises to learn what I'm motivated by. I got really involved in communities. I got to know other salespeople. I got to know what made them tick. So I think for me, like, now what's different. Community is different, scorecard, that's a non-negotiable. Trusting myself and my own intuition, that's a huge piece. And not getting distracted by the shiny things, whether those be money or people. I have been burned by people. You've been burned by people, Amy. There are people who will come to you in, you know, a little cloak and they seem like the most wonderful person, like they want the best for you. When push comes to shove, some of those people don't. And I've had to learn that the hard way. And I'm grateful for the lesson. And I actually, at the end of the day, I'm not mad that I took that role. If that makes any sense. I'm not happy about it but I'm not-- Like, I've had so much growth and so many amazing things happen after that. And I really started to step into myself and get to know myself. My relationships around me got so much better. So in a weird way I'll never say that I owe them a thank you because I don't. But I do think that I had a lot of growth after that experience so I want to take it back but I wouldn't do it again. <v Amy>And same, by the way.</v> That situation that I was talking about that led me to the scorecard, I wouldn't want to go through that again. But I can tell you right now I'm grateful because it's the backdrop of the big methodology that I use even in my own business and to pay that forward and to see people that I care about like you, leaning into it and watching it unfold and recognizing the power of them. For anybody listening, there is a scorecard that you can use. I have written about it. Hit me up or go to AvenueTalentPartners.com. There is an article that walks through all the things that Alexine did and so much more. But that being said, when we show up to listen to ourselves, to take care of ourselves, we come out stronger for that and I will say, it has been an honor and a privilege and I have so much love for you to watch you elevate. Like you literally have gone up an elevation because you showed up for yourself. Because you wanted more for yourself and as a result and leaning into the right things or what I deem are the right things, and we've had lots of conversations where I'm like you're getting caught up, cut that out. And you might refute that at first but you always come around and the force is strong in you and you've trusted your intuition. It has been a pleasure having a front row seat watching you grow. And I would concur with everything that you just said because I'm seeing it firsthand. How you are growing, how you are learning, the people that you're surrounding yourself with to some of the parts. It's a big deal. I want to ask one last question here on the lessons learned. You mentioned that you did some assessments. For anybody here, they're probably like, well, what were those assessments? Are there any that served you really well to get clarity that you would like to share? <v Alexine>There is one that I really liked actually.</v> Gabriel and I both did this assessment because we wanted to learn communication styles and we wanted to learn what makes each other tick. I think it's really important when you're co-founders. It was the Clifton Gallup Strengths Assessment and Shelton Banks recommended it as like a personal exercise. But I think he recommend it to Gabriel too so we just compared and contrasted. What was fascinating, ours were the flip opposite. Like if you took the end of my list and flipped it upside down, that was hers. And I think that worked really well for us. In terms of what we were using that for. But also for myself, it helped me understand. The top of my list is winning others over. That's number one. And that wasn't really surprising. But I think that makes sense why I'm in sales. But I also think there was a lot of interesting findings. Like at the bottom of the list, they talk-- I forget how Shelton explained this to me, but it's not necessarily things that you're-- It's not the things that you're bad at necessarily, it's the things that detract you furthest from the top of the list. So at the bottom of my list was actually compassion. And I was shocked. I was like, oh my god, I'm a compassionate person. I feel like-- But it's a very interesting way and then it gives you like 36 pages of findings and you can really narrow down and read through all of it. But I found it very fascinating because it wasn't saying like, "Here's what you're bad at, here's what you're good at." It's like, "Here's what you're motivated by "and here are the potential detractors of that. "And here's how you can use it to your advantage. "And here's where you need to look out for blind spots." And if you do that I think a lot of it starts to connect back, even to this experience. The compassion piece ended up because of the fact that I had that relationship. It clouded all the rest of my judgements. So it was kind of like these are the things that connect back later and you realize some of the lessons. So highly recommend that one. <v Amy>Well, and I think when you're aware of</v> where you're the strongest, and you use that as a North Star, you're then in the right place where you can have compassion. You just don't want to-- Look at yourself like a battery, right? You don't want to waste energy on things that will just suck you dry and you end up with your cup empty. And so, that is a wonderful note to wrap things up on, Alexine. The original gangster of this podcast. Numero uno. I just love the mess out of you. And thank you so much. And quite frankly, this is exactly what this show is all about. And it is in those moments where we do grow the most. And so for anyone listening, I truly hope that this was helpful I've watched you grow, Alexine and it has been an honor, a privilege and a treat. And thank you for giving me-- You've won me over a long time ago. Thank you for giving me that front row seat. Thank you for leaning in to do this. And again, anyone listening, really hope that this was helpful. Until next time. We'll see you at Thursday Night Sales, Woman in Sales club. Where else can we find you Alexine? <v Alexine>LinkedIn, just lurking about on LinkedIn.</v> Clubhouse occasionally. I know it's polarizing. But usually I'm just following Amy around to wherever she is, so that's usually Thursday Night Sales. But I know we're not suppose to do a thank you but I just wanted to thank you, Amy for having me on. For being an incredible mentor and also to congratulate you. This is such a big move for you, this is exciting. I've been waiting for a podcast for years. So many of us have. So this is just like such an exciting moment and I feel so honored to be the very first guest and I'm excited to continue to watch you in your journey because I'm just towing right behind you. <v Amy>I love you, baby Tentee.</v> I love you dearly. Thank you. Now you're going to get me all in the feels. Don't do that. Don't do that, especially when we are both sleep deprived. Coming off of Vegas from Thursday Night Sales. Yeah. On that note, everyone, we'll leave you wanting more. If you want to see more of Alexine and yours truly, join us for Thursday Night Sales. And thanks. You've been in sales and I've been in sales and in sales it's a journey where we've all have stumbled. And it is in these moments where we grow the most. So for anybody listening, I hope that this was helpful. This has been a Sales Feed production. If you're not familiar with all the fun things that they have up their sleeve, check out SalesFeedMedia.com.