What ‘Better Call Saul’ Taught Me About Sales and Hustle

Credit: AMC

Credit: AMC

There’s a recent disturbing study that is driving me nuts.

74% of sales people are failing at their job according to a huge study by the Objective Management Group.

I can’t get this out of my head.  74% is astonishing.

Considering we sales people are some of the highest paid individuals on the planet, it’s even more disturbing (yep, I sell things to sales people for a living).

Do any of these excuses sound familiar?

  1. I don’t have enough leads.
  2. I hate cold calling; it doesn’t work.
  3. Salesforce.com is such a pain to update.
  4. They were never gonna buy anyway.
  5. They aren’t responding to my emails.

And on and on…

So what does that have to do with Better Call Saul?

If you haven’t seen it, BCS is the back story of Saul, the sleazy lawyer from Breaking Bad.  If you don’t know what Breaking Bad is then you don’t watch television and probably live in a hut. Congrats.

In BCS, Saul can’t help himself from ‘breaking bad’ like Walt, the high school teacher that made meth in the original Breaking Bad.  You really want to like Saul, but he’s truly a thief.

The show is a slow, epic, downward spiral to meanness and greed.

But that’s not what this article is about at all.

Last night the wife and I watched the ‘Rebecca‘ episode that aired originally on March 14th. You can watch the entire episode here.

In this episode, Saul’s gotten his girlfriend, Kim, into a world of trouble at her job.  Kim, an experienced lawyer, has been relegated to ‘document review.’

She’s forced to work insane hours, doing work that is far beneath her pay grade, and underlining crap in file after file.

She spends the first few scenes feeling sorry for herself.  Who wouldn’t!

But then in the pivotal moment, she tells Saul, “You aren’t going to help me.  I’m going to help me.”

Now that’s what got me.

“You aren’t going to help me.  I’m going to help me.”

She made up her mind to take ownership of her situation.

EXTREME OWNERSHIP (if you haven’t read Jacko’s book. Do it.)

Here’s where the tide turns.

The next 15-20 scenes play out in a montage.

Credit: AMC

Credit: AMC

Kim standing in a stairwell, staring at 5 Post-It notes full of numbers stuck on the glass.  She’s dialing her closest friends and asking for their business for her law firm.

She’s rejected.

Kim’s back in the stairwell, 5 more post-it notes on the window with names and numbers of her old law school buddies. Rejection.

Some sleazy dude even tries to get her to sleep with him.

Kim’s back in document review, brainstorming more distant connections to contact.

Back in the stairwell. More rejection.

And so it goes, until she is dialing people she barely knows that she met at a mixer a few years back. Rejection again!

Kim looks stunned.

She’s talked to everyone she can possibly think of from her entire network to get herself out of her hole.

Smoking in the garage.  Pacing.

Dying slowly on the inside.  Full in the knowledge that she is a loser in the game of life.

Then her phone rings.

Credit: AMC and callsaulnow.com

Credit: AMC and callsaulnow.com

She gets the meeting with a huge bank and closes a $250,000 retainer for her firm.

She hustled her butt off.

She failed, took ownership, and solved the problem.

Man, I love that so much.

So, you wanna know why 74% of sales people are failing?

Here’s what I think.

We don’t take extreme ownership of our situation.

We don’t turn ourselves inside out to get the job done.

We don’t call our closest friends, college buddies, people we met at a mixer 5 years ago and ASK for their business.

Instead, we blame the lack of leads, the buyer, the buyer journey, the lack of training offered by our firms, the lack of sales tools, Salesforce.com…

…anything but ourselves.

So to top it off, a friend sent me this video in an email this morning.

I think Bryan sums up exactly the way I felt this morning when I woke up started thinking about my own failures.

The things I was blaming on anything but myself.

Here’s a short list:

  1. Lost deals to Fortune 500 companies
  2. Code delivered late and over budget
  3. Still trying to get started with LinkedIn Ads

And here are my excuses:

  1. The CIO was never gonna buy it
  2. Coding is always late and over budget
  3. Linkedin Ads probably won’t work anyway

Like Kim on BCS, I decided to take extreme ownership of my failures and act aggressively to get my ship headed in the right direction.

You aren’t going help me.  I’m going to help me.

Figure it out, Dawg! Figure it out.

 

 

 

About J. Rusty Bishop, PhD

I've spent the last 5 years helping great brands create amazing experiences for their sales teams during one on one sales interactions. Helping sales people do their job is my passion. When I'm not working, I am on the ocean fishing in San Diego, Ca.