Sales Tips, TikTok, and Sales Leadership

Mike is responsible for over $100m in sales and has amassed over 20m views across his two TikTok accounts. In this conversation, he tells Joe how he got started with TikTok during the pandemic, what qualities make an effective Sales Leader and brings some real honesty when asked about what keeps him motivated.

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Joe: Hello and welcome to the Essential B2B Podcast brought to you by Lead Forensics. I’m your host Joe Ducarreaux. For this episode I was joined by TikTok sales sensation, Mike Manzi. Mike is responsible for over $50 million in sales and has amassed over 10 million views across his Official Sales Tips and Official Sales Leader Tips TikTok accounts. Mike gave some incredible answers to the Essential B2B questions. We spoke about sales leadership, actionable decompression tips and how important authenticity is for creating content and closing deals.

So without further ado, here is Mike Manzi’s episode of the Essential B2B Podcast.

Joe: So Mike, let’s go right back to the beginning then. How did you get started working in sales?

Mike: Yeah, so actually my father was in sales and I won, I don’t know if it’s winning, but the superlative I got in high school was the most talkative. I think I had the gift of the gab, if you will, or had the insecurities that forced me to create a gift of the gab.

I’ve been in sales roles for the bulk of my 20s and then got into leadership and knew I wanted to get into leadership because everybody was asking me how I did things. The thing that’s unique about how I’ve done things for myself is I always say I’m super lazy and I mean that in a good way. To say I’ve figured out what’s like the minimum I got to do to get what I want done.

I remember working at CareerBuilder, we didn’t even have a CRM. So I had literally made my own Excel spreadsheet and it was tracking all of my stats and I had all these tips and tricks on how to do well on calls. People would start asking me how do you do that, how do you do that, how do you do that? I always start running training, as I’m like a 25 year old guy running training for people on my team, I have no business doing it.

So, I quickly got into leadership and then kind of did the same thing. I figured out what are the minimum things you have to do to make a team effective, to create a new market and just to build something from scratch or turn it around.

Joe: So going into that leadership piece then, what are the qualities do you think that make a good and effective sales leader? Are they any different to what makes a good sales person, for example?

Mike: Definitely. So the qualities of a good sales leader are, you need to be able to manage your emotions because your boss is coming down on you saying get your team to do more, your team is coming up to you saying we’re doing too much always. So managing your emotions and also so you can keep everybody comfortable, both your boss and your team. The other is, turning ideas into tasks because your boss is going to say sell more and then you have to figure out what are the things I’m going to do to sell more?

Your Director of Operations or even yourself is going to say, we’re seeing this trend. You have to figure out what are the tasks to turn this knowledge of this trend, to trend in a different direction or to trend more in that direction. The third thing that’s really important when it comes to leadership qualities is your ability to stay strict on your processes around people. Too often we have all these processes for sales calls but then when our customer changes from a customer to the salespeople we’re just like well, it’s regular people. I’ll talk how I talk. I’ll say what I say. I’ll do things how I do it. But you have to stick to your process when you’re talking to your employees just like you would when you were an individual contributor talking to your potential customers. Those are the three things that are most important.

Joe: Going from you leading, training and coaching and bits and pieces from the age of 25 then, I wonder what was your introduction to TikTok and what was the state of TikTok at the time when you started making your TikToks?

Mike: August 2021 a friend of mine posted one video, it went viral and she got all these leads. My immediate thought was, I can do this better than you. I’m very competitive. So I was like, I’m going to do a month. I’m going to post for a month and if it’s worth it and it does great, awesome. I posted for a month and it got to 1,000 followers or something pretty quickly. I made my first $10,000 at the end of that month and said, that’s it. I’m going full steam TikTok. There is nobody doing sales tips except for this one other guy.

There’s plenty of people then and now doing sales humour. But my goal is not to just have a channel and be like a content creator and an influencer. My goal is to create value for people and then either to get better at sales as a result, amazing or decide they want to call me and work together. So I try to stick to that niche of actually being like, everything I say should be something that will make an impact on your business and you could do it immediately.

Joe: So you said you made the decision to post for a month. How sort of consistently was that? Was it one a day? Was it more than one a day?

Mike: I’ll just give some advice on this too. Grab three different formats (inaudible) of some of the top curators. I grabbed five hooks, for the intro that they would use and then I had 10 topics. Then I just sat in this room actually and did 50 of them and I found out which ones really hit. So I was doing about three videos per day. I really had a lot of salespeople, but salespeople don’t have the budget. So I actually opened up a second TikTok account, Official Sales Leader tips and that one’s focused just on leadership, ownership, getting your team to do what they should be doing.

Joe: Well, it just shows it’s so far beyond, an app where people were just doing dance craze and stuff. Now it’s a legitimate marketing and sales tool. So I think that’s testament to it. 100%.

Mike: I can’t say this enough, people, where everyone is so keen to post on LinkedIn, but it’s text which is boring. Everyone’s doing it. It’s so crowded and it’s a lot more work. To think about all the posts on LinkedIn that everyone sees where it’s like, I went to drop my daughter off at school today and then it’s like this big, long LinkedIn post. How much effort does that take? Where for me, it’s literally, I’m in the car, driving back from dropping my kids off, and I’ll just go, ummm what have you gotta stop doing in order to make sure you can make more money? When you’re on a call, make sure that you’re not saying, should we talk right now? And you are saying, glad we’re talking right now. And that’s it, boom, done.

Joe: What do you love about your industry, Mike? And is there anything you would change about it?

Mike: What I love about the sales industry is that we all think we’re more important than we are, but we’re at the tip of the spear to help companies grow. I really believe in the dream of being able to build something and to make that happen at the end of the day, it’s all going to lean on sales. You can have a bad product and have great sales. So I’m very thankful to be in a position to help people’s dreams come to light.

What I don’t like about the sales industry is not what you think. I’m not going to say that we’re liars and we’re cheaters and all that stuff, because I really don’t think that we are for the most part. I actually think, and I would get a lot of flack for this, I think we’re undervalued. I think that too often when I’m talking to CEOs or own

And that’s a very common tone of like, just whatever, it’s sales, screw these people. Where I think for other parts of the organisation, it’s very like, well do they have enough time on their plate? Are they okay with that? Is that what their skillset is? For sales, it’s like, just do it. So I think that disregarding that in sales is really a shame.

Joe: What do you consider your greatest achievement? And by that I mean it can be a professional achievement or a personal achievement. What’s your greatest achievement Mike?

Mike: I worked at a HR company. I took the company, or helped take the company from 5 account executives to 18. We opened up a British office, a San Francisco office, an Australian office and we went from doing like half a million bucks to seven million dollars. I think setting up that team and going through for the two years it took, all the growing that I had to go through and starting as a kind of fine manager and becoming what I think was a really good manager and learning humility, helping the team. That’s for sure my greatest achievement, is helping that company get to $7 million.

Joe: Who else inspires you?

Mike: These are fantastic questions, man.

Joe: Thank you.

Mike: Oh, God, I can’t remember the name of this guy now, because I think about him all the time. This guy was the CMO of Slack, also the CMO of Zendesk, also the SVP of Sales and Marketing at Salesforce. I said, well, what do you think is the best tool, best podcast for managers? He said, Manager Tools basics and so I dove into Manager Tools Basics. Those guys are rockstars in my mind, so both the guy who introduced me to Manager Tools Basics and the people who do Manager Tools Basics. I’ve completely transformed myself from a fine manager to a good manager. So that’s who I look up to.

Joe: What motivates you, Mike? What gets you out of bed at the start of your day, at the start of your week. What’s the thing that makes you go, yeah, let’s go get it?

Mike: I hate the question, what motivates you? Because people too often give the most BS answers. Money, sure. Success, great. You know what actually motivates me?

When I was a kid, my dad wasn’t around that much and I felt like he didn’t give me the attention I needed, like every other boy in the world. So I felt like the only way I could get his attention is by doing really well, getting A’s in school or going to a business school or earning money. So I constantly had this inner hole and I’ve been filling that void with, I need to do better and do better. I don’t feel that as much, like that it’s a hole now, but I think it’s become such a habit to just perform at a higher level, that I’m now just operating out of habit.

But I think that if you were to say, Mike, what motivates you, it’s a combination of feelings of inadequacy and feelings of superiority. That’s what motivates me. It’s like this cognitive dissonance between, I’m amazing, I think I can do amazing things and you’re the worst, you can never do it. Those two things constantly drive me up to want to be more and better.

Joe: I think what you’ve done there, mate, is you’ve given a very, very candid but yet a very, very honest answer that I think a lot of people who are listening to this, that will completely resonate with them. It’s really interesting you bring it up because we talk a lot and a lot of people that I’ve spoken to on this podcast discuss things like imposter syndrome. I’ve gotten to this point in my career, this point of success, this point of whatever it may be. When they get there, they think, why on earth is it me that’s managed to get up to this sort of level? I don’t deserve this, I’m not as good as X person or Y person, anything like that.

So I really, really appreciate the honesty with which you answered that question because I think what you’ve quite expertly done is given a real sense of authenticity. If there’s anything that I’ve learned from doing this podcast is that that’s the currency with which success comes. If you are in any way inauthentic, people will sniff it out. So I hugely appreciate that answer, Michael.

Mike: Thank you very much. I appreciate your response to that. My number one value in life is authenticity and number two is vulnerability. So I’m glad that we could share this moment together, even though it’s just you and me. Who knows what else is seeing it? And I hope that it can inspire others to hopefully be just as vulnerable as well. So let’s keep going, man. More questions.

Joe: So we’ve talked a lot about your success and your work and all different bits and pieces there with your professional life. How do you decompress from work and how important is the divide between your work and your personal life?

Mike: I have found decompressing from work to be challenging. It’s definitely one of my weaker points. Having kids has made me let go of thinking about doing whatever or more work. The best way to decompress I have found is actually compressing. So right now in your brain, you’ve got 100 things. I got to call this guy, do this thing, do this thing, start this thing, got this, oh that was a cool podcast, I should do that, cool. You got 100 things, it’s this big. But you have to put it into a zip file, zip it down, put it into a nice list and now you’ve actually compressed what you need to work on, which allows you to decompress.

Now, there’s two tips that I have when it comes to making lists and we get it wrong too often. The first is the Eisenhower matrix. So if you don’t know the Eisenhower matrix, what you do is it’s the four block matrix. I always say that it must be done this week or next week, is critical, is not critical and then you put your things in those buckets. So instead of you having a hundred things to do, you go I’m just going to focus on this bucket and do this thing. Otherwise, we just do all the things that are not important and bucket because they’re easy.

The second thing, and this took me easily 15 years to get, is at the start of your day, you only write one thing down that you want to accomplish. I’ve had a really hard time because you’re like, I need to get all of these things done. That’s totally cool. Especially as a leader, so much of your day is in 6 minute, 15 minute, 12 minute, 32 minute chunks, you’re never going to………you’re constantly going, okay, six minutes, which item can I do? Do, do, do, oh, I have three minutes, ah, okay. I’ll just get her some water.

So if you instead go after one thing, I’ll get 6 minutes for that thing, done. Is it perfect? No, but it’s a lot better than being like, getting nothing done and it’s so frustrating.

Joe: Mike, I’ve got one more question for you. This has been an absolute pleasure chatting to you today. I’ve really, really enjoyed having this conversation with you. If there was one top tip that you would like to give the listeners to the Essential B2B Podcast today, what would that tip be?

Mike: My top tip is at the end of any call that you’re on, any sales call or really anything, here’s the framework to use and this has made a huge difference, definitely driven millions of dollars in sales. What are the next one to two steps? Assuming, whatever they just said, goes well, you bring it to your boss, they love it, you talk to your team, they love it. What are the next one or two steps? Don’t stop asking those questions until you get to the signature or whatever.

If this did not work out, what are the likely one or two reasons? I’m not asking, do you think there’ll be a problem? I’m saying, it doesn’t work out. What do you think are the likely reasons? Then finally, if that happened, it didn’t work out for that reason, what would you do? This allows you to know the road of everything that has to happen, all the speed bumps along the way and also does your car have the shocks to get over those speed bumps or do you need to help this person to close it in a turn. That is the best tip I can give anybody.

Joe: Mike Manzi thank you so much for joining me for this episode of the Essential B2B Podcast.

Mike: Happy to be here.